Weekly Feature

2017-11-22 / Local News

Schneiderman files suit against Buffalo home contractor

Schneiderman Schneiderman New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently announced that he filed a lawsuit seeking relief for consumers defrauded by Robert B. Cooper, Jr. and his company, Robert’s Paving and Excavating, LLC, a Buffalo-Niagara area home improvement contracting business. Cooper, who previously did business as Finger Lakes Asphalt, received a court order in 2014 barring him from the home contracting business until he complied with New York State Law.

However, based on new consumer complaints, the attorney general's office recently learned that Cooper has continued to operate his paving business under a new name, and in violation of the law. Cooper and his business — “Robert’s Paving and Excavating” — performed shoddy work, utilized bait-and-switch pricing, failed to obtain consumer authorization before beginning work, and intimidated consumers to collect inflated payments. As a result, Schneiderman is seeking to hold Cooper in civil and criminal contempt of court. If found to be in contempt, Cooper could face a permanent ban from acting as a home improvement contractor, penalties, and jail time.

“Homeowners are entitled to certain protections, and no contractor is above the law,” said Schneiderman. “I urge defrauded homeowners to contact our office, and all New Yorkers to follow our tips before negotiating home improvement services.”

In 2014, the attorney general sued Cooper and Finger Lakes Asphalt after an investigation revealed that Cooper had repeatedly defrauded consumers by failing to perform work or complete work after receiving payment, provide refunds for incomplete or defective work, provide consumers with a written home improvement contract that complied with state law, and give consumers notice of their three-day right to cancel.

Following the 2014 investigation, Broome County State Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey A. Tait issued a consent order barring Cooper from operating a home improvement business unless he complied with New York General Business Law and Personal Property law. Cooper was also ordered to pay $8,150 in restitution and $3,000 in penalties and costs.

In this new proceeding against Cooper, the AG’s office is seeking to hold Cooper in civil and criminal contempt and award of civil penalties and restitution to victims. The attorney general is also seeking relief against Cooper’s current business, Robert’s Paving and Excavating, LLC.

If Cooper is found in contempt of the court’s order, the court could permanently ban him from working as a home improvement contractor in New York, order that he pay civil penalties and criminal fines, and/or sentence him to up to six months in jail.

The contempt charges are merely accusations and the respondent is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Consumers who believe they may have been defrauded by or have unresolved disputes with Robert B. Cooper, Jr. or his company, Robert’s Paving and Excavating, LLC, are urged to contact the attorney general’s Buffalo regional office at 853-8400.

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