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The unique southeast Springfield home is scheduled for a trustee’s sale on April 25.
SBJ file photo
The unique southeast Springfield home is scheduled for a trustee’s sale on April 25.

‘African Queen’ again headed to foreclosure sale

Posted online

A southeast Springfield home nicknamed the “African Queen” by its owner is headed to the foreclosure block this month with a scheduled trustee’s sale.

The 2829 S. Lone Pine Ave. home previously had been slated for a Nov. 13, 2018, trustee’s sale, but the property remains under the ownership of Michael Willhoit, according to Greene County assessor records. Cassville attorney Donald Cupps, who’s listed as the trustee for the April 25 sale and previously was listed in the same role in November, was unable for comment this morning.

Willhoit and the African Queen gained national attention from The Wall Street Journal and others for attempts to sell the property on eBay for $8.9 million. Willhoit told the publication in February 2018 he invested $7 million-$8 million renovating and expanding the home. An homage to Africa, the two-bedroom, 3,125-square-foot residence — built in 1964 and designed by famed Springfield architect Don Russell — includes a 650-pound mounted lion and other taxidermic animals, a man-made lake and waterfall, and numerous African artifacts.

The trustee’s sale scheduled April 25 seeks to recover a note amount of $875,000, according to a notice in the April 10 edition of legal-notices publication The Daily Events. The Daily Events publishes trustee’s sales notices after receiving information from the successor trustee attorneys in the cases.

The trustee’s sale notice indicates Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri is the note holder. Freedom Bank issued Willhoit a deed of trust for the residence in May 2017, according to a Greene County recorder filing. The deed lists the same $875,000 note amount.

Freedom Bank is among companies and governmental agencies that have filed suit against Willhoit, online court records show. The latest filing in the Freedom Bank case — which alleges a breach of contract — was made Aug. 10, 2018, when defendant Willhoit requested more time to respond to discovery. State and federal tax liens, as well as resulting lawsuits, also have been levied against Willhoit.

A May 2018 judgment filed in Greene County Circuit Court — for a breach of note — ordered Willhoit to pay $1.3 million to plaintiff Wood & Huston Bank, as well as interest and court expenses. A Jan. 3 filing in the Wood & Huston suit states a garnishment was served to Motorcars International Inc. Officials with the latter company previously told Springfield Business Journal Willhoit had not been involved with the exotic car dealership for months. Willhoit previously listed the address of his luxury car seller Willhoit Enterprises LLC at Motorcars International’s location.

Willhoit, who could not be reached by deadline this morning, has not responded to multiple requests by SBJ for an interview.

The African Queen, which most recently was listed on the market for $2.49 million, does not appear to currently have an active listing.

SBJ Reporter Kyle Boaz contributed.

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