Thought I would share some closure to this thread...
Checked out the lens in person (well worth the 3 hour drive) and did not like what I saw. Cosmetic appearance aside, the glass had a sheen/fog to it that did not look right and it "felt" gritty wehn focusing. Did the recommended "shake test", but did not hear anything.
Did not need ot go beyond the physical inspection to know this was (probably) not going to turn out well in the end.
When I do buy my fist "great white" super tele, I want it to feel right.
Thanks for all of the great advise and helping me avoid a (potentially) costly lesson.