A Garwood man who owned multiple home improvement companies, some with Fair Lawn addresses, has been permanently barred from managing or owning any business in New Jersey and must pay $7.7 million in consumer restitution and civil penalities afer being found to have committed more than 1,000 consumer fraud violations, Attorney General Jefffrey Chiesa announced Tuesday.
John Kot, 41, and the multiple home improvement companies he ran -- which racked up 81 consumer complaints -- were found to have committed 1,542 violations of the State Consumer Fraud Act, Contractors' Registration Act, Contractor Registration Regulations, Home Improvement Regulations and Advertising Regulations, according to an attorney general's office release.
Per the court judgment, Kot and his companies are never permitted to perform home improvement work in the state again and must pay out $7.5 million for civil penalties, $150,000 for consumer restitution, $38,000 for state's attorney's fees and $30,000 for the state's investigative costs.
“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,” Chiesa said in a statement. “We have held them accountable by obtaining a judgment that provides for consumer restitution and civil penalties, and which prohibits them from performing home improvement work, or even owning or managing any business in New Jersey.”
Four of the five registered home improvement businesses allegedly used by Kot and his partner, Gabriel DaSilva, Jr. -- who settled with the state and is not barred from performing home improvement work again -- were on file with the state under Fair Lawn mailing addresses. However, visits paid to A-1 American Construction, Inc. (39-26 Broadway); A-1 American Chimney Limited Liability Company (39-26 Broadway); Brick City Chimney Service, L.L.C. (2906 Broadway); and Brick City Chimney Service and Cleaning, Inc. (39-26 Broadway) turned up no such companies.
Neither borough business registration records nor property tax records for the 39-26 Broadway address show any evidence that the home improvement companies allegedly run by Kot and DaSilva were ever located there. The address registered to Kot for Brick City Chimney Service, L.L.C. -- 2906 Broadway -- is not an actual borough address.
The owners of American Graphics Systems, a family-owned printing and graphics company that has long been located at 39-26 Broadway, said no such home improvement company has ever shared an office at their location.