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BULLET St. Louis City Revised Code Chapter 15.154 Division IX Straw Party Registration and Control Law

St. Louis City Revised Code (annotated) has been converted to electronic format by the staff of the St. Louis Public Library. This electronic version has been done for the interest and convenience of the user. These are unofficial versions and should be used as unofficial copies.

Official printed copies of St. Louis City Revised Code may be obtained from the Register's Office at the St. Louis City Hall.


DIVISION IX. MISCELLANEOUS OFFENSES AND REGULATIONS

Chapter 15.154
Straw Party Registration and Control Law

Sections:

15.154.010 Title.
15.154.020 Legislative findings and purposes.
15.154.030 Definitions.
15.154.040 Future conveyances and deeds of trust.
15.154.050 Former conveyances and deeds of trust.
15.154.060 Additional requirements for all conveyances and deeds of trust.
15.154.070 Amended registration statements.
15.154.080 Penalty for violation.
15.154.090 Immunity from prosecution.
15.154.100 Registration statement--Contents.
15.154.110 Registration statement--Indexing and confidentiality.
15.154.120 Liability of beneficial owners.
15.154.130 Effect on titles and instruments.

15.154.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited and referred to as the "Straw Party Registration and Control Law."
(Ord. 56140 1, 1972.)

15.154.020 Legislative findings and purpose.

The board of aldermen of the City finds that in numerous instances straw parties are being used as the record parties to transactions involving real estate situated within the City as a means to conceal the identity of the true parties thereto; that such concealment impairs and prevents the prosecution of persons responsible for arson and for violation of ordinances prescribing minimum safety and health standards for the condition of buildings; and that, as a consequence, arson for profit has occurred within the City, fire insurance companies have been defrauded resulting in increased fire insurance premiums for all owners of property within the City, and the lives, health, safety and welfare of citizens of the City and the value of property within the City have been harmed and continue to be threatened and endangered. The board of aldermen declares that it is the purpose of this chapter to prevent these harmful occurrences by requiring the registration of straw parties as recommended by the September, 1971 term of the grand jury for the City, and by requiring the true owners of real estate to comply with the ordinances of the City, while at the same time leaving undisturbed bona fide trust and probate arrangements.
(Ord. 56140 2, 1972.)

15.154.030 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

A. "Bona fide trust" means any written indenture of trust which meets all of the following requirements:

1. No beneficiary of the trust has any power to control or direct the management, investment, or distribution of trust assets or trust income,

2. No grantor of trust assets is, or can become, a beneficiary of the trust,

3. No grantor of trust assets can receive any distribution of the assets or income of the trust,

4. No grantor of trust assets retains any power to control or direct the management, investment or disposition of trust assets or income, and

5. No grantor of trust assets retains any power to terminate the trust created by the indenture.

B. "Person" means any natural person, firm, partnership, joint venture, corporation, trust, association, organization, or other entity.
(Ord. 56140 3, 1972.)

15.154.040 Future conveyances and deeds of trust.

Effective July 21, 1972:

A. No person shall become the owner of record of real estate situated in the City;

B. Nor shall any person become the trustee of record or the mortgagee of record under any deed of trust upon real estate situated in the City;

C. Nor shall any person become the grantor of any conveyance of title to or any deed of trust upon any real estate to another person as owner of record, trustee of record or mortgagee of record, unless:

1. The owner of record, trustee of record or mortgagee of record is also the beneficial owner, trustee or mortgagee, respectively, or

2. The owner of record, trustee of record or mortgagee of record is such by reason of his capacity as: a. Executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased person or b. Guardian of the estate of a minor or an incompetent person; or

3. The owner of record, trustee of record or mortgagee of record is such by reason of his capacity as trustee of a bona fide trust; or

4. The person, whether he be owner of record, trustee of record, mortgagee of record, or grantor, files with the fire marshal a registration statement as specified in this chapter within ten days of the filing for record with the recorder of deeds of the conveyance or deed of trust in question.
(Ord. 56140 4, 1972.)

15.154.050 Former conveyances and deeds of trust.

Effective October 19, 1972:

A. No person shall be the owner of record of real estate situated in the City;

B. Nor shall any person be a trustee of record or the mortgagee of record under any unreleased deed of trust upon real estate situated in the city of St. Louis, unless:

1. The owner of record, trustee of record or mortgagee of record is also the beneficial owner, trustee or mortgagee, respectively, or

2. The owner of record, trustee of record or mortgagee of record is such by reason of his capacity: a. Executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased person or b. Guardian of the estate of a minor or an incompetent person, or

3. The owner of record, trustee of record or mortgagee of record is such by reason of this capacity as trustee of a bona fide trust, or

4. The person, whether he be owner of record, trustee of record, or mortgagee of record, has filed with the Fire Marshal of the City of St. Louis a registration statement as hereinafter specified.
(Ord. 56140 5, 1972.)

