November 2017 – Long Update – Truth Always Matters

DISCLAIMER: This post is written by James Hutton, proud, original owner of a condo in God’s waiting room

It has been awhile since we have updated; somewhat due to being busy with our family and work and somewhat due to disgust with the antics of the Board President.   The link below to the email dated August 29 was from original owners who took a $100,000 loss due to harassment and built a home instead.  They were people similar to us, from New Jersey who used their condo from time to time and saw the clique destroying the peace Van Loon used to have.  The gossip at the pool, the spy cameras, the violation letters, etc.

2016 AUG 29 – Sold to Get Out   

During this past year the Board changed management companies and the new one seemed far more professional than the either of the last two.  The timing of the change was close to our having requested and reviewed some financial information including invoices approved by Pam Decraene as Treasurer.  One was a plumbing repair bill for work done in Jan 2015 for her personal shower, submitted April 2015.  We sent an inquiry to Associa in Dec 2016 and shortly thereafter the attorneys replied to us that it was an error and Ms. Decraene had repaid it.

Our friend Doyle requested information which included several job orders for power-washing the pool deck at $500 per.

No identifier of the person performing the work.  Other work orders had the initials of the tech.

Doyle and I both submitted applications for the 2017 Board election but were rejected by the attorneys.  They sent letters claiming we owed to the association.  Doyle was charged 4 hours to change 4 smoke detector batteries while he was away in August.  Obviously, he objected to the bill and also to the damage to his air conditioner which resulted from his circuit breaker box being altered.

We objected to charges which were illegal per state statute and were refunded after being rejected for the election.  It didn’t matter whether or not either of us would have won.  What mattered was the manipulation using legal fees and the property managers.

This June, Doyle turned our air down for us on the day we were arriving and our water main on but was unaware that we had closed our condo with stoppered sinks.  Since the swale grasses were mowed down and frogs moved away, insects traveled up our drains each time we left.  For 2 to 3 hours, the water overflowed and traveled to the lower floors.  The property manager called to make entrance and we authorized a remediation to begin the dry out process immediately.  When we met with the remediation company manager later, he told us that Mr. & Mrs. Decraene and a dog had been at our door and Pam told him we would not want him to start the work as we were picky about who came in.   Of course he ignored this and we can only guess why this would have said this.

Shortly after this unfortunate accident, we learned of gossip being spread, suggesting that it may have been done intentionally.  This week, Bob Decraene made a nasty statement to my wife saying ” why don’t you go flood another condo.  Everyone knows that’s what Hutton’s do”.    Does it make sense to suggest the Hutton’s would want to damage a condo they have held on to for years, waiting for it to reach the value they paid for it?   This is the type of gossip that has devalued the social culture of this community.

As for the Huttons, for those who have been around for the past four years, they may be aware that no one campaigned harder for the water meters to be fixed back in 2013 once we learned of the battery failures.  Pam Decraene along with the attorneys and former owner Marguerite Kisner threw up roadblocks as long as possible rather than replacing batteries, reallocating the bills and moving forward.  Once the batteries were replaced, we advised the Board that “seals” needed to be put back on the meter heads.   We explained to Rick Aliperti, Pam Decraene and the rest of the Board about how meters work and how heads can be taken out, turned backwards and negative readings transmitted.  The seals are to prevent this.  The response (in writing and saved) from Rick and Pam was that only in low income housing were seals needed as that was where theft occurred.

We were listening by telephone to a Board meeting in February 2014 when Pam Decraene told owners that my wife had accused owners of stealing water.   My wife had tried to educate the other Board members on meters and it was twisted to the words used by Pam.  3 units on the water bills had negative readings and it had been Pam that fought to not allow us to see any of the bills even after requesting using a certified letter under Chapter 718.

So, on July 24, 2017 when we received notice from the new property manager that they were conducting meter inspections, we asked for what purpose, how they were selected and who selected them? She told us they were checking calibration, and were randomly selected by the plumber, Ken Cutlip.  We advised them in our email response that we would be recording it.  We use the same cameras which are in the clubhouse which can transmit to our phones and computers with sound and video.  We never considered that they were not testing all meters.

