The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

July 9, 2014

Real Estate Commission suspends Shoot's license

Testimony taken from alleged victims, county officials at hearing

ANDERSON, Ind. — Roger Shoot, the embattled Madison County real estate broker whose business practices are being scrutinized by the Indiana Attorney General's Office and local prosecutors, was temporarily stripped of his real estate license on Wednesday.

The Indiana Real Estate Commission's 90-day suspension was issued after a long hearing at which alleged victims and county government officials testified. A final hearing will be conducted at a later date at the request of attorney general's office, which is amending its initial complaint filed in April 2013.

Wednesday's hearing was the first of two tribunals Shoot faces in the next several days.

The second will come on Monday when Shoot is expected to enter a plea in an initial hearing before Madison County Judge Thomas J. Newman Jr. on a 32-count criminal indictment filed by county Prosecutor Rodney Cummings last month.

The charges include forgery, theft, perjury and corrupt business influence.

"The attorney general's office is pleased with the commission's decision to summarily suspend Mr. Shoot's license," said Jaime Barb, a department spokeswoman "We believe this step was necessary in protecting the public."

David F. McNamar, Shoot's attorney, declined to answer questions about the case and the decision to suspend his client's real estate license.

"I really don't have any comment at this point," He said.

But Karisha Walker, one of Shoot's alleged victims, couldn't wait to see Shoot for the first time and testify against him about her rent-to-own home buying saga that began in 2009.

"That's the first time I ever saw him," Walker said after Wednesday's hearing. "It was amazing. I learned a lot of things I didn't know before ... I actually cried and thanked God," after the commission announced its decision.

A house at 615 Woodlawn Drive Walker and her former husband, Landis Walker, agreed to buy in 2009 figured prominently in the case authorities began building after complaints were lodged against Shoot in 2012.

A low down payment of $600 and low monthly payments attracted the couple to the house. They had no illusions about what they were getting, though. It was virtually unlivable.

There were no ceilings in some rooms and dirt floors in others. The furnace didn't work and plumbing throughout needed to be replaced, but the couple invested $16,000 in repairs to make the house a home, the couple told The Herald Bulletin in a story published last year.

According to court records, Shoot agreed to pay all property taxes due on the property in November 2009. After that, the Walkers would take responsibility for paying taxes, which were to be collected monthly along with homeowners insurance as part of their mortgage agreement.

But Shoot didn't live up to his end of the bargain, according to the lawsuit. Delinquent property taxes for 2008 payable in 2009 totaled nearly $5,225, but were never paid by Shoot as promised.

The first sign of trouble came in March 2010 when a homeowners insurance cancellation notice arrived at the house. Later, the Walkers learned the property taxes were delinquent.

A year later, in April 2011, Tyler Hazel, who worked for Shoot, bought the house at a Madison County tax sale without the Walkers' knowledge. Hazel has been charged with one count of Class D felony theft.

Another Shoot employee, Roberta Curson, has also been charged with 31 felony counts and will also have an initial hearing on Monday.

Walker told the commission Wednesday that the constant stress and financial loses associated with the house contributed to the dissolution of her and Landis Walker's marriage.

"He just can't do this to anybody else," she added. "I just hope it (the suspension) sticks. That's the main thing."

Like Stu Hirsch on Facebook and follow him @stuhirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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