15.154.060 Additional requirements for all conveyances and deeds of trust.

Effective May 1, 1973:

A. No person shall be or become the beneficial owner of real estate situated in the City;

B. Nor shall any person be or become the beneficial trustee or the beneficial mortgagee under any unreleased deed of trust upon real estate situated in the City, unless:

1. The beneficial owner, beneficial trustee or beneficial mortgagee is also the owner of record, trustee of record, or mortgagee of record, respectively, or

2. The beneficial owner, beneficial trustee or beneficial mortgagee is such: a. By reason of his capacity as a devisee or heir of the estate of a deceased person or b. By reason of his being a minor or an incompetent person, or

3. The beneficial owner, beneficial trustee or beneficial mortgagee is such by reason of his capacity as beneficiary of a bona fide trust; or

4. The person, whether he be beneficial owner, beneficial trustee or beneficial mortgagee, files with the fire marshal a registration statement as specified in this chapter on or before the later of the following two dates: a. May 1, 1973 or b. Ten days after the filing for record with the recorder of deeds of the conveyance or deed of trust whereby or as a result of which the person is or becomes the beneficial owner, beneficial trustee or beneficial mortgagee.
(Ord. 56437 1, 1973: prior Ord. 56140 5A, 1972.)

15.154.070 Amended registration statements.

Every person who files a registration statement or an amended registration statement shall, within ten days after there is, to his knowledge, any change in the matters therein set forth, file with the fire marshal an amended registration statement reflecting the changes.
(Ord. 56140 6, 1962.)

15.154.080 Penalty for violation.

Any person guilty of a violation of Sections 15.154.040--15.154.070, or any person who makes a false statement in a registration statement filed under this chapter, shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for not more than ninety days or to both fine and imprisonment.
(Ord. 56437 2, 1973: prior Ord. 56140 7, 1972.)

15.154.090 Immunity from prosecution.

No person shall refuse to testify in a prosecution under this straw party registration and control law on the ground of self-incrimination, if the city counselor has first granted the person immunity from prosecution under the law as to the event or transaction which is the subject of the prosecution. The city counselor is authorized to grant immunity on behalf of the city if, in his opinion, the testimony of the person to whom the immunity is granted is important or necessary in a prosecution under the law. In prosecuting persons and in granting immunity under the law, the city counselor shall, wherever feasible, give preference to prosecuting beneficial owners, trustees and mortgagees and give preference to granting immunity to record owners, trustees and mortgagees.
(Ord. 56437 3, 1973: prior Ord. 56140 7A, 1972.)

15.154.100 Registration statement--Contents.

A registration statement under this chapter shall be filed on a form prescribed by the fire marshal, shall be signed by the person filing it following a statement providing generally that the facts set forth therein are true to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person, shall contain an acknowledgement of the signature and statement, and shall contain the following:

A. The names, business addresses and telephone numbers, and home addresses and telephone numbers of all persons who are parties to the conveyance or deed of trust;

B. The names, business addresses and telephone numbers, and home addresses and telephone numbers of all persons who are not parties to the conveyance or deed of trust, but who are beneficial owner, trustee or mortgagee, with a statement of which status each person occupies;

C. The date of the conveyance or deed of trust, a statement as to the type of instrument (e.g., warranty deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust), the date the instrument was recorded, the book and page numbers of the recorder of deeds records in which the instrument was recorded (or, if the book and page numbers are not then available, then the recorder of deeds daily number for the instrument), the street address of the property in question, and the legal description of the property in question;

D. The names and addresses of all insurance companies which have issued fire insurance policies upon the property, and the date and amount of each policy;

E. If any person named in a registration statement is a corporation, the names, business addresses and telephone numbers, and home addresses and telephone numbers of all of its directors and officers shall be included; similar information shall be included for partnerships, trusts, joint ventures and other entities. Any person filing a registration statement may deny therein that a registration statement is required to be filed or that the person is required to file a registration statement. The filing of a registration statement by one person shall not relieve other persons of their obligations under this chapter to file a registration statement.
(Ord. 56140 8, 1972.)

15.154.110 Registration statement--Indexing and confidentiality.

A. The fire marshal shall separately index each registration statement:

1. Alphabetically, according to the name of each person contained in the registration statement; and

2. Alphabetically, according to the street address of the property in question.

B. The fire marshal shall keep confidential all registration statements and shall make them available for inspection only by:

1. A lawfully constituted authority engaged in an arson investigation; or

2. The building commissioner or the health commissioner upon his certification that he has been unable to obtain the abatement on a stated parcel of property of a violation of this code;

3. Fire insurance companies.
(Ord. 56140 9, 1972.)

15.154.120 Liability of beneficial owners.

Any person who is the beneficial owner of any real estate situated in the city may be proceeded against, prosecuted and convicted for any violation on the real estate of this code, unless the status of the person as beneficial owner arises under a trust whereby the person has no power to control or direct the management, investment or distribution of trust assets or trust income. Any grantor of trust assets who has attributes which prevent the trust from being a bona fide trust shall be a beneficial owner and shall be subject to being proceeded against, prosecuted and convicted pursuant to this section.
(Ord. 56140 10, 1972.)

15.154.130 Effect on titles and instruments.

Failure to comply with any requirement of this chapter shall have no effect upon title to real estate or the validity of any instrument.
(Ord. 56140 11, 1972.)

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