How An Idyllic Farmland House Lured Lots of in the Chicago-Location for Countless numbers of Bucks – NBC Chicago

It was branded as an out of doors experience.

Only a three-hour push southwest of Chicago, buyers could escape to the town of Farmington, Unwell., being at an eight-bed room, 30-acre lakeside holiday rental retreat. 

Surrounded by open up farm land, on the internet ads for “Norris Out of doors Adventure” showed h2o slides, a rope swing, games for the young ones, and even much more reassuring, a smiling, pleasant and relatable operator committed to their each need to have.

The rental was described as a aspiration come across for a lot of who ended up setting up cross-nation family reunions, even weddings at the place.

But the desire wasn’t a truth.

As a substitute, consumers tell NBC 5 they experienced their reservations canceled, at times pretty much last minute as they ended up driving down to the property. 

When consumers referred to as the proprietor for their refund, with contracts in hand laying out that extremely guarantee, they say the operator “ghosted” them, by no means to be heard from once again.

For months, NBC 5 Responds has investigated how a single trip rental outdoors of Peoria took a lot of Chicago-region families for 1000’s of bucks, and the mysterious owner driving the listing that these prospects say is to blame.  

That owner dodged our calls, e-mail and requests for comment about quite a few months, featuring no insight into what happened.  

The complaints have gotten the notice of law enforcement in Farmington, who confirmed to NBC 5 they are actively investigating numerous problems involving the assets and its owner. 

Data attained by means of Independence of Details Act requests paint a picture of a mountain of personal debt and despair, all centered close to the roomy and charming property many hopeful buyers now think they will never see in particular person.

It all started with 1 customer’s practical experience, and as NBC 5 ongoing to request queries, the listing grew to include things like a lot of more.

How An Idyllic Farmland House Lured Lots of in the Chicago-Location for Countless numbers of Bucks – NBC Chicago

News article content demonstrate “Norris Out of doors Experience” opened at this residence in 2018 on Dee Bee Street in Farmington, Ill.

Melissa Oskroba out of Naperville advised NBC 5 earlier this year she found out “Norris Out of doors Adventure” although surfing by way of the holiday vacation rental web site VRBO.

“We had been super excited about it,” Oskroba claimed. “[Norris] checked off all of our parts: 8 bedrooms, h2o, yard for the young ones. Very affordable.”

For 5 many years now, Oskroba and seven other pals and their rapid family members have gathered for Labor Working day. But with the youngsters and attendance listing growing each year, obtaining the correct place proved to be harder than it appears.  

Clicking by means of the pics and videos of the residence, Oskroba believed Norris appeared to be the excellent match for this cherished tradition. At $3,600 for three nights, and more than enough place for her overall celebration, Oskroba thought she hit the jackpot. 

How An Idyllic Farmland House Lured Lots of in the Chicago-Location for Countless numbers of Bucks – NBC Chicago

Pics shared on the net and taken by former buyers show the lake features marketed at Norris Out of doors Experience.

That’s when she mentioned she met Amy Shymansky, the proprietor of the residence, and she felt a relationship.  

“It sounded like I was conversing to my mom,” Oskroba remembers, noting that the expertise was seemingly likely so perfectly, “I was about to contact her to start out locking up foreseeable future several years of reservations.” 

Oskroba compensated in whole for a reservation this previous Labor Working day 2022, and months went by just before the first curveball.

That is when Oskroba explained Shymansky messaged to say she had yanked the assets from VRBO so she could much more intently vet her attendees. But there was a silver lining: Shymansky would be listing the house herself, giving the same offer.

Oskroba, nervous she couldn’t locate a spot in time with the exact quantity of bedrooms and area for her loved ones and close friends, booked directly with Shymansky.

The deal incorporated what Oskroba thought was security: A deal with a apparent cancellation plan, terminate a reservation 30 times or far more prior to their reservation date, and they can anticipate a complete refund.

Oskroba reserved the residence by means of Shymansky, not giving it a next believed till months afterwards, when she tried out to pull up the listing on-line.

“It experienced that 404 no lengthier valid web site concept,” Oskroba reported. “Then I began digging and within most likely 15-20 minutes is when I arrived across Yelp that had a great deal of problems on there.”

Consumers on the enterprise review web-site Yelp complained of slipping into a entice Oskroba feared she was currently in.

“The owner has practically stolen my deposit for the use of this house,” just one Norris purchaser wrote.

An additional reported the proprietor, “took our funds and hardly ever responded when we contacted her for keys.”

“They will consider your money, sign contracts, then ghost you,” a third consumer wrote.

Oskroba reported she was beside herself.  

“I just started off crying,” Oskroba stated. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what am I heading to do?’”

Oskroba said she contacted Shymansky to formally cancel the reservation, but eventually, she much too was ghosted. No more friendly contacts from the proprietor, and no phrase on her refund.

How An Idyllic Farmland House Lured Lots of in the Chicago-Location for Countless numbers of Bucks – NBC Chicago

Melissa Oskroba of Naperville, Ill. is 1 of a lot of Norris customers who explain to NBC 5 Responds they are owed countless numbers of dollars in refunds.

