KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kenneth Personett can appreciate the beauty of an old home. He renovated the one he shares with his wife in Liberty.
So when Personett got married last year, he searched for a historic setting. He found one in the Van Noy Mansion in Swope Park. If only he had known more about the man who runs the mansion, Michael Ledman. He didn't and he's paying the price.
"I'm not saying don't use this venue," Personett said. "But if you do use this venue, know that you are not going to get your deposit back."
That's a $350 refundable damage deposit. If there's no damage, it's supposed to be returned within one month of the event. Personett's wedding was more than five months ago and he's still waiting.
He said reaching Ledman isn't easy.
"I tried to call him five or six times on my cell and never got a hold of him," Personett said.
The he tried using his dad's phone, a number that Ledman didn't know.
"Sure enough, first call I reach him," said Personett, who was told by Ledman that his deposit was already in the mail.
But when, after two weeks, it didn't arrive. Ledman called again. This time on his mom's phone.
"'Hey, I haven't seen my money,'" Personett said he told Ledman. "'Oh the accountant has it,'" Ledman said he was told. "'What's your accountant's name?' 'Oh I can't give out my accountant's name and number.'"
And so it goes. A new excuse every time Personett talked to Ledman.
So who is Michael Ledman?
He's a former felon. After spending five months in federal prison in the 1990s for mail fraud, Ledman reappeared as an investment guru advising people how to make a fortune buying and selling foreclosed homes. He even had his own radio show. But then he was charged with felony theft for bilking an 80-year-old woman out of her home.
Ledman agreed to repay $50,000 in exchange for having the charges dropped. That was about eight years ago. He still owes $12,000 and the charges are still on the books.
Last April, the Kansas Securities Commissioner ordered Ledman to repay $75,000 to three other investors it accused him of defrauding. He has yet to make a single payment.
FOX 4 Problem Solvers decided to pay Ledman a visit.
Ledman told us he was short on cash because the event business was not as successful as he had hoped, and he had used the deposits to keep the water and lights on in the historic mansion. He said he planned to return everyone's deposit with interest once he sold a piece of property he owned.
However, when we asked where the property he's selling was, he wouldn't tell us. He said he owned it with an investor.
When we asked who the investor was, he wouldn't tell us.
All of which makes us concerned that Personett and others who have written Problem Solvers with similar complaints, may never see their money.
As legal filings show, Ledman has a history of keeping money that doesn't belong to him. He promises us this time he'll keep his word. We hope he's telling the truth. We'll let you know what happens.
By the way, the Van Noy Mansion is for sale. Ledman told us he already has found a buyer who promises to honor all existing contracts for events.