PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Undorf
Deputy Attorney General
Phone: (302) 577-8924
Date: March 8, 2004
ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES PETTINARO FOR DECEPTIVE MARKETING IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF
CONDOMINIUM UNITS AT TOWNE ESTATES AND FOR ILLEGALLY OPERATING A HEALTH SPA
(Wilmington, DE): Attorney General Jane Brady announced today that her Consumer Protection Unit has filed a civil law enforcement suit today against Pettinaro Enterprises, its partners, and Pettinaro Construction Co. in the Court of Chancery in New Castle County. The Complaint charges the defendants with violating the Consumer Fraud Act, the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and the Delaware Health Spa Regulation by, among other things, illegally marketing the Towne Estates Condominium complex by unfairly and deceptively implying that the Towne Estates Clubhouse was part of the condominium, and by failing to operate the Clubhouse in compliance with the Delaware Health Spa Regulation.
Attorney General Brady said, “Deceptive advertising undercuts a consumer’s ability to make an informed decision. The condominium purchasers had a right to have accurate information before investing in a unit.”
The Consumer Protection Unit of the Department of Justice opened an investigation into the matter in March of 2001 after receiving a complaint about the marketing and sales practices of Pettinaro Enterprises. The investigation revealed that the defendants marketed the condominium complex in a manner which would have the tendency or capacity to mislead consumers into believing that the adjacent Clubhouse was part of the condominium. The defendants also failed to follow the Delaware Health Spa Regulation in their operation of the Clubhouse as a health spa. Among other things, they failed to register the health spa with the State, and offered for sale illegal lifetime memberships. For the past year the Consumer Protection Unit has been working with the defendants to resolve the matter but the parties were ultimately unable to come to an agreement.
The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, payment of back health spa registration fees, civil penalties, investigative costs, attorneys fees, as well as restitution for all affected consumers.