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City Islander uncovers shady contractor schemes

This summer, a Bronx senior citizen has been the hapless victim of not one, but two shoddy contracting jobs.

Addie Cozzi, 82, of Schofield Street on City Island, hired a contractor to work on parts of what she calls her “bungalow.” The job involved raising the ceiling of her back room and installing a skylight, laying down new floors, electrical rewiring, and knocking down walls.

The contractor, First Choice Remodeling Inc., based out of Lynbrook, New York, failed at every aspect. “They wrecked the whole place. I could have done a better job myself,” she said.

She really could have. Cozzi was not the right person to scam with this type of work; her father ran a construction company for 50 years and she was his right-hand girl. “I can do sheet rock, I can do floors, I can do tile,” she said. “My father probably thought I was a boy.”

Cozzi said that Anthony Scuccimarri, the contractor, brought in dayworkers to do the job, who he gave little instruction to.

Cozzi hired the young man because his father did great work for her over the course of many years.

“The son came by my house on Minnieford Avenue when he was younger,” she recalled. “He used to bring by fliers or bills from his father.”

Cozzi felt bad when shelearned the father was ill, but she felt she had no choice. “Believe me, I gave him every chance in the world,” she stressed.

Cozzi showed Senator Jeff Klein the photos of all the damage, and his office jumped on the case.

Eventually, Klein helped Cozzi take the contractor to court, where he was promptly stripped of his license and ordered to pay Cozzi back $12,000 — which was only half of the $24,000 or so she spent, though it was a victory nonetheless.

“I was happy to get that back, because I didn’t think I’d get anything,” she said.

Other consumers have had similar bad business with Scuccimarri. One reviewer wrote on a message board, “I had the worst experience with this company. They are frauds. They hire people off the streets to do the job. Do not be tricked by this man.”

Weeks later Cozzi hired a different contractor to work on her daughter’s house, which is just across the street.

She hired them to do water-proofing work along the bottom of the house. They left the job half-finished.

She has not resolved the issues at her daughter’s house yet.

“Home contractors are responsible for completing work according to a contract and if they do not, they must be held accountable,” said Klein.

“I advise everyone to carefully screen contractors before they are hired, including make sure that the contractor is licensed, to prevent being scammed out of work or money.”

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