WVH vs Peterson-THE END and the Apologies : (est cost $70,000 to $80,000)

When we last left off, all parties were scheduled to go to court on June 7th. In between the last court hearing and June 7th we elected a new board here at WVH.  For over two years the board headed by Katy B. pursued this baseless case with the urgings of Gail Davis, Katy Bordonaro and Navid Maqami. (who by the way allegedly felt that the board should continue with the case “no matter what the cost”. Even though the board had no case. Heck,why not it’s not Navid’s money..right?)

So what happened…

Thanks to the quick intervention and hard work on behalf of Jim Bozart. Both Bob Peterson and Jim Bozart had agreed that much too much time and money was spent on such a  frivolous lawsuit brought by WVH. In July the current board settled and most of Peterson’s court and legal fees were paid for. Plus the current board sent a letter of apology to Mr Peterson and made Gail Davis also write a letter of apology. The estimated total cost of this case is about $70,000 to $80,000.You can read both letters here: Click on this Link-Apology.

POST CASE wrap up and the Letters of Apology: by Bob

First and foremost I want to thank Jim Bozart for diligently working hard to resolve this frivolous matter. His letter of apology was heartfelt and to the point and I cannot thank those members of the board enough who agreed to settle this matter. Secondly I  thank Gail for writing her letter of apology at the boards insistence but, it’s content is more than questionable and lacks of any responsibility not only to me but to the tenants of WVH. The letter presents Gail as guarded, scapegoating and insincere. And as most of you have commented “so what’s new about that when it comes to Gail”. In the letter Gail writes,  “In all my entire time at West Village Houses, I have tried my best to handle all aspects of my position professionally and I hope that during the time this lawsuit was ongoing you never felt that not to be so. If you ever did I apologize.”

I apologize !?? For what, trying to have me evicted? Sending out legal letters on holidays with false and misleading claims? The overall harassment?

We could go month by month and tell you how the old board and Gail behaved in this case but you can feel free to look back on the old posts HERE , HERE and HERE.

From day one, Gail and her cohorts lied about where the installation of the meter had to go. In my case, in written statements by their lawyer they called my meter “a fire hazard” and claimed of “rising costs of insurance to the building.” (none of which are or were true). And for two years to this day Gail nor any member of the old board chose to ever inspect the meter themselves. In late spring of 2011, Gail also blocked (by omission) the Department of Buildings from inspecting on court order, the apartment in question.Why did she block the D.O.B.? You’ll have to ask her. Most likely though it was because she knew that nothing was wrong with the meter in the first place. And she also knew that the meter had already passed two inspections from city officials and three inspections from licensed engineers including Rand Engineering. Instead of allowing D.O.B. to follow through with their court order, she and the old board were fine with going to court again and again and costing us tenants more and more fees even though they were in the wrong. The judge in the case was also beginning to find in favor with defendant (Peterson) and was outraged that the building manager (Gail) did not comply fully with the court order/agreement.

So how could this have been handled differently? Well, if Gail were acting “professional” as she claimed in her apology, not being an engineer herself, she could have requested at NO COST that the D.O.B. inspect the meter in question. She could have even had the installation plan and placement of all the meters in WVH be reviewed before the work was even started. So many of you had also asked if the submeter could be placed somewhere else in your apt. and you were told “no” or that it would be “against code”, which was never true. Had she (Gail) done her homework , had she had done her job, many of you could have had the submeter installed almost anywhere you wanted. Instead it seems someone wanted to rush the  job and someone wanted her “bonus” for the submeter installation. So to meet those goals, when it came to the installation of the submeters, Gail told us what she wanted us to hear and what she wanted most of us to believe but she wasn’t telling us the truth.  In reading this, she will probably try to explain it away as it not being her fault or she that she was misled by others.  I guess this is her version of “acting professionally”. Who am I to judge, I am only a tenant, a shareholder and technically her employer via Douglas Elliman.

By July of 2011, along with a few members of the old board, Gail had cost our co-op an estimated $70,000 to $80,000 in legal fees. Over $30,000 more since Peterson won and tried to settle the case back in Jan. of 2011.

According to House Committee minutes on 6/6/11 at 6:45pm. House committee member Phyllis asked about the costly court battles here at WVH. (copied from the house committee minutes) :

Phyllis asked whether the co-op has recourse to other enforcement options
when shareholders violate their lease, options that do not require
starting off with costly court proceedings against the shareholder in
question.

