Neighbors are shocked at the price the miserable house sold for.
With rotted wood and water damage, with soffits collapsed under the weight of raccoon feces, an Overland Park home belonging to, but long-abandoned by, former Kansas City Chiefs star Tony Richardson has sold for $278,000, county records show.
A blight to the neighborhood for years, the property at 8006 W. 121st Terrace went into tax foreclosure and sold in July at a county auction. The sale was recorded in Johnson County Court on Aug. 6. The former Chiefs fullback known as T-Rich — an 11-season player from 1995 to 2005 and a member of the team’s Hall of Fame — had failed to pay some $48,000, at least seven years’ worth, of property taxes and fines.
Considering the damage to the home, which for years has had no residents other than families of raccoons coming in and out through holes in the roof, a number of neighbors thought it might sell for between $50,000 and $100,000.
“The soffit above the front porch has collapsed for the third time because of the amount of feces from the wildlife that’s occupied the attic,” said Sheila Rodriguez, a neighbor and a board member with the Lexington Park Home Owners Association. “There’s an entire family, an extended family, of the largest raccoons you’ve ever seen. They’re living large.”
Rodriguez is also one of two candidates, along with Sam Passer, up for election in November to represent Overland Park’s 5th Ward on the City Council.
“The last time it collapsed, the feces was about — well, I’m 5 foot 2 — it was about up to my thigh. That might give you a mental image of what the interior might look like,” she said.
Damaged shingles cover the roof. Neighbors have worked to keep the yard from overgrowing. For safety, the city of Overland Park added beams to an elevated deck so it wouldn’t crash to the ground. A sagging fence has been removed. Burglars stripped away copper wiring. A view through a back door shows a carpet peppered with rodent feces and a black water mark rising up a family room wall.
“Its’ easily got $150,000 worth of repairs,” said Rodriguez. “It’s got to have black mold. I mean, it’s got to be riddled with it.”
The new owner
According to Johnson County officials, the home sold to Miluska Del Pozo of Leawood, who has a business, Treerange Properties LLC, registered with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office. She said her family owns a number of rental properties in the Kansas City area.
She used to live around Lexington Park and, for a couple of years, had been keeping an eye on the 121st Terrace home for possible sale. She had no idea who Tony Richardson was until she tried through her real estate agent to contact him and ask him if he was willing to sell. She never could reach him.
Then she saw the property up for tax auction. By Kansas law it takes at least three years for a home owing back taxes to be put up for sale. Del Pozo knew it needed work. She’d seen the shake shingle roof with holes in it. But she’d never been inside.
Legally, the home still belonged to Richardson until the sale was approved by the court. Bidders, as policies spell out, are not allowed inside a property sold at auction unless they have permission from the owner.
It was only after she bought the home, she said, that her family went online and found photos and a video of raccoons crawling into the home. Some photos have been shared on a private neighborhood Facebook page set up as “T.rich to T.rash.”
“After I purchased it, I told my family — my husband, my brothers — and my husband came over and said, ‘Do you know what you bought? Look at this.‘”
He showed her the photos.
“I was like, oh, my gosh!”
But Del Pozo said she is not overly concerned.
“I know I paid a lot. More than I should,” she said. “At the same time, people (bidders) kept pushing up, pushing up on that house. … I was surprised to see it on the tax sale, to be honest.”
She nonetheless sees it as an investment in a home just east of Antioch Road, not far from major companies, hospitals, highways, good schools, shopping.
“The market keeps going up and up and up,” she said.
She estimates she’ll have to put $60,000 to $80,000 into it — at least. She is not sure, yet, whether she will renovate the house for rental, flip it or rehab it for her father to live in.
“We’ll have to see what’s inside,” she said.
To be sure, the real estate market in Kansas City has been so brisk in recent months that many houses are being bought at unexpected prices regardless of condition. In June, in Westwood Park, just southwest of the County Club Plaza, two notorious “rat house” bungalows, located side by side, sold out of foreclosure to a real estate investor for $250,000 each.
One is being torn down, with a new home planned for the site. The other is being renovated for sale or rental.
In Johnson County, homes in July sold for an average of $427,000, according to the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors. The amount is $34,000 more than this time a year ago. The number of homes available is down 35% compared to last year. With less inventory, sellers are receiving their asking prices and more.
Tony Richardson’s woes
Richardson came to the Chiefs from the Dallas Cowboys in 1995 and worked his way into becoming a two-time Pro Bowler and a Kansas City icon. In 2005 he threw the switch for the Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center.
The following year he moved on to the Minnesota Vikings and later played for the New York Jets. He retired in 2011 and stayed in New York — his address is currently listed as Long Island City. In 2016, he was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame.
“Richardson made as much of an impact in the Kansas City community through his Rich in Spirit Foundation as he did on the football field,” The Star said then. “His foundation benefited the Special Olympics, Athletes in Action, City Union Mission, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City and other organizations.”
But during his years in Kansas City, trouble was brewing. Richardson bought the house on 121st Terrace not long after arriving in town. He lived there for several years before buying another home in Leawood in 2003 on 139th Street, at which point he put the 121st Terrace property up for rent.
Richardson borrowed $741,000 to purchase the Leawood home. That house, in 2015, was also bought out of foreclosure after Richardson failed to pay the nearly $600,000 he owed on the house.
In 2015 in Jackson County, he was ordered to pay Halls, the department store, $20,000 he owed. In 2014, he was also sued in Johnson County for paternity and child support of a daughter.
The Star’s phone messages to Richardson last week were not returned.
The “raccoon house,” meantime, continues to have a $382,000 lien, placed on it in 2010 by the Internal Revenue Service, also for unpaid taxes. The federal government has 120 days, until Nov. 10, to decide whether to contest the sale.
“It’s very rare that that happens,” said Janee Hanzlick, who represents the area on the Johnson County Commission. “But you still have to go through the waiting period.”
After that date, Del Pozo will be granted the deed to the property, ending a saga for the neighborhood.
“I commend the neighbors for their patience with all of this,” Hanzlick said. “It’s been a long process.”