This was brought to our attention by a fan of the page, a story done by NBC4I out of Columbus Ohio.
ZALESKI, Ohio -
A 91-year-old decorated World War II combat veteran is about to be evicted from a home he and his wife built and lived in for the last 54 years.
The elderly man’s lawyer said John Potter’s daughter and son-in-law used a power of attorney to sign Potter’s home into their name, and a court ruled in their favor.
Fifty four years ago, John and Evelyn Potter built a Vinton County home together in the small village of Zaleski.
Potter said he has lived in the village all his 91 years, except for the years he served his country including a fierce battle against the Japanese on Attu in the Aleutian Islands. Now, after almost a century of struggling to make a life in Ohio, he said he is about to be forced out of his home.
“I laid awake at night trying to figure out what in the world I could have done to these people to make them so angry at me,” said Potter.
He said the people he is referring to are his daughter and son-in-law, who he thought were looking out for him.
“In 2004, she signed his house, deeded his house to herself by power-of-attorney which in the state of Ohio is illegal,” said Potter’s granddaughter Jaclyn Fraley.
She took over as Potter’s power of attorney in 2010 after she and her grandfather became aware of the deed transfer.
Shortly after the discovery, Fraley and her grandfather petitioned a Vinton County Court to get his home back. That court ruled in his favor, but his daughter appealed that ruling and the appeals court ruled that she legally owned the home.
“Sadly once the property was granted back to them by the court of appeals, based on the statute of limitations having passed, we are left with no options,” Fraley said.
NBC4: “Where would you like to live for the rest of your life?
Potter: “Right in this house!”
Recently Fraley said they got more bad news in the form of a termination of lease or eviction notice.
A Vinton County judge could rule on the eviction and how much time Potter will be allowed to remain in the home during a hearing on April 22.
NBC4 asked Potter’s son-in-law and daughter about evicting her father.
“Actually, I can tell you an awful lot, simply because I’m the one who is doing it,” said Dean Cottrill.
Janis Cottrill is married to Dean, and is Potter’s daughter. They claim the family feud is over visitation rights for Potter’s other child, who has Autism.
“For him to stay in that home, it is real simple. Leave Joe alone and stop the lawsuits,” said Dean.
He said his wife Janis is upset over the feud and cries many nights.
“I would hope my mother would be a caring compassionate person and even though there is family difficulties she would still care and respect her father enough to let him spend his final days in his home,” said Fraley.
She said she and other family members are upset because the courts did not protect her grandfather’s rights.
“We are actually working to start drafting letters to our representatives in the legislature to create laws to protect against situations like this happening to anyone else,” Fraley said.
No matter what feud the family may be in, this Hero, one of our National Treasures who fought for this country, WILL NOT BE THROWN OUT IN THE YARD LIKE A PIECE OF TRASH!
He fought for this country, for OUR Freedom and HE DESERVES OUR RESPECT! He does not deserve to be thrown out of HIS house by anyone! We all stand with you Mr. Potter, It is because of men like you that I live free today. And I will not stand idly by while you are mistreated by anyone, or anything!
I will do my part and donate to his cause, I call on everyone that is able to do so as well. Appreciation is what I have for one of America’s greatest generations!
I have personally spoken to the Granddaughter, they have a facebook page setup for this Hero, go check it out and tell them we sent you. Grandpa John J Potter
She also has a donation page setup which you can access from the facebook page referenced above, she assures us that all fund will be going to help her Grandfather and she will provide proof if needed. Her goal is to purchase the home back from her mother. We also have her contact information to include her personal phone number. We got your back, Grandpa Jack!
UPDATE: 20130427 We want to help this Veteran, not hurt what his granddaughter is trying to do! Posting the personal information of the family members responsible does not accomplish this. Please do not post addresses and/or phone numbers in an effort to harass anyone, this does not get us to the end state we are looking for. If you want to help, go visit his facebook page or his go fundme page. Thanks for understanding!
UPDATE: 20130620 After Jaclyn, the granddaughter of Grandpa Jack, raised over $139,000 in donations to buy back Grandpa’s house, the Daughter Janice Cotrill has refused the offer to buy. And now he is facing eviction from his home, with a hearing scheduled for June 26th. Jaclyn has made two offers, both have been above market value of the home itself, with Janice rejecting both.
“For me, the hardest part in all this is what it’s going to do to him: taking a 92-year-old man and forcing him to leave his home. I was trying to keep it so he could have a calm, quiet end of life. His health is weaker,” Jaclyn said of Grandpa.
Fraley said she has considered alternative housing options for her grandfather, including building an addition to his caretaker’s home, or buying a new home. She said the money raised by GoFundMe.com has stayed untouched and she says she is willing to be completely transparent with how the money is used by her grandfather.
Potter, who mostly relies on his pension for income, is not paying rent to his daughter
“Everyone who sent us money said they didn’t want to give a dime of to Cottrill. People told my grandfather to take the money and buy a different house,” Fraley said.
To me this is appalling, I can not understand how anyone cold treat a parent this way, much less a Veteran of WWII. Seems to me the daughter is trying to get all the money raised through donations, even though it is more than double what the home is worth. I understand everyone not wanting a dime to go to the daughter, but think about grandpa and the memories he has in the home he built, I am sure that is priceless to him.
Jaclyn, if there is anything we can due to help, please let us know. We helped you in the past, and we would be glad to do whatever we can to help Grandpa.
After Jaclyn and Grandpa made several offers to buy back the home, the daughter finally accepted, halting court proceedings that would have evicted him from his home.
Thanks to all of you that went and donated to the fund to help him buy it back!
After raising money from Internet donors, John Potter of Zaleski, Ohio, had attempted to buy back his home before an eviction hearing at the Vinton County Courthouse. Jury selection was scheduled for Oct. 3, after the eviction hearing was postponed during the summer.
He received an eviction notice from his daughter, Janice Cottrill, and son-in-law earlier this year, saying they had terminated his “existing lease.”
Potter and his granddaughter, Jaclyn Fraley, 35, raised nearly $140,000 on the website GoFundMe.com, but offers to buy back the home were previously rejected by his daughter.
The court has been notified that paperwork was filed to dismiss the eviction, Fraley said.
“I want to express my appreciation for all those people who helped me,” Potter said. “It wasn’t one person, it wasn’t a hundred but over five thousand people and I certainly appreciate it more than they will ever know.”
After Potter’s attorney called Fraley to notify her of the offer’s acceptance on Wednesday, she said, “I think I shrieked for 10 seconds and started bawling.”
Potter’s next step is to wait until the deed is prepared, paperwork completed and signed by her mother and stepfather, said Fraley, who said she would then write a check to them.
Fraley declined to reveal the price that was accepted, but she said it was “five figures” and more than her grandfather’s last rejected offer of about $60,000. But the amount was less than what was raised on GoFundMe.com.
Fraley the remaining money from GoFundMe.com will be used for Potter’s care and things he might need for the house.
When Fraley told Potter about Wednesday’s purchase agreement, he told his granddaughter it was “too good to be true.”
Potter had a market appraisal conducted on the home which showed that its value was $47,000 plus a tract of land worth $2,830, together which was much lower than the value he and his granddaughter had expected.
They made an offer to Cottrill through their attorney for the market value of the home and received a counter-offer that was about $85,000 plus about $4,000 and $11,500 for the eviction process and attorney fees.