Former Kansas City mayor will keep his home, but hopes to change laws after mortgage issues

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Former Kansas City mayor Dr. Charles Wheeler will keep his home, for now at least. 

On the day his home was set to be auctioned by J.B. Nutter, the 86-year-old sat at a reserved table at Westport Flea Market -- the table even had a plaque with Wheeler's name on it. He sat talking to colleagues about the city he loves.

But he had a lot more on his plate than the usual.

James B. Nutter and Company was set to auction off the home on the courthouse steps Thursday afternoon, but halted the auction and issued a statement.

Read: James B. Nutter's statement about halting auction |

"It's a great embarrassment," Wheeler said.

Wheeler got a reverse mortgage loan about 10 years ago, but he got behind on bills while caring for his ailing wife.

"It's been a great house all these years but she (wife) needs to be in a ranch house," he said.

Wheeler thinks the reverse mortgage industry is hard for anyone to understand, especially senior citizens.

"They (mortgage companies) lead you to believe they solve elderly couple's problems, which is proven to not be the case," he said.

Wheeler wants legislative action to change reverse mortgage loans, so elderly folks like him are not caught off guard. He's called upon a team of lawyers to help him get his message to the state of Missouri that the reverse mortgage loan process should be more like Kansas' reverse mortgage loan process.

"Kansas has better laws than Missouri; let's catch up with Kansas," he said. "The problems with reverse mortgages are going to take years to solve.

Wheeler considers himself lucky -- he has a city pension to pay for rent on a new home. He hopes other elderly couples will learn from his experience.

A local radio station, 96.5 the buzz FM had raised $12,575 by 4:30 p.m. Thursday for Wheeler. The station plans to continue the fundraising.

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"I appreciate help that's come at me from all parts of the community," Wheeler said.

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