Strung along

July 11, 2013 

  • More information 13 Number of instruments that sits in the now shuttered Piersee Piano and Organ business at 806 S.W. Blue Parkway. Owner Jack Piersee was evicted from the property in June after failing to pay nearly $48,000 in back rent.

Amy Hurley wishes she had scanned a state database for legal complaints before she got involved with a local piano consignment shop.

Arnold McMann said he has never seen anything like it in his 24 years as a property manager.

Hurley, of Lee’s Summit, and her husband John, sued Jack Piersee after Piersee failed to deliver the remaining $4,000 of a $5,000 consignment deal the couple signed with Lee’s Summit-based Piersee Piano and Organ in April of last year.

The Hurleys were awarded a civil lawsuit judgment of $4,000 in January but have yet to receive a dime from Piersee since he wrote them a $1,000 check last year.

“What John and I learned is that the $4,000 we were owed was a little drop in the bucket,” Hurley said July 10. “A lot of people are owed a lot more money. The judge told us, ‘he does owe you this $4,000, but good luck in getting it.”

Attempts to contact Piersee for comment were unsuccessful.

A check of Missouri Case.net, the state’s online court system, shows three pages of litigation involving Piersee. In most of the 24 cases on file, Piersee is being sued for breach of contract or failure to pay rent, among other financial issues.

Hurley said had she checked the database prior to dealing with Piersee, she would have went a different route in trying to sell the black Yamaha baby grand piano the couple received as a gift from her husband’s parents.

“Jack Piersee is a total white-collar criminal,” she said. “He had been sued and we didn’t realize that. If you look on Missouri Case.net, you will see he owes back rent, and he just left his business with all these people’s pianos in there and people don’t even know where they are. It’s just a complete mess.”

McMann is the property manager for Zephyr Properties, which manages the building at 806 S.W. Blue Parkway. According to court records, Southside Plaza, LLC sued Piersee for back rent and other damages, and in May was awarded a judgment of $47,232.50 for back rent and other fees totaling nearly $25,000.

“As a matter of public record, we took him to court on a rent/possession suit and we won,” McMann said. “Other than that I can not comment on litigious matters.”

McMann said the company has close to a dozen pianos on the property after the company took back possession of the building in June and is trying mightily to get the instruments back into the rightful owner’s hands. He advises consumers affected by Piersee’s failed consignment deals to contact the property managers at 816-363-8018 or by email at zephyrproperties@sbcglobal.net.

“This is an unusual situation,” McMann said. “To be honest, it’s self-serving. When we took back the building, we elected not to move the consignment inventory he had out because it did not belong to him. But, I still needed to get it back to people. The self-serving part is that I want it out of the space as well. It just seemed like I could put myself in a liability situation if I took people’s property that wasn’t mine and removed it and put it on the curb and someone took it.

“The only thing I could try to do was try to preserve their property and do what I could to make people in the public aware that it was there. It’s not a situation I’ve had to deal with before. This seems to have a twist on it.”

Hurley said the IRS and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office is also aware of Piersee’s actions and that he may soon have to face much more than jilted business partners.

“Right now the Attorney General is investigating him,” she said. “You never know, maybe we end up with our piano back. I’m not exactly sure. But, what they are going to do is the IRS is also trying track him down. The IRS is going to get him, too. He’s going to end up in jail.”

In an emailed statement to the Journal, Eric Slusher, press secretary for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, said: “The Attorney General’s Office is continuing to seek restitution for consumers who were affected by Mr. Piersee’s actions.”

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