Earlier this year, we turned to “the great seer, soothsayer, and sage, Carnac the Magnificent” to give us the 411 on “Debt, Taxes, Bugs and Soffits.” Tongue n’ cheek literary tool really, we took license to soften the story up some. Here again, we predict, this time with a not-so-gentle touch. Here our editorial board re-examines the events of 2014 and considers likely trends and outcomes. Wanna know what’s in store for 111 in 2015? Here are our top predictions:
– Two settled, two added, one of our current lawsuits is gonna leave a mark. Probably our Board President’s greatest and yet unrecognized accomplishment, has been the accumulation of lawsuits (read potential liens) against the Association. He’s been able to foster and/or maintain at least six during his brief tenure. Also, insult to injury, he’s been stubbornly able to defy the bell curve that predicts that ninety-six percent of all lawsuits settle. That is until now. After great and unnecessary expense, posturing and denials, a few of the suits have met up with Discovery and seem to have run their course. Plaintiff’s Motions for Summary Judgment loom. That said, we predict that two of our current five suits will settle in the first quarter of 2015. Unfortunately, having exacerbated these matters, they’re still going to conclude ultimately with an Association owie.
Speaking of ouch, regrettably, there’s at least one suit that poses a catch-22 for the Association, i.e. damned if we do and damned if we don’t. As we are currently about $1.2M in debt, we can’t afford this ouch. As the Board squandered the opportunity to settle early on the Williams matter, we’re now as they say, “all in with a bad hand.” As that one will likely go to trial, and as negligence is a key factor, owners could be on the hook. Insurance isn’t likely to cover this one, and Williams is asking for $5M. Considering 444 units, that comes to approximately $11,000 per average homeowner PIN. OUCH!
Now, while that sting pulsates some, keep in mind, there’s now a pending suit by the City for our recent gross failure of the LifeSafety Evaluation. And we can add one more: chit chat in the ladies room is that there’s been serious discussion of a homeowner (shareholder) derivative action to recover those funds misspent by Board members responsible for exacerbating some of these actions. Their “duty” to us was/is to be “prudent.” By the looks of our last budget, we passed that standard more than $45,000 ago. One former board member hit the nail on the head: “It would have been better if we had put a pile of cash in the Chestnut Room and set it on fire. At least then we would have gotten a few moments of light and heat.” What did we get for fighting some of these lawsuits? Absolutely nothing. Was that predictable? Sadly, it sure was.
– The impact of the City’s imposed LifeSafety (LSE) Violations is going to mushroom. In a simple sentence: we can’t and we won’t. That is, the likelihood of coming up to code is about zero. Hell, our carpets haven’t been cleaned in 3 years. Why? It’s beyond our capability apparently. That said, there’s not a chance in Hell we’re going to abide by the City’s requirements by the time the matter is referred to Court. Actually, odds are that there’s little likelihood we can become compliant any time soon thereafter. As such, we’re going to get whacked by the City and whacked hard. They need the money. Our Board and management have handed them a blank check.
– A Board Director, having trouble getting out, will lower his unit asking price… again. Glen Greene wants out. His unit 14C is now some 157 days on the market. Glen, who’s dropped his price once, is gonna need to do it again. Keep in mind the message that sends to the marketplace and how that impacts all of us. Perception is reality, it appears an investment in 111 isn’t all that liquid. And “Reduced” will again be the lead on ads posted by our board-insider and subsequent go-to real estate listing agent, Richard Evans.
– There’ll be a rather significant emergency expenditure. Did you see a budget line item for the huge spend that will be required to satisfy the LSE? There isn’t one. Did you see a line item for the serious concrete issues we are reportedly having with A units on floors 23 through 27? There isn’t one. And that doesn’t even account for the “Dukakis Happens” factor. As such, we predict we are going to have a signification emergency expenditure. Where will we get the money? The likely scenario is that we’ll just pile on more debt.
– The “Troublemakers” will rally… and fail. Word is that the 111 “Concerned Homeowners” group are now focused exclusively on our April Board Elections. Let alone that the group cannot rise above secret meetings (read closed bitch sessions), they cannot strategize let alone execute. Regrettably, they unknowingly hold that the extent of their authority is nasty notes to the Board and Management. Bottom line: Elections are apparently the one thing Milazzo does well. Bottom line add one: The 2015 elections were won and lost at the recent widely-attended Holiday Party.
Now understand, we predict that with a great deal of regret. A vibrant and functional dissonant group is essential to a healthy condo community. Yes-men produce dangerous groupthink. That and its deleterious consequences is Milazzo’s legacy. That said, our dissonant group is far more dysfunctional than our dysfunctional Board.
Regrettably, we predict that that will not change in 2015. Regrettably, that means some of our other issues emanating from the Board will continue unchecked and proceed at a tedious pace. As they say, mediocrity crawls on its belly.
So what’s in store of 111 in 2015? Suffice to say, 2015 will be a replay 2014 with a high likelihood that homeowners are gonna get variously whacked and the value and public perception of 111 will continue to slowly slide.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: One person on our editorial board proposed we include a prediction that after 3 years of neglect, our hallway carpets would be cleaned. That got a laugh.
Then again, who can predict the future.
STORY UPDATE 1/5/14: A hearing was held today in the Williams matter. Our source attending the hearing overheard a confab of Plaintiff and Defendant attorneys. Apparently, culpability is not the issue. The issue is that from a constellation of doctor testimony, what exactly is case specific. To that end, a second deposition of Ms. Williams is tentatively scheduled for February 4.