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Superior Plumbing & Heating owner furious, says contract he signed with Attorney General is ‘bogus’

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MASSENA - A Massena businessman fined for violating the state’s home improvement contract law says he disagrees with the allegations that cost him a $300 fine.

Superior Plumbing & Heating owner Jody Huddleston says that the paperwork Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office claimed was improper had worked well for more than two decades.

Mr. Huddleston’s business was one of two Massena locations to be fined for violating state laws on home improvement contracts. Superior Plumbing & Heating and J. Riley Plumbing & Heating were among 211 contractors statewide to be accused of violations associated with the General Business Law. The law requires contractors to provide consumers with written contracts signed by both parties before projects begin.

The violations ranged from failure to provide basic information on written contracts to failure to place homeowners’ money in separate bank accounts before projects were finished and failure to honor work agreements.

Mr. Huddleston’s business received the lowest of the fines ($300), while some places in the north country lost as much as $1,500.

“They claim my paperwork wasn’t in order. I’ve been doing this for 23, years and I’ve done the same paperwork for 23 years,” Mr. Huddleston said. “There was a contract that we had to sign with the Attorney General. That was bogus too. It was a seven-page contract, something like that.”

Mr. Huddleston added that negotiations and contract situations are mainly verbal between the business and his customers.

“Nine out of 10 contracts don’t get paid up front. The (projects) are worked on and then paid when done,” he explained.

All 211 of the contractors involved also agreed to complete construction work using valid contracts and to place all advance deposits in a customer account at local banking institutions.

Various businesses across St. Lawrence County have already voiced their displeasure with the Attorney General’s claims. Some have said that they were unaware of minor violations they had committed and others said they weren’t aware of the rules they needed to follow.

“I’m kind of upset ... We try to be legit and fair. I pay my taxes and everything,” Mr. Huddleston said.

J. Riley Plumbing and Heating owner Bruce Riley was unavailable for commentr.

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