Million dollar tax bill owed in St. Louis Co. by California inve - KMOV.com

Million dollar tax bill owed in St. Louis Co. by California investor impacts hundreds of properties

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Ed Renwick. Credit: KMOV Ed Renwick. Credit: KMOV
NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) -

A California investor has spent years purchasing homes in St. Louis County.

According to St. Louis County property records, Raineth Housing owns at least 614 properties in north St. Louis County, although the company’s CEO concedes the number is higher.

Tax records indicate Raineth Housing is delinquent on at least 558 houses, with nearly 350 homes owing back taxes for three years.

News 4 Investigates traveled to Los Angeles to ask Raineth’s CEO why his unpaid tax bill totals more than $1.1 million in St. Louis County.

Ed Renwick says “We’re behind on our taxes because we are behind in our profitability.”

The delinquent tax bill has a direct impact on local school districts.

Jennings Superintendent Art McCoy says, “The amount of funds you discussed would make a tremendous impact because it would be equivalent to two or three teachers, maybe more in funding.”

Raineth Housing owes more than $268,000 in unpaid taxes on houses in the Jennings district.

According to St. Louis County’s Director of Revenue Greg Quinn, more than 50 percent of real estate taxes go to local school districts.

Quinn said, “When people don’t pay their taxes those districts have less revenue for which to supply services.”

Unpaid Raineth Housing tax debts are piling up in several North County school districts.

  • Ferguson/Florissant $249,904
  • Riverview Gardens $267,051
  • Normandy $257,925

Ed Renwick says he’s raising capital and intends to pay his tax bill.

He adds, “We were surprised at the challenges of operating the business.”

Some Raineth Housing tenants receive federal tax dollars to pay their rent on Raineth owned homes.

In St. Louis, the city's housing authority director provided these totals paid to Raineth Housing over the last two years:

In St. Louis County the vouchers, known commonly as Section 8, totaled approximately $555,000 in 2017.

Susan Rollins, the Executive Director of the St. Louis County Housing Authority, expressed concerns over the delinquent tax bill, and said, “That adds insult to injury I believe. You should take more interest in paying your taxes if you receive a subsidy from the federal government for your business.”

Renwick tells News 4 he has not made any money as the CEO of Raineth Housing, and says rehabbing, repairs and maintenance account for much of his budget.

In his Brentwood, California living room Renwick said, “We had a choice, stop investing in our tenants or fall behind in taxes, and we chose to fall behind in taxes.”

According to some online real estate sites, Renwick’s home is valued at more than $3 million.

Unlike the tax bills on many of his St. Louis County properties, the tax bill on Renwick’s California home is paid in full according to Los Angeles County records.

News 4 pressed Renwick about when his St. Louis County tax bill will get paid.

Renwick expects the bill to be paid prior to August, that’s when St. Louis County will auction nearly 350 of his homes for tax debt dating back three years.

He is adamant about holding on to his properties and does not intend for any of them to be sold this summer.

Renwick also says he will pay the debt back with interest and penalties, and that means local school districts will receive more money than the original tax debt owed.

In Jennings, the district operates on a tight margin.

Dr. Art McCoy says the average home sells for between $35,000 and $40,000, which means real estate taxes collected are lower than many other St. Louis County school districts.

McCoy says, “We would rather have the money on time then money two or three years delayed because two or three years delayed delays the services.”

Renwick tells News 4 he would like to purchase more homes in the St. Louis area and says he’s invested millions of dollars in North County.

Raineth Housing also owns hundreds of homes in Kansas City and Cincinnati. 

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