Cook County, IL–(ENEWSPF)– An Olympia Fields man was named in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act by allegedly misrepresenting himself as a licensed architect, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Ralph Weekly, president and owner of Monona Architects, Inc. and Trylon Construction, is accused of defrauding a senior citizen out of $6,000 for remodeling and repair work he contracted to perform on the porch and walkway of an apartment building the victim owned.
The victim told Weekly that the City of Chicago required approved architectural plans to obtain a permit to perform the work, which Weekly said he would provide for a fee of $2,000.
After showing the victim the plans, to which Weekly affixed false approval stamps of another architect and a structural engineer, Weekly offered to perform the actual repair work, and asked for a down payment of $4,000. Weekly then began work, by removing the current walkway, but eventually abandoned the worksite and did not respond to the victim’s requests to either finish the work or provide a refund.
Weekly is not, nor has he ever been, a licensed architect in the State of Illinois, as for Weekly’s companies, Monona Architects, Inc., was dissolved by the Illinois Secretary of State in 2003 and Trylon Construction has never been registered to conduct business in Illinois. The lawsuit is seeking financial restitution for the victim and also seeks to permanently bar Weekly from operating a home repair business in Illinois.
State’s Attorney Alvarez reminds residents of a few precautions they can take to protect themselves from unlicensed or fraudulent business operators:
- Get at least three different quotes for any repair or remodeling work
- Ask for references and check them out
- Check the company’s rating on the Better Business Bureau website: www.bbb.org
- Check the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s website, www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org, to see if the contractor has ever been sued
- Read the pamphlet, “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights,” before hiring a home repair contractor. All home repair contractors are required by law to provide this pamphlet before asking a homeowner to sign any contract over $500.
Cook County residents who have complaints about fraudulent home repair contractor are urged to call the state’s Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Hotline at (312) 603-8700.