By means of her persistence, Oskroba determined to go yet another route: Discover, organize and talk with as many other Norris customers she could find on the net.

Oskroba reported quite a few got back again to her, and inevitably, another person in the group contacted NBC 5 Responds for aid, saying they far too ended up out major revenue, with no R&R to demonstrate for it.

Prospects like Tinley Park grandmother Claudia Allred. 

“I was determined,” Allred told NBC 5 Responds. “[Shymansky] is not heading to continue to keep my income!”

Allred’s relatives had stayed at Norris at the time ahead of in 2020, so she booked yet again for the next 12 months. She far too felt charmed by Shmansky, remarking she was like a “best buddy.”

But two days prior to her relatives was arranging to make the 2nd excursion to the property in June 2021, Allred said Shymansky messaged her, canceling the reservation.

To day, Allred claimed she has received no refund.

Among the the buyers, NBC 5 also talked with two partners who ended up preparing to have their weddings at the Norris property, but reported they experienced their aspiration dates disappear, along with their deposits.

“It was the to start with spot we seemed at and we fell in adore,” explained Jay Rudisill of BlueGrass, Iowa. 

Jay Rudisill and his now-wife, Karen, frequented the Norris home in-man or woman and walked absent considering “that was where we were going to have our marriage.”

The pair set down a $9,300 deposit, but as the months ticked by closer to their day, Jay Rudisill claimed Shymansky grew silent.

How An Idyllic Farmland House Lured Lots of in the Chicago-Location for Countless numbers of Bucks – NBC Chicago

Karen and Jay Rudisill tell NBC 5 Responds they have been planning to have their wedding ceremony at the Farmington, Sick. house, till Shymansky stopped speaking with them.

Viewing that as a pink flag, the Rudisills made a decision to cancel their reservation, being aware of they would very likely have a portion of their deposit taken. They claimed they by no means imagined it would be the complete volume.

“I’ve offered up hope that I will at any time see that revenue once again,” Jay Rudisill explained to NBC 5, immediately after he mentioned Shymansky stopped returning his phone calls, email messages and even letters demanding his dollars back again.

The couple at some point held their marriage on a relative’s home, but were left feeling scorned.

When Allred heard about the Rudisills, and other clients in the self-named Norris “assist group”, she mentioned she couldn’t believe that how quite a few folks were being allegedly owed cash from Shymansky.

“I felt like, ‘Why, you soiled canine! You are carrying out this to so a lot of persons!’” Allred told NBC 5.

NBC 5 verified through contracts and customers’ communication with Shymansky 6 individual Norris shoppers who had their reservations canceled in advance of being at the residence, and who had been collectively owed extra than $24,000.

Some clients have taken Shymansky to court docket, wherever they prevailed and had to file liens on the Norris home in hopes of acquiring any of their revenue again. 

Fulton County data show all those liens have enterprise, which include a lien submitted on the house by the IRS for extra than $470,000.

Whilst the guidance group of customers was chasing Amy Shymansky for answers, so was NBC 5 Responds.

For months, we tried using calling Shymansky by cellular phone, by means of emails and by making contact with several lawyers who have represented Shymansky in court in excess of the years.

Finally, Trygve Meade, Shymansky’s most latest counsel, explained to NBC 5, “I’m sorry, but I haven’t been authorized by my consumer to make any comment on this situation. As a final result, I have to decrease.”

At 1 level, some of the aid group users of previous Norris shoppers explained Meade experienced contacted them personally, promising news would appear about their refunds. But finally, they mentioned he too “ghosted them.” 

A person office environment that did return our calls was the Fulton County Sheriff’s Division, serving the idyllic farmland location in which Norris Outside Journey is situated on Dee Bee Highway.

A spokesperson stated investigators have “received issues [about] Norris Outdoor Experience, and are conducting an investigation.” 

The hassle for Shymansky continues.

NBC 5 Responds discovered a bench warrant lively out of Peoria for Shymansky’s arrest, tied to an unrelated lawsuit and judgment not still paid out by the woman.

State data display that the organization license for Norris Outdoor Adventure was “involuntarily dissolved” again in 2019, soon after the enterprise failed to file once-a-year studies with the Illinois Secretary of State’s place of work.

And most not long ago, court information clearly show the former owner of the Farmington home, who marketed it to Shymansky in a “contract for deed” transaction, prevailed in eviction courtroom, with a Judge signing an eviction order forcing Shymansky to surrender and vacate the assets by Aug. 26, 2022.

Shymansky is currently interesting the Judge’s decision.

Listening to this news hasn’t calmed the nerves of Shymansky’s scorned consumers, who worry there may perhaps be far more out there who have no thought what’s coming.

“I’m unfortunate for folks that will not know this information,” Oskroba claimed. “They are energized about a memory that they are going to make that is going to have the rug pulled out from under them.”

Have a purchaser grievance? Call 1-844-NBC-RESP or click below to permit us know, so we can enable.

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