Court Orders Freeze Of Chimney Repair Company’s Assets

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NEWARK – A judge of the Superior Court’s Chancery Division in Middlesex County has ordered a freeze of the assets and impounding of the commercial vehicles of a New York chimney repair company that has been charged by the state Division of Consumer Affairs with deceiving consumers and performing shoddy work that created dangerous conditions in consumers’ homes, Attorney General Paula T. Dow announced today.

The Division of Consumer Affairs filed the eight-count civil lawsuit on Sept. 28, against All Care Chimney Corporation, of Levittown and Bethpage, New York, and against Michael Lyon, its sole owner.

The state’s complaint alleges the defendants used high-pressure, deceptive tactics to frighten and mislead consumers – including several who were elderly or had disabilities – into paying thousands of dollars for repair services they did not need. The complaint also accuses the defendants of performing shoddy work that created the danger of carbon monoxide leaks in consumers’ homes. In some instances, the company allegedly failed to perform the contracted-for work at all.

“We are very pleased to be putting All Care Chimney out of business and ensuring that no more consumers are harmed pending the disposition of our lawsuit,” Thomas R. Calcagni, director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, said. “To the out-of-state operators who refuse to abide by New Jersey’s consumer protection laws and continue to compromise the safety of our state’s consumers, the lesson is very clear – we will shut you down.”

Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman last Thursday signed an order granting preliminary injunctive and other relief in the state’s lawsuit against All Care and Lyons.

The order enjoins the defendants from advertising or selling home improvement contractor services in New Jersey, and requires them to identify the New Jersey consumers to whom they have offered or performed home improvement contractor services since Oct. 3, 2011.

By the order, Berman also appointed a receiver, at the defendants’ expense, to assume control over the defendants’ assets, and to sell or convey such assets in order to provide restitution for aggrieved New Jersey consumers.

The order also freezes the defendants’ assets, and empowers the Division of Consumer Affairs to impound and take possession of all commercial and other vehicles used by the defendants in performing home improvement work. The vehicles are to be turned over within seven days.

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