Unpaid MSD bills total millions; some who owe most live out of t - KMOV.com

Unpaid MSD bills total millions; some who owe most live out of town

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Unpaid MSD bills Unpaid MSD bills
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO -

It's a bill Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) customers expect in their mailbox each month.

Many of those bills are simply ignored and go unpaid, and total approximately $76 million according to MSD spokesperson Lance LeComb. 

Lecomb told News 4, "When people who don't (pay) those who do pay artificially higher rates." 

The utility works with collection agencies and files lawsuits to recoup what's owed, but despite those efforts, some accounts remain delinquent for years. 

Cutting off sewer service by plugging a line is a possibility, but it's expensive and can create a public health hazard so it's used sparingly according to LeComb. 

News 4 requested a list of delinquent accounts and discovered some of the biggest debts are owed by out of state investors.

According to MSD records, the Spanish Cove Townhomes in north St. Louis County owes $158,262 in unpaid sewer bills on 101 different units.

Here is a map of those properties listing addresses and amounts owed:

MSD records indicate the bill is 588 days past due. 

Dina Brown is a Spanish Cove tenant. 

Brown's unpaid sewer bill totals more than $1500. 

Brown said, "Wow, yeah we do use a lot of water" but she had no idea her bill was unpaid. 

Several Spanish Cove residents told News 4 their sewer bill was included with their monthly rent payment. 

Some tenants at the complex receive federal housing subsidies to pay their monthly rent, which means some units are rented with federal tax dollars. 

According to the St. Louis County and City Housing Authorities, Spanish Cove received a combined $615,349 in federal rent payments in 2017. 

St. Louis County Housing Authority paid $426,834 

St. Louis City Housing Authority paid $188,515

St. Louis County property records reveal the tax bill for the Spanish Cove Apartments is sent to Denver, Colorado.

The tax bill lists the name CAG/R Investments. 

News 4 visited both Denver businesses in January to inquire about the delinquent bill but never received a follow-up response from either company. 

According to MSD, the bill remains delinquent. 

Another out of state investor that owes a large MSD bill is Raineth Housing. 

Raineth Housing's CEO lives in Los Angeles, but owns more than 600 single family homes in north St. Louis County. 

On Thursday, News 4 revealed the company also owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid real estate taxes on 558 housing units. 

The company's CEO told News 4, "Yes we are behind on our property taxes and behind on our sewer bills, and I feel terrible about it." 

Ed Renwick says he's raising capital and plans to pay the outstanding debts. 

Raineth's delinquent sewer bill is 999 days past due, and stands at $144,397.78. 

According to MSD records, the outstanding Raineth sewer bill impacts 200 properties.

Here is a map of those properties listing addresses and amounts owed:

Some debts owed to MSD are eventually collected.  

The list of delinquent accounts provided to News 4 originally included MC Thiel, an industrial plant located in north St. Louis. 

According to MSD records, MC Thiel's MSD bill was 488 days past due and totaled $144,426.48

A company attorney told News 4 his client "experienced a substantial and unexpected increase in its MSD bill without explanation." 

On January 31, MC Thiel delivered a cashiers check to MSD totaling $39,871. 

According to the company attorney, MC Thiel plans to pay the bill in full by the end of February. 

News 4 will continue to track delinquent sewer bills because those unpaid bills impact the amount you pay. 

Lance LeComb says the average ratepayer can expect to pay an extra $11 to $14 each year, but that amount can be higher depending on household size and usage.  

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