New York City area's best and worst contractors of 2008

New York City area's best and worst contractors of 2008

by John Baracani & Paul F.P. Pogue

In addition to our nationwide list, here are the New York City contractors who have earned the distinction of being the Best or Worst in the New York City area.

The Best

The Closer and R & G Stone
Whippany, N.J.

Larry Hardee had a problem when he put his home up for sale — the doorway was too narrow when he tried moving his couch out. That’s when he called Gary Rintz, owner of The Closer and R & G Stone, to reframe the doorway. “I really liked his personality,” Hardee says. Rintz, with 20 years of handyman experience, and his business partner, Gabriel Najera, operate The Closer for handyman services and R & G Stone for masonry and landscaping work. Their hard work has paid off, helping them to consistently earn “A” ratings from Angie’s List members. “If somebody calls me — even if I have to do an estimate at night — I’ll take a look at their job,” Rintz says.

Dewey Emado
New York

Ariel Jaime says he knew immediately that he found the right handyman for the guest house he manages when he called Dewey Emado. “He was willing to talk to me extensively before I committed to anything,” Jaime says. Emado says he’s worked on his own for the past six years, but that his knowledge was accumulated years before that. “The best part of my job is the independence,” says Emado, who works alone. “I do the job and finish it 100 percent right.” This dedication is the reason he’s been nominated seven times by Angie’s List members for the Pages of Happiness. “I was totally satisfied and happy with Dewey,” says Joyce Meyers of New York City. “I found my handyman.”

The Worst

J. Arceri Home Improvements Inc.
Kings Park

Looking back, Sheila O’Rourke says she should have been more suspicious of John Arceri. “He didn’t have the fingernails of a workman,” says O’Rourke, who paid him $8,500 to replace concrete. She never heard from him again.

New York District Attorney Robert Johnson indicted Arceri last January on 17 counts of grand larceny. Johnson says Arceri faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty. Arceri’s next scheduled court date was December, as this issue went to press. In 2007, the New York Department of Consumer Affairs ordered him to pay back more than $600,000 to defrauded homeowners — the largest settlement in the department’s history.

“We can’t take away their aggravation, but we can at least get them their money back,” says Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz.

Arceri’s attorney, Xavier Palacios, didn’t return our calls.

AAA All Brand Appliance Fast Service
Checkmate Appliance Repair Service

Centereach

Last year, Angie’s List Magazine reported that appliance repairman Drew Douglas Cass of Centereach had been arrested and charged with four misdemeanor counts of operating without a license.

The Suffolk County Consumer Affairs office lists him at the top of their “Unlicensed Businesses to Avoid.” He’s garnered more than 950 complaints of unneeded repairs, shoddy workmanship and overcharging. Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota says Cass, who works under several different business names, is “the worst of the worst.”

Cass’ court case is still pending, with his next appearance this month. He’s out on $2,500 bail. Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, says they’re continuing to investigate Cass’ businesses.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy says he remembers when he served as a Suffolk County legislator being contacted by constituents complaining about Cass in the 1980s. Court records show that Cass has 25 unsatisfied civil judgments against him totaling nearly $100,000, dating back to 1982.


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