(Photo by John Cook) Fencing in the backyard at Kathleen Crown's mobile home at Pine Crest Estates in Caro. Crown is being told she must move out of the park by Nov. 22 or the owner/operator may take her to court for eviction because she "is in violation of the community rules and regulations." Crown's son, Dominic Gravina is a United States Marine veteran and has a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident in 2008. In 2014, Crown installed the fence as a way to prevent him from wandering out of the yard.

Marine veteran and his mother face possible eviction from local mobile home park

(Photo by John Cook)
Fencing in the backyard at Kathleen Crown’s mobile home at Pine Crest Estates in Caro. Crown is being told she must move out of the park by Nov. 22 or the owner/operator may take her to court for eviction because she “is in violation of the community rules and regulations.” Crown’s son, Dominic Gravina is a United States Marine veteran and has a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident in 2008. In 2014, Crown installed the fence as a way to prevent him from wandering out of the yard.

She has experienced many battles in her own life, from having a son in the military with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder to dealing with hospitals after he was involved in a serious car accident. Now, Kathleen Crown must move out of Pine Crest Estates of Caro by Nov. 22, or else face the possibility of being taken to court for eviction.

What the issue comes down to is that Pine Crest, represented by the law firm of Swistak Levine Professional Corporation of Farmington Hills, says that Crown is in violation of the community’s rules and regulations. Crown thinks otherwise. There are four specific violations – fencing, exterior floodlights, planting and dogs.

Dominic’s story

Crown’s son is Dominic Gravina who is 35. He served in the United States Marines from 2001-2004 as a paratrooper and went overseas for two tours of duty — one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. He joined the military one year after graduating from high school.

On May 3, 2008, Gravina was in a car accident that left him with a “catastrophic brain injury,” according to Crown.  

“The entire skull was shattered and the brain went forward and backward and burst so badly that they had to remove the entire top of the head and he wore a rubber helmet for a year while the top was gone,” Crown said.

He was in the Intensive Care Unit at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak for three months after the injury, which left him unable to speak. To this day, Gravina is still non-verbal, which is one reason Crown is fighting on his behalf.  

Gravina moved to Caro in 2009 to be treated for his injuries, and lived at Caro’s Lighthouse Rehab, a neurological treatment center, to receive treatment. Crown moved from metro Detroit to Pine Crest in 2014, since her son requires constant supervision. Presently, Gravina lives with his mother while receiving treatment five days a week at Lighthouse.

Community rules and regulations violations

 A notice to Crown dated Oct. 18, starts off by stating “The owner, Pine Crest Estates of Caro, of your mobile home park is terminating your tenancy for just cause as stated below and wants to evict you.”

It goes on to state that Crown has received numerous violation notices and has since failed to correct these violations.

The first violation in the letter says in part “You must remove all fencing and remove all stones along with tarping beneath the stones in order to restore the yard to its condition prior to the unauthorized modification/alteration.”

Crown says a verbal agreement was made at the time the fence was put up in 2014 between her and park management and now “all of a sudden, they want me to take it down.”

The fence was put up with the purpose of preventing Gravina from running away, according to Crown.

“It contains my son. He is a bull in a china shop,” she said. “If he wanted to, he could step over the fence. A couple weeks ago I asked him to brush his teeth. He turned on me and broke through the front door and went right for the fence, but it slowed him down.”

In regard to the exterior floodlights violation, the letter states “The exterior floodlights cannot interfere with other residents’ quiet enjoyment and must be either removed or relocated to avoid any interference with the rights of other residents.”

The third violation deals with planting and receiving written approval from community management. “All plantings must be approved pursuant to written plans that you provide in advance of any planting,” the letter reads. “All planting must be a minimum of three feet from underground utility lines, including electric, gas and/pr cable lines.”  

Finally, the fourth violation regards to dogs. The letter from the law firm says “You presently have four dogs at the homesite and may only have two. The dogs are often left outside unattended which is a violation of the rules and regulations along with local leash laws.” Crown says she has four dogs total – two for Dominic which are emotional therapy dogs and two at her other residence at the park, thus, two dogs per site. Crown rents two properties from Pine Crest, with the issues centering on the residence with the fence.

Crown has support from of a few of Dominic’s doctors who have written letters addressing the need for the fence to stay up and regarding the dogs.

One such letter, from Dr. Elliot Wagenheim dated Nov. 3 states “Because of Dominic’s traumatic brain injury, he has problems with impulsivity and poor judgement and the fencing provides a deterrent which prevents him from wandering. Dominic’s dogs provide a great deal of comfort and support for him and have a calming effect, which is very important given his traumatic brain injury and his tendency, at times, to become agitated.”

Pine Crest response

When asked to comment on the situation, neither Pine Crest management nor the law firm representing Pine Crest would speak with The Advertiser.

According to Crown, park management is not allowed to talk to her and Crown said she has no way of contacting the new ownership, which is part of the reason she is frustrated.

When The Advertiser went to Pine Crest to get its side of the story, managers Billy Williams, Gene Hoban and Linda Hoban would not comment on the situation.

“You can contact the lawyers if you would like to,” Williams said.

Gene Hoban said “My side of the story is going to be officially no comment. I do not have contact information for the owner of the park either.”

In an email to The Advertiser, attorney Jarrett Levine from Swistak Levine Attorneys at Law wrote, “It is our firm’s policy not to comment on pending litigation.”

From now until Nov. 22, Crown is unsure of what will happen, and doesn’t have a contingency plan of where her and Dominic will live in the event they are taken to court for eviction.  

“I’m living every  day holding my breath at this point,” she said. “I have this fear now that I am being uprooted and thrown aside. It’s really being forced on me. I didn’t ask to live in his park. It was convenient for my son. All this is wrapped around Dominic. I don’t have the money to be moving someplace else. I was told by the attorney that anything I request, I will be denied because they are angry at me.”

If taken to court for eviction, Crown will have the opportunity to present reasons why she believes she should not be evicted. The notice ends by saying if she believes she has a good reason for not being evicted, she may have a lawyer to advise her.

“I don’t think that any veteran who has gone to fight for our country should be told he cannot have something that will help him in the long run,” Crown said. “He has a mental condition now and is a disabled veteran. They are trying to push us out of the park.”

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