February 15, 2012
Mr Andrew Fuller
Fuller & Berres
00 Blahblah Rd.
South Barrington, IL 60010
via email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, and USPS
Re: Life Storage of Rogers Park LLC
Dear Mr. Fuller:
As you know, I am in receipt of your letter dated January 9, 2012. I apologize for my delay in responding.
I am a single parent of a school aged child, have moved house, and I am self-employed.
In regards to your statement concerning the lease executed by myself with SIMPLY STORAGE, Life Storage's predecessor and (I understand, successor) perhaps you need to review it again. What its SUCCESSOR clause indeed states is as follows: "[i]n the event that the property or its management are transferred to someone else, this agreement SHALL BE BINDING ON THE NEW OWNER AND/OR MANAGER (emphasis mine)". Thus executing a lease with Life Storage was moot and it nowhere states Life Storage's standard lease would become effective without separate execution as you stressed when we spoke via telephone. It is its own document and remained valid throughout. It does not make mention of
rodent damage at all. It does, however, assume liability for "wanton and willful conduct".
The lease executed on October 16, 2011 between myself and Life Storage, in response to an illegal lockout was executed under duress and forced by Life Storage's employees FRED WEAVER and MICHELLE WIGHT. For informational purposes it was recorded. While Life Storage's lease excludes responsibility for rodents specifically, under Illinois law, it is not valid as described below (para.5). In any event, the occurrences were prior to its execution.
I hold Life Storage and its principles liable for my losses, and will seek damages on behalf of my minor child and myself and hold Life Storage unethical, irresponsible, in violation of Chicago ordinances and Illinois law by it or its agents practices and actions as follows:
1.) In or around FEBRUARY of 2011, MATT CLARK, representing himself as a part owner and district manager simultaneously and randomly, and I discussed the discovery of rodents on the first floor of the facility at 7426 N. Paulina St. Chicago IL in the course of a discussion regarding an unrelated matter. He assured me that this was being "aggressively addressed" and would "never make it up by you" (my unit was on the second floor). He also claimed they were brought in by a tenant in their belongings and that she was being evicted. She was not for several months. Due to, per Ms Rogo, then district manager, her "legal rights".
2.) In or around APRIL 2011 my daughter traveled to London, England and returned with a London newspaper that she placed in the unit. One week later, she noticed the newspaper was shredded. We reported this to then office personnel. We were told it was being reported to "corporate". Shortly after that, I noticed some of my daughter's clothing, namely intimates, were strangely ripped or torn.
3.) In or around MAY 2011, my daughter was in the unit going through stored clothing to prepare for a trip to San Francisco. She observed TWO LIVE mice and got hysterical and ran to the office to report it. There was an employee working on electrical outlets, etc. who found this amusing, I note. I then contacted Life Storage's corporate office at its toll-free number. DEBBIE ROGO was then district manager. She telephoned me, we discussed it and she assured me Life Storage was dedicated to resolving the problem and it would be resolved immediately. It is notable she was with the company for a only few months.
4.) In or around AUGUST 2011, Ms. Rogo and I met. Ms. Rogo assured me at that time that the maximum treatment available was in place. I expressed concerns that there were no visible exterminating apparatus on the second floor of the building where my unit was, and that the rodent activity had seemed to increase. She denied this, stating there were "high tech things in place. You just can't see them". I also requested that my unit be moved to another, less infested unit. She refused. It was stated that I was "the only one that had complained' by Ms. Rogo and the corporate office personnel (someone called "Jo"). This is blatantly untrue as I had directly witnessed other complaints. Weeks later, I spoke with Life Storage's exterminator. He stated in no uncertain terms that the amount of treatment Life Storage had contracted was INSUFFICIENT to combat the severity of the infestation and size of the facility.
5.) Throughout this time, increased rodent sightings and activity, in the form of odor and droppings, were clearly evident. Repeated complaints were brought to the attention of the office staff, FRED WEAVER and XXXXXX XXXXX by myself AND numerous other tenants. Ms. XXXXXX was sympathetic and admitted the problem, but indicated her hands were tied. Mr. Weaver, however, was defensive, unprofessional and flippant. Also throughout this time, I telephoned the corporate offices demanding to speak to Mr. Barry, who refused, speaking instead with "Jo" who merely repeatedly said "we are doing all
we can". She did relay, however, that Mr. Barry offered "one month free rent, if you sign a waiver". I would consider that somewhat damaging.
6.) In or around AUGUST and SEPTEMBER of 2011, however, Mr. Weaver did state that "there is an African lady, next to you, who I think is storing food. I am going to talk to her" as well as "it gonna take a minute to get rid of this". This was several weeks prior to my move from unit 106 to the second unit. He did not. As such, I consider Life Storage not addressing what it maintains was a cause of the problem negligent and irresponsible. In addition, around the same time, a representative from Alderman Joe Moore's (50th) visited the facility and accessed that its treatment was insufficient. I was told by Jo at the corporate offices that the Alderman had commended Life Storage for its efforts, which is denied by the Ward office and the individual that visited. This again is blatantly untrue.
7.) Michelle Wight, and I also met in or around SEPTEMBER 2011, as Ms Rogo had been terminated (I was told) and she'd become the district manager. We toured the facility together and discussed options. Ms. Wight then offered to move my unit, at Life Storage's expense and purchased several plastic storage bins and credited my account for the month of October's rent. It was difficult to coordinate everyone (myself and your client's cleaning company which did the move) schedules, so that did not take place for a few weeks. In the meantime, while attempting to organize my unit, I witnessed the "African lady" address several mice while in her unit and her own child reacting to them. In the next day or so, she was told to remove THREE ONE HUNDRED POUND BAGS OF RICE. She was not, however, evicted. The rice had been stored for quite some time. Also within that time, my daughter and I went to Unit 106 on a Sunday evening and my combination lock was missing. We had not been there for two days and it was not in the unit either. Nothing was missing, including a laptop. Theft was not the motive there. Interestingly, when I spoke about it with Fred Weaver the following morning, he mentioned that it was a combination lock. Most tenants have standard locks.
