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Bergen County judge orders sketchy contractor to pay $7.7 million

Photo Credit: ABOVE: One of Kot’s cars. CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo. No re-use without permission

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A judge in Hackensack  has ordered a $7.7 million judgment against a fraudulent home improvement contractor who has used distinctive vehicles to resemble police cars.

“These defendants allegedly left consumers with shoddy work, broken promises, and warranties that were ignored – often while using business names or language on their websites that implied they had some connection to government or police work,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said this morning.

Chiesa said the judgment holds John Kot, Roofing Police, Inc. and his other companies accountable, permanently barring them from home improvement work — and placing a lifetime ban on Kot from owning or managing another business in New Jersey.

Bergen County Superior Court Judge Robert P. Contillo found that Kot, 41, of Garwood and his companies committed 1,542 violations of the state Consumer Fraud Act, Contractors’ Registration Act, Contractor Registration Regulations, Home Improvement Regulations, and Advertising Regulations.

The total amount ordered by the judge includes $150,000 in consumer restitution, $7.5 million in civil penalties, $38,000 for the state’s attorney’s fees, and $30,000 for the state’s investigative costs.

A colleague, Gabriel R. DaSilva, Jr., settled separately with the state, although Contillo’s order assesses a $30,000 civil penalty against him.

DaSilva isn’t barred from doing home improvement work — as long as he first obtains state registration as a home improvement contractor.

The state’s complaint, filed on behalf of the Division of Consumer Affairs by the Division of Law, alleges that Kot and his companies:

did substandard work;
refused to repair their substandard work despite promises and/or warranties;
refused to return consumer deposits for work that was never performed;
failed to honor guarantees or warranties provided in their contracts;
began work without the necessary state or local permits.

State officials said they used multiple names, addresses and phone numbers, many out of Hackensack, Fair Lawn, Maywood and Garwood.

These included A-1 American Construction, Inc.;
A 1 American Chimney Limited Liability Company;
Brick City Chimney Service, L.L.C.;
Brick City Chimney Service and Cleaning, Inc.;
Roofing Police, Inc.;
Roofing Squad;
Chimney Squad;
Brick City;
Brick City Chimney & Roofing Services;
A-1 American Masonry;
A-1 American Masonry Services;
A-1 American Chimney Service;
A-1 American Contracting;
A-1 American Roofing;
A-1 American Gutters;
A-1 American Siding;
A-1 Affordable Construction;
A Above American;
A Above Brick City;
Diamond Roofing.

In all, 81 consumers complained, state authorities said.

(PHOTO ABOVE: One of Kot’s cars. CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo. No re-use without permission)

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