What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

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  #16  
Old 01-22-2008, 11:34 PM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

More questions than answers here...those who have been here longer or studied this subject in greater depth might be able to lend some clarity.

In the beginning, the developer built the amenities.... pools, rec centers, exec golf courses. He essentially financed the construction of the amenities. After a period of time (as neighborhoods are built out), a batch of amenities are bundled together and sold by the developer to the appropriate commercial district (VCCDD for North of 466; SLCDD for South of 466). The commercial district pays for these purchases via bonds (not to be confused with the homeowner bond) which are repaid via a portion of our amenity fees.

We, the homeowners, pay our monthly amenity fees to our respective commercial district. A portion of our amenity fees goes to pay off the bond used to purchase the amenities from the developer. The remainder goes for daily operation and maintenance of the amenities. The commercial districts are governed by the commercial landowners, primarily appointed by the developer. Thus, there have been some complaints about the price the commercial districts paid to the developer for these bundles of amenities. Also, and this is where the class action settlement applies, there was no adequate replacement and reserve pot being seeded or built for eventual capital expenditures to renovate or update the various amenities.

So, if the above is substantially correct...my question is...who actually manages the amenity budget and decides what are necessary expenditures? If amenities are being directed by the commercial district members, what are their priorities? Who decides when it is time to update the La Hacienda rec center or renovate the Chula Vista Golf Course or replace the pool furniture at Springdale pool? And, who actually owns the amenities after they are purchased from the developer? The homeowners, some corporation, or ???

I agree that everything runs pretty smoothly now at what is a very reasonable monthly fee. My fear is what happens in 10 years when all new development is essentially finished and a lot of the facilities are starting to show their age. Will they and can they be kept at their current quality level with the same inflation-adjusted reasonable fees that we are paying for now? I sure hope so.

I agree that the homeowners should have some advisory role in the development and execution of the amenity budget but like leaving the decision making to the pros.
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  #17  
Old 01-23-2008, 02:34 AM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Managem

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmertl
Got the letter today. What the article in the Sun apparently "forgot" to mention is that in addition to the $40 million set aside VLS will also pay the plaintiff class $6,700,000 for attorney's fees and $300,000 for incentive awards to the plaintiffs Class Representatives.


>>> section deleted to save bytes <<<

It was not the POA which commenced the suit.
Do the names Ruth Elaine Dreidame, Richard C. Lambrecht, William E. Gamer, Irving Yedwab and Joseph B. Gorman ring a bell? Well, Joe Gorman is the president of the POA and the others are former officers and/or active membersof the POA. Oh, and they are also the plaintiffs in the lawsuit (and evidently the recipients of $300,000 but I know nothing about that nor do I know of any connection between these 5 individuals and the law firm which is now $6.7mil richer.) No, the POA did not "commence the suit," just the POA president and influential members of that organization.
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  #18  
Old 01-23-2008, 03:05 AM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

I read post that states,
"Got the letter today. What the article in the Sun apparently "forgot" to mention is that in addition to the $40 million set aside VLS will also pay the plaintiff class $6,700,000 for attorney's fees and $300,000 for incentive awards to the plaintiffs Class Representatives."

Can someone provide the source of this information that was left out of The Daily Sun about the fees and incentive awards. Haven't read the letter yet, was it in there?
  #19  
Old 01-23-2008, 03:30 AM
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Default After Reading Various Postings Here And The Official Statement Of The POA...

...it appears that five Villages residents, Elaine Dreidame, Richard Lambrecht, William Garner, Joseph Gorman and Irving Yedwab, engaged a law firm to sue The Villages on the issue of the sale of amenity facilities and control of the amenities budget. These five residents were not elected to represent us, nor did they have any other official position except being officers or former officers of the POA. But the way the rule of law works in this country, these five people negotiated a settlement which ultimately will affect about 100,000 residents of The Villages.

