DOVER — Jason Johnson did not expect to need the services of an attorney or draw the ire of the city’s mayor when he began a project to clean out his 93-year-old grandfather’s shop building.
Jason Johnson said he began the task about two weeks ago and within days the mayor began calling wanting to know when the project would be finished. The first call from Mayor Annie Shaha was received by Johnson’s grandfather, a World War II vet with dementia and a heart problem, which left the man confused and upset. Jason Johnson said he began taking the calls, but he said they devolved into rancor and threats by the mayor.
“You’re offending all your neighbors,” Shaha allegedly seethed to him.
Johnson said Shaha accused them of placing property on city right of way and threatened to show up with a flatbed truck to remove the offending items. She also pledged to enact additional city codes to address the situation, according to Johnson.
“She just got so livid,” said Johnson.
Johnson said the city is now contending that the shop may be encroaching on the city’s right of way on Rocky Point Road, prompting him to consult legal counsel and call for the city to survey the property line if it thinks he is over it.
Moreover, Johnson said he contacted his neighbors to let them know he was clearing out the shop, which forced him to place some of its contents outside the building. And there was a lot of it because his grandfather was a child of the Great Depression who liked to collect things. Johnson estimated that 20 dump runs have been made so far to pare down his grandfather’s possessions, which include antiques, sporting goods, tools, auto parts and equipment.
“It looked a little ‘Sanford and Son,’ admits Tanya Montague, who provides in-home care for Johnson’s grandfather.
Progress on the project has been interrupted at times because Johnson and Montague also have jobs to keep up with.
Shaha showed up on the home’s doorstep with Bonner County sheriff’s deputies at one point, although they took no action because Johnson wasn’t violating any city codes.
The exchange apparently got heated enough that Shaha and Montague both began recording videos with their mobile phones.
Johnson accuses Shaha of “borderline harassment,” an allegation Shaha denies in the recording.
“I will be checking with the sheriff daily. We will be driving down here,” Shaha says at another point in the video.
Johnson called Shaha’s conduct “rude and appalling.”
When asked for comment, Shaha suggested a drive to the residence would speak for itself.
“If you have done this, you won’t need a comment from me,” she said in an email.