DUNEDIN, Fla. — One week after closing on the sale of the historic Kellogg Mansion, Christa Carpenter arrived at the home to find that it had been stripped. 

She arrived around 8:30 p.m. on June 26 alongside her husband and four children with the intention of watching the sun set from their new property. When they arrived, Carpenter first noticed that the iron fixtures and doors had been taken. Inside she discovered chandeliers, historic artifacts, light fixtures, door knobs and a number of statues and fountains on the property had been taken. 

“I felt violated honestly,” Carpenter said. “I called the police right away. I didn’t know what happened and I didn’t know who’d done it.” 

Carpenter closed on the Kellogg Mansion on June 18 with the intention of demolishing the home and rebuilding on the waterfront property. Carpenter and the city of Dunedin entered into a joint agreement stating that after the sale of the home, the historical society would have the opportunity to create a 3D video of the Kellogg Mansion and the surrounding property in order to preserve it as a part of the city’s history. 

Carpenter agreed to donate the fixtures and artifacts from the mansion to the city so they could auction off the pieces and use that money for future preservation projects. 

“The city would have rights, and we would have rights, and we would work together and everyone would be happy,” Carpenter explained. 

The city estimated that the 3D video would cost around $25,000, but now with damage done to the walls and ceiling and dozens of artifacts and accent pieces missing, the city isn’t sure it will be feasible. 

“We’re looking at all our options to see if we can still do it,” explained Deborah Kynes, Dunedin City Commissioner. “We can’t take all the beautiful fixtures that are now gone, you really can’t put them back.” 

While Carpenter and her husband closed on the home on June 18, she says the former owner hadn’t yet completed the move-out process and asked for a few more days. Carpenter agreed and gave the former owner until June 25 to finish moving out her personal items. Their closing agreement stated that the former owner would remove all personal items, but leave the original fixtures, Carpenter said. 

“We let her stay to remove the personal property because I was told she was crying over pictures of her family and her dead husband,” Carpenter said. “We agreed to that because we weren’t going to be heartless about it.”

A mix of neighbors and acquaintances informed Carpenter that Tampa Bay Salvage had been on the property during the week of June 20. A video posted to Tampa Bay Salvage’s Instagram shows the team using heavy machinery to remove a statue from the back of the property and was posted with the caption #KellogsMansion. 

Carpenter filed a legal complaint against Tampa Bay Salvage in an attempt to get the items returned. 

Jessica White, co-owner of Tampa Bay Salvage, says her company was hired to complete a job at the Kellogg Mansion property. She says on June 21, they completed a walk-through with who they believed was the rightful owner of the home and stayed on-site through Friday to finish the work that was agreed upon. 

“We were dealing with who we thought was the rightful owner of the property and hired to do a salvage job,” she said. 

White says she was not aware of any agreement between Carpenter and the city of Dunedin until after the job was completed. 

“I was not aware of any contract with the city until after the fact,” White explained. 

She says the video was posted to Instagram because they were hired to complete the job and didn’t have anything to hide. White says she and her husband run a family-owned business and care about their customers and the purpose behind their work. 

“Our customers enjoying seeing us do what we do, which is rescuing items that would otherwise go to the landfill at the time,’ she said referencing the video. 

White says she reached out to the city asking they provide a list of the items they would like to have. She says they invested a significant amount of money to rent machinery and complete the job. 

“We’ve been in contact with a well-written thought out respectable proposal to cooperate and we’re not getting any response from them,” she said, referencing the city. “We care just as much about preservation as anyone else but we felt like we’ve been wronged here. We want to stay respected and we want to do right by whatever they had agreed upon.” 

Spectrum Bay News 9 Reporter Angie Angers reached out to the former owner and made contact with her over the phone. She stated she would call back at a later date. 

Carpenter filed a report with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, that was still listed as open as of Friday afternoon.