PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A local contractor accused of “engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices” has once again been ordered not to take on any new customers or collect payments from existing ones.
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office filed a complaint against Michael Bressette and his two contracting companies last week.
Bresette, according to Neronha, would target vulnerable Rhode Islanders, such as the elderly and those whose homes were damaged by flooding or fire, by showing up unannounced and pressuring them to sign documents allowing him to work on their properties.
But after that, court documents show Bresette allegedly “cut corners, failed to secure needed permits, performed improper work and pocketed money from homeowners or insurance proceeds.”
In most cases, Bresette’s victims were left with “incomplete, dangerous, or improper restoration and construction work in their home,” according to court documents.
Court filings indicate that nine complaints were lodged against Bresette and his companies in 2020, and Neronha claims he continued to prey on vulnerable homeowners after the Department of Business Regulation (DBR) suspended his contractor registration.
Bresette’s attorney, William Devereux, appeared in court Friday, where a judge determined BTTR LLC, one of his companies, was in civil contempt after an employee continued to contact customers.
As a result, the judge ordered Bresette to inform his staff that they can’t request payments from customers or insurers. He must also notify the court once he has done so.
Devereux told 12 News he thinks the verdict was fair.
“We didn’t deny [that it happened],” Devereux said. “We thought it was an innocent mistake made by a person who worked there for a long time.”
Bresette wasn’t fined, nor was he criminally charged in this case. However, he is facing pending criminal charges put forth by the attorney general’s office for failing to secure workers compensation insurance for his employees.