Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Shady Business screws deployed soldier

Pubic Shortage reached a Mutual Agreement with Mr. Rogalin today. The issue is dead.

Sent to me by Jeff, wondering if there's anything we can do to help.

Bottom damn Line:

Soldier's checking account cleaned out fraudulently while deployed, his stuff was in a public storage unit. His checks bounced, he found out, fixed the issue with his bank, and resumed payments. They auctioned off his stuff anyway, without so much as a warning letter, email, phone call, anything.)
They offered to settle for $2500, although they clearly stated that their liability covered up to $5000, and he's lost about $8000, total. He refused their hush money, let's pick up his cause. If any0ne in the STL area knows any more about this, or has any way to get more info on him, and which company it was (the article called them Public Storage, not public storage, and there is a company in STL called Public Storage, so that's prolly them.)

(Article unashamedly stolen from the Springfield, MO news leader:)

When Patrick Rogalin got his orders to Iraq, the Army Reserve specialist had just enough time to stuff everything he owned into a Public Storage unit near St. Louis before shipping out.

He set up automatic payments with the company, knowing it would be difficult to keep in touch from his outpost in the Iraqi town of Al-Kuk, near the Iranian border.

The past year was spent repairing "everything from handguns to artillery and trucks" and looking forward to a future career as an Army officer.

But Rogalin, 20, was stunned by what he discovered when he returned from his one-year tour of duty.

"When I got back I called Public Storage to find out the status of my account and they told me the contents of my storage container had been auctioned off in June because the bill hadn't been paid."

While Rogalin was in Iraq, he said someone fraudulently accessed his checking account, writing more than $900 in worthless checks that caused his automatic Public Storage payments to bounce.

He learned of the problem when a Bank of America representative contacted him. The bank put an immediate hold on that account, and Rogalin opened another one.

Rogalin resumed making payments to Public Storage but discovered it was too late. His belongings already had been auctioned.

Rogalin said he never received any warning from Public Storage that his account was in trouble.

Nor did he get any notice everything he owned was going to be sold.

He's now fighting the company, based in Glendale, Calif., to get appropriate compensation for his clothes, books, electronic gear, furniture, historic magazines and other property it disposed of without his knowledge.

"I was shocked that they had done this," Rogalin said. "I moved in with my girlfriend, who's going to Missouri State. Otherwise I wouldn't have anything."

Ron Ramler, regional vice president of Public Storage, said his company policy prevented him from talking about Rogalin's case.

"I can say that I am in communication with Patrick again to resolve it," Ramler said Friday.

Rogalin still has his car and the military clothing he brought back from Iraq. And his girlfriend, Jaimie Alonzo, 21, and her parents bought him some clothes for Christmas.

"At least now I'm not wearing the same three things every week," Rogalin said.

Rogalin estimated his belongings were worth $8,000.

But he said Ramler offered him only $2,000 — and an apology — for his loss.

"I called them back and told them this isn't anywhere near right," Rogalin said. "They upped their offer to $2,500 and gave me seven days to accept it or get nothing."

Rogalin's contract with Public Storage states the company is liable for losses only up to $5,000.

"I didn't expect to get $8,000, but I did expect to get at least $5,000 for my stuff," he said. "I didn't accept the $2,500 and I can't afford to go to court to fight them for the rest. It's really insulting, after all I went through over there serving my country, to come back and have to deal with this."

Despite the hassles he's faced, Rogalin plans to move forward by taking history and journalism classes at MSU this spring.

He also hopes to join the university's ROTC program so he can resume his Army career as an officer when he graduates.

Unless President Bush makes some unexpected policy changes in Iraq, such as adding a new mission name or significantly increasing troop strength, Rogalin said it's unlikely he'll have to go back anytime soon.

"By the time I graduate it will be 2010," he said. "I hope we're not still in Iraq by then."

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