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Discussion Starter #1
I came across this in another forum I go to. What I read is very disturbing. The following words are quoted from Anita:

Antitrust law suit filed against a local contractor.

This article appeared in the paper today, thought I would share it with you...a bit scary and a lot BS.

(I wont copy the entire article, just the highlights.

The Utah Attorney Generals Office filed an antitrust lawsuit agains a local company Wednesday. The suit accuses a curbing, landscape company of organinzing a price-fixing conspiracy to encourage other installers of landscape curbing to raise prices in the summer of 2003.

They will ask the owner to pay a fine of $50,000 and the company to pay a fine of $100,000 AND they have to contact all other companies that they conversed with that what they did was illegal.

The conspiracy was reported by a consumer, while looking for landscape curbing information on the internet, found a DISCUSSION PAGE (forum) that contained a plan, discussion of raising prices to make more money. The website forum encourages curbing installers to "set prices at a figure you can all make a living with" The Attorney Generals office stated this was a way the installers could charge moree and do less work"

The company owner was shocked, stated "I'm NOT price fixing here" Instead, he said he was legitimately trying to teach other curbing companies how to increase profit and still pay for their labor costs. "It (website discussion page) was shoiwng them how everybody could equal out the work and still keep their labor paid, I drew out a complete map for it." "There was only suggested prices"

What a crime!! Criminal contractor trying to point out that owning a business should be able to pay their labor and overhead and still make a profit, how dare he!! I guess he should be doing MORE work for LESS money, not paying his bills, his employees, or his overhead!!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
What's bad is every day on one forum or another I give advice to fellow contractors on how to bid and try to explain overhead and true profit.

I've done the very same thing this guy has on several occasions.
 

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Grumpy said:
What's bad is every day on one forum or another I give advice to fellow contractors on how to bid and try to explain overhead and true profit.

I've done the very same thing this guy has on several occasions.
I think the Utah Attorney's Office was having a slow day (I hope!). I also think the contractor was represented by an incompetent attorney, as there is a world of difference between price-fixing between "competitors" with in a field with few players, and one where there's a competitor under each rock.
 

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This had to have been a regional proposal to have gone so far. There is no way for it to work on any other basis as materials and labor vary so widely across the nation.
If the Attorney General is involved you can be certain that the scheme was well invesigated beforehand. IMHO
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Teetor, my idea of what happened is the same thing we do every day in here when someone asks what to charge for something. We all come up with pricing structures. Materials+labor+profit+overhead. It is my understanding this gentleman was trying to explain overhead and profit to his fellow contractors so that is anti-trust in the prosecutors eyes.

It's more like collusion, but who am I to correct a college educated dumb ass?
 

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Our judicial system is about the most screwed up thing we have, prosecutors don't seek justice they push for convictions. I don't think I've every met one that cares weather or not the prosecuted is guilty.

Bob
 

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Grumpy, you know as well as I do that it is not what is said but how it is said that makes the difference. Without reading the context it makes it impossible to have an opinion. Maybe this guy WAS attempting collusion.
Like I said before, it takes a lot to get the AGO involved. I've been there.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Teetor, your right about not being able to form an opinion... However can't you see the possible ramifications involved with the implications of the situation? This can potentially be a very bad thing for all of us.
 

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Grumpy, I can see a lot of other ramifications if the GAO is right. The construction industry is taking some serious hits due to people like him, IF the GAO is right, it adds more fuel to the fire.
In trustworthyness the construction industry is judged just above used car salesmen. IF this guy is giving the rest of us another black eye, I hope that he gets what he deserves. He has already bred more disrespect just by being indicted.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Actuyaly in IL telephone companies are the worst, and automechanics the second worst then comes contractors. ;) but I get your point :)

Yes if he is giving us a black eye I hope he gets what he deserves but for some reason I think the local govt is jumping to a false conslusion. I just CANT phatom a bulletin board jumping busy with local landscapers. I can't find a single forum for chicago roofers, or even chicago contractors.

Again, yes if he has done wrong he deserves some punishment but I have agut feeling he didn;t do anything wrong other than publicly trying to help a fellow contractor.
 

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Grumpy, the fact that the GAO gave it credence is enough to convince me. They would not press charges unless there was some pretty convincing evidence. Maybe in IL they are extremely bored but I doubt it.
I had a problem with a doctor once and I had to present them with a nearly airtight case before they would pursue it. I won! The doctor soon retired, he had been hosing insurance companies for years. I drove the last nail in his coffin.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've no idea what this GAO is you keep talking about. I went back and read my original post and the ONLY thing that might be the gao is the attorney general? If this is the GAO you are talking about, I take that with a grain of salt. They are looking for high profile convictions to make them look good in the face of the voting consumer.

I'd really like to see the post this person made that brought up the charges.
 

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GAO = General Attorneys Office.
That is my point. They're govt' and the last thing that they want is egg on their face. If they are going after this guy, they must have him pretty solidly nailed or they would not have pursued it.
 

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Grumpy, the one contact that I have had with the GAO was when my wife, the love of my life, been together since we were 15, was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
There was a Doctor in the hospital that would ask 'How are you doing?' in the hallway and she would say 'OK' and he would go to the nursing station and write it up as a 'consultation'. $262.00 on weekends, sometimes 3 times a day.
The Insurance rejected it as too high for the area and the B#%*% threatened to send me to collections. Did I mention that I had 2 kids 10 & 8 at this point, plus had to work?
I appealed to the GAO as money was getting thin, I wouldn't have paid the A ho1e anyway but knew that I was going to need the credit record straight in the future. They would do nothing.
In the end I had to assemble a nearly bullet proof case before they assigned an investigator.
Finale, doctor retired. I was not a part of that negotiation. My wife died a week short of her 40th birthday. Had to sell the house, total cash expense beyond insurance was over $500,000.00. I was left with 2 kids and $30,000.00.
To return to the point, the GAO is not in the habit of taking stabs in the dark. In fact, it is quite the opposite. You have to dump it into their laps and set it on fire before they notice. If they are after this guy and have publicised it, I would bet that he did it. IMHO
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm not saying the attorney general doesn't do a good job sometimes. What they helped you with, is what they are there to do... I am however saying often times their actions are politically motivated, since they ARE politicians/elected officials.

My opinion still leans to the side of abusing the contractor.

P.S. I'm sorry to hear about your wife's passing.
 

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Grumpy, that was 12 yrs. ago, I still miss her though.
 
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