Category Archives: Bob’s Blog

Bob Hogg’s Blog

Possible Special Assessment for Kitchen Remodeling

In Gary Tucker’s recent hurricane update, he tells us that we will soon be getting a letter from the board regarding remodeling the kitchens and that he feels this is our only opportunity to do this. He adds that it’s likely that there would be a special assessment required to pay for the work.

I don’t think any of us would dispute that the kitchens need remodeling, and that this would be an opportune time to do it. And while we all appreciate forward thinking, I’m not convinced that it’s a good idea to be talking (and voting) on this before we know how we stand with the cost of the hurricane repairs, and whether or not a special assessment will be necessary to partially pay for the repairs or to obtain our financing, or both.

We do appreciate the effort and hard work put forth by Gary Rumberger, Gary Tucker and Mike Oostmeyer throughout all of this, but as owners of 10 weeks, multiple special assessments might just be more than we’re willing to pay.

While it may make sense to do the kitchen work while everything is torn up with the repairs, I’m not sure that this is our only opportunity. I think we might just be getting out in front of our skis a little bit, planning this project before we know how much the hurricane restoration is going to cost us.

We urge the board, management, and other owners to think very hard before we bite off more than we can chew.

Inconvenient or Not, Rules are Rules

Well by now, probably pretty much everyone has received their notice of the annual meeting along with the election materials. Typically, there are some problems. I have heard from owners that got no proposed budget included, and from others that received no candidate profiles.

But these problems are small potatoes compared to the recent antics of the board. As I reported earlier, the proposed By-Law amendments are riddled with errors and were not well thought out. Not only that, the board, or at least four of its members, were in such a hurry to get these rammed through, that they were sent out at the very last minute with no advance notice not only to the owners, but apparently not even to some of the board members.

The most egregious of the amendments was what appears to be a naked attempt at consolidation of power by shrinking the size of the board from seven members to five. This amendment also illustrates the poor planning as well. If passed, it would leave the board having four members’ terms coming up one year and only one the next. And on and on. And of course, the four members whose terms are not up this year, Mike Oostmeyer, Marty Shapiro, Rosemary Smith and Gary Tucker, would continue in office, and only one of those who are running, Harriet Chase, Keith Gilliver or Richard Holmes will be elected. So instead of putting all their energy into dealing with what may turn out to be the most serious crisis the Hawks Nest has ever faced, Hurricane Irma, they’re fiddling around with the By-Laws.

As bad as all this sounds, it gets worse. Remember when I said that some of the board members didn’t even know about the proposed amendments? That’s because there was no meeting of the board of directors for the amendments to be approved before sending them out to the owners for a vote. According to Gary Tucker there was an informal email poll among the board. Any meeting of the board must be posted in advance to the owners, have an agenda and have minutes taken. The office has no record of any such notice or minutes.

Richard Holmes and Charlie Weidner both told me that there was some mention in passing regarding these amendments, but there was never anything that they considered to be a vote, email or otherwise. Alden Corley told me that never heard anything about them until he got the ballots in the mail.

Nevertheless, Gary Tucker insists that it was all perfectly legal. I do not believe that.

Amending the By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation is one of the most serious and important things a condominium association will do. Of all times to cut corners or ignore the rules, this isn’t it. Our president, Gary Tucker even has a CAM (Community Association Manager) license, so one would think he would know the rules.

So is this a done deal? Gary Tucker thinks so. I believe that if this goes to court, however, and it may very well, that all the changes supposedly approved by the owners will be thrown out.

At the top of this page you will see a tab titled “Board of Directors” which if selected, will lead to the names, telephone numbers and email addresses of each board member. Please take a few minutes to call or email them and let them know that while we appreciate all the effort they are expending trying to get the Hawks Nest put back together, we are not happy with some of them trying to pull a fast one over on the owners in the middle of a crisis.

PROPOSED BY-LAW AMENDMENTS

Due to my remote location in the Great White North, I’m probably one of the last owners to receive mail notifications from the Hawks Nest (except Canadians, of course).

So I suppose that most everyone else has gotten their notification regarding the annual meeting, along with several proposed emergency by-law amendments that have to be approved right away. WHY??