We have uploaded a couple of clips from the almost 45 minutes spent testing the calibration of our water meter which the plumber said multiple times was registering as working fine.  Despite this, Pam Decraene used association funds to have him replace the meter head AND added a seal.  Haha.  This is funny as WE are definitely not the lowest of income in Van Loon which she and Rick Aliperti said might need seals to prevent water theft.  We were very disturbed watching her walk around in our kitchen, leaning on our wall with her hand on it and looking around.  She complained to the property manager about all she has gone through with the meters and Ms. Wagner said how much easier it would be to divide the cost of water out evenly.  Yes, it would be for the full timers and that is what Pam fought over.

Also said by Pam Decraene during the visit was that my wife said her son worked for the water company. True, our son does which is how we had in depth knowledge of meters and tried to share it back in 2013 and 2014 and save Van Loon money.  She was telling the plumber and his assistant that we are here less than 6 weeks a year and about turning the meter head around and our knowledge of that.  It sounded to us as if she was accusing us of doing this, as if since we knew this could be done, we might be stealing water?  Mr. Cutlip was asking Pam why would anyone want to do that?  It sounded to us like he was an honest guy.

In regards to us: would the people trying to share information on negative readings and fighting to have meters want to steal water?  Why would anyone who is here less than 6 weeks a year need to steal water?  Why would anyone who continues to pay $15,000 a year for a condo worth $50,000 less than we paid want to steal water for 6 weeks a year?  Are we in an Alternate Universe?  When we first met Pam in September 2013 she told us her water was over $100 a month.  When we saw her bill, it was $4.

Another question is why is the Board President who has a Fiduciary Responsibility to all owners is sharing any private information like when we are here or not?  Is she tr ying to get us robbed?  Why should her husband be making nasty remarks like “everyone knows”?  Pam Decraene and the Board receives every applicants Social Security numbers, banking information and passport copies.  How can she be trusted with this information if she cannot remain confidential?

We gave little thought to it over the summer with our Jersey shore life, wedding plans, a new grandson on the way until this week.  We called the plumber and asked him a few questions about the “Random Meter Inspections”.   Ken Cutlip confirmed that only 2 Meters were inspected:  the Huttons and Doyle Haglund’s.  Mr. Cutlip also confirmed that he did not select them from water bills, he was told what units to go to. He did not find anything wrong with our meter.  We did not ask him anything about Doyle’s meter as we didn’t need to.  Mr. Cutlip didn’t do anything wrong.

We called the property manager next since she had told us we were randomly selected; since the only random selections were us and Doyle; the only people whose applications had been submitted for the election and rejected for bogus charges. Ms. Wagner said there had been other units that were going to be tested but they could not make entry and did not come back due to her hourly rate.  We asked if she had a list of those other units selected.  She said she did and could provide it.  We are awaiting that list but question why didn’t they then substitute testing Pam’s and Marge Cohan’s units who are on the Board and live here full time if calibration were really an issue?

Friend of Pam Decraene’s or not.  She is going to this association sued.  She made up a bogus reason to enter our until  and nothing in the statutes allows this.

As for the recent report of the thousands of dollars stolen from a unit; there is no police report for Van Loon Commons Circle in the month of October that we can find.  This happened last year when an email was sent from Associa about theft from a car.  We checked then and Ms. Corrigan told us it was loose change from a car.  If thousands were stolen, wouldn’t it be reported?  Or is this to justify adding more spy cameras on all buildings?  How about we fix the gate?  We received an email on 10/18 that it was fixed. It isn’t.  And our elevator in 1137 has not worked 5 out of 7 days this week either.

To us, it seems Pam made fabricate a reason to snoop in ours and Doyle’s condo and spent association money on the plumber, the property and replaced working equipment.    We wonder what the total cost was for this farce?