Board Wants Handicapped Boy Evicted
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) _ A condominium board has told the family of a 12-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy they have to leave, complaining that his wheelchair damages the property.
The family of Dorian Couturier had been renting an apartment at the Oceancrest condo for two years, but their lease is up at the end of the month.
They wanted to buy another unit, but the board voted 6-0 to block the sale last week, saying it had 17 complaints about Dorian from owners and eight complaints by the condo security staff.
``Because he’s in a wheelchair doesn’t give him the right to break the rules,″ board member James Walden said.
One complaint was that he uses the whirlpool spa for relief from his disease, although the spa is off limits to anyone younger than 14. Dorian also has been labeled mischievous because he has run his motorized wheelchair over lawn sprinklers, and scratched up walls with the chair.
Opposition to Dorian isn’t unanimous.
``We’ve got some people here who are crotchety about everything _ it’s constant anger, upheaval and spite,″ owner Elizabeth Wienke said. ``But to do something like this to a young kid who doesn’t have that much longer to live is a disgrace.″
Dorian’s mother, Cloe Couturier, said he and his 14-year-old sister, Kassandre, have been targeted by other residents.
``They’ve been constantly giving my kids a hard time,″ she said.
She complained that security guards refuse to help Dorian with the door into the lobby, once leaving him outside for 45 minutes.
The condo board said the guard is there for surveillance, not assistance.
``The guard’s first responsibility is to the desk,″ board member Robert Williams said. ``It’s not the guard’s responsibility to see that he gets in the building.″
``We’re not a health facility; we’re a private home,″ board member Clark Dowling said.
Earlier this year, Couturier was told she’d have to buy the condo where they were living or move out by Aug. 1 because the owner was putting it up for sale.
She applied to buy another unit in the building but on Thursday the board turned her down.
Couturier said the condo residents’ attitude hinders her son’s battle for self-esteem.
``They don’t like seeing the wheelchair,″ she said. ``I think it bothers them. He’s always by the pool because he needs the water for therapy, and I think it bothers them to look at it because it doesn’t look good.″