Owner of Low-Income St. Louis Apartments Charged in $28 Million Fraud Case


Dumpsters overflow with trash at Blue Fountain Apartments. - RYAN KRULL
  • Dumpsters overflow with trash at Blue Fountain Apartments.

The managing partner of a notorious realty company that operated run-down apartment complexes across St. Louis is facing federal fraud charges.

Michael Fein, an owner and vice president of T.E.H. Realty, used bogus information to apply for $28 million in loans for properties here and in Kansas City and Tulsa, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The criminal complaint names two properties in north St. Louis County: Pinnacle Ridge in Glasgow Village and Hanley Crossings in Carsonville. In both cases, the feds say Fein made it look like the apartment complexes were more valuable than they were in hopes of securing loans.

At Pinnacle Ridge, he helped lock down a $2.8 million loan by inflating rent rolls and occupancy rates, according to prosecutors. That allowed T.E.H. to buy the complex, closing in May 2018.

At Hanley Crossings, Fein tried and failed to get a Federal Housing Administration-insured loan of $5,225,000 by submitting inflated occupancy numbers, prosecutors say.

The indictment focuses on four properties in St. Louis, Kansas City and Oklahoma, but T.E.H. has owned and operated apartment complexes across the country, with tenants in multiple locations lodging complaints about living conditions.

Riverfront Times contributor Ryan Krull detailed nightmare environments at several T.E.H. properties not named in the federal case, primarily Southwest Crossings and Blue Fountain, where tenants say they had essentially been abandoned and maintenance workers had walked off after they stopped getting paid.

Krull reached out to Fein for comment at the time, but he didn't respond.

In March, the federal government suspended taxpayer-subsidized housing contracts with complexes connected to T.E.H. and its affiliates in St. Louis and Kansas City. Some of the residents were then given vouchers to move.

"I want to thank the victims of this defendant’s alleged predatory practices for having the willingness to stand up and speak out," U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen said in a news release. "Without the courage of these tenants, this case may never have come to be. As a group, they shed light on the unacceptable living conditions being forced upon them and served as the spark that uncovered this entire fraud."

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at doyle.murphy@riverfronttimes.com or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.
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