World War II veteran fights eviction by daughter - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

World War II veteran fights eviction by daughter

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ZALESKI, OH -

John Potter fought for America, and now people from all over the world are fighting for him, as he tries to avoid eviction from the home he built when he returned from World War II.  Potter helped defeat the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands campaign.

He might not defeat the woman who wants him out of his modest home in Zaleski, Ohio.

"That was my daughter that did this to me," Potter tells me.

In 2004, Potter became ill and needed help from a loved one, so he turned to his daughter, Janice Cottrill.

"My daughter was to go take care of my affairs," says Potter. "So I gave her power of attorney. She promptly went down to the courthouse and transferred every asset I had from my name into hers.""

The loved one who is helping him now and who has since taken over power of attorney, is Jaclyn Fraley, Janice Cottrill's daughter, Potter's granddaughter.

Fraley says she overheard some chatter last year about her mother wanting to sell the home and evict Potter, a former Zaleski mayor and Vinton County Sheriff.

The chatter was confirmed when the eviction notice came in January.

Fraley recently decided to move back home from San Diego to take up her grandfather's fight.

In an effort to raise money to buy the home outright, Fraley started a crowd-funding website through GoFundMe.com, which started out slow, only to blow up once attention came from veterans' groups and the international media.

The site raised $135,000, nearly three times the appraised value ($47,000) of the home.

"It was an amazing story.  It was an amazing thing that happened.  So now we've been in the process of trying to buy back the house."

Fraley says their offer of $47,000 to buy the home was countered with an offer from Cottrill to sell for more than $100,000, attorney's fees and a promise not to do anymore interviews about this dispute.

Fraley and "Grandpa John" Potter, as he is known to neighbors and supporters worldwide, passed on that offer and requested a jury trial which was granted by a judge.

A date for the trial has not yet been set.

Ms. Fraley finds herself in a precarious position.  She is between her mother and her grandfather, who is clearly winning the battle in the court of public opinion.

The outpouring of support has come from people in Saudi Arabia, France, Scotland and many other places.

They have donated money.

They have sent hand-written letters.

Letters of support come daily, and Potter says it doesn't get old.

"This is just from this week," says Fraley, as she points to a batch of cards posted on the wall. "He wanted them put up where he could see them."

"This is what keeps us going," says Potter, sporting his youthful demeanor with one foot up on the recliner.

Fraley says her mother and grandfather have had arguments over visitation rights for his autistic son that may have caused some bad blood, but Fraley believes her mother is simply choosing money over family.

"They seem to have no care what happens to him, or where he ends up. Their main focus is obtaining the home, and the money that would come from selling the home."