Gail noted that the only recourse the co-op has to respond to violations
of a shareholder’s proprietary lease is either to send a letter asking
them to stop (which they can ignore), or to initiate eviction proceedings
against them, but nothing in-between. The co-op was described as having a
“nothing-or-sledgehammer option.”

Katy further explained that changing the co-op’s enforcement procedures to
allow for other types of enforcement action would require amending the
proprietary lease.

It’s interesting to note that as a “professional” that Gail’s response recorded in the minutes, is not to sit down and mediate with the tenants, not to investigate the matter at hand, nor wasn’t prudent of her to ask the opinions of professionals but, instead her resolve in any matter is to go straight to costly litigation, now known as the “sledgehammer option”.

Is this the “professionalism” we seek here at WVH or could someone else do the job better? Let’s hope the new board removes the “sledgehammer option”  from all of us and removes those managers and managing agents from office who see this as the only option to resolve any matter or issue.

Bottom line I am glad the court case is over  and we have Jim Bozart to thank (thanks Jim) for doing something Katy and a few members on the board couldn’t do or wouldn’t do. This matter is now closed but, with this level of self-proclaimed “professionalism” by our managing agents, perhaps the board should reconsider renewing the Douglas Elliman contract.

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One thought on “WVH vs Peterson-THE END and the Apologies : (est cost $70,000 to $80,000)

  1. Hello Bob. I look forward to reading the “More, more, more…” regarding your case. And congratulations for your bravery, which infers you are aggressive. But I know you are one of the kindest souls I have ever met who happens to live in a warriors body! I recently experienced the sledgehammer option myself and was actually shocked to receive a letter that threatened court action if “I did not pay my maintenance within three days from the date of the letter”. Now, I will not go into the details about why I was experiencing a hardship in July and couldn’t pay my maintenance on time. And I will not try to excuse my decision to not contact Gail or someone from WVH, which I should have. But, I stupidly assumed two things. One being, because I had not missed one single maintenance payment in the eight years I have been a resident at WVH no one would mind one late payment. And two, because I thought that if management were really worried about it they would call. I assumed wrong. I bring this up because I felt a direct violation of my rights to be reasonably notified. Instead, I was publicly served legal documents. I say publicly because the documents were wedged into the top of the frame of the mail slot in the lobby with my name and address and first threatening paragraph of the letter clear for everyone to see. The documents were also placed there one day after the date on the notice ordering me to remit my maintenance in full within three days, thereby actually giving me only two days to act. BTW I was contacted by one of my neighbors who called to tell me I had a legal notice waiting for me in the lobby. Needless to say, I immediately responded to the notice and conferred with Gail, who said she didn’t know anything about it, that the payment I already sent in was received and that I would not be subject to legal fees I hear are imposed for such actions taken by the legal representatives of WVH. I explained to Gail that I had mailed my maintenance in full on Sunday. Two days before I received the legal document from Douglas Elliman’s attorney representing WVH – a document which included a page from a letter dated in 2009 authorizing this type of legal action. Guess whose signature was all over this document. Katy Bordonaro’s. I am not a complainer, but I feel there are a few things wrong with this scenario. We are all people. We are living in really tough times. This can (and will) happen to others. Lets create a mechanism that is gentler. A phone call would have been nice to receive. Or a friendly letter explaining that action can be taken if… I was publicly violated. I have been told that legal actions that involve residents and the WVH management and board are confidential. Not shared with WHV residents. So, where do I stand here? There was this notice plastered for all to see. No envelope. Purposefully stuck into the frame of our mail box unit. And then there was the delay in receiving it. If we are going to use a “sledgehammer” at WVH let’s make certain we follow all legal protocols. Mail certified letters or hire someone to serve documents as needed. Of course, I would not support either of these aggressive options, nor their enforcement. But what was done here was done all wrong, and to accomplish what? We have to stand up for a nicer way to treat each other. Instead, I believe I was sent a direct signal that I am not considered a community member, and certainly no one at DE, or management would come to the aid of a resident who can’t make a monthly maintenance payment. Lets guess why… $$$$ We are sheep in a den surrounded by lions. I was mad about this. And I don’t want this to happen to others. Lets set the protocols straight and do right by our WVH community.

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