Three people associated with a home improvement contracting company violated consumer protection laws and failed to complete work after taking federal funds from customers needing work on their Superstorm Sandy damaged properties, state officials allege.
Coastal Restorations & Construction of New Jersey, along with Adam Nevius, Cole Nevius Jr. and Kimberly D. Atkinson, violated a variety of state acts, according to a release from the New Jersey Office of Attorney General.
The state alleges that the company took money, including federal restoration funds, from seven homeowners to repair and/or elevate their Sandy-damaged homes and then failed to begin work, give notice regarding delays in service, respond to phone calls, emails and/or texts inquiring about the status of repairs and/or abandoned unfinished projects without returning for weeks, months or at all.
The company obtained nearly $350,000 in Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program funds, authorities said. The RREM program is the state’s largest rebuilding initiative.funds.
“If a contractor accepts a renovation or elevation job, that company must follow the laws and regulations governing home improvement,” said Steve Lee, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “If the company cannot, it should not be conducting business in New Jersey. In order to protect vulnerable consumers, we will remain vigilant and take action against those who fail to live up to their contracts.”
The state seeks consumer restitution, the relinquishment of federal money obtained, civil penalities, reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and investigative costs, and civil penalties.
The state also seeks to permanently revoke the home improvement contractor registration of the company and prohibit Coastal Restorations, Adam Nevius, Cole Nevius, and Atkinson from operating a home improvement business in the state.
“Those still recovering from Superstorm Sandy must have confidence that contractors will treat them fairly and honestly,” Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said. “We will continue to aggressively pursue those who destroy that confidence and undermine the ability of families to go home again.”
The latest is the eight formal complaint filed by the state against home improvement contractors alleging Sandy-related fraud in connection with federal restoration grant money.
The public can report consumer abuse by filing an online complaint or calling 1-800-242-5846.