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.