8.) On or about OCTOBER 1, 2011, the cleaning company moved my unit, throughout and very late into the evening. It was one of the few times in my life I was literally horrified. I have never witnessed such massive destruction behind and underneath my belongings in my life. At eye level they looked intact. Nor was I even aware that mice were capable of such destruction. As it was the beginning of the month, there were several tenants moving in and out and a number of them noted the situation and photographed it. As such, I have witnesses and photos, which were forwarded to Ms Wight at the time. In addition a non-tenant friend who was present counted FIVE mice within a 20-30 minute period in the unit. As you were made aware, a live LITTER was found in a box of dishes. Interestingly, allegedly a banana peel was found in my
unit, by the movers, unbeknownst to me. Yet, I am allergic to bananas and my daughter refuses to eat them (and my lock had disappeared a few weeks prior, buit nothing was missing). It took 8-10 hours, causing distress, fear, disgust, fatigue and massive loss of, but not limited to the following:
• Beds, one twin and one full set, hotel quality
• Several sets of high quality sheets and miscellaneous ones
• Several table cloths, linen napkins and kitchen linen
• Numerous towels and other bath linens
• One custom sofa
• Two European down comforters
• Several down bed pillows and several accent pillows, including a handmade family heirloom
• Numerous wool and cashmere sweaters, dresses, suits and jackets, several vintage items
• A large amount of children's clothing
• Numerous pairs of shoes and boots, adult and children's.
• Numerous children's toys. In particular two American Girl Dolls and one American Girl horse, two doll beds, numerous doll clothes and accessories. I note the value of these alone is several hundred dollars (one doll was a limited edition and either its current value is several hundred or it is irreplaceable). My daughter was devastated by this loss and cried sporadically for several days. These were ruined, but retained.
• Papers and books. Including saved school work and awards of my daughter's.
9.) On or around OCTOBER 15 2011, I placed some items in my new unit, mid day. When I returned to retrieve the items, my entry code had been disabled. I was unable to retrieve my purse, coat and keys that evening, obviously causing great inconvenience and distress. I telephoned Michelle Wight who informed me I did not have a valid lease with the company and was not allowed on premises. Ms XXXXX and I had discussed executing a new lease for the new unit, but I did not feel it was necessary as all parties had agreed I vacate in November, and she concurred. A tenant who was an acquaintance informed me the locker was over-locked with not one but two red locks, a bit excessive and melodramatic, but somewhat discriminatory. Note again, I had a zero balance on my account. Ms. Wight initially informed me I could regain access by executing a new lease, but would allowed access during normal business hours (9am-6pm), with an escort, which is not even in compliance with the lease she was proposing. She later recanted when I informed her of this. I returned to the facility at 5:45 on the evening of October 16, and Fred Weaver informed me that I was not able to review the lease, he had to leave for the day and access would not be restored if I did not sign it straight away. He also continued to harass and distract me while I attempted to read it. As access was then imperative, I was forced to executed it. I filed a review, entirely truthful on the consumer website YELP and others. I have a right to do this and was entirely honest. I feel the public has a right to know the facts about this company and I would loathe for someone else to experience what I did.
Ms. Wight had demanded and then begged me to remove it.
The following day, Weaver issued an eviction letter for"unprofessional behavior". My role was not as a professional, but a paying client. I am bewildered as to how that could be construed. This entire scenario is clearly retaliatory and harassing. I have a number of emails and texts that with dialogue to that effect, including a threat from, and mass misrepresentation to the Better Business Bureau from one Stephen Sandusky, citing blatant untruths about the company's activities, costs and the facts.
10). On October 31, I vacated the unit. There were no fewer than three other tenants that vacated that same evening. All complained of rodent infestation and damage. It caused great financial hardship and stress. For the record, I did not vacate prior to that as first and foremost, I trusted Life Storage to indeed address the problem effectively, and trusted what they told me regarding their efforts. I trusted they were reputable and ethical. Obviously, that is not the case. It is also again notable that xxxxx, Rogo and Weaver have since been terminated. In addition, tenants who held insurance that have attempted claims were denied.
As is evident, my daughter and I have suffered tremendously. We have experienced anguish, grief, stress, of sleeplessness and depression, as well as the tangible losses outlined. I have suffered loss of work and quality of work, and her grades diminished, although they have since improved. Life Storage and its employees and actions have caused irrecoverable harm, economically and emotionally. I cannot incur the costs of the items I have lost, nor should I have to. Life Storage and its lack of ethics and responsibility is the cause of them.
Therefore, I demand, Life Storage LLC render retribution in the amount of $
Please be advised that in the event I am forced to file a Complaint in Civil Court, on behalf of my minor child as well as myself, that the amount will far exceed that amount, plus costs and fees. It is my professional and personal estimate that Life Storage's costs to defend may very well exceed six figures. It would therefore be prudent for it to settle this matter at its earliest convenience . I have outlined the facts as thoroughly as possible and I think you having a thorough conversation with your client is in order.
I appreciate your attention to this matter. Please feel free to telephone me with any questions or concerns. I shall expect to hear from you shortly.