Utah mother-of-three Kouri Richins - prior to allegedly poisoning her husband last March - knowingly sold a home with mold problems that turned out to be so severe they sickened the new owners and forced them to move out, according to a civil lawsuit.
Alex and Taryn Wright sued Richins’ realty company in November, alleging that a 2,000 square foot home they purchased from her in January 2020 had “hazardous” levels of mold, which they believed was behind a spate of mysterious illnesses they suffered. Richins owned and renovated the house before selling it to the couple.
"There was no trying to right any of the wrongs that she had thrown at us,” Ms Wright, told Dateline. “We’re just innocent bystanders in her path of destruction.”
"We envisioned having barbecues and hosting and just spending time with family and being able to look out at that beautiful view,” she added.
The couple claims in the suit they found extensive mold on the wall behind a new dresser in their son’s room and pooled water on the floor.
The conditions in the house caused them to suffer asthma, protacted infections, and mental fogginess, the couple alleges.
In August 2022, the Wrights decided to inspect the house for mold, with contractors discovering “hazardous” levels of fungus in the basement.
The discovery prompted the family to move out of the house and into a relative’s rental home, saddling the Wrights with a mortgage for a house in which they no longer live.
The realty company denies any wrongdoing, writing in a court filing that it had made a “fulsome disclosure” and that the condition of the Heber City home would have been revealed by a “reasonable inspection by an ordinary prudent buyer.”
The Wrights say that they did inspect the home initially and found no problems.
A text message, shared with Dateline, shows Ms Richins allegedly discussing how one of the rooms in the home was “super moldy”.
Her real-estate activities are also under scrutiny in the main case against her: Utah prosecutors allege she poisoned her husband with a fentanyl-laced cocktail on 4 March, which she denies.
Following the death of her husband, Eric Richins, she went on to write and promote a children’s book about grief called Are You With Me?
Utah officials allege she used fraudulent power-of-attorney to execute a $250,000 line of credit against one of her husband’s properties.
This month, prosecutors accused Ms Richins of witness tampering after a letter found in her cell appeared to direct a number of family members on how they should testify. Officials say the note amounted to telling the individuals to “testify or inform falsely.”
Ms Richins has insisted that the letter is part of a jailhouse novel she’s writing.
Her lawyers told People that publishing the letter in the court record broke an agreed upon gag order covering attorneys in the case and are “an extrajudicial statement made for the apparent purpose of influencing the court of public opinion.”