Man disputes city's claim to house -

Man disputes city's claim to house

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

KINLOCH, Mo ( -- There are questions about the property records in a St. Louis County community after a man insists he purchased a home from the City of Kinloch, even though Kinloch still holds the deed.

The house is on Schoolway Avenue in Kinloch. Gernice Gayfield signed a lease agreement in 2009. Since moving in, Gayfield says she paid rent to Alvernon McGee and called him for any repairs - never doubting that he was the owner.

Last week, Gernice Gayfield opened a letter from the City of Kinloch. It said that the house she was living in belonged to the city and the McGee didn't own it.

"It sounds like, I don't know, a lot of confusion," said Gayfield.

Gayfield contacted News 4, concerned that others may be in the same predicament.

The letter told her to go to city hall and sign a new lease with the city and start paying rent to Kinloch. Gayfield says the city also offered to charge her $50 less a month than what she paid McGee.

McGee insists he bought the house from the city in 2008. He showed News 4 a copy of a receipt and a check, written to the City of Kinloch for $11,000. McGee says he never received a deed for the house.

He says he spent an additional $20,000 renovating the house before renting it out. McGee says he doesn't remember if he signed a contract.

"Somebody got my money. You can see I paid for the house. Somebody has it," said McGee.

When News 4 went to the City of Kinloch, it was able to give few answers.

Kinloch said that MSD bills tipped the city off to the fact that a family was living in a city-owned house, (even though Gayfield obtained an occupancy permit).

A check of St. Louis County property records show that the City of Kinloch owns at least 250 properties, many are vacant lots. Kinloch's city attorney would only say that a new administration in the city is investigating the issue. When asked if other renters received letters from the city, the city attorney refused to answer.

"I'm not going to tell you that," said James Robinson.

Gayfield says that a city hall employee told her the city was looking at 90 properties, in question.

Robinson wouldn't address questions about McGee's $11,000 check, telling News 4 to ask the previous administration. Last year, Kinloch's former mayor, Kevin Conway, was sentenced to nearly two years in prison for stealing from the city.

This much we do know: no one paid property taxes for the house on Schoolway Avenue in recent years.



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