HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Allegations of embezzlement within a local pool company have customers demanding their money back, and some customers have been put into a tough spot with the summer coming to an end.
Liner Guys is based in the Buffalo-area. Court documents say efforts are being made to pay back customers, others just want the services they paid for.
Kellie Shanahan’s pool looks beautiful, but it should be closed for the season. That hasn’t happened because of an awful ordeal she had with Liner Guys, which in the past has gone under the name Reflection Pools.
“I like, lose sleep over it because I don’t have another $3,500,” Kellie said.
That’s how much she says she paid a co-owner of Liner Guys earlier this year to make a new safety cover and open her pool.
She says she never got a receipt.
“I forgot to ask him for the receipt but I thought well, he’s the owner of the company, he’s not going to screw me well, then after that I couldn’t get a hold of him I called I left him text messages,” Kellie said.
The safety cover is critical because of her daughter’s cerebral palsy.
“And she’ll come out in the yard she plays with the dogs and stuff, she knows where the pool is but I mean there could be a day that she is not paying attention and if she drives and she goes in the pool that has a tarp on it, her wheelchair is 300 pounds and she would probably die,” Kellie said.
For months, she’s been going back and forth with Liner Guys on where her pool cover is. All this, as the company appears to be on the brink on bankruptcy, and being sued by numerous customers.
A civil lawsuit filed in July by a co-owner of Liner Guys accuses the other co-owner of withdrawing more than half a million dollars from customer accounts, with no explanation on what the money has been spent on. Because of this, the lawsuit says Liner Guys has had to liquidate assets and sell property to pay back customers.
Here are some claims that are in the lawsuit:
The defendant “spent the entire amount without recording any of these transactions in the accounting books,” and that Liner Guys “had to liquidate assets, sold trailers, sold a dump truck, sold a van, and sold other items to pay back the customers as fast as possible.”
“As a result of defendant’s conduct, Liner Guys is preparing to file for bankruptcy and is being sued by numerous customers,” and that, “As of July 2023, defendant has withdrawn at least $517,684.46 from Liner Guys’s customer accounts,” (…) These withdrawals have caused Liner Guys’s and Reflection Pools’s customers to pursue legal action and possible bankruptcy.”
A counterclaim accuses the other co-owner of taking money “without any prior notice or consent.” Customers appear to be caught in the middle. And for Kellie, she just wants what she paid for to close her pool.
“It’s super important because it’s a salt water pool and it’s heated and it’s that way for my daughter because with her cerebral palsy being in this pool is the best therapy that she can get,” Kellie said.
A representative of Liner Guys now says Kellie’s safety cover arrived earlier this week, but there’s no timeframe for when it’ll be installed. And, it’s not like she can just pick it up, because the company won’t say where its warehouse is for insurance reasons. The Erie County District Attorney’s Office says it has looked into Liner Guys, but at this time, there is no evidence of anything criminal.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.