Judge Issues Injunction Against N.Y. Contractor

September 21, 2005

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer praised an order issued by a Dutchess County judge to stop an area home improvement contractor from continuing to reportedly defraud consumers.

Justice James Brands of Dutchess County State Supreme Court issued a decision that bars Brian P. Tyrrell, operator of Tyrrell Construction Corp and Dura-Crete LLC, from engaging in home improvement contracting or the new home construction business unless he posts a $200,000 performance bond. The judge also granted Spitzer’s request for nearly $118,000 in restitution for injured consumers.

Last April, Spitzer obtained a restraining order against the Highland-based Tyrrell, freezing a number of financial accounts. In addition, Spitzer’s office served Tyrrell with a lawsuit alleging that Tyrrell engaged in deceptive, fraudulent and illegal business practices, and violated New York State’s Home Improvement Contracts Law, Lien Law, and Door-to-Door Sales Protection Act.

Specifically, Spitzer’s lawsuit alleged that Tyrrell demanded large up-front payments for home repair projects and then either failed to complete the jobs or did the work in a shoddy manner. Tyrrell also was accused of failing to return to repair his defective work or refund customers’ money.

At Spitzer’s request, Justice Brands also ordered Tyrrell to refund $117,785.20 to eight consumers who had filed complaints. Two additional consumers were compensated through Small Claims court. Tyrrell also is required to pay $2,000 in costs to the state.

In a separate matter, Spitzer’s office settled an investigation of Don Oakley and Company Inc. after receiving complaints from consumers about extended delays in the commencement of home improvement projects.

The Ulster County-based company agreed to pay $1,180 in refunds to two individuals and $1,000 in civil penalties to the state. In addition, the home improvement company agreed to comply with state laws that require certain disclosures and notices in consumer contracts and to place advance deposits in escrow accounts, as required by law.

In settling the matter, Don Oakley and Company Inc. also agreed to pay full refunds of advance deposits made by other consumers who contracted with the company after July 1, 2004 and who rescinded their contracts prior to project start due to unreasonable delay by the company. Consumers have until Nov. 28, 2005 to file a complaint to be eligible for restitution under the settlement.

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