Based on the breakdown of how much the attorneys representing these five residents were paid, it appears that they agreed to do the legal representation of the five plaintiffs on a contingent payment basis, ultimately earning a bit less than 10% of the total settlement agreed to by the five plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the developer of The Villages, an amount of $6,700,000. The lawyers were certainly highly motivated to succeed in the litigation, as they were paid a very handsome amount to do so. What a tremendous payday for the law firm of Anderson & Anderson. And they'll have another terrific payday when a settlement regarding the facilities south of 466 is negotiated.

More disturbing is the $300,000 in fees which the Court apparently approved as "incentive awards to the plaintiffs Class Representatives". The way I read this is that the five plaintiffs negotiated to get themselves paid $60,000 each for "representing" the rest of us by filing the lawsuit. I guess we can presume that these five will pay themselves another handsome payment when the facilities south of 466 become subject to negotiation.

One outcome of the settlement was positive indeed. The sale of the recreational facilities by the developer to the VCCDD apparently did not contain provisions and funding of a sinking fund to deal with major capital expenditures which will become necessary as the facilities age and ultimately need major rehabilitation or even replacement. For that outcome our five fellow residents should be complimented for their success. I won't even attempt to comment on how and why the developer of TV sold the facilities without addressing the issue of the need for a sinking fund. I simply don't know any of the details of the terms of that sale. Am I suspicious that the developer was trying to "pull a fast one" with the sale? Not really. I don't know enough of the details. Further, such a self-serving transaction would be almost totally out-of-character on the part of the developer. But I surely don't have an explanation of how it happened.

It's the other part of the settlement that has been agreed to that concerns me the most. The article in The Daily Sun seems quite clear when it reports that "...the settlement will create a resident-elected Amenity Authority Committee to assume operational control of the amenity facilities and expenditure of amenity fees."

So what have these five people accomplished for our community? It seems to me that the agreed-upon settlement clearly removes the authority and responsibility for the operation of all the recreational facilities in The Villages from the developer and places it in the hands of "a resident-elected Amenity Authority Committee". Who will these people be? How will we elect them? What level of experience or competence should be required of them? Will the Court decide all this for us? Will the Court permit the five plaintiffs to inject themselves into positions of authority over our recreational amenities?

If any of you have ever attended any of the Recreational Advisory Committee (RAC) meetings, you can observe the clear differences between the professional, experienced and thoughtful decisions made by the staff of the Recreation Department and the VCCDD and SLCDD and the often narrow and petty positions taken by the resident members of the RAC. The difference in professionalism and experience is dramatic. I believe that at least some members of the RAC are the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. If you've never attended a RAC meeting, I suggest you put them on your calendar. Satisfy yourselves as to the professionalism and competence of those who might be assuming control over running our amenities.

It will be very interesting to learn more facts from those of you who agree to post the contents of the "settlement letter" sent to residents north of 466 this week. I'd like to learn more. While this settlement may already be a done deal, I'd surely like to learn how we can gain assurance that our recreational amenities will be maintained and operated with the same level of professionalism as we have been accustomed to. I'm hopeful that I won't discover that five legal activists, acting on their own but with demonstrated pecuniary interests, have taken an action that might change the quality of the lifestyle that the other eventual 99,995 residents of The Villages have come to expect.
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  #20  
Old 01-23-2008, 04:18 AM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

One again, I salute the perspicacity of your understanding of the lawsuit snafu as we know it and your comments on its potential effect. :bigthumbsup: We all know that there is often much difference between what we see and hear one day and what is actually done. I pray that that is the case here. I admit that I am concerned about the situation and hope that something can be done to contain the damages before they overly contaminate the southern end of TV.
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  #21  
Old 01-23-2008, 04:45 AM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

I am sure by now, at least one or more of the "group of five", Ruth Elaine Dreidame, Richard C. Lambrecht, William E. Gamer, Irving Yedwab and Joseph B. Gorman, has been made aware of and probably read this thread. It would certainly be enlightening to hear their perspective on the settlement and the windfall, if any, they received. Their straight forward responses would temper the suspicion that has crept into the revelations about the settlement and we all may be a little more comfortable with the result.

