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?
- The SOA did not spend $200K+ on buying a lot which would have building challenges.
- Our effort to act altruistically would have saved homeowners money.
- If this lot is so important for the future development of TCTC why did not Somersett Development include it in the dedication agreement?
- 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.
- 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.