City Sues, Threatens to Halt Water Service to Self-Storage Facility; Owner Missing

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The city of Kirksville, Mo., is threatening to shut off water and sewer service to an operator’s two self-storage locations because the operator does not have a business license. In addition, the city filed a related municipal-court lawsuit against the self-storage operation and seven other businesses.

Collins Mini Storage has locations on South Halliburton Street and West Potter Avenue within the city limits. A man who identified himself as a representative of "Good Time Rentals" and said he answers the phone and rents space for Collins Mini Storage, said owner Steve Collins has "skipped town." The man, who asked not to be identified by name, said he hasn't been able to reach Collins for more than a month and a half, and at last contact Collins told him to "play stupid" when asked by tenants about the pending legal matter and the possibility of discontinued utilities.

The man said the Potter Avenue location is in fair shape and another party is looking to purchase it from Collins. He added the Halliburton Street location, however, is in disrepair and has many vacant units. He said the units are in such bad shape he's not comfortable renting them.

"It's a long, sordid story," he said. "You could probably start a soap opera over it."

The city is alleging the eight businesses violated probation terms related to 2010 court cases, which also pertained to businesses licenses, by failing to renew licenses by the 2011 deadline, which was Feb. 28.

The other defendants include a lumber business, which already had its water and sewer shut off; a plumbing and heating business; a heating and cooling business; an investment firm; a hardwood-floor merchant; a lawn service; and a Days Inn motel.

Kirksville is in northeast Missouri and has a population of about 17,500.

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