TRENTON, Mo. — A faith healer, who said he has helped cure people of everything from Lou Gehrig’s disease to leukemia, is under attack from tenants living in the multiple rentals he owns. They wonder why he won’t cure what’s ailing his apartments where they say the roofs leak, the porches sag and the pipes freeze.
Natasha Ingersoll said you need to invest in a few buckets before you rent from Bob Morgans.
“My kitchen roof is leaking,” said Ingersoll, who shares the home with her boyfriend and two children. “My bathroom roof is leaking. My pipes keep freezing because of a hole in the side of the house.”
Yet Ingersoll said complaints to have landlord have been ignored.
“He goes around preaching about God, but lets us live in a house like this,” Ingersoll said.
Landlord Bob Morgans is a faith healer. He travels the country curing the sick. If you live in Kansas City, you many have seen his truck. It’s often parked near 31st street and has a large billboard in the back advertising his ministry.
But in Trenton, renters say Morgans’ reputation isn’t for spreading the word, but for spreading blight. Morgans owns 46 homes in a town of just over 6,000 people. Even Trenton’s city administrator acknowledges that many of his properties have issues.
If you bring in a low-income, people in Trenton say you are almost forced to rent from Morgans.
“He owns most of the places in Trenton,” said Nellie Vanhoozer, who’s being evicted from the apartment she rents from Morgans for using a space heater.
“I went without heat for two-and-a-half days,” Vanhoozer said.
The heat now works again, but she has blankets over the front door to keep the cold out. Her eviction hearing is this month and she hasn’t been able to find another place to live that she can afford.
“Me and my granddaughter may have to go out to the hotel for a while until I find something,” Vanhoozer said.
Her lease gives her 10 days to get out, a time frame that’s illegal under Missouri law, which requires landlords to give tenants at least 30 days notice.
So what does Preacher Morgans have to say? We found him working on another home he owns just a few blocks away.
“I own 46 properties and I work on them every day,” Morgans said.
He blames his renters for the problems. He said he’s evicting Vanhoozer because she put her electric space heater near the thermostat, shutting off the furnace to another unit in the same building and freezing the pipes.
“She froze the pipes four times and I finally had to evict her,” Morgans said,.
When we asked Morgans about the broken pipes and leaky roof in Ingersoll’s home, he denied there was a leak.
“They all have new roofs,” Morgans said, adding that that any problems she was having were caused by Natasha. Plus, he said he stopped working on her home after she stopped paying rent.
Natasha said she’s been withholding rent since January until he fixes her home.
“But it made the situation worse,” Ingersoll said, who has now find a new place to live in Chillicothe.
Morgans said all his properties pass city inspection before he rents them. Trenton’s code enforcement officer agreed, but said he’s visited both Natasha’s and Nellie’s homes recently and observed multiple violations. Some were caused by renters, including a broken window, and some were not. For example, it’s illegal in Trenton to have one thermostat controlling multiple units, like the one in Nellie’s apartment.
Morgans said he does the best he can to take care of all his properties, but he’s got a ministry to look after.
“I’ve been gone preaching in Texas for the last two weeks,” Morgans said.
But now he’s back in Trenton and back at work on his rental homes. He said he’s recently bought even more homes and will soon expand his rental empire. Meanwhile Nellie Vanhoozer said she may be forced to leave the town she loves to find a place to live.