Illinois A.G. Names ‘Storm Chaser’ Company in Suit

May 21, 2004

Acting on complaints from residents in Johnson, Williamson and Franklin Counties, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit against a Vienna company for allegedly accepting down payments on construction projects and failing to either start or complete the work on time. The suit also alleges the company refused to return money for unfinished work and left customers with more than $14,000 in liens against their property.

Top Gun Contractors LLC, and owner Alonda Quertemous are named in the complaint for violating provisions of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Home Repair and Remodeling Act.

“Top Gun apparently can’t shoot straight when it comes to delivering on its promises,” Madigan said. “This company targeted people who were recent victims of storms, capitalizing on their eagerness for reconstruction and their trust in those who appear to be coming to their aid.”

According to Madigan’s suit, filed in Johnson County Circuit Court, Top Gun began door-to-door solicitations following severe storms in May 2003 and obtained down payments on contracts from at least five consumers.

In each instance, the lawsuit alleges Top Gun:

* Failed to inform customers of their three-day right to cancel.
* Failed to provide consumers with the pamphlet “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights” required for contracts exceeding $1,000 and a consumer rights acknowledgment form.
* Failed to complete the contracted work in a timely manner, failed to pay suppliers for materials purchased with money already paid by consumers and failed to maintain required levels of insurance.
* Portrayed themselves inaccurately as licensed roofers and electricians.
* Failed to return down payments or additional payments within 10 days after written requests were sent by both the consumer and the Office of the Attorney General demanding refund.

Additionally, mechanics liens against three complainants total more than $14,000. Another consumer’s down payment of $1,600 has not been refunded. All requests for refunds have reportedly been ignored, including letters from Madigan’s office on behalf of the consumers.

Madigan’s suit seeks a permanent injunction, restitution totaling nearly $15,910 and a civil penalty of up to $50,000 for each violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Home Repair and Remodeling Act.

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