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The Wisconsin Department of Justice ("DOJ") obtained a judgment on Tuesday holding Middleton company, Asphalt Specialists, L.L.C., and its owner Jace McDonald liable for violating state consumer protection laws. The defendants provide various home improvement services including asphalt and cement paving, deck sealing and gutter cleaning.
After an investigation and referral by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, DOJ filed suit against the defendants in October, 2007. The lawsuit alleged the company, under the direction of McDonald, engaged in misleading and deceptive behavior to solicit home improvement services and then failed to comply with state home improvement laws in conducting services by, among other things: failing to provide home improvement contracts; substituting products or materials used in conducting its services; misrepresenting it was licensed and bonded to conduct work; and failing to provide customers with lien waivers following payment. The lawsuit further alleged the company deceptively advertised its services by promoting gift cards that the company failed to honor.
"The law in Wisconsin is clear - home improvement fraud against residents of this State is prohibited and will not be tolerated," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "Most businesses advertise and operate honestly and fairly, but those who fail to abide by the law, as in this case, will be held liable."
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard G. Neiss issued the decision and order which granted the State's motion for partial summary judgment on defendants' liability. The issue of remedies will be determined at a future date. Assistant Attorneys General Cynthia R. Hirsch and Nelle R. Rohlich prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection.