Dispute, Confusion Over Code Enforcement Repair Orders Lead To Wrecking Ball Treatment For Recently-Purchased Fixer-Upper, Leaving Vet Out $10K Purchase Price Plus Sweat Equity
In Akron, Ohio, the Akron Beacon Journal reports:
- In 34 minutes, Larry Modic’s house was down. A worker operating a huge excavator from Ray Bertolini Construction Co. demolished the Akron house Tuesday morning and was scheduled to tear the house next door down, as well.
- Modic, 57, who has an apartment in Lakewood, was trying to establish residency in Akron. He bought the brick house near Summit Lake in May for $10,000 and said he was unaware that the city housing division had cited the home for repair issues and issued orders to repair the problems. He spent weekends in the 1925 home, trying to fix it up.
The demolition came after the city won a court fight last week. Modic had threatened violence during his ordeal with the city about code violations. Akron police took him into custody in January and transported him to a local mental health facility. He then was transferred to the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center’s Wade Park facility.
Police found four loaded rifles, a loaded handgun, two boxes of ammunition and a flak jacket in the house. Modic has not been charged with any crimes related to the threats.
Volunteers helped him remove his personal belongings over the weekend.
The two homes knocked down Tuesday were among 650 vacant or abandoned homes that are to be torn down in the city this year, said Abraham L. Wescott, Jr., development manager of the city’s Department of Planning and Urban Development.
- Modic attended a June meeting of the Housing Appeals Board and was given 30 days to make repairs. At the July meeting, he received 60 more days to make repairs. But at the September meeting, which Modic did not attend, the board voted to condemn the home. Modic failed to appeal the decision within 30 days as required by law.
Attorney Warner Mendenhall filed a suit on Modic’s behalf last week in an attempt to block demolition, but Summit County Common Pleas Judge Paul Gallagher ruled against Modic and allowed the demolition to go forward.
Other issues addressed in the lawsuit by Mendenhall over the city’s demolition process are still to be heard and decided in court. Akron officials have said they are researching the possibility that the city will file a third-party lawsuit against the seller of the property to Modic.