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February 02, 2017 06:00 PM

Zimmers Have Long-Time Troubled History In Community

Sioux Falls

We first showed you the destruction that George and Jennifer Zimmer have left behind as tenants of rental properties last week. But the story about this couple goes well beyond them trashing homes. 

George and Jennifer Zimmer have apparently figured out how to work the system to their advantage. They have seven children and local groups who help the needy say they, too, have been burned by the Zimmer Experience. 

The mess the Zimmers left behind at Andy Gibson's house last week was hardly the first. Many landlords, from South Dakota to Florida, have posted about The Zimmer Experience online.  

“I think they left in the middle of the night. They completely left the unit full of stuff," Johnson said.

Brett Johnson rented a twin home to the Zimmers nearly 12 years ago after they were referred by a local rental agency.  They wrote checks for the first month's rent and deposit and moved in, but the checks bounced. 

“They figure out a way to get past credit checks, background checks, and landlord checks. I'm really surprised they're continuing to do the same thing they did to me 11 and a half years ago," Johnson said.

Johnson says, as in all the other cases, his property required a big cleanup.  And the Zimmers were only there for two months before he had them evicted.

“Those kinds of things really burn an image in your head and it's not something I ever want to do again," Johnson said.

“They basically broke every rule we had out here," Nicolai said.

The St. Francis house asked Arena Motel owner, Tim Nicolai, to put up the Zimmer family who had come to them for help in 2013.

“They are definitely taking advantage of the system," Nicolai said.

"I really couldn't believe half of what they said. He said that he was a war veteran, that he was disabled, that he was getting a disability check," Julie Becker said.

Becker, who runs the St. Francis house, says the Zimmers forged documents to get government assistance for housing. 

“These guys did their homework. I mean they know what they're doing," Becker said.

“They went in a pretty nice neighborhood and we were trying to figure out how they went from homelessness to a really nice place and shortly after that they were driving a really nice vehicle," Nicolai said. 

Nicolai says they left their hotel rooms in shambles and then he says bill collectors started showing up looking for them.

“This has been well thought and planned by how they're deceiving people and the steps they're taking to stay one step ahead of everybody else. Now that it's finally catching up in the news some of it is probably catching up with them," Nicolai said. 

KELOLAND News checked with the National Personnel Federal Records Center and we were told there are no military records for George Zimmer. 

We have George and Jennifer Zimmers criminal background and have the latest on the fraud charges they are now facing on our EYE On KELOLAND Investigation. 


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