ORLEANS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The owner of a cockroach-infested trailer says he's not to blamefor the roaches that have spread throughout the neighborhood.
Instead, long-time landlord Bob Cusack blames the occupantsand the township.
And, he says, he has a solution.
"The best thing to do is get that out of there, just get itout of there," Cusack told 24 Hour News 8.
The small, abandoned trailer at 2715 Cottage Drive, on thewest side of Long Lake, is swarming with cockroaches. Ionia CountyHealth Department condemned it Aug. 11. Neighbors say the roacheshave spread from there to as many as a dozen nearby homes. Theywant the home hauled away.
Cusack says that's exactly what he's tried to do. He says twomen 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 thistrailer. 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 demolitionfee.
"My God, you'd think they'd be tickled to death that we'regetting it out of there, you know, but to milk these guys for 25dollars."
The biggest hurdle: Once it's gone, a new ordinance won'tallow 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 100properties, mostly in Ionia and Montcalm Counties -- some rental,and some, including the trailer, that he's selling on landcontract.
He says he's owned the land on Cottage Drive for about 20years and has sold it a half-dozen times on land contract. Eachtime, the owners couldn't make the payments, and he got theproperty back, he said.
He blamed the most recent occupants for the roaches.
"They have four dogs and they had fleas and they definitelybrought 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 trailerwith bug bombs. He questions whether the trailer is the source ofthe neighbors' roaches.
"My experience of dealing with roaches for 52 years, I'venever seen 'em go from house-to-house. I see 'em in the house, andwe bomb and we get 'em, and we bomb again two weeks later and weget the rest of them."
Cusack has fought City Hall before -- in 1993 in GrandRapids, when the city wanted to tear down one of his rundownapartments on Lafayette AVenue SE.
Instead, he moved into it, got a judge to side with him, andfixed it himself - bypassing inspectors.
He says he's prepared for another fight.
"The way the township talks, we'd have to go into court andget a court order to replace what's there," Cusack said.
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