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Post date: October 19 1999

Jail Time Ordered For Capital Region Driveway Paver

Attorney General Spitzer today praised a judge's decision in a case against a Capital Region driveway paver accused of repeatedly bilking consumers.

Justice Bernard J. Malone, Jr. of State Supreme Court in Albany County granted all forms of relief requested by the Attorney General's Office in a case against Henry Hicks Jr. of Schenectady.

Spitzer's office obtained both criminal and civil contempt convictions against Hicks for willfully disobeying two judgments rendered against him in 1978 and 1982. Among other things, both judgments prohibited Hicks from engaging in the driveway blacktop and paving, seal coating or repair business in New York State.

Hicks continued his paving business as usual, however, even after the Attorney General's Office had filed contempt charges against him on July 2, 1999. Since that time, an additional eight consumers have come forward complaining about Hicks' business practices.

Hicks solicited business door-to-door, quoting a "fair price" for paving driveways. After performing some work, Hicks demanded more than twice the amount of his original quote and then, at times, failed to complete the work.

In one case, Hicks solicited his blacktop services at a man's house and quoted a price of $120 - $130. The consumer agreed to the amount, specifying that only a limited area between the sidewalk and the road be paved. Hicks proceeded to spread blacktop over the entire driveway even after the consumer strongly objected. After finishing the job, Hicks approached the consumer and demanded $2,000.

Hicks was sentenced to six months incarceration for the civil contempt charges and an additional 30 days for criminal contempt. He also was ordered to pay over $77,000 for refunds to his victims and for criminal and civil fines.

Individuals who believe they have been victimized by Hicks or any other home improvement contractor are strongly encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Matthew J. Barbaro of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.