A cockroach inside an Ionia County home (August 20, 2010)
Updated: Saturday, 21 Aug 2010, 8:52 PM EDT
Published : Saturday, 21 Aug 2010, 8:52 PM EDT
ORLEANS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The owner of a cockroach-infested trailer says he's not to blame for the roaches that have spread throughout the neighborhood.
Instead, long-time landlord Bob Cusack blames the occupants and the township.
And, he says, he has a solution.
"The best thing to do is get that out of there, just get it out of there," Cusack told 24 Hour News 8.
The small, abandoned trailer at 2715 Cottage Drive, on the west side of Long Lake, is swarming with cockroaches. Ionia County Health Department condemned it Aug. 11. Neighbors say the roaches have spread from there to as many as a dozen nearby homes. They want the home hauled away.
Cusack says that's exactly what he's tried to do. He says two men have offered to haul it away for nothing and sell it for scrap -- but Orleans Township, he says, is throwing up roadblocks.
"They literally stopped these guys from junking out this trailer. They were afraid they'd be taking roaches someplace else," Cusack said. "Well, the dump is full of 'em."
The township, he says, also wants to charge a $25 demolition fee.
"My God, you'd think they'd be tickled to death that we're getting it out of there, you know, but to milk these guys for 25 dollars."
The biggest hurdle: Once it's gone, a new ordinance won't allow a home of any kind there, because the lot is too small, Township Supervisor Jim Patrick has told 24 Hour News 8.
Cusack, 71, who lives in Lake Odessa, owns about 100 properties, mostly in Ionia and Montcalm Counties -- some rental, and some, including the trailer, that he's selling on land contract.
He says he's owned the land on Cottage Drive for about 20 years and has sold it a half-dozen times on land contract. Each time, the owners couldn't make the payments, and he got the property back, he said.
He blamed the most recent occupants for the roaches.
"They have four dogs and they had fleas and they definitely brought in the roaches, and this isn't the first time in 52 years (as a landlord) I've run across this."
He says he recently killed most of the roaches in the trailer with bug bombs. He questions whether the trailer is the source of the neighbors' roaches.
"My experience of dealing with roaches for 52 years, I've never seen 'em go from house-to-house. I see 'em in the house, and we bomb and we get 'em, and we bomb again two weeks later and we get the rest of them."
Cusack has fought City Hall before -- in 1993 in Grand Rapids, when the city wanted to tear down one of his rundown apartments on Lafayette AVenue SE.
Instead, he moved into it, got a judge to side with him, and fixed it himself - bypassing inspectors.
He says he's prepared for another fight.
"The way the township talks, we'd have to go into court and get a court order to replace what's there," Cusack said.