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Post date: April 17 2003

Lawsuit Filed Against Capital Region Siding Company

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that his office has sued the owners of a defunct Capital Region window and siding company that failed to make refunds to consumers after abruptly closing down.

Air-Tite Windows and Siding, Inc. and its principals, Richard K. Catalano, Sr., Carline M. Catalano and their daughter, Jan Marie Barnes, were accused of deceptive business practices, false advertising, violations of the Home Improvement Contract Law including failure to place customer deposits in trust accounts and failure to pay Small Claims Court judgments obtained by consumers.

"This enforcement action sends a message to home improvement contractors that they cannot walk away from their commitments," Spitzer said. "My office is seeking restitution for injured consumers and an order ensuring that the owners of the business are permanently banned from engaging in the home repair business in New York State."

In December of 2001, Air-Tite closed down its showroom in Albany and discontinued operations without notice to consumers. Spitzer's lawsuit alleges that Air-Tite repeatedly accepted substantial deposits for projects and then failed to perform any work or to complete projects, or to provide materials. The company repeatedly broke promises to start projects and frequently failed to show up for scheduled appointments. Air-Tite also failed to return customer telephone calls or respond to their inquiries.

In addition, Spitzer's office received numerous complaints that Air-Tite failed to repair shoddy work, to honor its warranties, or to make refunds. The lawsuit alleges that Air-Tite continued to solicit new business, enter into contracts, and accept monetary deposits up until the day it closed its showroom, despite its failure to fulfill numerous prior commitments.

After closing, the company falsely promised its customers that another contractor would be starting or completing the projects for which Air-Tite's customers had already paid.

Spitzer's office is seeking an injunction halting any further deceptive and illegal acts of the company and its owners. The lawsuit also seeks a court order banning the Catalanos and Barnes from the home improvement industry in New York State unless they post a $200,000 performance bond guaranteeing that they will not violate an injunction imposed by the court. In addition, the lawsuit seeks restitution for consumers, including the 80 individuals who have already filed complaints with the Attorney General's office, plus civil penalties and court costs.

Individuals with complaints against Air-Tite are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755.

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