Mortgage Daily

Published On: August 8, 2006
Home Improvements Financed, Not CompletedOhio AG sues two companies

August 8, 2006

WASHINGTON correspondent for

An Ohio mortgage broker, whose offices were recently raided by postal inspectors and local police, helped finance home improvements that were not performed.Named as defendants in two separate lawsuits filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court were Assured Builders Inc. and President David LaSalla, and Expert Renovators, Inc. and its principal, Cosmo Cravatta, of Canton. Neither company could be reached for comment.

“The defendants accepted tens of thousands of dollars from consumers for the promise of home repairs and renovations that were either poorly done or never done,” Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro commented in a written statement. “Their targeting of property owners in lower-income neighborhoods was particularly reprehensible.”

In the court filings, Petro said the defendants convinced consumers to take out loans to pay for the promised renovations and arranged the financing, in most cases, through Crossland Financial Group.

The offices of Crossland, which is not a defendant in the lawsuits, were raided in late June by postal inspectors and the local police department.

The companies are accused of violating the sections of the state’s Consumer Sales Practices Act that make it unlawful to accept money from consumers for services and fail to make full delivery or refund, and to perform substandard work and fail to correct it.

Shaun Petersen, a lawyer in the attorney general’s office, said the office acted after several Ohio homeowners complained about the companies’ claimed practices. Most of the complaints came from homeowners in lower-income areas in Cleveland and Akron, he said.

The attorney general’s office has asked for declaratory judgments and injunctions against the defendants, restitution for economic losses caused to nine Ohio consumers and civil penalties of $25,000 per violation.

Lisa D. Burden is a legal analyst for and holds a law degree from the University of Maryland. She is currently a freelance journalist who previously wrote for Institutional Investor publications and the Baltimore Daily Record.

e-mail Lisa at: [email protected]

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