(CN) — Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. A married couple claims in court that they bought property from another couple with the understanding they also were buying “large fiberglass animal sculptures” with it, but the sellers turned around and sold a 50-foot-tall, 150,000-lb. dinosaur to a nearby city for $25,000.
Dixie the Dinosaur has a rather strange history. It was flown in by helicopter and set along Interstate 80, just outside the Dixon, California, city limits, as an advertising stunt for a store called Cheaper.
“It was three or four stories tall. You could see it a quarter mile down the freeway,” Jack Batchelor, former mayor of Dixon, pop. 20,000, told ABC News in May.
Apparently, there was no permit for Dixie, a brachiosaurus who was 70 feet long and 50 feet tall. She was snatched up by helicopter in 1998 and reappeared at a Cheaper store in Benicia, also in Solano County, 39 miles southwest of Dixon. There, she, or he, or it was renamed Benny. That store was sold in 2005 and Dixie disappeared.
“Like dinosaurs do … Dixie became extinct,” Batchelor told ABC.
Defendant John Roscoe sold his Cheaper stores and went into another line of business, and apparently moved Dixie to his property in Fairfield, the county seat. He lost his house in a 2017 wildfire, but Dixie survived, though she has been cut into pieces.
Plaintiffs Jesse and Cathy Marion say in their Wednesday lawsuit in Solano County Court that they bought the 153-acre property in Fairfield in February 2013, but allowed the Roscoes to continue living in their house, which they still do, though the plaintiffs “are in the process of terminating their tenancy.” The Roscoes’ son lived in another house on the property, which burned down in the devastating Atlas Fire in October 2017, as did a barn, which the Roscoes had been using for storage.
According to the 21-page lawsuit, the deal was that the Roscoes could live in the houses, but ownership of the fiberglass animals was transferred to the Marions. In addition to Dixie, there were two elephants, a zebra, camels, a giraffe and a cow.
The contract did not say how long the Roscoes could stay, but it’s been more than five years now, the Marions say.
On May 22 this year, according to the complaint, the city of Dixon voted to buy Dixie the Dinosaur from the Roscoes — unaware that the Roscoes did not own it.
The complaint does not state the sale price, but according to ABC, it was $25,000 — which does not include the cost of reassembling it. In fact, the Marions say, John Roscoe has been trying to sell to them the other animals that they already own.
None of the parties nor the city of Dixon could be reached for comment before office hours Thursday.
The Marions demand more than $1 million for a variety of charges, including fraud, breach of oral contract, breach of faith, unjust enrichment, quiet title, trespass and invasion of privacy.
They are represented by Amber Kemble of Fairfield.