Morrisey seeks to shut down fraudulent contractor
CHARLESTON — A lawsuit to block a contractor from performing any future home improvement was filed Thursday by the attorney general of West Virginia.
The lawsuit filed in Kanawha County targets contractor Ben Burns of Charleston, who performed work as Brenco Construction LLC, Brenco Home Solutions, The Conards Builders and Prestige Builders LLC.
The action alleges Burns violated the state’s consumer protection law by working without the necessary licenses and entering into unlawful contracts, along with failing to notify consumers of their three-day right to cancel, failing to complete the agreed-upon work and failing to provide restitution to those he defrauded.
“This lawsuit should serve as a warning to others who are tempted to defraud their customers,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Our office will vigorously investigate, and if necessary litigate, any violation of the state’s consumer protection laws.”
The lawsuit stems from 13 complaints filed against Burns for home improvement contracts with consumers in Kanawha, Putnam and Clay counties. Several of the projects were valued at more than $10,000.
Each of the consumers allege Burns performed work without the necessary licenses or liability insurance, although he misrepresented himself to customers as having both.
The lawsuit alleges Burns would collect payment, cash the customer’s check and fail to complete the work. Consumers described his work as substandard and a building inspector in Putnam County told one homeowner it violated building codes.
The attorney general further alleges Burns ignored repeated cease and desist orders from state and local licensing boards.
The lawsuit seeks a court order to permanently prohibit Burns from any future home contracting work as either an owner, employee, subcontractor or other method.
It also seeks a $5,000 fine for each violation of the state’s consumer protection law and judgment in an amount equal to the affected consumers’ contracts and additional costs necessary to repair, replace and complete the work Burns performed.