There are three amendment proposals: A-1, A-2, & A-3.

A-1: This is really two amendments. Part 1 amends the by-laws to say that “A majority of the members vote cast shall decide any question. Removed from that particular article is wording that originally exempted a limited number questions, most importantly, sale or liquidation of the property, which required a super majority of all owners to be approved. We’re at a point right now where the sale or liquidation of the property isn’t just an abstract or distant concept. I don’t know about you, but if the all-too-real possibility of the property being a total loss comes to pass, I don’t want to have the terms of disposal of the property to conceivably be made by a yes vote of 144 weeks, no matter how unlikely that may be.

Part 2 of This proposal amends the portion of the by-laws which ironically deals with the process of amending them. Presently, the by-laws provide that if the amendment has the unanimous approval of the board, it will pass if it receives a majority of the votes cast. If the amendment does not have unanimous approval, it will require a majority of total ownership voting interests. This amendment changes all that to say that the proposed amendment only needs a majority of votes cast, even if the board approval is a majority, but less than unanimous. I don’t particularly have much of an opinion on this part of the proposal, but my general feeling is that if it isn’t causing a problem, why change it, and why in such a hurry?

What I don’t understand is why both of these changes were put onto one ballot. If you’re in favor of one, but not the other, you have to either approve both or reject both.
I’m voting “NO”.

A-2: This amendment is pretty straightforward on its face. It changes the requirement for a quorum for an owners meeting from 50% of the total ownership to 20%. Sounds reasonable since by Rosemary Smith’s admission, we haven’t had a quorum in years. My problem is that once again, this amendment deletes the phrase “Unless otherwise provided in these by-laws”. Once again, there may be situations where a higher quorum level is preferable.
I’m voting “NO”.

A-3: This amendment provides for a reduction of the size of the Board of Directors from seven members to five. The only thing this will accomplish is to put the affairs of the Hawks Nest into the hands of only three people. No thanks. And even worse, the amendment calls for only one of the three seats open this year to be filled, which means that going forward, four seats will expire one year, and then only one the next, and on and on. This is a lousy idea.
I’m voting “NO”.

I don’t appreciate it when a bunch of by-law amendments come out of the blue with a relatively short deadline for returning the ballots, and with no previous explanation or discussion of them. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and I didn’t like it before then either. My question to the board is “What’s the hurry?”

HERE’S AN UPDATE…

My apologies for the lack of new posts recently. Our website was down from the middle of December until the beginning of this month. Hopefully, we are back for good. I have had several owners write me to find out what is going on and to ask if they will be able to use their weeks this year at the Hawks Nest.

I have answered them, and am now posting much of the same information here. Some of what I have to say will be repetitive, but it will bring those who have not heard anything before up to date.

If you haven’t registered on the official Hawks Nest website, www.hawksnest-marathon.com, you can do that. Whether or not they are able to register new users at the present time, I don’t know, but that’s where official information goes when they have it, when their computer and internet situation permits. Our president, Gary Tucker, has been working very hard on all of this, and he may have more up-to-date information. His telephone number is: 859-638-3871.

As I understand it, the damage has been as follows:

1. The grounds suffered considerable wind and water damage. Trees were blown down, several tikis were destroyed, both of the docks and the davits for the boats were destroyed.

2. It appears that the pool and hot tub were damaged beyond repair, as was the fire pump, which is intended to pump water from the pool into the sprinkler system in the event of a fire. This is a very important item, since no one can occupy the building without a working fire pump. I’m told that the new one will take about 4 months to be designed and installed, and I am told that the process is underway.

3. Three apartments, 301, 507, and the manager’s apartment suffered water damage from the storm, and need renovation, and there was relatively minor damage to the exterior of the building.

4. Since the county would not let anyone go back down into the Keys for the better part of a week, and with the building sealed up with no electricity or air conditioning, many of those units that were not initially affected, suffered a large amount of mold damage. We had to remove approximately 10,000 square feet of drywall, dry out the building and remediate the mold to prevent further damage.

