Special Assessment Meeting

To All Portofino South Unit Owners:

This letter concerns the severe problems inherent in the proposed Special Assessment to be discussed and voted upon at the June 21 Directors Meeting.

A new owner started to write about the building on a blog she started, before this problem occurred, and I thought it was a very good way to communicate with all unit owners.

This letter is written by J.Parker Reid, a Portofino South Director, Chairman of the Insurance Committee, and a member of the 2010 Budget and Finance Committees.  I am also a licensed Florida Community Association Manager and have been the Property Manager of a 100 unit Palm Beach Co-op and a 400 unit West Palm Beach Condominium.  Before moving to Florida I graduated from Harvard Law School and was a member of the bar associations of New York and Washington, D.C. and owned an operated numerous large properties.

Here’s the situation:  On June 4th a Notice of Special Assessment Meeting was issued to consider the following proposals:

1.  Replenishment of Irrigation Reserve $23,000
Replenishment of Hurricane Impact Reserve    $102,000
These two items total some $125,000 and resulted from the Board’s authorizing such amounts to be spent on capital projects not covered by reserves.  By law these replenishment payments  MUST be made.

2.  Funding for concrete restoration, waterproofing and exterior painting                                                    $ 127,000
Exterior painting and concrete restoration Reserves are $64,000 and $24,000 respectively, totaling $88,000.  The meeting notice letter proposed another $127,000 in Special Assessment funding.  This would make this exterior project cost about $215,000, some $42,000 over the $173,000 approved by the Board.  This overage must be explained.

Certain carpet replacement work was discussed and approved by the Board in the amount of $133,000.  Other ancillary work, discussed to augment the carpeting, was corridor baseboard, lighting and painting.  At the April 2009 Directors’ meeting the Board voted to “go forward” with the carpeting and lighting.  The baseboard work estimates are from $22,000 to $32,000:  lighting ranges from as low as $6,000 ($30 per fixture) to perhaps as high as $32,000 and painting with one estimate for $56,000.  Legal costs to prepare adequate contracts for all this work are sure to reach $10,000.

Reserves here amount to $111,000 for carpeting, $23,000 for interior painting, zero for baseboard and zero for lighting.  Thus, we have a total of $134,000 in reserves for expenditures already proposed and discussed amounting to perhaps $208,000–some $94,000 more for this carpet project.

Thus, to fund the difference between reserve amounts available for the exterior work and the carpeting, etc. would require an additional $127,000 for the exterior and $94,000 for the carpet project.  Adding $125,000 for the reserve replenishment would total $346,000–not the $252,000 as stated in the Notice.  This is $94,000 more.

THERE ARE SEVERAL MAJOR OBJECTIONS TO ALL OF THIS:

1. The Board voted to approve the $173,000 exterior work and $133,000 carpet work. It is generally understood that the details of all such projects be included in written contracts, reviewed,drafted and approved by our legal counsel. After all such details have been legally analyzed, the contracts are presented to the Directors for final decision. Dollar amounts are only one factor in such contracts. The exterior project contract work was submitted to our attorney but the carpet contract work was not. Nevertheless, it is reported that President Christopherson authorized the signing of a $51,000 carpet purchase before any contract here was legally approved. If true, this is irresponsible and unacceptable.
2.  In the consideration of the 2010 Budget our Property Manager, on December 9, 2009, sent a letter to all Unit Owners, stating that, “The Board wants to keep your monthly assessments low by not funding the Reserve Accounts for this year………..which will allow the Board to maintain the current monthly assessments.”    By majority vote the Unit Owners voted NOT to fund the 2010 reserves.  This means they voted NOT to pay any more assessment money in 2010.  In spite of this vote by the Unit Owners the Board is now proposing a $221,000 Special Assessment to fund new capital projects NOT covered by reserves.
3.  Many Unit Owners TODAY are objecting to these proposals because of personal hardship and suspicions as to the motivations behind these proposals.
4.  There is NO NECESSITY for the carpet work NOW.  If anyone takes the time to walk all 12 corridors, he will come to the same conclusion.  Maybe the carpet is not perfect.  But is doesn’t have to be replaced NOW.
5.  There is NO independent , expert opinion as the immediate NECESSITY for the exterior work.  Projects of such magnitude should ALWAYS have a second, unbiased opinion.
6.  While we are negotiating for a Line of Credit the bank may be asking for our reserve accounts to be pledged as collateral for this loan.  At the April,2009 Directors’ Meeting , Gene Christopherson stated that the reserves would be so pledged. However, the Florida Condominium Law requires that the use of reserves as collateral must be “approved in advance by a majority vote at a duly called meeting of the association.”
7.  The newspapers, TV and other media are now screaming DANGER regarding these 3 possibilities:
A. The upcoming Hurricane Season.  There is almost unanimous meteorological opinion as to the dire threats looming.  Portofino South has no reserves or insurance regarding landscaping which is most at risk from hurricanes.  We have some $1,300,000 in deductibles for windstorm damage, which means that Unit Owners, on average, would be liable personally for up to about $9,000 before insurance reimbursement would be paid.
B.  The Gulf of Mexico British Petroleum oil leak.  On June 9, the Palm Beach Post headline read,  “Terrifying losses forecast……all of Florida will suffer the oil’s wrath, from Pensacola fishermen to Orlando theme parks to Palm Beach luxury hotels.”
C.  The general economy, including unemployment.  The stock market just lost some 14 percent with the horrible debt situation in Europe presaging our own reckless spending debacle.

