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T.E.H. Realty ordered to pay $52M in damages for conditions at KC apartment complex

Ruskin Place Apartments.png
Posted at 7:21 PM, Sep 16, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Jackson County judge agreed with tenants the Ruskin Place Apartments were no place for human habitation.

Judge Joel Fahnestock awarded more than $50 million in damages against KM-T.E.H. Realty 8, LLC and Michael Fein in a ruling filed Tuesday in Jackson County Court.

Court documents revealed the way the company dealt with its tenants.

Kelvin Lopez and his parents were shown a clean and habitable model unit in March 2019.

The family put down their security deposit and the problems began.

The documents state the landlords gave them a different apartment than the one they were shown.

The family's apartment had no heat or air conditioning, but did have mold, water leaks, roaches and rodents, the documents state.

In addition, homeless people were in and out of an apartment below the Lopez's.

Their complaints, according to court documents, were ignored and the landlord served an eviction notice despite the family's timely rental payments.

They had to hire an attorney and Lopez lost wages and suffered unending stress.

Another tenant living in an apartment with her four children dealt with a bathtub filled with black sewage.

The court documents state the woman and her children slept with the lights on to prevent more roaches from crawling on their bodies when they slept. The woman and her children left the apartment in June, and her security deposit was not returned, the court documents state.

KM 8's business model, according to court documents, is designed to insulate them from paying judgments.

The ruling also stated the company's management practices allowed them to maximize profit at the expense of the tenant's safety and well-being.

Neither Fein nor anyone from the company attended the trial.

Fein also faces federal criminal charges for wire fraud and bank fraud for bank loans made to T.E.H. Realty connected to apartment complex purchases in several cities, including St. Louis and Kansas City.