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Post date: June 25 2008

Attorney General Cuomo Bars Oswego County Garage Builder From Defrauding Central New York Homeowners

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (June 25, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced that his office has obtained a court order barring an Oswego County garage builder who defrauded homeowners in Central New York from operating in the home improvement business.

The order, issued by Judge James Murphy in Onondaga County Supreme Court as a result of a lawsuit brought by Attorney General Cuomo’s Office, bars David F. Bourlier of County Rte. 10 in Pennellville, owner of Arrowhead Garage Builders, from operating in the home improvement business in New York state unless he posts a $75,000 performance bond with the state. The order also requires Bourlier to pay eleven consumers restitution totaling $82,562.52, plus costs and penalties to the state.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit against Bourlier alleged deceptive business practices, fraud and violations of the Home Improvement Contractor law and Lien Law.

“Central New York homeowners who take advantage of contractors deserve to know they’re dealing with reputable businesses,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “However, when contractors try to take advantage of homeowners, families suffer. My office worked to shut down this garage builder so that he will no longer victimize consumers.”

A garage builder and repairer, Bourlier, 53, regularly took advance payments from customers but did not deposit payments into an escrow account, as required by law. He repeatedly failed to start or complete work for which he had been paid - and the work he did perform was often shoddy. For some jobs, Bourlier also failed to obtain the proper building permits, which he agreed to secure in his contracts. Additionally, when consumers obtained small claims court judgments against him, he repeatedly failed to pay.

According to the lawsuit, Bourlier’s negligence included:Signing a contract for $17,700 to construct a garage that he claimed would take approximately four to five weeks to finish. After four months - and after he cashed a $5,900 check - the homeowners expressed concern about the minimal work that was performed and how the property was left in an unsafe condition. Bourlier promised to resume work on the next day but the homeowners never heard from him again.
Entering into a $14,700 contract with a verbal agreement to begin construction two weeks later, but did not begin until two-and-a-half-months later. When Bourlier claimed he completed the job, a large pool of water remained on the concrete floor, neither the pedestrian nor garage doors closed properly and electrical boxes were left uncovered, posing a safety risk.
Agreeing to apply and pay for building permits for a job in the Town of Salina, but never doing so. On the day Bourlier’s subcontractors started the consumer’s job, Salina officials called the consumer to say the permits were denied because Bourlier did not pay for the variance. The consumer was forced to apply and pay for the variance himself so the job could be completed.

Bourlier also falsely advertised and misled consumers about his experience, claiming “over 30 years experience” and providing “professional service.” However, the company filed for a business certificate in 2006.

To file a complaint against Bourlier or Arrowhead Garage, or if you have unresolved disputes with a home improvement contractor and are seeking assistance, consumers may call the Attorney General’s Office at 800-771-7755 or 315-448-4848. Information on how to avoid fraudulent home improvement contractors can be found on the Attorney General’s Website, Home Improvements Tips.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Judith Malkin of the Syracuse Regional Office under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge Ed Thompson of the Syracuse Regional Office, with assistance from Investigator Andrea Burnham and Consumer Fraud Representative Tracy Burt.