Even jail term can’t stem complaints against handyman

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Dan Allgeier paid a home improvement contractor $3,600 to replace the roof on his Cheektowaga home, but ended up hiring a second contractor to complete the job, after the first contractor left the roof in even worse shape than before he started.

The contractor tore the roof off his 2 bedroom Cape Cod style house, and from over the back deck, covered them with felt–leaky felt–and then he never saw him again.

“My wife and I called him many, many times with no return phone calls.”

Before the contractor disappeared, Allgeier said he covered the roof with a strange film, “He put on this Teflon stuff–it is ‘plasticky’–I don’t even know what it is called,” and Allgeier said the contractor never came back, Dan and his wife Lynn hired a second contractor to complete the job.

The contractor, George Anna, is a contractor familiar to Call 4 Action, because of multiple consumer complaints over the years. The Better Business Bureau and the New York Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds Bureau have also received complaints about Anna.

Those complaints, and Anna’s disregard for a court order led to a 90-day jail sentence ordered by a State Supreme Court justice.

Justice John O’Donnell found George Anna in contempt of court, last July 17, for violating a court order from two years earlier that was meant to protect his customers.

O’Donnell’s order barred Anna from taking money from consumers until he met certain conditions, such as posting a performance bond to protect his customers from default, but Anna never met those conditions. O’Donnell had also ordered Anna to pay a $30,000 fine, which was never paid.

As Assistant Attorney General James Morrissey described Anna’s conduct at his sentencing in July of 2014, “He went out and started ripping off consumers again. The very behavior that we initially went after him for, he was doing it again–taking money from people and not doing the work he had promised to do.”

Allgeier said Anna’s shoddy work went beyond the unfinished roof: the leaky roof caused additional damage to his home, including his hardwood floors buckling.

“George Anna comes off as one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.”

But truth be told, even Anna’s own defense lawyer, Dan Grasso, conceded in court last year, his client was not very good as a handyman.

Grasso put it bluntly to Justice O’Donnell, “I have advised him, in the strongest possible terms, judge, that if a light bulb needs to be replaced in his house, his wife ought to contact somebody else–not him.”

But Grasso, who was also appointed to represent Anna in court, also told O’Donnell at the time, “and I believe Mr. Anna has gotten the message.”

Allgeier regrets he didn’t see that side of Anna before it cost him $3,600, “Once you get to know him and see his work ethic, though, it is ridiculous.”

If you believe you have been ripped off by George Anna, that would likely constitute another violation of the court order that sent Anna to jail last year.

You can file a formal complaint with the Consumer Protection Bureau, by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 853-8404. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman offers advice to help consumers avoid ripoffs, which you can read by clicking on this tip card.

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