Lee's Summit piano man wanted for missing money, instruments - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports


Lee's Summit piano man wanted for missing money, instruments


Missouri's attorney general filed charges after a recent KCTV5 News investigation involving a Lee's Summit piano man.

The Lee's Summit man who operated the musical consignment shop Piersee Piano and Organ could face some serious prison time. Victims say they were tired of the piano man's song and dance after their pianos sold and they never got their money.

Christine Howe missed the feel of the ivory keys on her 1921 Stienway Grand piano.

"I miss being able to play," she said. "It was a beautiful piano, a gorgeous piano."

She left it at Piersee Piano and Organ in Lee's Summit in August 2010. It sold, but she never got her check for nearly $25,000 from owner Jack Piersee.

The same happened with Amy Hurley's piano. It was left for Piersee to sell, but they only received partial payment for what they were owed. Amy and her husband John were trying to collect the $5,000 they were owed from the sale of a baby grand through the business, but had only received $1,000, despite winning a small claims court judgment for the outstanding amount.

In court papers just filed, the attorney general's office said Howe and Hurley were not the only ones. Piersee must face the music for nine victims, including a church.

Piersee's been charged with two counts of theft and nine counts of deceptive business practices. Along with fines, he could face 40 years or more in prison.

A woman answered the door at Piersee's home, but Piersee never came to the door.

When asked about the situation during the summer, Piersee said he didn't have time to talk about it and was "working on getting it all fixed."

Piersee faces a judge next month.

Zephyr Properties, LCC, operators of the Southside Plaza Shopping Center, provided KCTV5 investigative reporter Eric Chaloux an inventory from the shuttered Piersee Piano and Organ that included some of pianos whose owners they are trying to find .

The management company recently was granted the authority to reunite the instruments from the showroom with their owners.  Click here to see the list of inventory.

SLIDEHSOW: Piersee Piano abandoned instrument inventory

A spokesman from Zephyr Properties, LLC said in order to speed up the process, owners should make sure they have their consignment contract from the store or other identifying materials supporting ownership.

Contact information: zephyrproperties@sbcglobal.net or (816) 363-8018.


In the summer of 2010, Howe agreed to put her 1921 Steinway grand piano on the Piersee Piano and Organ sales floor with an asking price of $31,000.

"It was a beautiful piano, a gorgeous piano," Howe said.

Howe said it had taken several years and a lot of money to restore the instrument to a playable condition. Letting go of it became a painful necessity when the family decided to downsize and move.

"We needed the additional income, as much as we didn't want to," Howe said.

Howe said a friend recommended Piersee's shop.

"I didn't get a lot of feedback for a long time, about what was going on with the piano," Howe said. "I'd call him. He wouldn't return my calls."

When Howe did hear from Piersee, she said the owner's varying answers gave her a sense of discord.

In one email communication, she was told Piersee had loaned out her pricey piano for a six-month-long trial. The truth came late last fall from a former store employee.

"In fact, it had been sold for a year," Howe said.

As for the money she is owed,  there is still no money, Howe said.

KCTV5 advised Howe to join the growing group of disgruntled customers filing complaints with the state while investigative reporter Eric Chaloux worked to locate Piersee.

At the deserted Piersee Piano and Organ store in Lee's Summit, the door is locked and the place is dark.

A shopping center spokesperson explained that while Piersee abandoned more than 50 pianos and organs, he took all the records with him.

That made it a challenge to match owners with instruments.

According to a note left on the business door, the IRS is also looking for Piersee.

Piersee was supposed to face a criminal judge in Jefferson City on an unrelated matter.

KCTV5 went there to speak with him. When he failed to appear, KCTV5 was forced to catch him at home.

"You're a hard man to track down," Chaloux said while standing at Piersee's front door. "Do you have time to talk about these people who are out their money their pianos?"

"No, I'm working on getting it all fixed," Piersee said.

"We've got some people who know you sold their piano. Do you have the money,"  Chaloux asked.

"I'm not talking about it," Piersee replied.

"I've got a camera out here," Chaloux said.

"No thank you," Piersee said and closed the door.

"I'll leave a card out here if you change your mind," Chaloux said.

Joe Bindbeutel runs the Consumer Protection Unit at the Missouri Attorney General's Office. He too has met some resistance from the owner of Piersee Piano and Organ.

"Obviously the target of our investigation has not been so productively cooperative so far," Bindbeutel said. "Apparently this individual walked away from the business, and that's an irresponsible act."

In late spring, KCTV5 was given a glimpse into the state's investigation, which now involves 50 victims.

"The majority of what we see is sales that were never completed, and the items are still sitting in a warehouse," Bindbeutel said.

The state is working to return those instruments to their owners. After that, the Attorney General's Office will focus on customers like Howe.

"If he sold the piano, he got the money. The money went somewhere," Bindbeutel said. "We're going to look for it and do the best we can for all the consumers that were victimized."

That outcome would be music to Howe's ears.

"That would be wonderful," she said.

KCTV5 will continue to follow the Attorney General's investigation into Piersee Piano and Organ.

If you had a problem with the Lee's Summit business, but have yet to file a complaint with the state Consumer Protection Office, you can do so by clicking here or calling 1-800-392-8222 from inside Missouri. Outside Missouri, the number is (573) 751-3321.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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