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  • Last modified 52 days ago (Oct. 17, 2019)

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Couple sues over wind farm lease

Title company, home’s sellers allege lawyer sent letter demanding $15,000

Staff writer

A couple who bought a home east of Aulne last year filed a lawsuit Oct. 9 against the property sellers and the title company they claim failed to disclose an Expedition Wind Farm lease on the property.

The title company and the seller say the lawsuit is frivolous and allege a lawyer for the couple sent them a letter attempting to extort $15,000.

Gerado and Angela Mendoza are seeking more than $110,000 from Alan and Susan Hett and Security First Title, claiming deceptive and unconscionable acts in violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract.

They claim they were not told the Hetts had signed a wind lease with Expedition Wind before they closed a purchase of property at 1767 140th Rd. Oct. 12, 2018.

According to the Zillow website, the house is a 2,168-scquare-foot, four bedroom, two-bath home with an estimated value of $168,805.

Roger Hannaford, who operates Security First Title in

Marion, and Susan Hett both said they have signed paperwork that will prove the Mendozas’ claims are not true.

“At the time of the sale, plaintiffs had no knowledge of the fact that the Hetts executed the Wind Lease with Expedition Wind and that the Wind Lease encumbered the property and residence,” lawyers for the Mendozas wrote in the petition.

The petition claims:

  • That the Expedition lease was signed March 16, 2018, and the Mendozas agreed to buy the property June 28, 2018.
  • The Hetts didn’t tell the Mendozas about the wind lease.
  • The wind lease was recorded with the Recorder of Deeds on July 2, 2018.
  • Security Title was asked to perform a title search July 9, 2018.
  • The sale took place Oct. 12, 2018, and the Mendozas were not provided with a title report.
  • The title report disclosing the property was subject to the wind lease was provided to them Oct. 31, 2018.

The Mendozas claim that after they took possession of the property, they got a phone call from Expedition Wind asking them to affirm the lease between the Hetts and the wind company.

Hannaford and Hett have a different version of what happened, including a letter from the Mendozas’ lawyers they describe as an attempt to extort money.

Both say the Mondozas were made aware of the wind lease both before the sale was closed and again during the closing. Both say the Mendozas initialed and signed a page to indicate they knew about the wind lease during closing.

Hett said the first she knew there was a problem when the Hetts got a certified letter from a lawyer saying his clients were considering suing but would not file a lawsuit if the Hetts would make a payment of $15,000. The letter stated the offer would be valid until Aug. 31.

Both Hannaford and Hett said the lease with Expedition Wind has been canceled and is no longer in effect.

The Mendozas’ attorneys, Robert Harken and Robert Titus, both of Overland Park, are the same used by wind farm opponents in lawsuits earlier filed against Expedition, Marion County commissioners, and Marion County Planning and Zoning commission.

Last modified Oct. 17, 2019

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