I'd rather not name names as I've put this issue behind me and don't need any more aggravation from them or the FAA. The issue wasn't safety or my desire to "skimp" on maintenance; quite the contrary. It was the extortion.
Your problem with a repair station is not that uncommon. Although you said the airplane was still in annual, did the shop perform an annual and was there a logbook entry from the shop stating that the aircraft was unairworthy? If you flew the airplane with an annual inspection entry with a statement that an annual had been performed and the aircraft was found to be unairworthy with a list of discrepancies given to the owner, then you would need a log book entry from an A&P that the discrepancies had been repaired or complied with and the aircraft was returned to service. In lieu of the second entry, you would need a ferry permit to relocate the aircraft to have the maintenance performed. The only possible problem with the FAA would be if you flew the aircraft without a ferry permit.
An annual is an inspection and has only two outcomes. Either the aircraft is found to be airworthy and returned to service or it is found to be unairworthy and a list of discrepancies is provided to the owner. The list of discrepancies should be in written form, given to the owner, and should not be listed in the logbooks. When the shop performs both the inspection and the repairs, they usually don't make a logbook entry until they have completed the repairs. You should always give the shop written instructions that you are to receive a complete list of discrepancies and you will decide what work is authorized to be done. If you disagree with the shop on what maintenance should be performed, and they say they will refuse to sign off the annual unless certain work is performed, you always have the option of requiring the shop to sign off the annual as unairworthy with a list of discrepancies provided to you. They can not refuse to sign off the annual in this case, if they do they are in violation of FAR's. Then you can obtain a ferry permit if necessary and move the aircraft to another shop or A&P who can return the aircraft to service.
Many shops are FAA repair stations and may require work to be accomplished that is optional, like service bulletins that are not referred to by an AD and complying with recommended overhaul limits. If you want to deal with such a shop, you can still have them perform the annual and all of the maintenance that you agree with and have them use the unairworthy sign-off with the list to you of the unfinished work. I would not let them put the list in the log books, but if they did, I would have another A&P list all of the discrepancies and state that they are not required to be performed by FAR for part 91 operation and sign it off and your back in business.
Your best initial option, is have the understanding with the shop in the first place and avoid any shop whose manual requires them to perform such optional work.