After 52 years of selling, and installing residential fences across Western New York, Classic Fence and Lumber Company is about to meet a humiliating end. To settle a lawsuit on behalf of dozens of angry customers, the Amherst business is holding a liquidation sale Saturday.
Lynn Fedeson hired the company to finish the fence her husband had started. Tim Fedeson, a retired City of Tonawanda firefighter, was almost done but lung cancer took him away before he could complete the task–26 feet of fence, that is all that was left.
When Classic Fence didn’t come through, Lynn made several calls to the office on Niagara Falls Boulevard demanding a refund.
“I called and I got the owner, this time, and he told me that he is waiting for someone to give him $15,000, and when he gets paid I will get paid, don’t worry.”
Owner Fred DeNormand won’t be waiting for anyone to come up with money to pay back his cusomters now, because he is auctioning off all of Classic Fence’s assets this weekend, as part of a consent order he reached with the New York Attorney General’s office.
After receiving a number of complaints against Classic Fence, last year, the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Classic Fence and its owner Fred DeNormand, demanding the Amherst business either build the fences customers had paid for, or return their money.
In his defense, DeNormand first blamed a former bookkeeper for stealing more than $18,000 from his business–which was true–then he fell behind on his contracts, but he kept taking customers’ money, and they got little or nothing to show for it.
In January the Attorney General announced DeNormand had signed a consent order, and Assistant Attorney General Christopher Boyd said, the Saturday auction is a condition of that settlement.
“Net proceeds of that auction will all be coming to the State for us to distribute as restitution to consumers.”
Boyd said the Attorney General’s office has logged more than 70 complaints, and counting, against Classic Fence.
“We had initially thought the total amount owed to consumers was somewhere on the order of perhaps $50,000 to $60,000. We now believe it is closer to $140,000, or perhaps even more.”
Boyd added, DeNormand is even putting up a piece of property he owns in Niagara County to fulfill his obligation.
“Many of these consumers are out of thousands of dollars and they are understandably angry. So we are trying to do everything that we can to obtain restitution for those victims.”
The auction gets underway at 10:00 Saturday morning at Classic Fence’s office, 3030 Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst. Here is a list of the items being auctioned by Cash Realty and Auctions.
While Lynn Fedeson won’t have to wait to get her money back–she eventually got a refund on her credit card from Classic Fence, there are still more than 70 other customers who have not.