For Akron homeowner Larry Modic, three days is more than just 72 hours.
“It’s a lifetime,” Modic said Monday after a judge agreed to halt demolition of his Summit Lake neighborhood property, at least temporarily.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Paul J. Gallagher scheduled a hearing for 3 p.m. Thursday on a suit attorney Warner Mendenhall filed on Modic’s behalf seeking to stop the house from being torn down.
“Every day matters in a case like this,” Mendenhall said.
Earlier Monday, Modic was released from the Louis Stokes VA Cleveland Medical Center, where he had been treated for about 10 days after Akron police picked him up near his home.
Modic had threatened to kill anyone who might try to take his property. His comments came amid an ongoing dispute with the city over the ordered demolition of the house on Manchester Road.
After taking Modic into custody, police found four loaded rifles, a loaded handgun, two boxes of ammunition and a flak jacket in the house. He has not been charged with a crime.
While waiting for Gallagher to make his decision Monday, Modic broke down and cried as he thought about the support he has gotten from the community. Mendenhall told him there were volunteers willing to help move his belongings out of the house in the event the judge did not rule in his favor.
“I’m flabbergasted” at the support, Modic said.
He also repeated his praise for Akron police and how officers handled the situation.
“I have a very strong faith in my higher power, God, and I know he wasn’t going to let me down,” Modic said. “I knew something good had to happen because I haven’t done anything wrong.”
Modic, who has worked in the information technology field, said he had been under a psychiatrist’s care for 20 years and had been in recovery for alcohol and drug issues for 21 years.
Mendenhall will argue Thursday that under the city of Akron’s charter, only the departments of health and public safety have the authority to write orders and condemn private homes. The orders written on Modic’s house were issued by the Department of Public Service or the Department of Neighborhood Assistance.
Stephanie York, a spokeswoman for the city of Akron, called Mendenhall’s suit frivolous and said: “It is typical to hold off action until a hearing can be scheduled, and the court cannot hear our case until Thursday. There is no merit to Warner’s injunction attempt. The court merely has called a timeout until it can hear the case.”
The city last week rejected a proposal to give Modic more time to make repairs. Mendenhall had produced a list of 17 organizations or individuals who said they were willing to donate material or labor.
Last year, the city of Akron demolished nearly 600 homes.
Modic, a veteran with 13 years of active-duty Army service and nine years in the Ohio Army National Guard, bought the house in May. He said he was unaware when he purchased the home for $10,000 that the city had written orders for numerous repairs on the property.
He attended a meeting of the Akron Housing Appeals Board in June and was given 30 days to make repairs. At the July meeting, he was given another 60 days. He missed the September board meeting, when it voted to demolish the house.
Modic had 30 days to appeal that decision but did not file the paperwork.
Mendenhall also will argue Thursday that Modic was not properly served with a list of violations in the manner the city’s Housing Code stipulates.
Modic, who has an apartment in Lakewood, was attempting to establish residency in Akron, Mendenhall said. He had moved many personal items inside the house.
The Summit County Board of Elections said Modic registered to vote out of the Manchester Road address in August.
People interested in learning more about the case can check out two Facebook pages — Save Larry’s Home and Save Larry’s House — or go to the website www.savelarryshouse.com.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.