Previously, this blog has informed of the risks of renting to own (a real estate deal often called a “lease option”) and has linked to news articles about people who brought cases after being victimized by real estate scams in the St. Louis area. Another Missouri rent-to-own lawsuit is very informative. The Plaintiff (the person who sued) was Jodi Grillo, and the Defendants were Samuel “Trey” Smith, Treadstone Properties LLC, Joe McCall, Chamberlain Holdings LLC, Brandt Stiles, Tim VanMatre, Michelle Kile, Stivan Group LLC, Stivan Management LLC, and Stivan Realty LLC. Normally there are not this many Defendants in a consumer protection lawsuit, but in this case it was alleged that there were several people who were involved in a deceptive scheme.
Jodi Grillo filed a lawsuit against Samuel "Trey" Smith,
Treadstone Properties LLC, and several other individuals and
companies under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act
(MMPA), alleging fraud, deception and unfair treatment in
regards to a rent-to-own ("lease option") deal in St. Louis.
The Plaintiff in this case was renting to own in Sunset Hills, MO, and originally filed a lawsuit in St. Louis County. Several of the Defendants were from O’Fallon, MO. Eventually the case was transferred to St. Charles County. In all these places and throughout Missouri, Khatskin Law believes that rent-to-own housing scams are a serious problem.
For an interesting read – and as a warning of what can go wrong and how you can be taken advantage of and mistreated if you purchase a lease option – look at the Complaint (case number 1211-CC01148).
It is important to point out that all the statements contained in the Complaint are merely allegations, and have not been proven. The Defendants denied most of the allegations in their Answer, and it is believed that the case settled out of court. Also, certain parts of the Complaint that have to do with jurisdiction, the caption at the top of the first page, and where the attorney signs, have been omitted (where these sections were, it instead says "[OMITTED]"). To read the full, officially filed Complaint, visit the Courthouse.