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Jesse’s Story of the Day

Marysville family out thousands of dollars after vacation rental home problem

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A family that paid for a summer vacation rental home for a family reunion in Kent is out thousands of dollars for a home they can’t use.

Corey and Erin Cooper paid $5,000 dollars to rent a home listed on AirBnB last spring.  But by this past March, the house was sold.  The new owners have already moved in, and that leaves the Coopers and the thirty people coming to their reunion, without a place to stay.

“We got it all planned out,” Corey Cooper said.  “It’s going to be brand new in a house instead of a hotel, and now it falls apart.  What do I do now?”

The couple didn’t know they had rented the home from Dion Earl.  Earl was the former owner of the indoor soccer team called Seattle Impact.  Three months after the Cooper’s paid to rent his home, Earl was arrested in Arizona on sexual assault and kidnapping charges.

Just days before Earl was arrested, Wendy Wang, the leader of a non-profit student group of Chinese students at the University of Washington, put down a $4,500 deposit for the home.

“He said he had a company and we can do it through his company instead of through AirBnB,” Wang said.

That’s a problem because you lose protection from fraud if you sign up outside of AirBnB and other vacation site’s systems.   Wang said the reservation got canceled, and the group is out every single cent.

“We don’t know where to find help because he kind of just disappeared,” Wang explained.  “He’s in Arizona and we’re just students, and we don’t have the time and resources to go after him.”

Other people have been going after Earl.  In 2014, Earl was sued by his former employees with the Impact.  KIRO 7 briefly spoke with him when that lawsuit was filed.

“This is about money,” Earl said.  “The people in the lawsuit are dirt poor and their motive is strictly money.  That’s it.”

Last year, Earl was ordered to pay close to one million dollars in damages for that case.   Earl is also currently awaiting trial after being indicted for federal tax fraud.

But there is good news for the Cooper family reunion; the entire family has found a different place to stay and celebrate.  The lesson here: never pay for a vacation rental outside of the site because it can cost you more than money.

“Just so this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Erin Cooper said.  “If that’s all that can come from this, at least something good came from it.”

There is a website up for the home rental, and the listing is also up on several different rental websites.  Jesse in the process of getting those taken down.

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