Jeffrey L. Wagoner President
Jeff’s a car guy… which explains all those diecast models in his office. He’s also President and a founding member of the Kansas City Automotive Museum. He leads a group of volunteers who hope to one day open the doors of a new non-profit museum for Kansas City.
But, if you ask Jeff what his favorite car is, he won’t mention exotic or expensive. Instead, he’ll say, “I would love to have the 1938 Ford coupe my dad drove as a professional dirt track racer in the 1950s. My grandfather’s garage sponsored dad’s race car. If I could track down that car, it would be a great connection to both of them. They’ve both been gone a long time.”
A retired Naval Aviator, Gulf War veteran and former commanding officer, Jeff was awarded multiple medals and ribbons. While in the Navy, in San Diego, he met his beautiful wife, Pilar. “She was a student planning on going back to Spain after finishing her undergraduate degree,” Jeff told us, “but I talked her into coming with me back home to Kansas City.”
A tough childhood in Clinton, Missouri influenced Jeff’s decision to practice bankruptcy law. “When I was 13,” he told us, “my folks lost the family farm. Dad died in an accident a few months after the bank auctioned off the farm. We didn’t have any money―you measured how rich you were by whether there was milk in the fridge. It gave me an idea of how hard life can be and an appreciation of what many of our clients are facing when they come see us. I also thank God that I grew up in a small town where people cared about our family and helped us cope.”
With hard work, Jeff was able to go to college at Mizzou and law school at the University of Missouri―Kansas City. “My mom is an amazing person,” he said. “I don’t know how she made it through all that, but she did, and sent three of her four kids to college.”
His childhood experience is why he allows clients to pay for their bankruptcy fees over time. Jeff told us he catches a lot of grief from other bankruptcy attorneys because of that. “But sometimes,” he says, “people need someone to give them a break. They just need someone to believe in them and be on their side for a change. The funny thing is, I’ve found that when you do a good job for someone, and you really care about their well-being, they always seem to find a way to pay you. Until that changes, I’ll keep offering to let people pay over time, at a rate they feel they can truly afford. It’s the right thing to do.”
Jeffrey L. Wagoner is… Here to help.