KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The home of former Kansas City Mayor Charles B. Wheeler was to be auctioned off Thursday afternoon, which would have left Wheeler and his ailing wife homeless. But late Thursday morning — after Wheeler gave several live interviews with FOX 4 News, mortgage company James B. Nutter suspended the auction in good faith until Wheeler and his wife could find another residence.
Before the mortgage company made the announcement, Wheeler spoke with FOX 4’s Matt Stewart outside his home.
“There’s going to be a hearing at the Jackson County Court as to the legality of James B. Nutter to force this sale on the courthouse steps, which is so embarrassing to anybody that has to go through it,” Wheeler said.
The Wheelers have lived in the home on West 53rd Street near Loose Park in Kansas City, Mo., for the past 40 years. After Mrs. Wheeler fell ill, they took out a reverse mortgage with James B. Nutter, cashing in on the equity of their home, but they have struggled to pay their property taxes. James B. Nutter paid the property taxes for the Wheelers and now wants to be reimbursed.
“The matter of my wife having heart disease has caused a lot of problems, as you might imagine, and since elderly people are going through this (meaning reverse mortgage struggles) all over the country, this is a nationwide story,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler planned to fight the auction of his home with the help of two distinguished attorneys.
“I’ve brought two very fine attorneys, expert in the abuse of reverse mortgage law and [will] help me educate the public on the problem,” he said.
The Wheelers currently owe around $40,000 in back property taxes. According to Jackson County tax records, the home is worth around $620,000.
Wheeler said he and his wife plan to move into a smaller house in July and wants James B. Nutter to hold off until then — something they later agreed to do.
Referring to his wife, Wheeler said, “She’s not doing well with the second story steps, and we’re looking for a ranch house.” Chuckling he added, “so if anybody wants to show me a ranch house, I’ll look at it.”
In a statement emailed to FOX 4 News Thursday morning, Jim Nutter Sr. said:
The last thing we want to do is to foreclose on anyone. Our mission for 62 years at this company has been to help people purchase the home they want, and to help them stay there as long as they want. We have done everything we could, for the longest time, to help Charlie Wheeler keep his home. It is sad, but years of non-payment of property taxes, as required by law, makes it difficult for us to help him anymore. The best thing for Charles to do is find a place to live that is smaller, more manageable and more affordable, and we would be happy to help him do that.
Wheeler has an extensive history in Kansas City. He served in the Navy and Air Force, has both his medical and law degrees, and he served as mayor of Kansas City in the 70s. He played a major role in the construction of Kemper Arena, Bartle Hall, Truman Sports Complex and Worlds of Fun.
A Kansas City group has started a fundraising campaign on behalf of the Wheelers. Their goal is to raise $45,000. For more information, visit helpcharleskc.com.
Initial interview with Wheeler Thursday morning: