Merchant Infamous For Safari-Themed Home, Has Died

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African QueenThe saga of Michael Willhoit has come to an end. deBanked wrote about Willhoit in December 2018 when we learned he defaulted on nearly half a million dollars in merchant cash advance transactions and was sued by banks over $4.5 million in bad loan deals. This past June he was also indicted on 36 counts of bank fraud.

But on Sunday, Willhoit passed away of natural causes, the Springfield News-Leader reported. He was 66.

Willhoit’s local notoriety gained somewhat national interest thanks to his fully-customized multimillion dollar safari-themed home, dubbed “The African Queen.” Willhoit told a News-Leader reporter in 2016 that he spent $3 million renovating the Sprinfield, MO property including $400,000 for a 900-square-foot wood floor and $300,000 for landscaping. Other notable items on the property included:

  • Two roaring lion masks
  • Two 7-foot tall hand-carved wooden tusks
  • An eight-legged genuine impala horn zebra-hide chair
  • A 15-foot African warrior statue
  • A 3,000-pound (approximately) bronze rhino
  • Four gazelle taxidermy mounts
  • A baboon, full-body mount

Willhoit’s criminal trial was scheduled for July 2020.

You can still view a virtual video tour of his home below:

Last modified: November 18, 2019

Category: Industry News, merchant cash advance

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