CONCLUSION:

Having talked to many Unit Owners I found that almost all of them are very skeptical about the wisdom of spending all this money at this time. CASH IS KING IN TIMES OF EMERGENCY.   Directors are elected by Unit Owners to REPRESENT those Unit Owners.  However, many Directors lead insulated lives and simply don’t know or care what the Unit Owners want (and often don’t take the time to find out).

By using the new Portofino South BLOG you can easily state your opinion and convey to the Directors what YOU WANT.  You can simply state,  “I agree”  or “I disagree” with this letter. Whatever, choose something.  Don’t be part of the Silent Majority.

To access this BLOG on your computer,copy and paste the

link below in your search box.
or go into google and search for portofinosouth 3800.wordpress.com
Once on the blog and after reading the above letter please see the place for
you to comment.
If you have problems email me at: Mariannareid@yahoo.com

Good Luck and Best Wishes.    Sincerely,      J.PARKER REID

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19 thoughts on “Special Assessment Meeting

  1. We thoroughly agree and do not want money spent needlessly. When I recently saw Jenny, she said the carpets were already funded and no assessment for them would be necessary. That, we see, is not so and since additional funds are needed then the carpet/hall situation should be tabled, at least for now when the whole country is in such a financial mess. Since there was a vote against funding the reserves, that means there should be no assessment, PERIOD! Good luck with all of this mess. Robbie and Milt too

  2. Naturally I agree with this letter. This is just a test to see if comments are being received on this blog.

  3. I agree with Parker Reid’s excellent analysis of the situation. How can 5 board members do as they please and ignore the wishes of the 140 unit owners? It’s impossible to understand and it is not right!!

    1. We need to get our people elected. Parker is on…Keith is on our side. Richard or Annie. This would giveus 4.
      Robbis, would you be willing? You were president once. You know the ropes and could deal with Ann Mckay? This would gice us 5.

      1. This post is directed to pbclt/trustee who writes that you want to get the people on “your side” elected to the board. Personally I think that you are in need of a major reality check. The people you want elected, Robbie, Richard and Annie are three of the most hated, disruptive, negative, non-productive, troublemaking people in this building. Robbie is not even living in the building, she did not like us and we did not like her, so why would she even run? It is also very apparent that Annie and Richard are unhappy living here, so maybe you should suggest to them to follow in Robbie’s footsteps and move! They would be much happier and we would be much happier if they were gone!

    2. Joan,

      Who are the five board members that so as they please and who ignore the wishes of wishes of 140 unit owners? AND…what have they done that made you make that statement?

  4. we agree 150% with the above report, and had sized up the situation as well long ago. again, all we can do is an action with concerned parties in the building, since so far, disagreements and criticizing the various illegal and wrong actions let us nowhere.
    we will be back soon, and can help organize.
    thank you for keeping us posted, even if the news drives us bananas!

  5. Does anyone else smell a rat here? This whole episode seems fraudulent and I truly question the timing of the assessment letter; early June, when most residents have left for the season, myself included.
    If we disagree with the assessment are we obliged to pay it? Also, why are we financing frivolous enhancements when there are people who haven’t paid the last assessment and are BEHIND ON THEIR MAINTENANCE?
    I have to say I am very dismayed and frightened for the financial health of our beloved Portofino South.

  6. I am in total agreement with Parker’s letter. Before spending the residents money, items should be triaged– the most critical items being at the top of the list. The carpeting can certainly wait… especially in this economic climate.

    The Portofino South is composed of residents with a wide scope of financial assets. I am a physician and I am certain that you will be surprised that I am having financial difficulties. Medicare has decreased physician payments by 21% this year which will make it difficult for geriatric practices to survive.This year, I have only been seeing patients 2 1/2 to 3 days weekly which is down from 5 days weekly for the past 10 years.. My office insurance, billing company fees,etc and malpractice have increased or remain the same. I have had to contact the realty company where I lease my office and ask them not to raise my rent until the end of the year. I simply cannot afford it. As a result, I have had to lengthen my lease with them by one year.

