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Controversial Wyandotte County lake house up for rent

Only Unified Government employees can apply
Posted: 7:34 PM, Nov 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-04 20:34:18-05
Too sweet a deal? KCK Police Chief lives in UG-owned lake house

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A lake house at the center of a criminal investigation is now on the market for rent.

As the 41 Action News Investigators first reported last year, former Kansas City, Kansas, Police Chief Terry Zeigler worked out a deal to live in the home with Unified Government Administrator Doug Bach.

That deal included thousands of dollars in rent credits for labor, materials and gas mileage to fix up the home at Wyandotte County Lake Park.

Zeigler moved out in September in coordination with his retirement after moving into the home in January 2018.

However, the lease doesn't expire until the end of the year.

According to UG Spokesman Mike Taylor, Zeigler paid the remaining amount of rent he owed for the rest of the year before he moved out.

As the 41 Action News Investigators previously reported, Zeigler had so much money in rent credits, he owed less than $1,300 on the two-year lease.

On Monday, the 41 Action News Investigators had a chance to look inside the house for the first time.

"This is a lot of the work that Chief Zeigler did, all new appliances, counter tops, re-did cabinets, refrigerator," Taylor said as he gave a tour of the house.

The UG held an open house Monday and will hold another one Tuesday to rent the place.

But only other UG employees can apply.

"Traditionally, we've never just opened it up to the general public to rent,” Taylor said. “If we didn't have any interest from employees, we haven't ruled out that idea.”

"They should open it up to the people that own it, which are not just Unified Government employees, but everybody in the county," local activist Janice Witt said.

Witt first raised concerns last year about the lake house deal.

She and her husband Ron said they saw UG employees fixing up the home both inside and outside before Zeigler moved in.

The 41 Action News Investigators also reported last year that Zeigler obtained thousands of dollars in rent credits on paid days off, including a sick day.

It prompted Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree to ask the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to look at the deal for possible double dipping.

"There's one set of rules for the ruling class and then there's another set of rules for those of us who pay for the ruling class to live at their leisure," Witt said.

When the 41 Action News Investigators asked Taylor if the UG made any mistakes in renting the place to Chief Zeigler, which included Zeigler living in the home for eight months before a formal lease was signed, Taylor replied, "No, I don't think so".

Zeigler has maintained he did nothing wrong.

He also said KBI investigators told him the same thing.

KBI completed its investigation and turned over its report to Dupree in May.

To date, Dupree has taken no action in the case.

The 41 Action News Investigators reached out to Dupree's office to see if the case is still open, but were unable to reach anyone for comment.

As for the current attempt to rent the lake house, Taylor said several UG employees have already filled out applications to live there.

The rent is $1,100 a month.

An $1,100 deposit is required, along with a $35 application fee to run a credit and background check.

Zeigler wasn't required to give a deposit or fill out an application with a fee.

Taylor also confirmed the lake house currently is not zoned for residential living.

He said the UG Planning Commission will consider rezoning just the lake house and nearby property residential on Nov. 12.

Taylor also said the UG's Rental Office will conduct an inspection this week on the property and issue a rental license.

Because the house is located within the park, which closes every night at midnight, Taylor said any new tenant will be issued a key to the locked gate nearest the house.

He said it will be the responsibility of the tenant to re-lock the gate if it's opened when the park is closed.

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