Problem Solvers Hall of Shame: Metro landlord leaves duped tenants out more than $15,000

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A metro family is out more than $15,000. That's what they gave a Northland woman to rent a house for a year. But they never got the house, and now they can't get their money back either.

“It’s a beautiful home,” Kristi Slusher said as she thumbed through the dozens of photos on her phone sent to her by the owner.

The Kansas City rental house was perfect for her family, and owner Miesha Caldwell promised it would be available Feb. 15.

Slusher was so confident in the deal that she paid Caldwell a year in advance for the rent -- $15,600 -- and signed the lease.

“We drove by, and it looked great,” Slusher said. “I made sure she owned the home, and she did.”

But when the move-in date arrived, the family that had been renting the house was still living in it.

“Give me 10 days, and I will have those people out,” Slusher said Caldwell told her. The owner said the family was being evicted.

“Ten days came and went and they were still there," Slusher said.

Slusher, who at this point had been forced to move into a hotel with her family, was getting suspicious. She checked court records, and there
was no eviction filed against the family living in the rental home.

“I told Miesha we need our money back,” Slusher said.

Caldwell gave her $1,000 but said she’d need more time to issue a full refund.

“She said it would be 10 days for the money to get here," Slusher said.

Caldwell even sent her a tracking number, but the number didn’t work. Caldwell blamed the bank.

“The bank told her it would be 10 days before the check completely cleared,” Slusher said Caldwell claimed.

Two more months passed. There was still no money. This time Caldwell had a new excuse, Slusher said.

“She said she got hurt at work. Somebody blacked out, fell, forklift hit her and she got a hole in her leg and broke her toe,” Slusher said, shaking her head in disbelief.

Slusher said Caldwell claimed she couldn’t deliver the refund because she was stuck in rehab for her injuries. But it must have been a fast recovery because that same week Caldwell posted a photo of her delivering a cake she’d decorated.

More than three months have now passed and Slusher and her family have found a new home. But the whole experience has been financially devastating, she said.

That’s why she called FOX4 Problem Solvers. We paid a visit to Caldwell’s Northland home, but no one came to the door. We stopped by the bakery Caldwell is opening a few miles away but also couldn’t find anyone.

We finally reached Caldwell by phone. She promised to drop a check by the station the very next day, reimbursing Slusher in full. But Caldwell was a no show.

Slusher has reported Caldwell to Kansas City Police who are now investigating the case. As far as Miesha Caldwel? She’s an official member of the FOX4 Problem Solver Hall of Shame.