Akron attorney Warner Mendenhall has spoken with a city official in an attempt to stop the pending demolition of an Army veteran’s home on Manchester Road.
Mendenhall said he is representing Lawrence “Larry” Modic without charge. He is asking that any agency or individual willing to help make renovations or repairs to the Akron home Modic purchased last May get in touch with him via email.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Modic, a 22-year active duty Army and Ohio Army National Guard veteran, was taken into custody by Akron police and transported to a mental health facility in Akron last week after threatening to kill anyone who attempted to take his home from him. He was not charged with any crimes and is being treated at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center at Wade Park in Cleveland.
Police confiscated four loaded rifles, a loaded handgun, two boxes of ammunition and a flak jacket inside Modic’s home.
Modic had been under a psychiatrist’s care at the VA for two decades for depression and had been in recovery for alcohol and drug problems for 21 years as well, he said.
The city of Akron’s Housing Appeals Board voted last September to condemn the home and have it demolished.
The city Housing Division had longstanding issues with the home under its previous owner dating back to 2003. Orders were written to repair numerous items prior to the sale of the home to Modic last spring.
Modic said that several days after he purchased the home, he first learned the Housing Appeals Board was meeting in June to discuss violations. He then was given until September to make repairs, but he did not attend a meeting in September when the home was condemned.
In a telephone interview this week, Modic said he felt like a “weight was lifted” from his shoulders because of all the support he has received from the public following publication of his story. He also said he was glad a potential standoff was averted when police took him into custody for treatment.
Mendenhall said he spoke with John York, an Akron assistant law director, to determine if there is any way to resolve the problem and save the house.
He said he plans to make a presentation to city officials either today or Friday and list all groups and individuals willing to assist Modic in bringing his home up to code.
“We will do everything we can to work with the city and get some other options on the table for Larry,” Mendenhall said.
Still, he said, at this point, “the city is poised to tear the house down” but his understanding is the home will not be torn down before Monday.
The city says the violations are numerous and cover all facets of electrical, plumbing, heating and construction.
Rochelle Fisher, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, said her organization has two $15,000 Home Depot Veteran Repair Corps Grants that veterans can use to rehab homes. She said she is aware of Modic’s plight and is willing to review his case, but she is not sure if he would qualify.
Jack Phillip, 69, of Mogadore, an Army veteran, told the Beacon Journal he is willing to give Modic $100.
“What the authorities are doing is wrong,” Phillip said. “I think every veteran should be willing to put up whatever they are able to spare. This man put on a uniform, He was willing to lay down his life for this country.”
York said he spoke to Mendenhall and “asked him to send over what he is proposing.”
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at email@example.com.