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St. Charles County lawmaker listed out-of-district address as ‘primary residence’ in documents

St. Charles County lawmaker listed out-of-district address as ‘primary residence’ in documents

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Rep. Nick Schroer, R-St. Charles County, one of the sponsors of proposed crime legislation, voices his support on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, during debate in the Missouri House of Representatives at the Capitol in Jefferson City. The House passed five bills including repealing the residency rule for public safety employees in St. Louis, Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY — An embattled state representative filed mortgage documents earlier this year listing an out-of-district address as his “primary residence,” according to mortgage

records filed in St. Charles County Circuit Court last week.

GOP Rep. Nick Schroer’s Democratic opponent, Victoria Witt Datt, sued the incumbent last month, seeking Schroer’s removal from the November ballot. Circuit Judge Michael James Fagras has scheduled a trial for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

According to a Uniform Residential Loan Application that Democrats obtained through pretrial discovery, Schroer lists himself as a co-borrower along with his wife, Katherine, on a property in the 800 block of Outback Court in Defiance.

In the “property will be” portion of the paperwork, the Schroers check “primary residence” instead of “secondary residence” or “investment.”

In automobile insurance paperwork processed in June, the Schroers list their address as the Outback Court property.

In election paperwork, Schroer has listed a residence on the 300 block of San Jose Drive in O’Fallon as his in-district address.

He has said that when he and his wife sold their O’Fallon home and purchased a new home in Defiance, where his daughters could obtain educational services from the Francis Howell School District, he signed a lease to live in a family friend’s basement in O’Fallon.

Schroer told the Post-Dispatch last month he voted in the Aug. 4 primary from the San Jose Drive address. He sent a picture of a lease he signed with Mary Gerst, in which he is obligated to pay her $125 per month until January 2023.

Gerst, 60, shares the home with her mother, Elizabeth Gerst, 85.

Kyle Garner, executive director of the St. Charles County Democrats, also provided portions of depositions in which Schroer and Elizabeth Gerst are pressed on his residency.

“This mountain of evidence proves what everyone with any sense knew from the start: Nick Schroer is not living on a couch in an unfinished basement with a 60-year-old woman and her 85-year-old mother,” Garner said in a statement.

He said Schroer either violated state election law by using the O’Fallon address as his residence or he fraudulently listed the Defiance property as his primary residence in mortgage documents.

“He obviously can’t have two primary residences,” Garner said.

“All of this could have been avoided if not for the selfish arrogance of Schroer,” Garner said. “He put his personal ambition and ego ahead of his family and the people of the 107th district.”

Schroer, in a series of text messages Monday, declined a request to allow a Post-Dispatch photographer to take pictures of his basement apartment.

He said that since Datt filed her lawsuit, city officials showed up at Gerst’s house in response to a complaint that the basement dwelling violated city code.

“Therefore we had to amend the lease and now I moved into the 3rd bedroom,” Schroer said. “It’s not optimal since I want to minimize risk of COVID to Betty, but it’s what we had to do in order to stay in the house after they filed the complaint.

“Due to this as well as the continued stalking of the residence by my opponent on her golf cart, and Mary and Betty deposed already in this case, we will be forgoing any more unnecessary visits,” Schroer said.

Garner said Datt “doesn’t even own a golf cart.”

Schroer added, “They’ve been pretty shaken up by this and making the front page (of the newspaper) so my intent is not to have any more stress on them from here on out, especially since they have been so hospitable in letting me move in given the situation my family faced.”

He said he would continue living at the house.

“Now I am in a nonprofit cost-sharing agreement, helping pay bills with what used to be rent,” Schroer said.

Depositions

St. Charles County Democrats provided portions of depositions Nicholas Schroer and Elizabeth Gerst gave.

Asked if, in August, he spent more nights at the Defiance property than at Gerst’s house, Schroer responded: “In August, for sure.”

Schroer said he informed House Republican leadership of the move.

“I would assume (Majority Leader) Rob Vescovo,” Schroer said. “Again, I talked to so many people about certain things. I do believe that I informed him.

“But I, you know, did originally tell somebody in leadership of me getting an apartment,” Schroer said. “I don’t recall who, because I know that they — somebody, whoever it was, inquired if things are OK at home.”

Attorney Matt Vianello, working for the Democrats, also deposed Elizabeth Gerst. The house has one bathroom, according to property records.

Asked “did he ever come upstairs and use the bathroom?” the elder Gerst replied, “I don’t know. Maybe during the night. I don’t know. I don’t hear anything at night at all.”

Asked if he kept belongings and toiletries at her house, Gerst said, “I don’t know. He had a toothbrush, toothpaste, had some kind of overnight bag, I think, with, I guess, shaving stuff and things in it.”

Gerst, who said she usually woke up between 6 and 7 a.m., said Schroer would wake up early and leave to pick up his daughters for school. She said his car wasn’t in the driveway when she awoke.

“So you don’t know if he was sleeping in the basement or not?” Vianello asked.

“I’m assuming he did,” Gerst said.

“But you don’t know?” Vianello asked.

“No,” Gerst said.

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