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Published: Tuesday, 8/3/2004

State accuses model builder of defrauding customers

The owner of a West Toledo business that builds and sells models of lighthouses has been accused of consumer fraud in a civil lawsuit filed by the Ohio Attorney General.

Terrence Murphy, owner of Lighthouses by Murphy, 2017 West Sylvania Ave., is accused of violating state consumer protection laws in a complaint filed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Michelle Gatchell, a spokesman for Attorney General Jim Petro, said her office has received six complaints from consumers who said they paid $5,827 for lighthouse models that they ordered from Mr. Murphy.

The attorney general is seeking repayment to customers and also asks for a civil penalty of $25,000 for each violation. The case has been assigned to Judge Ruth Ann Franks.

Mr. Murphy said he was aware that customers who commissioned him to build replicas of lighthouses had filed complaints with the state. He said the downturn in the economy caused him to lay-off staff, delaying the completion of some orders.

"Ninety-six percent of my customers are happy. I am a perfectionist. If it is not perfect, it doesn't go out the door. You can't hurry art and get good quality. Eventually everything gets done," Mr. Murphy said.

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