Kenneth Knudson says he’s a “salt of the earth kind of guy,” according to WDAF-TV.
The 88-year-old business owner also says he has never in his entire life been in trouble with the police.
But a cracked brick wall outside his office building in downtown Horton, Kan., that officials have deemed a public hazard landed the World War II veteran in jail last month.
Knudson says he can’t afford to repair the wall, adding that the city won’t show him any leniency, which is fairly disappointing for a person who says he has dedicated most of his life to the town.
“I was on the planning commission for Horton, I’ve been the president of the chamber, I’ve been on the appeals board,” he told WDAF-TV.
The veteran is appealing to the town, the judge and the city to cut him a break on the repairs. He said his jewelry store business is dying and the beauty salon he owns next door is barely keeping him and his wife of 66 years afloat.
“I went around and tried to get contractors to bid on it and fix it and no one was interested,” said Knudson.
The city at one point offered to repair his building for $10,000, saying he could put it toward his taxes. But, again, the cost of repairs was too expensive for the Kansas business owner.
“You should be able to buy the whole downtown for five thousand,” he said jokingly.
Finally when Knudson appeared in court Dec. 23 to tell a judge he couldn’t afford the repairs, he was fined $100 and put in jail.
“I just couldn’t believe it, I just couldn’t believe it,” his wife Veda Knudson said.
The vet said “they can’t throw you in jail for that, you didn’t do nothing. I said no, that’s why they’re throwing you in jail. I didn’t get nothing done.”
So where does Knudson stand?
He has been ordered by the judge to have the building fixed before he goes back to court later this month or pay a $500 fine.
“I just don’t have the money to fix it,” the veteran said, who has placed a plastic fence around his building to keep people from getting too close, said.
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This post has been updated.