By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Landis and Karisha Walker have never met Roger Shoot in person. But they hope the opportunity comes soon.
“I want him to know what he’s done and how he’s affected me,” said Karisha Walker in an interview last week. I want to see him. I’ve lived this and never met him. I want him to see me. He made my life hell for four years.”
In July 2009, the couple signed an agreement to buy a house at 615 Woodlawn Drive managed by Shoot’s real estate firm, P.R. Properties, after responding to a newspaper advertisement about the property.
Last week, the Indiana attorney general’s office filed a civil lawsuit against Shoot in Madison Circuit Court 6 for allegedly failing to pay insurance premiums and property taxes as outlined in rent-to-own contracts his company drafted.
The attorney general’s office also filed a separate complaint with the Indiana Real Estate Commission to permanently revoke or suspend Shoot’s real estate principal broker’s license.
Shoot has contested the allegations, and his attorney, David McNamar, said he couldn’t comment for this story because he hadn’t yet seen the lawsuit.
At the time they responded to the advertisement, the Walkers and their two daughters were living in a rental home in Chesterfield and were tired of moving.
They wanted a home of their own.
Disabled during the 1991 Persian Gulf War where he served in combat as an ammunition handler for the U.S. Army, Landis Walker worked as a local plumber when he could, but money was always tight.
A low down payment of $600 and even lower monthly payment attracted them to the house. So did the fact that Karisha grew up nearby.
“This was my old stomping ground,” she said. “It felt like home over here.”
Although payments were affordable, the couple had no illusions about what they were getting for their money.
The house was a wreck. Unlivable, the couple said.
There were no ceilings in some rooms and dirt floors in others. The furnace didn’t work and plumbing throughout needed to be replaced.
Their two daughters shared a back bedroom, while Landis and Karisha slept on air mattresses in the living room.
Despite Landis’ health problems as a disabled veteran, some of which were exacerbated by mold and mildew in the house, and ongoing money worries, the couple vowed to make a home by renovating the property as they could.
According to the attorney general’s filings, Shoot agreed to pay all property taxes due on Nov. 10, 2009, and the Walkers would be responsible for taxes thereafter, which were to be collected monthly along with insurance as part of their monthly lease payment.
Delinquent property taxes for 2008 payable in 2009 totaled nearly $5,225, according to the complaint.
Karisha Walker said she accompanied an employee of Shoot’s company, Roberta Curson, to the Madison County Government Center and watched as the woman wrote a check Karisha Walker believed was for the back taxes.
The first inkling of trouble came in March 2010, when the couple received a cancellation notice of their homeowners insurance, according to the attorney general’s complaint.
In October 2011, the Walkers discovered that the property taxes on their home were delinquent.
At a tax sale in April 2011, Tyler Hazel, a former Shoot employee, purchased the house without the Walkers’ knowledge.
After learning about that sale, the couple stopped paying Shoot, and Landis said he obtained legal advice and filed a lien against the property for more than $16,000 to cover building materials he had purchased for renovations.
No one from the company has ever contacted them, Landis said, and they still retain keys to the house.
In February, the couple decided to cut their losses and move. They are now renting a three-bedroom house in another part of Anderson.
Karisha Walker is adamant about the justice she wants.
“I want his license revoked. I don’t want him to ever be able to do this to anyone else he’s done this to.”
Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.