'Rehab Addict' star gets in online tussle with Minneapolis mayor over home's demolition


The long, drama-filled battle to stop a 122-year-old home from being torn down failed, but the drama surrounding the Minneapolis home continues on social media. And it's resulted in threats against a local councilwoman, and a public tussle between the mayor of Minneapolis and a TV host.

Nicole Curtis, the star of "Rehab Addict" on HGTV, worked for years to save the 2320 Colfax Avenue South home, known as the Orth House, but her efforts were futile.

Following the demolition she took to Facebook, where she has more than 725,000 followers, to blame Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Bender, who oversees that area of south Minneapolis.

This embed is invalid

Commenters on Curtis' posts took the criticism further, calling out Bender using very colorful adjectives. (A local blog compiled some of the worst ones.)

The online comments prompted Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges to chime in on her Facebook page, calling the comments “appalling and disgusting," noting Curtis enticed the online harassment and has done nothing to stop it.

Curtis fired back, posting she doesn't "condone threats of violence nor anything of that sort," noting she isn't able to monitor all the comments on her page.

“I'm a taxpayer. I live in the city of Minneapolis. I own three properties here. Lisa Bender is actually my representative. What I have is a social media following of over a million people. I cannot police all their comments,” Curtis told FOX 9.

In a second post, she said Hodges can "take shots at me all day long," but said the mayor should "salute the people" who worked with her and put their time into something they believe.

Brian Finstad, who works for The Healy Project, which worked with Curtis to try and save the home, told WCCO Hodges attacked Curtis because the reality TV star continues to question the political process behind the Orth House demolition.

Bender hasn't commented publicly on the social media war, CityPages reports.

History of the Orth House

Master builder T.P. Healy built the Orth House in 1893, and it was named after the home's first owner, Edward Orth, whose father owned Orth Brewing Company, MinnPost reported. The Orth House is said to be the first example of Healy building in the Colonial Revival Style, a move away from his popular Queen Anne Style home.

In the last few years the drama-filled fight to tear down or save the home boiled over, and last year the city decided not to recommend it for historic designation, paving the way for a developer to tear it down.

At the time, John Smoley, a city planner and historic-home expert, said "the property does not retain its integrity" after renovations following several damaging fires over the years, MinnPost said.

In April 2014, the city voted in favor of the developer, and in late February of this year, after efforts to prevent the home's demolition, it was torn down.

People who wanted to keep the building from being demolished say it maintained many features that made it historically significant, and say the city didn't follow its own rules throughout the dispute or the demolition process, reports note.

A local blog has a timeline of events leading to the Orth House's demolition:

Next Up