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Bishop Tony Caldwell explains video of him at valve where KC Water removed meter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- KC Water shut off water Friday to a home where they had already removed the meter and a department spokesperson says someone had turned the water on illegally.

FOX 4 has obtained video of community activist and Bishop Tony Caldwell seemingly turning on water at that home.

The video was provided by a tenant who had just signed a lease to rent a home from Eternal Life Church and T Caldwell Management.

The single father found the home at 56th and Swope Parkway on Craigslist. The man who asked he not be identified says he gave more than a $1,000 cash to Bishop Tony Caldwell.

“I was under the impression he owned this property. He was like I work with a church, I’m a Bishop immediately you are like halo," the man said.

But late last month when he contacted KC Water, he was told the meter had been removed because of delinquent payments, and property records showed the home still belonged to someone else, not affiliated with Caldwell or his church.

When he told Caldwell about the issue, he says Caldwell told him, “I got a guy who works for the city he can come out and turn your water on and if he doesn’t come because he’s busy, I’ll come out myself.”

Shortly after that the tenant started researching Caldwell and found out last year he and a development company were ordered to pay 50 homeowners more than $100,000. The Missouri Attorney General's office says they were deceived into purchasing uninhabitable properties.

So when the tenant went to the home and found Caldwell there with a tool, he says he started recording.

“There’s no way for the water company to know that your water is on or off once I turn it on on the outside," Caldwell says in the video. "Somebody took the meter out and ran straight pipe.”

When asked about his involvement with the property, Caldwell said he only does maintenance for church properties.

“We didn’t turn on the water there was a leak in the basement we turned it off to make sure it didn’t flood,” Caldwell explained.

Caldwell is seen with a tool in the ground at the valve. Shortly afterwards when the man recording goes inside the water turns on.

“You see that right, he just turned that water on,” the man explains.

After he goes back outside to tell Caldwell he successfully turned on the water Caldwell replies, “I’m going to check for leaks before I leave it on.”

The tenant, sensing something was wrong, asked for his rent and deposit back and finally tracked Caldwell down at an event at Freedom Fountain where Caldwell was collecting names for a memorial for victims of violence.

“He just preyed on the situation. You are using the church and you are using the fact you are seemingly trying to help people and some sort of community activist and you are getting over on people," the man said.

He says he had to fight to get a full refund because the church and Caldwell said they lost money by it being off the market.

An administrator at Eternal Life and the seller both said Friday the deal for the church to purchase the house hadn't been finalized and they were waiting on paperwork.

The home is up for rent and back on Craigslist.

However potential applicants should be aware KC Water filled that valve Friday with gravel, so no one should be able to turn on the water without them knowing it.