Oak Park contractor sued for fraud

State's Attorney says bait-and-switch pulled on customers

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office is suing a local painting and decorating business it says used deceptive business practices and defrauded multiple customers dating back to 2012.

The state's attorney said in a press release that Anthony Taglia and Sharon Simek, of Anthony's Remodeling Painting & Decorating Inc., "repeatedly took large deposits from homeowners, failed to perform contracted work, and failed to refund consumers' monies, violating Illinois' Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act and Home Repair and Remodeling Act."

Taglia, who is not related to Oak Park Trustee Jim Taglia, denied the charges, contending in an email and telephone interview that he has never defrauded customers and is considering filing a countersuit against the State's Attorney's Office.

The State's Attorney's Office claims that Taglia also misrepresented himself as a licensed contractor and withheld performing work on projects "until customers accepted contract changes that increased the customers' costs, and failed to honor valid contract cancellations and refund requests."

He is accused of defrauding six customers — five in Oak Park and one in River Forest — of a combined $24,500.

"Home repair fraud continues to be among the leading consumer complaints received by our office," State's Attorney Kim Foxx said in the press release. "We will continue to vigorously prosecute unscrupulous contractors who prey on unsuspecting consumers."

Taglia and Simek face civil penalties of up to $50,000.

In an email, Taglia said he has been doing business in the area for nearly 40 years, adding, "and all they can come up with is six old complaints and every one of them I can justify; there is no fraud or intent to deceive."

In several of the cases, the state's attorney accuses Taglia of receiving down payments on painting jobs, then not beginning work for months, if ever, claiming that humidity and the possibility of rain prevented him from beginning the work. 

When customers complained, Taglia allegedly would suggest hiring a separate crew to perform the work but for thousands of dollars more.

If customers refused the altered contract, allegedly Taglia would refuse to refund their deposits, which were, in some cases, thousands of dollars.

Taglia claimed an attorney connected to one of the defendants orchestrated the lawsuit, calling it a "vendetta" against him.

"A lie can go halfway around the world before the truth has the chance to wake up," Taglia said.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

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Elaine Biester from Oak Park  

Posted: December 17th, 2017 4:45 PM

This man is a fraud and a liar and should be avoided AT ALL COSTS. His claim that these are an isolated collection of false claims is a blatant falsehood, and is frankly no surprise considering his lack of ethics and honesty. We hired him April 2017 and six months later hardly any work had been done. He repeatedly asked us to pay more money before he would do any more work. He repeatedly used phony excuses about the weather as 'explanation' for his delays. And even more concerning, he would frequently send irrational, and at one final time before we fired him, a lewd text at 2 a.m. What mentally stable businessman behaves in such a manner? Do NOT hire this man. Save your money and your peace of mind. And thank God for this action by the State's Attorney's Office because we were at our wits end about what to do next. Oak Park deserves better, and we are truly grateful to see the truth finally come out. Sincerely, Dr. Elaine and Jim Biester

Virginia Fazio Seuffert  

Posted: December 17th, 2017 10:33 AM

I own a paint store - not local, Westmont Paint, so this is not an ad. Just a reminder that there are very reputable paint stores in OP/FP. They will be happy to recommend excellent local contractors whom they know to be honest and to do a good job.

Deb Brown  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 5:38 PM

Thanks, Mimi. I will call.

Mimi Jordan  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 4:55 PM

I should clarify that, even if your situation is different (i.e., work was completed, but badly), you should still call. The State's Attorney is responsible for investigating all types of home repair fraud allegations.

Mimi Jordan  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 4:51 PM

Deb, they did not provide an email address. However, if you call the number and leave a message, an Assistant State's Attorney will call you back. If your situation sounds similar to the other complainants, they will send you a complaint form to fill out. They welcome good documentation, as it will help them try to establish a pattern of deception for the judge.

Deb Brown  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 4:48 PM

Mimi, is there an email address? I documented our experience in detail and it is fairly long.

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 4:44 PM

The State's Attorney wants to hear from anyone who may have had experiences similar to those described in this article. Call them at 312-603-8600. They are very responsive. They are especially concerned about elderly people who need their money back.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 4:43 PM

Deb Brown, I have to try and think that not everyone has had the amount of experience that I have. This is not saying I still can not get conned. I just happen to know a lot of people, and I don't even want to add anything in about this person, and I hope that the State's Attorney can get some money back although it is a very difficult process. Contractor's have the better position and unfortunately, this person is not the only one out there doing this. I would never bother with a service such as Angie's list. The best way is still to get referrals from people who have hired contractor's and ask those people your questions that are specific to your project

Lauren Pruss  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 4:19 PM

Sarah Miyata, our experience this summer as well, although he did complete the work in September. That being said, he did con us into painting the front of our house and it now looks ridiculous. They tried painting it white at first, my house is cream/taupe!

Deb Brown  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 4:08 PM

Tommy, hindsight is everything. We hired Anthony. He gave us references and I felt good about a giving a small local business the job. We all aren't able to identifier the bad guys on sight.

Deb Brown  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 3:21 PM

We had a bad experience as well. I have a very lengthy review on Angie's List. He works with subcontractors and even most reputable ones don't want to work for him. The people he hired for our job didn't have a clue how to do the work. He's basically a con man and all talk. We had to force him to sign a release of lien before settling our differences. Every time I see his sign in someone's yard I cringe.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 2:49 PM

Sarah Miyata, some times when hiring a person, try to learn a little about the person such as how they present a contract, how they are dressed, and just having some common sense. I am aware of this person, and would not associate with him. Good luck trying to get your money back. Contractor's have a lot of protection on their side and complaints with contractors has been one of the number one complaints for decades

Sarah Miyata from Oak Park  

Posted: December 14th, 2017 1:39 PM

Anthony Painting and Decorating did this exact same thing to us this year. We hired him in May, 2017 and he was very persistent to get his deposit, then we did not hear from him all summer. He used the excuse that the weather was too humid, weather conditions not conducive to painting. He would call and say he is sending someone to start the job and they would not show. When I called to inquire he would make excuses. I finally fired him and asked for my deposit back but he refused to refund the money. Do not do business with him.

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