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The 2829 S. Lone Pine Ave. home is currently owned by Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri.
SBJ file photo
The 2829 S. Lone Pine Ave. home is currently owned by Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri.

Now owned by bank, ‘African Queen’ may soon be listed again

Posted online

The “African Queen” saga continues after a foreclosure sale in the spring.

Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri, which gained control of the 2829 S. Lone Pine Ave. residence in an April trustee’s sale, is currently having the property appraised, after which it would be listed for sale, said President and CEO Stan Kelley. He estimated the property, near Galloway Village, would be listed “no later than July 1.”

The deed for the safari-inspired home transferred to Freedom Bank on April 25 from Michael and Lisa Willhoit, according to a Greene County recorder filing.

Springfield Business Journal previously reported Freedom Bank held a note amount of $875,000 and was calling the debt due in the April foreclosure sale. Kelley said a Freedom Bank representative outbid others at the trustee’s sale in order to “protect their interests as a lien holder on the property.”

Michael Willhoit and the “African Queen” gained national attention when his efforts to sell the home for $8.9 million on eBay appeared in The Wall Street Journal. 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.

SBJ previously reported the house most recently was listed for nearly $2.5 million.

Willhoit faces multiple bank lawsuits alleging breach of contract, including litigation from Freedom Bank that most recently saw court action in August 2018 with a motion for extension of time, according to online public records.

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