published Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Man tries to evict 98-year-old mom from home

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN

Associated Press

  • photo
    Mary Kantorowski, of Fairfield, Conn.,sits in her home. Kantorowski, whose son served her with eviction papers on her 98th birthday two months ago, is fighting his efforts to remove her from her home. Her oldest son, 71-year-old Peter Kantorowski of Trumbull, says he's concerned about his her well-being.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Peter Kantorowski wanted his 98-year-old mother to move into a nursing home or live with him. She wouldn’t go; she didn’t want to leave her home of nearly 60 years.

Finally, Kantorowski went to court — and served his mother with an eviction notice shortly before her 98th birthday in December.

Mary Kantorowski says she won’t leave the small yellow house she’s been in since 1953, raising her two sons and cooking for the church she attended daily. The house her late husband wanted her to stay in until she died; the house she says is her “everything.”

“I don’t know why he wants me to leave,” she said Friday.

The epic mother-son feud is headed to court next month.

Peter Kantorowski, 71, became the owner of the Fairfield home several years ago when his mother transferred ownership to him but retained the right to live there, in what’s known as a quit claim, Mary Kantorowski’s attorney said.

The retired taxidermist said he’s concerned about her well-being, that she’s seemed disoriented and has been living in poor condition.

“I’m not throwing her on the street,” he told WTNH-TV in New Haven. “At her age, at 98, I’m sure that she should be with people of her peers. She should have her meals on time.”

Peter Kantorowski and his attorney didn’t return telephone messages left by The Associated Press on Friday.

Mary Kantorowski’s attorney, Richard Bortolot Jr., said she can take of herself, still does some of her own cooking and is seen regularly in her home by doctors and nurses. A judge ruled she was competent and appointed Bortolot to represent her in the eviction.

Her younger son, Jack Kantorowski, says his mother is in relatively good health. He’s on his mother’s side of the family feud.

“If there is a money problem or anything else, he should have said something a long time ago instead of just trying to get rid of his own mother,” Jack Kantorowski said.

Peter Kantorowski, who lives about 20 minutes away in Trumbull, hasn’t seen his mother for eight months, her attorney said.

“I’m appalled a son would do this,” Bortolot said.

Jack Kantorowski said his father worked multiple jobs to buy the house and built additions over the years.

“He was always trying to protect my mom; she’d always have a place to live,” he said. “If something happens to me, there was always going to be a home for her to stay for the rest of her life.”

Peter Kantorowski filed a complaint against his mother in December after she refused to follow an eviction notice filed Nov. 30 to vacate the premises by Dec. 7. A trial is set to begin March 2 in Bridgeport Superior Court.

Bortolot says a probate court stopped Peter Kantorowski from trying to sell the house, valued at $330,000, after the eviction papers were served.

Asked where she might live next, Mary Kantorowski’s voice catches.

“I don’t feel very good about it,” she says. “I want to stay right here in my own home.”

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