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Sen. Hawley pushes for federal investigation into TEH Realty

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Posted at 5:08 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 20:44:10-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mold, leaky roofs, bugs, no heat or air conditioning and threats of a power shutoff are just some of the complaints from tenants of the TEH Realty property group.

TEH Realty owns 11 properties in Missouri and Kansas, mostly for lower-income families.

Friday Missouri U.S. Senator Josh Hawley sent a letter urging the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Timothy Garrison and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to launch a federal investigation.

41 Action News has been following TEH Realty for months and talked with several tenants who expressed their concerns.

"My basement floods all the time, ruining my washer and dryer," said Edith Shepard, who lives at the Park Gates Apartments in Kansas City. "I tell my managers stuff but they can't do anything unless the owners give them funds to fix up our place."

Complaints such as those drew Sen. Hawley's attention. In his letter, he calls for interim relief including tenant protection vouchers for residents to find other housing and writes, in part, "taxpayer dollars should not go to landlords who do not provide even basic levels of acceptable housing."

The problem is so bad, the Housing Authority of Kansas City pulled its funding from TEH Realty properties. The funding totaled more than $600,000 in 2019. The housing authority also no longer allows its clients to live on TEH Realty properties.

"This is the first time in my history at the Housing Authority where we have done that. That has been so egregious of a lack of attention that we have essentially banned an owner and said we're not going to do business with you anymore," said Edwin Lowndes, director of the Housing Authority of Kansas City.

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Many tenants said they hope this is an eye-opener for the property group.

"You're making money off of us, but you're not doing nothing for us, and that's not fair," Shepard said.

41 Action News reached out to TEH Realty, but representatives from the company did not respond to requests for comments.