Settlement and developer's letter on C3 of Sunday's Village Sun

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Old 02-04-2008, 10:01 PM
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Default Settlement and developer's letter on C3 of Sunday's Village Sun

On page C3 of Sunday's Village Sun, developer H. Gary Morse published a letter to Villagers. The letter is straight forward, but, does not clear up two questions I have posted before but have not been able to find precise and articulate answers to. In fact one response in Mr. Morse's letter further clouds my understanding of the settlement.

1. In the letter, Mr. Morse says that $33,000,000 will be transferred over 13 years from his development company to the Central District government. Previous accounts indicated the settlement was $40,000,00. We know that the lawyers will receive $6,700,000 and the class representatives will split $300,000. My original question was whether the $7,000,000 for the lawyers and class representatives was coming from the developer or from funds that are based on homeowner contributions, amenity fees, reserves, etc. The math suggests that possibility although that may not be the case, I hope. Can anyone clear this up definitively?

2. The second question that still has not been clearly answered is whether the Sumter Landing Community Development District south of Hwy. 466 will be independent of their neighbors who have settled a class action North of Hwy. 466 or will funds be commingled under one authority now or at some point in time. It sounds like South of Hwy 466 will be independent but it really isn't spelled out with certainty. Does anyone have a clear answer?

I love the Villages and all are friends and neighbors. I would like to have a clearer understanding of how our government will work in the future.

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Old 02-04-2008, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: Settlement and developer's letter on C3 of Sunday's Village Sun

I've seen a document purported to be a summary narrative of the settlement. The areas I was interested in appeared to be protected by confidentiality clauses (exhibit E). Obtaining information has been difficult because the settlement has not been finalized. It is scheduled for a court hearing on March 5, 2008 to determine if it is fair, reasonable and adequate. The court may approve modifications to the proposed agreement without notice to the class. That makes it hard to review in its final form because it is dynamic, not static. Kind of like hitting a moving, changing target.

It does say that VLS will pay attorney fees, class representative awards and the VCCDD, a total of about $40,000,000.

The developer's letter in Sunday's paper, page C3, does not reconcile with those numbers as he states $33,000,000 will be paid. It is possible he is also paying the balance of the $40,000,000 or $7,000,000 as well. The letter does not state that.

It is not my intention to antagonize, impugn, or insult anyone involved. I just would like to see definitive answers to two simple questions and not speculation and rumor.
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: Settlement and developer's letter on C3 of Sunday's Village Sun

In today's paper on page C3 there is another letter. In it Mr Morse corrects the amount being transfered . He states the amount is $40,000,000, not the $ 33,000,000 noted in the letter published Sunday.
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Old 02-05-2008, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: Settlement and developer's letter on C3 of Sunday's Village Sun

Thanks Beady......I wonder if he reads this forum? If $40,000,000 was transferred to the Center District Government, does that mean that the $7,000,000 in attorney fees and class representative award is coming from funding that is meant to supplement homeowners amenity and service reserves for the next 13 years? It sounds like that is the case but, it still is not clear.

It makes a difference to me whether the $7,000,000 attorney/class rep. compensation is coming from reserve funding that should be dedicated to amenities and services for the next decade or longer, not attorney fees and awards. $7,000,000 pays a lot of overhead and bills that will need to be funded by Villagers.

If that is the case, it may not be, why didn't the attorneys and class representatives broker and independent settlement on fees and awards instead of making it a part of a settlement that is a public fund and affects everyone. This doesn't even consider the equity of the size of the self negotiated fees and awards. I leave that for others to reflect upon.

The second question about the implications and impact of this settlement on the residents of districts south of Hwy 466 is still unanswered.

2. The second question that still has not been clearly answered is whether the Sumter Landing Community Development District south of Hwy. 466 will be independent of their neighbors who have settled a class action North of Hwy. 466 or will funds be commingled under one authority now or at some point in time. It sounds like South of Hwy 466 will be independent but it really isn't spelled out with certainty. Does anyone have a clear answer?


Please understand, I believe the developer has done a lot to assure the successful future of the Villages. His family's concept was brilliant. I believe he has the best interest of Village residents in mind. If I saw him downtown, I would thank him personally. However, governance of the Villages is going through a metamorphous. As we progress, the course takes us through untested and uncharted waters. Many questions cannot be answered by statutes that regulate this new fledgling form of government. There seems to be voids in legal precedent in part attributable to the enormous scale and creative design of the Villages. Information is the key to making sound decisions. It has not always been forthcoming and to that end, I find the developers public letters informative and timely. I hope there is more disclosure in the future.

There is a degree of excitement to be on the cutting edge of Florida history. However, I am sure that many people would like a clearer understanding of a process that does have a significant impact on our homes, finances and way of life.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:17 PM
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Default There's Another Extensive Thread On This Topic Here on TOTV

I spent some time and spoke with the plaintiff's attorney to get several questions answered. (That was the only source of information. Both the court and the developer--the defendant in the litigation--referred all questions to the plaintiff's attorney.) Here's two answers to questions raised below...
  • The settlement only applies to recreational facilities north of CR 466. At some time in the future, a similar negotiation and agreement will have to be reached regarding the facilities south of CR 466.
  • The attorney explained that the amount negotiated to create a sinking fund for use in rehabilitating or even re-building the facilities in place north of CR 466 was done before any negotiation of fees for the class representatives and attorneys began. That is, any fees paid to the class representatives and attorneys does not reduce the amounts identified as necessary to be set aside for the continuing maintenance of the subject facilities in the future.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:34 AM
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Default Re: Settlement and developer's letter on C3 of Sunday's Village Sun

I have been getting all of my direct information right from the POA (Property Owners Association) newspaper. They are at the forefront of the action (NOT the VHA) and I come away with a good understanding of what the action was all about. I believe the POA's recommendation was just and in our best interest. As for the residence south of CR466 they will have to plan their own action of defence and set their own ground rules in the courts. The leg work has already been done by this first action. The Village residence should consider joining The Villages POA (Property Owners Association) because they watch out for your most valuable assets, your home and property and are willing to stand up for your rights. Let's give them some support here folks.
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Settlement and developer's letter on C3 of Sunday's Village Sun

VK....thanks once again for your stellar research efforts that bring the light of day to the mysteries of morphing Villages governance. Somehow, it doesn't seem as sinister or intimidating when the facts are fully disclosed. To be sure, watchful eyes and inquiring minds need to be exercised as the process moves forward.

Boo, thanks for taking the time to respond. While the POA has certainly had an impact on our government, I believe it would serve the greater good to consider all sources of information instead of relying on just one. Contributors to this forum have posted several informative news articles that I hadn't seen in the local coverage. Kahuna of course has done some excellent pro bono research and posted many of his findings here. At least I haven't seen a billing from him yet.

The February 2008 VHA Voice has the most comprehensive account, to date, of how the new Amenity Authority will be set up and organized. It cites the pro and cons and at first reading, seems cautious and nonjudgmental. It needs to be read again, slowly, with an eye to the fine print and that is my homework tonight.

To many fun things to do today. Enjoy.
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