Illinois Attorney General alleges manufacturer bilked consumers of $90,000 as shutdown loomed
CHICAGO, ILÂ â€“ Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit against a defunct south suburban home improvement supply company for failing to refund Cook County homeowners more than $90,000 in down payments for orders that were never fulfilled after the company went out of business.
The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court against Family Security Doors & Windows Inc., which operated at 11706 S. Mayfield Ave. in Alsip. The suit names company principals Robert E. Starr, of Worth, his brother Michael Starr, of Chicago, Thomas J. Abbott, of Chicago, and Gordon Jackson, of Oak Forest.
Family Security had been in business since 1989 fabricating, selling, redistributing and installing household fixtures, including replacement doors, security doors, screen doors, windows and window coverings. The company sold directly to homeowners and businesses in Cook County.
Madigan alleges Family Security solicited and accepted down payments from consumers for new business throughout the summer of 2011, even though previous orders already faced lengthy delivery and installation delays as the company prepared to shut down. The lawsuit alleges that beginning in at least April 2011 the company was preparing to liquidate as it struggled to meet debt and operating costs, yet it continued to accept new business.
When the business finally closed in September 2011, Family Security had accepted down payments from more than 150 consumers totaling more than $90,000 that it would never fulfill. Customers who were able to reach company representatives after the closure were told services would not be provided nor would they be refunded for their down payments, which totaled as much as $1,000 per person.
Â â€œWhile the companyâ€™s operators were actively preparing to shut down, they continued to take customersâ€™ down payments even though it was evident that the company couldnâ€™t fulfill the orders already on its books,â€ Madigan said. â€œNow hundreds of consumers whoâ€™d been waiting months for their orders are out thousands of dollars for nothing in return.â€Â Â Â Â Â
The lawsuit asks the court to ban the defendants from owning or operating a home repair business in Illinois, seeks refunds for consumers and asks the court to impose civil penalties.
Assistant Attorneys General Janice Parker and Jonathan Reischl are handling the case for Madiganâ€™s Consumer Fraud Bureau.