Help comes to KC elderly couple on limited income, facing fines for unsafe garage

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A 90-year-old man and his 78-year-old wife are headed to court this month to explain to a judge why they haven't removed the dilapidated garage behind their Kansas City home.

Mary Washington and her husband Robert are in trouble with the city for not repairing or demolishing the garage, but the Washingtons say they haven't got the money.

"The are going to fine us $200," said Mrs. Washington, shaking her head. She has lived in the home at 27th and College in downtown Kansas City since the 1980s.

Mrs. Washington said she's tried multiple times to find someone to help her with the garage since first being warned about it by the city codes department last year. But Mrs. Washington said every bid she's received is too much for her to pay.

"The last one wanted $7,000," she said.

Mrs. Washington and her husband survive on Social Security and their total monthly income is about $1,900.

Mr. Washington acknowledged the city had a right to fine him.

"I went to court with them and I pleaded guilty because I didn't have the garage torn down by the date that they gave me," he said. "So I was guilty of that. So they gave me another court date."

The next court date is December 22, which is also the couple's wedding anniversary. Mr. Washington, a WW II veteran, said he has no idea what the judge will do to him if the garage is still standing.

"We don't have nobody to help one way or the other," he said.

When FOX 4 Problem Solvers heard their story, we knew exactly who could help. We called JE Dunn, a Kansas City based construction company with a huge heart. CEO Gordon Lansford agreed to solve this problem within an hour of hearing about it.

"We have a history of giving back to the community," Lansford said, "but as soon as we heard this was a 90-year-old WW II veteran, we knew we wanted to be involved."

Plus JE Dunn has something in common with Mr. Washington, it has also spent 90 years in Kansas City. When we shared the good news with Mrs. Washington, she was nearly speechless, grateful that this problem was finally solved.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.