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Judge signs restraining order for rafting company in North Creek

A guide from the Hudson River Rafting Company takes clients down the Hudson River in North River May 5, 2012 during the White Water Derby.

A guide from the Hudson River Rafting Company takes clients down the Hudson River in North River May 5, 2012 during the White Water Derby. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— A state Supreme Court judge Friday, Oct. 19 officially prohibited the Hudson River Rafting Company and its owner, Patrick Cunningham of North Creek, from operating a rafting business until charges from the state attorney general have been addressed.

Justice Richard Giardino signed the temporary restraining order — which was drawn up on Oct. 11 — in Supreme Court at the Fulton County Courthouse in Johnstown (Hamilton County does not have a Supreme Court room). The next court date was set for Nov. 8 as the attorney general seeks a permanent injunction against the company.

“This company has operated illegally, claimed to provide licensed rafting guides and said that every precaution would be taken to ensure the safety of rafters,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a prepared statement. “There was a pattern of practices indicating it did none of that, resulting in the recent tragic death of a white water rafter. As a result of today’s order, this company is no longer operating.”

On Oct. 10, Schneiderman filed a petition against the Hudson River Rafting Company and Cunningham, alleging that the company and its owner practiced “fraudulent, deceptive, and illegal conduct with their business providing guided river excursions on various New York rivers.” Schneiderman is trying to recover restitution and damages for consumers victimized by the respondents’ alleged practices and to recover penalties and costs.

When contacted by this newspaper, Cunningham said he had “zero” comments regarding the attorney general’s petition or the court order.

The attorney general charges that the company has broken the law for:

•repeatedly not providing licensed guides on rafting excursions;

•persistent false advertising;

•repeatedly having employees drive customers on the company’s bus from North Creek to Indian Lake without valid drivers’ licenses for operating a bus;

•and statutory fraud by “misrepresenting the services they provide.”

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