Foreclosure plans delayed on former KC mayor Wheeler's home - KCTV5 News

Foreclosure plans delayed on former KC mayor Wheeler's home

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Former mayor Charlie Wheeler and Kansas City's most famous home-grown mortgage company are in a battle over his home.

James B Nutter & Co. had planned to foreclose and sell Wheeler's home because he is years behind on property taxes and insurance. The mortgage company wants Wheeler to find a smaller and more affordable residence by July, but a community effort is underway to keep Wheeler inside his home.

"I'm relieved," Wheeler said Thursday. "I think logic triumphed and we can get down to negotiating our differences."

Wheeler, a former state senator, was honored this week at the Kansas City Royals home opener.  Wheeler and his ailing wife have lived for some time in the home near Loose Park. In 2007, Wheeler said he got a reverse mortgage to help provide money to pay for his wife's medical bills.

"My wife has been sick for 20 years and I had a lot of expenses," Wheeler explained. "I wasn't kept well informed about where my mortgage was."

Wheeler said he does plan to move with his wife on July 1 to a home more suitable for her. But the mortgage still planned Thursday's auction, saying he had made similar promises in the past and not followed through.

"I was told I'd exhausted their patience," Wheeler said. "I am not the type of person to exhaust anyone's patience."

But he had, according to a statement from the mortgage company, which called off Thursday's sale hours before it was scheduled.

"The last thing we want to do is to foreclose on anyone. Our mission for 62 years at this company has been to help people purchase the home they want and to help them stay there as long as they want," the statement says.

"We have done everything we could, for the longest time, to help Charlie Wheeler keep his home. It is sad, but years of non-payment of property taxes, as required by law, makes it difficult for us to help him anymore. The best thing for Charles to do is find a place to live that is smaller, more manageable and more affordable. We just ask that, after years of promises, Charlie give us his word, in writing, that he will be moved and settled in a new location by July 2013," the statement concludes.

In addition, the mortgage company said Wheeler was told about the specific conditions when he took out the reverse mortgage.

"You must make sure that you pay your property taxes and that hazard-insurance coverage is in place in agreement with the terms of your loan. If you fail to pay your property taxes and hazard insurance coverage, your loan may become due," the mortgage company says Wheeler was told in writing.

The founder of the mortgage company, Jim Nutter, hasn't supported Wheeler in his recent failed campaigns for mayor and Jackson County executive.

Danny Boi, a radio personality for 96.5 the Buzz, is trying to get listeners to raise the $45,000 needed to cover the taxes and insurance. Already, more than $12,000 has been raised.

Boi said it's sad "that it's come to this." He said it's fortunate that something will be done and he hopes the public outcry caused the mortgage company to pull back from its foreclosure plans and give Wheeler the time he needs.

Wheeler believes the radio station's efforts made a difference, but he would rather see the donations go to a true charity like a Rotary youth camp fund rather than him.

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