KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We’re now hearing from the owner of one of the businesses a Gladstone woman is accused of trying to burn down.
Mia Jamison is facing federal charges after allegedly trying to hire someone to torch a building she owned near 39th and Bell.
The 67-year-old was in the middle of a lengthy legal battle over her building’s ownership. Just as it appeared she was about to lose everything, federal officials say she plotted to burn the building so she could collect insurance money.
Toma Umud is taking final inventory at World of Spirits at 39th and Bell in preparation for new owners to take over. He knew this was coming after a court judgment was made against his landlord, Mia Jamison, months ago.
“We heard she lost ownership of the store, and we were given notice to leave end of April 2019,” Umud said.
Umud said he’s been paying rent to the new owners for month, but said Jamison was still trying to get in the way.
A laundromat next door closed in December, apparently tired of putting up with her. Neighboring businesses even called the cops, accusing Jamison of trespassing.
“It was bizarre. I believe the more the case went on in the court and the more she learned she was going to lose the property, her mental state changed a lot,” Umud said.
He said just two days ago, Jamison showed up, demanding she needed to remove the store’s surveillance cameras.
Then Monday night, he learned she’d been arrested and is facing federal charges in an apparent arson-for-hire plot.
“I’m glad they caught her,” Umud said.
According to court records, Jamison asked a friend if they’d be interested in burning the building. When that person said no, she offered $1,000 if they could find someone who would.
Jamison apparently believed if the building burned before the end of April, she could cash in the property’s $1.5 million insurance policy. But court records show she didn’t actually own the property as of April 2.
“I don’t know what made her think she still owns the property and she can make such an action here,” Umud said.
Jamison’s friend called police. An undercover federal agent met with her to set a trap. The undercover officer agreed to burn the building for a cash down payment, plus a 10% cut of her insurance money.
“She was trying to burn it down while we were working on the warehouse. We could be here and not just that. We have all alcohol here and next door is sushi place with obviously oils and everything. It would be a catastrophic fire here,” Umud said.
Federal investigators confronted Jamison on Monday, telling her much of the building had burned, and that the fire had been set intentionally. Jamison “indicated she was shocked to hear” this.
Investigators asked if she’d hired anyone to set the fire. When she denied it, investigators admitted there was no fire. Jamison acted relieved, but then declined to answer more questions and was arrested.
She’s now requested a public defender. No court date has been set.
The building’s new owners are set to officially take over World of Spirits on Thursday.