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Attorney General Settles Claim Against St. Johnsbury Realtor For Filing False Lead Paint Affidavit

CONTACT: Robert F. McDougall, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5506

July 21, 2009 - St. Johnsbury realtor Susan Aiken has agreed to pay $10,000.00 in civil penalties for the filing of a false lead paint compliance affidavit as a part of a settlement with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. Aiken filed the affidavit with the Vermont Department of Health in August 2008 to facilitate the sale of a rental property.

“When someone files an affidavit or compliance statement with the State of Vermont, the State needs to be able to rely on its accuracy,” said Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “The lead law entrusts persons who are certified to perform lead paint maintenance with the responsibility to self-certify that the work was done safely and properly. When that trust is knowingly violated, significant consequences can be expected to follow.”

Vermont’s lead law requires that essential maintenance practices (known as EMPs) be performed in all pre-1978 rental housing. Annually, an EMP compliance statement or affidavit certifying completion of EMPs needs to be submitted to the Department of Health, to the property owner’s insurance carrier and to all tenants of the property. When a pre-1978 rental property is being sold, the seller must provide the buyer with verification that EMPs have been completed and that an EMP compliance statement has been filed with the Department of Health.

Aiken, who was certified to perform EMP work at the time of the false filing, represented in the affidavit that she had performed EMP work at the property and that the property was in compliance with Vermont’s lead law. An investigation by the Department of Health determined that Aiken had not visited the property or performed EMPs as she had claimed.

In addition to $10,000.00 in civil penalties, as a part of the settlement Aiken will surrender her certification to perform EMP work in Vermont. She is barred from performing EMP work for at least the next six months and will be required to successfully complete an EMP training class before performing any future EMP work.

Copies of the court documents are available upon request and will be posted to our website: www.atg.state.vt.us when it is available.

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