Foreclosure of Leawood retirement community may force seniors out of paid-for homes

LEAWOOD, Kan. - Dozens of people who bought in to a Leawood retirement community called Grace Gardens could be forced out of the homes they've already paid for.

The 47 residents received a summons dated April 9 informing them Cornerstone Bank is foreclosing on the mortgage with Baptist Senior Ministries, a subsidiary of Baptist Foundation of Kansas City. According to the summons, they have 21 days to respond or be evicted. The bank expects the loan to be paid in full, which is more than $4 million.

Residents told 41 Action News they bought in to the community because they loved the area, and that these were quality homes. The agreement stated Grace Gardens would only keep 10 percent of their deposit, and the rest of it would go to the residents' estates when they passed away. The amount of the deposit ranged between $200,000 and $300,000.

"We're supposed to get 90 percent of our deposit back, and the money is gone," William Akright lamented.

Akright was one of the first residents to be served the summons in early April.

"As far as I know, we were one of the few that were served it personally," he said.

His major concern is with what the foundation and the ministries did with all the money they paid.

"Anybody else would have taken our deposits and put them in an escrow account someplace and lived off the interest and stuff like that, but we don't know where it went," Akright explained.

41 Action News reached out to Baptist Senior Ministries and was told to contact their attorney, Thomas O'Donnell with Polsinelli. O'Donnell declined our request for an on-camera interview, but told us they are trying to reach a deal to keep everyone in their homes.

But residents are skeptical.

"Other people think they are crooks, and I do not think they are crooks," Akright said. "I think they just got in over their head."

A group of the residents got together and hired a lawyer to make sure they are protected from what might come next.

"None of us want to move. We don't want to be kicked out," said resident Paul Morgan. "I'm 84 years old, and I'm planning on staying here the rest of my life."

Morgan and his wife have barely been in their home three years. He's disappointed he hasn't been able to get ahold of anyone with Baptist Foundation of Kansas City or Baptist Senior Ministries. He tells us they share a board of directors.

"I'd like to know what a the Baptist Foundation has been doing," he said.

The residents are just holding out hope a new owner will come forward soon and save them from losing their homes.

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