A local contractor accused of preying on the elderly is being sued by the D.C. Attorney General's Office.
Newton Gaynor and his company, Xquisite Basements & Kitchens is accused of a number of violations, including working without a license and proper permits.
For three months, 71-year-old Rae Allen trekked up and down two flights of stairs throughout the day to use the bathroom.
She said she hired Gaynor, who gutted her upstairs bathroom and never finished the job.
“I'm beyond frustrated,” she said.
She is one of the homeowners who filed complaints with the D.C. Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection, which launched an investigation.
“Xquisite Basements & Kitchens and Mr. Gaynor appear to be a fraudulent company and an individual who's a professional scammer,” Attorney General Karl Racine said.
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The attorney general’s office claims Gaynor duped senior citizens and other consumers by overcharging them for projects and opening unauthorized credit lines in customer' names.
“And guess what, he doesn't complete the jobs, he does them in a shoddy way, and he leaves those jobs worse off than they were before he got there,” Racine said.
Gaynor is also accused of not paying some of his employees.
Gaynor said he denies all of the allegations against him in the lawsuit and blames an employee who he said scammed him out of money.
“Our work won't be done until we recover monies so the D.C. consumers who were taken advantage of by Mr. Gaynor get their money back,” Racine said.
Nine homeowners in the District have complained about Gaynor, and the attorney general’s office believes there may be more.
Gaynor emailed News4 Wednesday, saying he officially closed his business and plans to file for bankruptcy. Consumers who believe they’ve been harmed by Xquisite Basements & Kitchens and Mr. Gaynor should contact the attorney on the case, Richard Rodriguez, at 202-727-6337 or Richard.Rodriguez@dc.gov. Residents and workers who believe they’ve been wronged by a company can submit a complaint at oag.dc.gov or at 202-442-9828.
Before hiring a contractor, check to make sure the contractor has a current license, ask for copies of insurance certificates to make sure they're current, find out if there will be subcontractors on your project and if so, make sure they're properly licensed and insured, and make payments throughout the project and hold out at least a third until you're 100 percent satisfied.