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Gladstone mom battles apartment complex to get money back after discovering health concerns

GLADSTONE, Mo. – A woman who moved out of her Independence apartment after her son was reportedly set on fire is once again looking for a new place to live -- but this time she almost had to forfeit thousands of dollars.

Ashley Lyons was desperate to find a new home for her son Julien and two other children. In August, Lyons told FOX4 a child at the Hawthorne Place Apartments in Independence doused Julien with fingernail polish and set him on fire.

“When Julien got burned, I had less than 48 hours to find a place to move to,” she said.

So she moved her family to the Gladstone Meadows Apartments on N.E. 70th Street.

“I thought moving up here would be a better option,” Lyons said. “At the time, it was close to my mom who helped me with doctor’s appointments and (with) Julien.”

Lyons paid the apartment complex $22,000 to cover two years of rent, but she only signed a one-year lease.

Ashley Lyons

The money came from a GoFundMe campaign for her son’s recovery. She said she spent the rest of the money raised on medical expenses and reliable transportation, so Julien had a way to and from the treatment.

“I wanted a stable environment because, with the GoFundMe, I know a lot of people had helped him through his recovery,” she said.

But the metro mom said when she started getting harassed by her neighbors, the Gladstone apartment complex moved her to two other units onsite.

Then she worried about Julien’s health when they moved into the last unit -- she said they found mice droppings in the wall.

“Anything can cause an infection,” she said. “I was guaranteed that this was going to be a set-up, established unit and healthy for Julien, and then I moved in and none of it was.”

Lyons said she asked the property manager to keep the remaining balance due on her lease and simply give her back the extra money she had paid ahead.

“I’ve had them tell me a hundred times that they cannot do it. They won’t do,” she said.

When FOX4 Problem Solvers stopped by the leasing office Tuesday afternoon, we were told no one would be available to talk about the situation.

But 10 minutes after FOX4 left, Lyons said she got a call from the property manager informing her that they were going pay her roughly $15,000.

“If I wouldn’t have reached out to you guys, I don’t think they would’ve ever given that money back,” she said.

Despite apartment hunting for the second time in less than a year, Lyons said she won’t be jumping into just anything this time around.

“I don’t want to keep having problems,” Lyons said. “I just want to be happy and settled.”

FOX4 looked at the Better Business Bureau score for the Gladstone Meadows Apartments and found that the complex has an “F” rating.

Julien has undergone six surgeries since he was burned and has many more to go, according to Lyons.

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