84-year-old veteran has been living in car since Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

An 84-year-old veteran is feeling forgotten.

He’s been living in his car since his condo was gutted after being damaged by Hurricane Ian.

He said he didn’t think there was much damage until the workers and his condo association came in and gutted it, making it unlivable.

Rotonda West resident Herb Jasper had thought his condo was mostly spared from hurricane Ian’s wrath.

“As far as I know, it just damaged the roof a little bit,” Jasper said. “It had some water damage upstairs, and it just damaged from the vent in the front bedroom, the bedroom set and the rug a little bit.”

He said his condo association told him it was going to have a crew come survey the damage and knock out any walls that needed it and that he’d only have to pay for the trim around the doors, bottom of the walls and paint. But when the crews left, Jasper said he found the place unlivable.

“Every single wall in the inside was knocked out,” Jasper said. “The kitchen looked approximately the way it does now.”

He was also told that he owed about $7,500 for a special assessment.

“I wanted a transparent financial report, which they said they would provide, but they never did,” Jasper said, “and I said I would like the condo put back to where it was before they started knocking out the walls, and they steadfastly refused to do that.”

The association has since put up drywall but with his condo in this state, Jasper has been living in his car, which has no air conditioning and no real way to keep anything cold. He’s been getting most meals at places that feed the homeless.

He feels the condo association needs to pay to make his home livable.

“I did not damage my condo,” Jasper said. “Their workers did … The point is, especially with a senior citizen, you don’t damage their place to the point of uninhabitability for eight months and refuse to do anything,” Jasper said.

Jasper said he’s hoping he can find a lawyer to help him sort this out, as he’s at a loss for what to do next.

“It’s very stressful for anybody but for somebody that’s over 80 years old,” Jasper said. “That’s not in the best health, with a little car with no air conditioning. You know, it’s tough.”

A manager for the Rotonda River Village Condominium Association said that in Florida, condo associations are responsible for repairing the drywall and everything behind it. The manager said that Jasper does not have contents insurance needed to replace everything else in his unit.

With no air conditioning to get through the hot days, Jasper spends time at the public library.

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