Deal Made For 92-year-old Facing Eviction

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A happy ending is in sight for John Potter, the 92-year-old World War II veteran who this year has been facing eviction by his own daughter.

His granddaughter, Jaclyn Fraley, who has been helping Potter through the eviction process, has confirmed to The Courier that an agreement has been made to keep him living in the house he built himself.

After months of waiting and an extensive online fundraising campaign, Fraley said her mother Janice Cottrill's legal team has agreed to sell back the house.

"It's such a relief. It's just so amazing and so wonderful," Fraley told The Courier.

An initial offer earlier this summer for the market value of the house was made to Cottrill and her attorney, but Potter's attorney Tim Gleeson said he received a counteroffer requesting more than twice that amount, The Courier previously reported.

Fraley said the high offer mixed with contentious "non-monetary" stipulations led Potter's side to say no. Further negotiations also fell flat, leaving the two sides preparing for an eviction hearing next month.

Then came an unexpected request earlier this week — Cottrill's attorney, Lorene Johnston, sent Gleeson a letter with a new offer to sell back the home, Fraley said.

"Right now we're just waiting for all the paper work," Fraley said.

Neither Gleeson nor Fraley would specify what the exact terms of the agreement were, though Fraley told The Courier it was "five figures."

The money to buy the house back came from a viral Internet fundraising campaign on, which in a few weeks raised nearly $140,000. Fraley said any extra money would go toward taking care of her grandfather.

The agreement comes as a welcome end for Potter, who has faced eviction from his house since January.

The legal tug-of-war has stretched back almost a decade, after Potter gave his daughter (Cottrill) power of attorney in 2004.

Fraley told The Courier earlier this year that Cottrill used this power of attorney to secretly transfer the house into her own name.

When Potter learned of this years later, he won an initial court ruling reversing the property transfer. An appeals court, however, ruled the transfer's statute of limitations had expired, giving Cottrill the house back.

All throughout, Cottrill's attorney said she would not comment on the case, not wanting to "negotiate with the other legal parties through the newspaper."

Johnston did however confirm that she requested a continuance, or postponing, of the October eviction trial. She declined to give any further details on an agreement made.

Gleeson said the trial has been effectively postponed pending the completion of negotiations. He added that both sides understood the "uncertainty" and "frustrations of the trial process."

For now, Fraley is hopeful things can go back to normal, though now with thousands of what she and Potter call his "Internet grandchildren." These are the many supporters worldwide who have sent money, cards and well-wishes as well as spread Potter's story virally online.

"It was your donations that made buying back his home possible," Fraley wrote on Facebook. "It was also your love and support that helped us make it through these last few months."

Potter, the former mayor of Zaleski and Vinton County Sheriff, can finally again feel at home.

"He's just happy and so relieved," Fraley said.