Longform

We -Store-It, U-Lose-It?

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Cuyler says she wasn't given the name Security Storage by surly constables until November 27, five days after her possessions were moved, on which date she called the warehouse, was told her property was still on the trucks, and offered to pay the total bill that day to have Security Storage deliver it to an alternate location. The receptionist, Cuyler says, refused, and refused also to let her speak to an owner. Cuyler drove to Security Storage the next day and met Marc Seymour, whereupon she requested an inventory and an itemized bill. Seymour said he had to get the inventory from the constable, and the bill would be mailed.

She kept not receiving the bill, and kept going to the warehouse, demanding a bill that she didn't get, during which time she says Seymour alternately demanded a $70-per-box opening fee just to search among the hundreds for particular items, or let her into the warehouse to look for herself, where she was "verbally and physically harassed, pushed and shoved and spat upon." On December 6, 8, 13 and 14 she went back, sometimes redeeming bits and pieces, sometimes stalemated with Seymour.

Finally, on December 22, co-owner Zanzuri refused another attempt at redemption and told Cuyler to come back on December 27. When she arrived on that day, she was told that some of her stuff had been sold that morning, on the 30th day after impoundment, the first legal day to do so, to settle her bill, which she had yet to be shown.

She says Seymour told her he had sold the merchandise to himself. She says he asked her if she wanted to buy any of it back from him. She says she came back to the next auction and Security Storage employees blocked her access into the warehouse with mattresses stacked on end, side by side. She took a picture of mattresses stacked on end, side by side, blocking the entrance.

She'd had a private storage unit rented elsewhere since December 25, in testimony to her intention to redeem her property.

She wondered why every time the cops came around, they seemed to be protecting Seymour from her.

And the new year began with a seasonable flurry down at the courthouse, wherein resides the entirety of Marc Seymour's answer to Cuyler's claims: Defendants "deny all of the plaintiff's allegations and demand strict proof."


Early court battles leaned in Cuyler's direction: a temporary restraining order designed to prevent Seymour from disposing of any of her property, a court order that he release to her all such property that he possessed. But Cuyler has photographs and a detailed inventory of items -- big, valuable items -- that have not been returned, and no way of finding out conclusively which have been sold and to whom, and which may still be lingering in Seymour's dank warehouse, "sold" by Seymour to himself.

Deputies follow the law as best they're taught it, and instructions in the meantime, and the law and institutional custom both bring them into meaningful contact with Marc Seymour far more often than, say, Kendra Cuyler.

Testimony from Grandich's case includes one deputy's claim that while Seymour "has purchased tickets to Constable Douglas' annual barbecue … neither Constable Douglas nor I have a personal relationship with Marc Seymour."



On the phone, asked for the name of his bonded warehouseman, another deputy in another precinct more recently called over his shoulder to a supervisor: "Hey, what's the name of Marc Seymour's company?"

If there's any more of Cuyler's stuff in Seymour's warehouse, it'll take a court to get at it. It's been racking up storage charges of $20 a day since Thanksgiving.

The first bill, dated November 29, but not seen by Cuyler until a month later, was over $4,200, more than double standard industry rates.

Seymour's inventory of stuff moved, now in the case file, is more or less illegible.

All the police seem willing to do is escort Cuyler off Seymour's property.

Seymour's attorney is playing hardball, painting her to the court -- in a request for a protective order, which was granted -- as a threatening shrew.

No one has come close to proving that Marc Seymour purposefully misleads evicted tenants in tacit cooperation with county and city police in order to profit from his primary line of business, but it has been formally suggested by at least nine different evicted tenants in the last four years, in similar terms.

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Brad Tyer