Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 16, 2011

Storage units raise questions

TAHLEQUAH — Renters of storage units at AA’s former location may be in for a surprise if they failed to heed mailed notices of the company’s decision to move.

A local resident contacted the Daily Press, saying her storage unit behind the United Band of Keetoowah Indians in Oklahoma’s casino was emptied without her permission.

Candy Brewer said when she went to pay rent on her unit earlier this week, she noticed the it had been cleaned out.

“So, we went down [to talk to] the people who own it, and they said they sent a letter telling me they were relocating,” said Brewer.

“We did not get a letter. They might have sent it to my old address, and I’m getting mail [forwarded] from there, but I did not get any letter.”

According to Brandie Walker-Waddle, assistant manager of AA Storage, the owners made every attempt possible to notify every tenant after selling their property to the UKB.

“We’ve been in business 25 years,” said Walker-Waddle. “Our business is family-owned and operated, and we couldn’t stay in business if we had done something like that.”

According to Waddle-Walker, AA had a sign-up in its offices for two months notifying tenants of the move, and mailed notifications to every customer on whom it had information in its files.

“We didn’t have current information on Candy,” said Bob Waddle, owner. “She was three months behind on her rent, and when we tried to call, she may not have answered, thinking we were trying to collect on her. But what we were trying to do is notify her of the move. “

Waddle said he offered all customers an incentive to move to the new location, as well as moving assistance for a fee.

“We sent Candy notification on June 1,” said Waddle-Walker. “I talked to her on May 19 about her past-due payment, and told her we were moving and explained about the incentives. She told me she mailed the payment, but we never received it.”

Waddle-Walker provided the Daily Press with a copy of the letter sent May 30 to Brewer, notifying her of the move and several options for moving to the new facility.

Brewer said she’d been putting her payments in the mail slot at the old office, and accused the UKB of not only discarding her items in storage, but of keeping her rental payments. She said her ex-husband, Adam, contacted Jimmie Woodard, compliance officer for the UKB, but got no relief.

“Adam called Woodard at the UKB, and [Woodard] kind of laughed it off,” said Brewer. “Adam got mad and asked him where the stuff is, and Woodard said it was in the landfill. They said the old owners should have written a letter and put it off on them. We’ve made a police report and hired an attorney.”

Woodard said when UKB officials took over the property, Brewer’s unit was not locked.

“It was already open, so we thought they’d gotten everything out,” said Woodard. “I tried to contact them several times. I didn’t have a phone number; all I had was the old address.”

When the Brewers told Woodard they’d filed a police report, Woodard told them  he believes they should have done that, since the unit was found unlocked and mostly empty by the time the UKB took possession of the property.

“I told them whatever had been left behind in the unlocked unit had been taken to a landfill,” said Woodard. “I just got a call from last week, and this is September. The Waddles started notifying people of the move back in May.”

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