Town Center Lot Purchase – The Real Story

Submitted by Geoffrey Brooks  –  SOA Board candidate

At “Meet the Candidates Night”, one of the candidates, Tony Fakonas, made a highly inaccurate statement by saying that we (Geoffrey and Patricia Brooks) prevented the SOA from buying the lot adjacent to TCTC, this is not true.

I am sure that Mr. Fakonas, as a member of the transition committee, was well aware of these developments (see below) and of the subsequent offer made to NvSB by the SOA, which was lower than their original offer and rejected by the bank.

Early in 2012 my wife and I wanted to do something to help our community. We thought that we could help by purchasing a lot and commissioning the construction of a decent sized indoor pool, 50 m x 25 m (12500 sq. ft.).  Realizing that this was best done working with SOA, we sought out a meeting with Blake Smith (via Melissa), unfortunately, Blake refused to meet.

We were unhappy about the SOA board spending hundreds of thousands of dollars without presenting clear plans and then not allowing the community, once informed of the details and the costs, to have the final say via a vote. We thought that if an independent party, Pat and I,  acquired it for Somersett, this could then be “gifted” at cost in some way to be used for building the pool.

In early March we approached the realtor and asked what the price of the lot was, we were told $220K, but the bank would take less, and there were no offers, he suggested $212K. We put in an offer, only to be told a week later that we “were second”. So, we assumed that the SOA offer was accepted. We left Reno for 10 days or so, and whilst returning to the west coast on Monday (March 19), we had a phone call from the realtor saying that our offer had now been accepted and we had to close tomorrow, please bring cash. I called the bank and asked for time to look at the lot, we had no paperwork, that we were logistically challenged.  They did not want to extend the deadline, implying that the SOA had priority. The Title Co. paperwork (received Monday night) said that they had to have the money yesterday!  On Tuesday morning, March 20th, I wrote to the bank and said that we could not comply with their conditions and did not wish to pursue the purchase, and, that the lot should be sold to the SOA. On Wednesday I walked the lot and discovered from the realtor that the easement would make building a pool of the size envisioned difficult, if not impossible. I had a ballpark cost estimate to construct a pool (Olympic size) of about $1,000,000.

Just prior to the March 27th Finance Meeting, Pat noticed a nasty posting about this lot on the MySomersett community website.

At the meeting we were attacked by Blake Smith for using confidential information, which we did not.  My wife offered a verbal rebuttal. After intercession from Ray Lee and some transition committee members, the rebuttal was posted to MySomersett. I discussed the situation with Ray Lee, who suggested that I abandon any approach to Blake to offer to work on a “pool project” or enhancements to TCTC, until a homeowner board was in place. Ray’s main concern was making sure that Blake kept his promise to turn over control. Subsequently both posts were taken down from MySomersett.

My wife told Blake after the meeting, that he would be able to buy the lot for less money, and I believe that an offer was put in at $190K by the SOA which was rejected by the bank.

So what happened?

  1. The SOA did not spend $200K+ on buying a lot which would have building challenges.
  2. Our effort to act altruistically would have saved homeowners money.
  3. If this lot is so important for the future development of TCTC why did not Somersett Development include it in the dedication agreement?
  4. Even though the lot is available/not available, there is still no plan and no dollar requirement on how to effectively use the land or to install amenities, a job for the new board.
  5. Maybe altruism and HOA’s are not destined to be together

Why did the Blake Smith Board want to buy the lot? Well, it is there, unused and maybe useful, and this is the normal desire for property developers (I have thought and acted like this in the past). However, the SOA is not in the property development business.

Why did the bank not want to sell the lot to the SOA? This lot was owned by Blake Smith prior to being turned over to FNvB, likely at a loss to the bank.  When this happened there was an agreement saying that he could not buy it back. I suspect that the bank would verbally use the SOA as a “straw buyer” to get the price up, but was actually conflicted and unhappy that Blake Smith, as the SOA Board President, was trying to “buy back” the lot.

2 thoughts on “Town Center Lot Purchase – The Real Story

  1. It was brought to my attention that Mr. Brooks has accused me of making “highly inaccurate” statements at the “Meet the Candidates Night”. After reading his extensive post, the only highly inaccurate statements that I can find are from Mr. Brooks himself. He apparently believes that I accused him and Mrs. Brooks of “misusing confidential information.” I have never claimed that the information was confidential. In fact, I specifically said to the “Meet the Candidates Night” audience that Nevada law required the SOA Board to discuss these matters in an open meeting. There is nothing illegal about taking advantage of information learned at an open SOA meeting. I will leave it to each resident to decide if they think such actions are ethical.

    So, as far as I can tell, the only “highly inaccurate” claim that Mr. Brooks attributes to me and feels he must warn all Somersett homeowners about is a statement that I never made. Don’t believe me? Watch the video of the “Meet the Candidates Night.” Perhaps if Mr. Brooks had attended “Meet the Candidates Night” he would have known what I actually said.

  2. Dear Mr. Farkonas

    It would have been helpful for the community if you had actually answered the email I actually sent you, see below.

    The person who made the claim (which you did not) was Blake Smith and it was his comments which were posted (and our rebuttal). The mistatement about not buying the lot because of me still stands as you know that an attempt at a much lower price was made in May.

    Like most in the community, I am anxious to see all the negativity, name calling from the election campaign put behind us and wish to congratulate you on winning a board seat and wish to thank you in advance for all the hard work you have done and will continue to do on behalf of all community residents.

    Geoffrey Brooks

    “Dear Mr. Farkonas

    I watched the video of the “candidates night”. You made a false statement in there in that the SOA did not buy the lot because of me. In fact an offer was made by the SOA in May, after I had withdrawn our offer on March 20th, 2012.

    Somehow this mis-statement by you is being used negatively by board candidates, such as yourself.

    Please tell me where it is wrong for private citizens to act altruistically on behalf on a non-profit organization, seeking to work with the community to jump-start the building of a proper sized indoor pool? Is there an issue with residents trying to help to build a better community? Surely you should reaching out for additional funding altruistically directed towards the SOA, to help build a better community for all.

    I would appreciate it if you would not make remarks which are not factually correct. Maybe you don’t believe that altruism and HOA’s belong together, that is your right and I can accept that. I cannot accept the language you were videoed using, especially when you as a member of the transition committee must have known that the SOA made another offer on the lot. The lot is still there, and I believe the community would like to hear from you what you believe it should be used for, and where are the plans, costs, etc.?

    Geoffrey Brooks

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