Jim Carney

On Easter weekend, Larry Modic’s new life in a Southwest Akron neighborhood began.

The Army veteran whose previous house was demolished by the city of Akron Feb. 5 after it was condemned for housing violations is now the owner of another house sold to him for $6,000 by Air Force veteran Scott Wilson, 48, of Stow, a Goodyear employee.

“It’s nice to get my own place,” a beaming Modic said Saturday as he greeted Wilson and others who helped him at his new home on Kellogg Street off of East Avenue.

Money for the new house was raised through a fundraising drive started by State Rep. Zack Milkovich, D-Akron, who contributed $1,000 to the cause.

Modic, who had threatened to kill anyone who tried to tear down his house on Manchester Road, was picked up by Akron police in mid-January and taken to a local mental health facility and later was hospitalized at the Louis A. Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center’s Wade Park facility.

Modic bought the now-demolished Manchester Road home last May for $10,000, which he borrowed and is still making payments on the loan. He said he was unaware when he bought the home that there were housing code orders on the property.

The city of Akron had been at odds with previous owner John Hufnagel over housing code issues since 2003.

After Modic found out there were housing violations on his new property, he attended two Housing Appeals Board meetings and was given until mid-September to make repairs.

But Modic did not attend the September meeting when the board voted to condemn the property and he did not file an appeal within 30 days after the condemnation decision was made.

Akron attorney Warner Mendenhall filed a suit against the city in late January in an attempt to stop the demolition and challenging the city’s housing demolition program.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Paul Gallagher ruled in early February against Modic and in favor of the city on the attempt to stop demolition but the rest of the suit is still to be heard in court.

After the Modic case news broke, Akron City Council approved legislation requiring sellers to provide written notification of housing and zoning violations to a buyer.

The city of Akron has also sued Hufnagel, asking the court to require that he should pay the $8,400 in demolition and asbestos abatement costs associated with the tear down of Modic’s house.

Akron police said they picked Modic up in January to protect the public and Modic in light of threats he had made.

After Modic was picked up, police confiscated three loaded rifles, a loaded shotgun and a loaded handgun along with ammunition, body armor and other items and in March the city of Akron announced the items taken would not be returned to Modic unless a court orders the items returned. City officials said they would not return the items because they believe Modic might still be a threat.

On Saturday, Modic said he plans to attempt to get the weapons and other items back in court.

Wilson said he contacted Milkovich after reading in the Beacon Journal news reports of Modic’s situation in January and offered to sell his 883-square-foot three-bedroom, one-bathroom house to Modic.

“It feels good,” Wilson said Saturday of selling the home to Modic.

He had said he is losing money on the deal but did not want the house, built in 1919, to remain vacant any longer.

The home had been empty for most of the last eight years, he said.

Wilson said the house has a new furnace and water heater and a 3-year-old roof.

“It is a nice neighborhood,” Wilson said.

Still, he said, “it needs a lot of work.”

The sale closed on Thursday and on Saturday, Wilson gave Modic warranty information on the roof and furnace and other items in the house.

Milkovich said he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that Modic has received.

“Wherever his story was heard, it touched the hearts of people,” Milkovich said.

Contractors and individuals have volunteered to help Modic.

Milkovich is holding a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Kenmore Community Center at 880 Kenmore Blvd. to introduce Modic and to thank the community for its support. Also, Milkovich said he hopes to enlist volunteers to help Modic in his new home.

Modic, 58, has an apartment in Lakewood and served 13 years active duty Army and nine years in the Ohio Army National Guard.

He said on Saturday he wants to get involved in Akron politics and is considering a run for City Council down the road.

He said it will be at least a few weeks before he can get enough done inside the house to move in.

Items from the Manchester home, including tools, are still in an Akron storage facility and will have to be moved to the Kellogg Street address.

“Welcome to this neighborhood,” Milkovich said to Modic on Saturday.

“Thank you, my great friend,” Modic responded.

“God bless you,” Milkovoch said.

The state representative called Modic’s story “a feel good story with a happy ending on Easter weekend.”

Stephanie York, a spokeswoman for the city of Akron, said the issue “was never about Mr. Modic personally.”

Instead, she said, it was about the history and the condition of the Manchester Road property.

“We wish him well in his new house,” she said.

Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at jcarney@thebeaconjournal.com.