A man who claims his personal property was sold by a Collinsville storage company alleges the storage company actually held a “phantom auction” and employees kept his belongings for themselves.
Plaintiff Gary Tedford claims he began storing his personal belongings with defendant Ace Ventures-Collinsville LLC, doing business as Ace Storage, on Aug. 23, 2014, with the understanding that he would receive a late payment notice if his payments were 10 days overdue.
He claims Ace Storage failed to send the reminder and neglected to advertise a public auction of his belongings. Instead, the plaintiff alleges Ace Storage distributed his stored items to its employees, sold items at an auction and has refused to return the items to the plaintiff.
Ace Storage filed a counter claim against Tedford, arguing that his claims are barred because he failed to make timely payments.
Tedford filed a motion to dismiss Ace Storage’s counter claim on Sept. 30.
Ace Storage responded to Tedford’s motion to dismiss on Dec. 27 through attorneys Theresa Phelps and John Gazzoli Jr. of Rosenblum Goldenhersh in St. Louis.
The defendant argues that it “fully complied with the SSFA, and Tedford’s suggestions to the contrary are without merit and are not supported by any evidence presented to the Court.”
Ace Storage also filed a motion for summary judgment and motion to dismiss on Dec. 8.
The defendant argues that Tedford breached the rental agreement by failing to pay rent for more than five months.
Act Storage also argues that Tedford cannot show that he is likely to be harmed by Ace Storage’s conduct in the future and he cannot show that Ace Storage committed a fraudulent or deceptive act upon which Tedford relied.
Ace Storage adds that Tedford did not have an absolute and unconditional right to the immediate possession of the property.
The defendant sought to dismiss Tedford’s complaint.
Tedford responded to Ace Storage’s motion to dismiss on Jan. 9.
He argues that Ace Storage breached the rental agreement by failing to follow the Illinois Self-Service Storage Facility Act, which requires notices be sent by verified mail or electronic mail.
“Without proof of delivery, any action to take ownership of my property is not valid,” Tedford states.
He also argues that his lease with the defendant was not grandfathered in on the previous law, because the lease expired and had to be renewed monthly.
“Ace Storage by their own admission in their company notes, on June 18, 2015, acknowledged that I expected full compliance with the law but because of hubris, malice and indifference by the Company towards the Plaintiff decided to go rogue (sic). The fact that I know a law does not relieve them of their legal responsibility to act in accordance with the law. If the Defendants are upset, they should contact the Legislature to see to it that they get the law changed,” Tedford wrote.
The plaintiff alleges 230 other individuals storing their belongings at the storage facility have had their property auctioned off since January 1, 2015.
He also argues that he has been harmed every day since July 17, 2015, “by not enjoying and using my personal property.”
On Jan. 27, the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and motion to dismiss, the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss the counterclaim and the plaintiff’s motion to void damages limitation were set for hearing on March 20.
He went on to call the alleged auction a “phantom sale.” He said he went to the Pontoon Beach Ace Storage facility pretending to be interested in future auctions and was told that employees went through his items. They kept some items and threw the rest away.
“She was very open about what they had done and had no shame,” Tedford wrote. “Trickery and deceit have no bounds when it comes to Ace Storage.”
Tedford is representing himself pro se, but was given until Feb. 27 to retain counsel in the case.
Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1131