Architect Pursues Rival Beyond the Grave

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According to a report on Monday, a Pennsylvania architect challenging the license of a rival architect recently appealed his case to the state’s highest court.  This means Mark Altman is still trying to get Michael Molnar’s license revoked even though Molnar is not likely to be doing any more architecting, given that he died in May.

Neither report I found on this case explained exactly how this dispute got started.  Molnar seems to have worked briefly for Altman’s father decades ago, becoming licensed here in 1960 after fleeing the Soviet invasion of Hungary.  He said he had studied architecture in his home country but had been unfairly denied a license by the communist regime.  The state examiner accepted his testimony, and Molnar got a license and then practiced without incident for 46 years.

But at some point Mark Altman, still suspicious, and really pissed about something, followed Molnar’s trail to Budapest and found that the college there had no records of him.  He challenged Molnar’s license, but it appears that the state board again accepted Molnar’s testimony that he had earned his degree and that the Communists had lost the records.  That was affirmed on appeal.

Altman’s counsel (his brother Gary) said that their family still believed that Molnar had lied, and was stunned by the result.  He said, "You mean, if I’m a brain surgeon for 50 years, and after all these years they learn I’m an auto mechanic, I still can keep operating?  That’s fascinating to me."  Well, if an auto mechanic has successfully done brain surgery for 50 years, then yes, I think I might rather have him working on me as opposed to some brand-new guy who happens to have a license.  I might ask him what the jumper cables were for, but I’d be prepared to listen.  Oh, also, Mr. Molnar can’t keep operating now because he’s DEAD.

And, again, neither report I found explained exactly why the Altmans were still going after Molnar’s license now that he is an ex-architect.  No one else seemed to know, either.  "If the goal of the
litigation is to stop Mike Molnar from practicing architecture, the
good Lord has done that," a local attorney was quoted as saying.

Largely for that reason, the attorney for Molnar’s estate has filed a motion to dismiss the appeal as moot.  "Petitioner is, it seems, motivated by some unexplained quest for revenge that he simply cannot end," wrote Robert Hoffman.  He called  Altman "heartless" for suggesting that, if Molnar’s license wasn’t valid in the first place, the estate should give back all the fees he ever collected, which would likely be unpleasant for Molnar’s widow.  Hoffman compared the complaint to "Inspector Javert’s hunting of Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables,’" which, translated, seems to be something like how Magneto won’t leave the X-Men alone.

Link: CBS News
Link: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review