A tree removal contractor took money from customers but either failed to remove trees or did shoddy and incomplete work, the state Attorney General's Office says.
In a lawsuit, state lawyers want John Kniery, operator of Tree Service, to make restitution and pay civil penalties. They also seek a court order requiring Kniery to post a $50,000 bond to protect consumers who may provide down payments in the future.
The suit refers to one customer who paid $2,000 to Kniery to have several trees taken down and removed. Kniery reportedly only cut down some of the client’s trees and then left felled trunks and branches on the property, making the yard unusable. That customer eventually hired another service to remove the debris.
Kniery’s business practices were referred to the attorney general by Town of Hamburg police, who received several complaints from residents.
“This alleged scam artist repeatedly ripped off New Yorkers by failing to provide the basic services that he promised,” Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a release.
Kniery also at times presented his business under the names of legitimate tree service companies, the AG reports.