CHICAGO (CBS) — The scorching temperatures over the next few days just beg for a boat ride with a nice lake breeze; but one Chicago woman is docked, with the boat she recently bought stuck on dry land.
CBS 2 Investigator found several things about the sale just don’t add up.
Crystal Taylor paid thousands of dollars for the boat, and even named it. Instead of floating at a dock in the Little Calumet River, it’s sitting on dry land at the Cal Side Marina where she bought it in December.
“I immediately fell in love with it,” Taylor said.
Taylor said Tommy Long, a manager at the marina, sold her the boat. She had to promise to pay for it by the start of boating season, and she did.
“I satisfied my end of the agreement. So I’m just waiting for Cal Side to make good on theirs,” she said.
Taylor made two payments, and by early May the balance due showed $0. She was told she could come and get her boat in June, and paid Cal Side another $400 to get it up and running.
Then she heard from Steve Brown, the marina owner.
“I asked him, ‘Well, how much money are you claiming that I owe?’ As of this interview, I’m still waiting on his call,” she said.
Long claimed he didn’t know what Taylor owes money for.
“I have no idea. I honestly couldn’t tell you. I have no idea. I don’t take care of money here,” he said.
Taylor’s receipts show someone at Cal Side took her money, charging her credit card three times.
“I don’t take care of money here. I don’t collect money here,” Long said.
However, it appears to be Long’s signature at the bottom of Taylor’s bill of sale for the boat.
Besides the money she supposedly owes for the boat, Taylor can’t get the title.
“We had the title. We lost it, so we applied for a lost title, and now we’re just waiting for the title to come back,” Long said.
Long said it can take a long time to receive a new title from the state, claiming he once waited three years to get the title for a boat.
However, state officials said a new title was issued last month, but said there’s a lien on the boat.
“They should have done their due diligence back in December when we first entered into the sales agreement,” Taylor said.
Brown did not respond to calls or emails.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, and the Illinois Attorney General’s office all are looking into the case.
One piece of advice for anyone considering buying a boat: ask to see the title, and pay for a title check through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.