  #22  
Old 01-23-2008, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Managem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hancle704
I read post that states,
"Got the letter today. What the article in the Sun apparently "forgot" to mention is that in addition to the $40 million set aside VLS will also pay the plaintiff class $6,700,000 for attorney's fees and $300,000 for incentive awards to the plaintiffs Class Representatives."

Can someone provide the source of this information that was left out of The Daily Sun about the fees and incentive awards. Haven't read the letter yet, was it in there?
Correct, it's stated in the letter.
  #23  
Old 01-23-2008, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

Here is a link to a copy of the settlement notice for those who haven't seen it:

http://www.thevillagesfl.us/classactionsettlement.htm

  #24  
Old 01-23-2008, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

Kahuna,
Thanks for bringing this really serious topic up, and shedding quite a bit of light on it.
I mentioned earlier I was depressed as a result, and that's all related to a small HOA I belonged to a long time ago when I lived in a condo here in NY. As far as the pettiness, it is amazing. As a for instance, the condo did not allow any outside changes to the building, including the addition of awnings. One person at a meeting was requesting an exception as the sun shone in her window strongly, and she wanted to cool the house some with the awning. All well and good, until someone else started complainig it wasn't fair, as the sun NEVER SHONE IN HER WINDOW!!! As if the board had the power to move either her house or the sun! So I know what to expect in a situation where the inmates rule, and it depresses me that TV, which I view as a paradise for the most part, will be subject to the same kind of self-appointed morons trying to run the show.

However, one potentially HUGE difference with TV: the potential talent pool for a resident run board should be very deep, given the sheer amount of candidates, and the likelihood that there are some reasonably smart, highly experienced people to help out. Of course, I'd imagine some of the retired talent wants to stay retired, and that will weaken the choices. And of course the morons hungry for some kind of power will rise to the occasion and campaign for these spots, bringing along all of the usual political baggage (like enough friends to sway an election). One can only hope for talented choices, large voter turnout, and for enough folks to have the wisdom to recognize the real talent.

I suppose though the microcosm of TV really reflects the outside world where the actions of a very, very few affect the entire population.

Anyway, as usual, your posts are unbiased, unemotional, informative, fact based and educational. Thanks.
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Old 01-23-2008, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

At the end of the letter it states that this is a proposed settlement, and that the final hearing will be held on March 5. Doesn't that mean that someone could stop this process before then?
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

It probably will turn out OK but I want every thing to stay as is. I moved here because It was run so well. I have diagreed with a few things but there has been much more that is good. Problem is I have a hard time believing that this is good for us if the POA has anything to do with it.
  #27  
Old 01-23-2008, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Managem

Frangyomory,
Being a frequent poster to this forum and a strong proponent of the POA maybe you can enlighten us on how the members who will be paid as part of the settlement presumed to know what was best for all Villagers. If they had been elected to represent us I would not have a problem, but they were not. I like many other residents am concerned with a few very vocal and self serving individuals being in a position to make decisions that will effect all residents of The Villages. Follow the money may truly apply here.
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  #28  
Old 01-23-2008, 07:35 PM
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Default More Interpretation Of The Agreement

