Springfield, MO

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The southeast Springfield home, featured earlier this year in The Wall Street Journal, had been listed on eBay for $8.9 million.
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The southeast Springfield home, featured earlier this year in The Wall Street Journal, had been listed on eBay for $8.9 million.

Owner: ‘African Queen’ sale to halt foreclosure

Posted online

The owner of a unique southeast Springfield home nicknamed the “African Queen” said this morning he found a buyer for the house, which would cancel a foreclosure sale scheduled this month.

Michael Willhoit said via email the 2829 S. Lone Pine Ave. home is under contract for $3.75 million with an “out-of-town buyer” he declined to name.

Springfield Business Journal reached out to Willhoit for comment on the scheduled foreclosure sale reported in the Oct. 30 edition of legal-notices publication The Daily Events. The notice indicates the property is scheduled to be sold to the highest cash bidder at 1 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the south front door of the Greene County Circuit Courthouse. Cassville attorney Donald Cupp, who’s listed as the trustee for the sale, could not be immediately reached for comment this morning.

The Daily Events notice indicates the foreclosure is tied to a deed of trust for the home that was issued in May 2017 to Michael Willhoit by Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri, according to a Greene County recorder filing. Separately, in May of this year, Kelley and Nancy McKenzie issued a deed of trust to Willhoit for the same property, according to the recorder’s office.

Willhoit provided an email exchange with Freedom Bank stating it would need a copy of the signed sales contract and $500,000 down in escrow funds by Nov. 12 to stop the foreclosure sale from occurring.

State and federal tax liens also are facing Willhoit. Public records show he and Linda Willhoit were hit with an individual state lien of $47,952 and a federal lien of $176,463 during October. Michael Willhoit said the liens would be paid at the closing of the home sale.

Willhoit, who also owns luxury car seller Willhoit Enterprises LLC, was featured in a February article by The Wall Street Journal, which focused on his attempts to sell the African Queen on eBay for $8.9 million. Willhoit told the publication he bought the house in 2013 and invested $7 million-$8 million renovating and expanding it.

With the investment, Willhoit transformed the two-bedroom, 3,125-square-foot home — built in 1964 and designed by famed Springfield architect Don Russell — into an homage to Africa. Features added included a 650-pound mounted lion and other taxidermic animals, a man-made lake and waterfall, and numerous African artifacts.


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