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Woman inherited four-figure water bill with her house, and things have kept getting worse since she found out

By Dana Kozlov

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    DOLTON, Illinois (WBBM) — A Dolton woman said her dream home came with an unexpected surprise in the form of a huge unpaid water bill – and once she discovered the apparent error, things only got worse.

CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov went straight to the village Monday for answers.

For six years, water in Trina Downs’ Dolton home has been the source of all her headaches – not the actual liquid itself, but what it cost her.

“The more I paid, the more of a problem I had,” Downs said.

The problem was with Downs’ water bill – a big, gushing one that she did not discover until 2015, four years after buying her house and paying her quarterly water bill. The tipoff was suddenly getting a miscellaneous bill for more than $1,000.

That was when she demanded a detailed billing statement, and discovered she had inherited a $2,400 water bill with the property – even though she says closing documents show she bought the house free and clear.

“They had the stamp from the village. I had an attorney close with me, and everything was paid,” Downs said.

Downs has spent years fighting to get her account straightened out, and the money she says she is owed.

Dolton officials even called police on Downs when she went to the village’s payment center to get answers in 2019. She has filed complaints with the Cook County Inspector General and Illinois Attorney General, and has taken court action – with no resolution.

“Right now, I’m not paying the until I receive a refund for what is owed,” Downs said.

Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard’s assistant got back to us and said this issue is from a prior administration. She said current staff has met with Downs twice and are reviewing her records to make sure she only pays for what she has used. Then, they will meet with her again.

But it is not clear if that process will take weeks, or months, or even years.

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