After reading the copy of the Class Action Settlement Notice posted below by AnotherVillager (thanks, by the way), here's a couple of conclusions I've reached...
[br]
  • Yes, the five residents, all current or former officers of the POA, have negotiated to get themselves paid an amount of $60,000 each for whatever their efforts were in filing the lawsuit against The Villages. In that the lawsuit was only initiated sometime in 2007, that's a pretty handsome salary for part-time work. More importantly, the total amount of $300,000 proposed to be paid to our "representatives" comes directly out of the monies that The Villages agreed to set aside for future expenditures for recreational amenities in the area of The Villages south of CR 466.
[br]
  • More egregious is the $6.7 million dollar payment to be made to the lawyers for the five resident/plaintiffs. (Just as a frame of reference, $6.7 million would pay for the full-time engagement of over 13 lawyers for an entire year at a billing rate of $250 per hour.) In researching the lawyers I can find no record of the firm of Anderson & Anderson, P.A. in Lady Lake or anywhere else in the State of Florida. One of the two plaintiff's attorneys is listed as "Of Counsel" to the firm. "Of counsel" often describes a semi-retired or retired partner who still keeps a hand in a law firm. It certainly appears that this proposed settlement is a tremendous financial windfall to the two lawyers hired by the plantiffs to file this lawsuit. Also, like the payments to the five plaintiffs, this money comes directly out of the amount that would normally be spent on future recreational facilities and programs here in The Villages.
[br]
  • The Class Action Settlement Notice permits only Villages residents owning property north of CR 466 to appeal to the Court on this proposed settlement, but sets forth an extremely complicated and cumbersome process for doing so. If any of you meeting the tests as Class Members desire to appeal, you should read and re-read the process for doing so in the copy of the settlement notice posted below.
[br]
  • If there is anything positive I read into the proposed settlement notice it's the description of the formation of the new Amenities Authority Committee (AAC). It's pretty clear that the AAC will have complete control over running the recreational amenities north of CR 466. But the notice reads that the AAC will be created "...as a committee of the VCCDD". To me that suggests that the recreational amenities will continue to be managed by the VCCDD management (and ultimately the SLCDD north of CR 466). The wording of the Court doesn't say how the membership of the AAC will be established or whether residents will have any representation on the AAC. I wish it did.
[br]
The bottom line seems to be that our five fellow residents have paid themselves and their lawyers quite handsomely to obligate all of the rest of us to a settlement with the developer of The Villages that satisfies their complaints, even though the rest of us may not agree. It appears that this settlement is probably a "done deal", but if you want to appeal and if you qualify to do so, you'd better get going.

I sure wish one or more of the five plaintiffs who appointed themselves to represent all of the rest of us would make a comment here on anything or everything that's been posted.


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  #29  
Old 01-23-2008, 09:37 PM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

Let me see if I have this right regarding the financial windfall to the attorneys and the "group of five" ...please correct me if I have misrepresented or misinterpreted any of the fact pattern surrounding "the settlement".

Is it true that five individuals with assorted connections to the POA past and/or present, will be receiving $300,000 as incentive awards in their capacity as class representatives? Is this $300,000 award coming directly from our funding for future recreational facilities and programs here in The Villages? If this is true, how is this a good thing for Villagers?

It appears that the $6,700,000 in attorney fees is also coming off the top of future recreational facilities and program funds. Likewise, if true, how is this a good thing for the majority of Villagers. I would sincerely be happy to know this is not the case and I am misinformed.

If in fact, the eye catching award settled upon (40 mil) is spread out over 13 years, it would occur to me that the developer got the best of the deal as he will no longer have any liability (recreational facilities and programs) for a paltry $3,075,000 million a year. He probably pays that much in liability insurance premiums. He must be delighted to get out from under liability and responsibility for that price. Just my opinion.

I have to say I am suspicious of the eagerness to settle by lawyers who reaped $6,700,000 and the "group of five" who will net $300,000 when this matter is brought to closure. Remember, this is not a court ordered judgement, it is a settlement between principals where the majority of shareholders had no say in their representation. The lawyers and group of five self appointed "class representatives" spoke for Villagers without a mandate to do so.

In my opinion, the suspicions this warm and fuzzy, kumbaya climax generate are compounded by the developers eagerness to settle as well. It looks like the lawyers walk away happy, the group of five walk away happy and the developer walks away happy. What am I missing here? I really hope someone can tell me and show me where I need to stand corrected on my opinions.

I would like to hear opinions on this issue even if they are 180 degrees contrary to my own.
  #30  
Old 01-24-2008, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: What Does The "Settlement" Mean With Regard To Recreation Facilities Management?

The silence speaks volumes.
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