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Attorney general files suit against SC, North Aurora repair companies

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

The Illinois attorney general’s office filed suit this week against two local home repair companies, alleging they defrauded customers by taking payments but never completing the work. The lawsuit filed in Cook County charges Ex-Tream Con-Crete and Excellent Concrete with violating the Fraud Act and Home Repair Fraud Act.

Three defendants were specifically named in the lawsuit: Tom Ratz of St. Charles, owner of Excellent Concrete; Regeina Taylor of North Aurora, director of Ex-Treme Con-Crete; and Ratz’s wife, Geneva Saunders of St. Charles, president and director of Excellent Concrete, according to a press release.

On Friday, Ratz vehemently denied the accusations. He said he repeatedly tried to finish the work in each case, but was not allowed to.

The suit alleges that since January 2008, the companies took more than $151,000 in down payments but didn’t finish contacted work. The attorney general’s office received nearly a dozen complaints against these repair companies before filing the action, officials said.

One of those complaints came from Maureen Sullivan of Aurora, who hired Ratz to build a bathroom for her adult daughter, who was born with spina bifida. It was a project Sullivan had wanted done for years because the traditional bathroom didn’t allow her daughter room to move. Sullivan said she found a low-interest loan through a state program to help pay for the construction.

Sullivan said Ratz’s crew dug a hole, lined it with concrete and then stopped.

“It appeared to me that once he found out I lost my job, that’s when he started making excuses not to come,” she said.

On Friday, Ratz said he started that project, then encountered a number of unforeseeable obstacles, including deaths in the family and excessive rain. Both Sullivan and Ratz agree that after months of delays, she fired him.

Ratz said he is being targeted because he is a former convict. Ratz does not hide his past — his company’s hyphenated name actually highlights it.

Ratz said that he tried to contact Sullivan by phone and e-mail, but could not reach her. He said he offered to refund the money for the work that was not completed.

“I’m sympathetic to her plight,” he said. “I wanted to talk to her. I sent her e-mails. After that, she goes on the news and says I ripped her off.”

Both Sullivan and Ratz say the incident was investigated by Aurora police and the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office, who declined to press charges.

The suit seeks restitution for the alleged victims and fines up to $50,000 for each incident.

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