    This is not just my predicament but involves most of the other physicians I know. At one hospital in our area, an operating room was closed due to the decrease in the number of surgeries. The OR nurses were transferred to other hospitals temporarily. Other physicians who treat younger patients have empty waiting rooms. The patients have lost their jobs and their health insurance.

    I certainly would never want to declare bankruptcy or not pay my maintenance since this would increase the financial burden on the other residents in the Portofino. Instead I will try to sell my apartment and downsize in order to reduce costs.

    I know that there are many Portofino owners who have more serious financial issues than I do. So, hopefully, our Board recognizes that they represent ALL THE RESIDENTS –allowing our voices to be heard and making the best decisions for the majority of our residents .

  7. Richard Stern,Annie Rousseau, Milton and Robbie Leifer, Vicki Ross, Mr Cohen, Joan Loeb, Inka Odem, Mark Reingold, Richard Housey, Marianna Reid, Kristi Coons and Ihor Lenko-THANK YOU. Keep fighting.

  8. If Ihor and Richard will continue to keep Parker posted we can get these fiances under control. Robbie and Milton have struggled for years to deal with these issues. With Parker at the helm taking advisement from us we will win the battle.
    Inka has good ideas too and Richard Housey knows the business.
    Keep up the good work!

  9. First and foremost it amazes me that people are agreeing 100% to 150% with Parker Reid’s letter. As Vice President of the Board and a member of both the budget committee and the finance committee I am writing to tell you all that Parkers letter is no where near 100% correct. I disagree with Parker’s statement that directors lead insulated lives and simply don’t know or care what the Unit Owners want (and often don’t take the time to find out). Who in the hell is Parker to judge the directors of this board…that statement is simply not true. All unit owners have the right to come to board meetings and state their concerns and opinions. I find it hard to believe that people such as Robbie Leifer, Milt Leifer, and Doctor Streichenwein, would even make comments in this blog seeing as how I have never seen any of them at a board meeting, on a committee or even once volunteer for anything at Portofino. From what I understand, when Robbie Leifer was President at Portofino , she cost this building hundreds of thousands of dollars and under her direction we were sued by a contractor and the contractor won, causing unit owners to have to pay a huge assessment. As far as Parkers numbers are concerned, I urge all of you to attend the special assessments meeting Monday night, his numbers are a bit skewed, please attend the meeting and get the true numbers. It is true that we as unit owners, received a letter stating that we are not funding reserves for the fiscal year of 2010. This was done by a vote and we received the approval from the required amount of the unit owners, to not fund reserves….but I am confused what not funding the reserves has to do with a special assessment. Now by no stretch am I in any way suggesting that the proper decisions were made all the time, and indeed mistakes were made, but from this letter and from the comments on this blog, the impression is given that we are on the verge of bankruptcy and this is not true. As a director of the board, Parker should not be causing panic amongst the unit owners, how is this productive? If the people who wrote on this blog, would take half of their negativity, combined with the time they waste on going behind people’s backs and apply it toward the good of Portofino , there is no saying how far our community could go. The fact is that you cannot work with others, you do not know how to proactively approach problems and moreover you are all problem creators and not problem solvers….You all do a great amount of talking and bitching, but you have no solutions to any of the problems. I also want to address the portion of Parkers letter which states that there was no independent, expert opinion as the immediate necessity for the exterior work. This is not true, any of you can go to the office and read the INDEPENDENT engineers report stating that this work needs to completed. Why don’t you call Ihor Lenko, your behind the scenes guy as someone so put it, and ask him the condition of his apartment due to the fact that the building needs to be sealed. I would personally like to meet all of you Monday evening at the special assessment meeting, please come up and introduce yourselves to me….I would like to see how many of you are truly concerned and who will be attend the meeting. I also invite any of you to personally call me, my number is available on the residence list. I look forward to talking to you. Michael A Roefaro

  10. The Money Spill
    Unit owners and Board Members,who continue to press for decorating expenditures are financially irresponsible. They have an apparent failure to anticipate the devastating consequences of reckless borrowing and non essential spending.
    Why should we allow a few unit owners and Board Members who have exhibited an extraordinary level of incompetence, be responsible for spending our money and bleeding us dry.
    Board Members who refuse to recognize their elected duties must re-evaluate their motivations and priorities.
    We must not stand by while others “are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”.

  11. Whos is talking about ‘interior decorating’? Please read the letter that accompanied assessment-You will find nothing mentioned about interior decorating.

  12. Again, please remove my comments from this blog. Just as you have honored Robbie and Miltons request-please honor mine.
    This blog is so harmful-Anyone that thinks otherwise-is very foolish.
    I am not sure that you realize the legal implications within/I want no part of this movement.

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