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The Lake News Online
  • Ex-Grain Valley mayor Gildehaus faces felony charge

  • Steve Gildehaus, a former mayor of Grain Valley, has been charged with stealing funds from properties in Grain Valley he once managed.

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  • Steve Gildehaus, a former mayor of Grain Valley, has been charged with stealing funds from properties in Grain Valley he once managed.
    Gildehaus, 61, now a developer and real estate businessman in Grain Valley, turned himself in to Grain Valley police Tuesday afternoon, posted a $10,000 bond and was released. His first court date is scheduled for July 30.
    According to court documents, he is charged with stealing more than $44,000, which is a Class B felony, between Jan. 1, 2009, and Nov. 31, 2011. If convicted he faces a possible sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison.
    Gildehaus, who also owns Sterling National Real Estate Corp. in Grain Valley, managed four duplexes in two different buildings for Brian L. Warr through his property management company, SWG Investments. The duplex buildings are located in the 100 block of Broadway Street and the 1100 block of East R.D. Mize Road in Grain Valley.
    According to court documents and Grain Valley police detective Anthony Vigliaturo, Warr became depressed when his wife died in 2006. He retired shortly after that and stopped paying attention to his properties and investments. Warr’s health deteriorated and he spent three months in the hospital starting in March 2011. Warr eventually died on Oct. 30, 2011.
    While he was hospitalized, Warr’s daughter and son-in-law, who were trustees of Warr’s, began taking over managing the trust and properties that Warr had neglected. Vigliaturo said the son-in-law discovered that Gildehaus had not been paying the trust the money it was owed from the rent paid by tenants of those properties for nearly three years.
    “He was apparently taking money from the renters, money that he owed the trust, and he never paid it to the trust like he was contracted to do,” Vigliaturo said.
    Warr’s son-in-law contacted Gildehaus in September 2011 trying to get the money the trust was owed. According to court documents, Gildehaus apologized and admitted that he needed the money to “pay other obligations to keep his businesses afloat.” Court documents say Gildehaus told the son-in-law that he promised to stop keeping the money he collected from the tenants and deposit it into the trust’s account.
    After Warr died, the daughter and son-in-law told Gildehaus that when he collected rent to immediately deposit it into the trust’s account at the Bank of Grain Valley. Court documents say Gildehaus failed to do this and kept the rent payments collected in October and November 2011. The son-in-law then terminated Gildehaus’ contract to manage the properties and told the tenants he was no longer the property manager.
    The daughter and son-in-law reported the theft on Sept. 26, 2012, and Vigliaturo said it took him eight months to complete the “complex” investigation. Vigliaturo determined the amount allegedly stolen was $44,697.79 between January 2009 and November 2011.
    Gildehaus served four terms as mayor of Grain Valley in the 1980s. He has also was a charter member and president of the Grain Valley Chamber of Commerce and has served as a member of the board of directors for the Truman Heartland Community Foundation.
    Page 2 of 2 - He was recognized with a Pillar of the Community Award by the Grain Valley Chamber of Commerce in January 2005 and was named Grain Valley Citizen of the Year in 2001 by the Truman Heartland Community Foundation. He made news in 1988 for buying the Sni-A-Bar Farm that was once owned by Kansas City Star founder William Rockhill Nelson.
    Emails to Gildehaus seeking comment were not returned Tuesday.
     
     

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