5. The biggest contributors to the delay, however, have been our insurance companies. They have been obstructing us and delaying things since the beginning. We are told that other than work to prevent further damage (drying out the building, etc.), we cannot do any work to put things back together without their say-so, and they’re not giving it so far. We have hired a firm to represent us with the insurance companies, the same one we hired after the 2005 hurricane, and which got us a million dollars. This time we will need much more, I’m afraid.

6. The last thing I heard regarding reopening was the middle of May at the earliest.

Here is a letter from that firm which gives a very good explanation of what we have to do to avoid losing our rights to insurance money.

What I hope is that everyone, including the officers, board, management, owners, and most importantly the insurance companies, keeps uppermost in their minds is that for EVERY SINGLE DAY that we are delayed, owners of the Hawks Nest lose $2,800 in maintenance fees paid for time that they cannot use. That’s $336,000 and counting, as of today. That is money that we will never get back. There is no insurance to cover that.

Click the following links to earlier posts with more information and some photos: 11/9/17; 10/10/17; 10/1/17; 9/20/17; 9/17/17; 9/14/17.

MORE NEWS, AND IT’S NOT GOOD

General Manager, Gary Rumberger posted the following on the Hawks Nest website this morning, and he as given me permission to repost it here:

Just a quick update on the progress of the Hawks nest. Servpro has finished their work of removing the damaged drywall and carpeting. They have dried out the building using industrial heater/dehumidifiers and have stabilized the units. They had to remove a substantial amount of drywall from the building. It is going to take 220 4×12 sheets of drywall to replace what has been removed. The roof areas have been repaired with new wood and also been waterproofed back in to protect from further damage. Now for the bad news. Gary Tucker had a conversation yesterday with our public insurance adjuster and he was informed we can’t begin the repairs on these areas until they give us the go ahead. They also told him the insurance company as long as 60 days to come and reinspect the building now that much more areas have been exposed.Gary then asked them to send us a letter that we can show to the owners to outline the steps and the timeline that we need to follow. I will post it here when we we receive it. We are still getting bids on the repairs that we need so that when they give us the go ahead we can pull the trigger on getting this place back up and running. There is no possible way we are going to be open by February first. I think it is a safe bet to say that I would not make any plans through at least April. I wish I could give you a definitive date, but at this time that is not possible. We lost the phone system during the hurricane and are working on getting a new one. Email is the best way to contact us. It may take a day or two to hear back because of the constant interruptions of service. Comcast was here yesterday and told us to expect that for probably six more months while they replace the enormous amount of damaged equipment.

Best regards,

Gary Rumberger

Most of this is not good news, but it isn’t entirely unexpected either. Gary Tucker warned us in his last update a month ago today that we were going to be held up until inspections were completed by the insurance company.

I also spoke with Gary R. this morning before I had seen his post, and he told me all of that and more.

Work has been carried out inside and outside. I have attached some photos that were sent to me by an owner that she took last Saturday, the 4th of November. They don’t show a lot of progress outside, but do show some cleaning up of rubble, etc., but the pool, hot tub and docks are still trashed. Not visible is work done on the roofs over the balconies.

Much more has been done inside, mainly drying everything out, and removal of damaged and moldy drywall and/or carpeting. Also, very importantly, the erosion behind the seawall has been backfilled.

Gary also told me that progress is being made in replacing the fire pump. Without that, the Hawks Nest cannot reopen regardless of the condition of the rest of the building.

We need to be on the phone with the insurance company every day if necessary hounding them to get our inspections done so we can get moving in earnest. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

WELL, AT LEAST YOU CAN EAT (AND DRINK)

We all know it’s going to be a while before any of us can stay at the Hawks Nest, but we can get a meal or a drink nearby. Both the Sunset Grille and Burdine’s are open for business. I don’t think sunset Grill’s pool is back in operation yet, but that’s probably not exactly at the top of their list.

I haven’t heard anything about the Hawks Nest since my posts last week. I still have my ear to the ground, so I’ll let you know if I hear anything of interest.

Bob

GARY RUMBERGER’S POST AND PHOTOS

Here is a post that Gary Rumberger put up on the Hawks Nest site earlier today. He hoped to be able to post his photos also, but the internet situation was such that he was not able to post the pictures. He asked if I would help out by posting the photos on the Hawks Nest site, which I have done, and allowed me to post them here as well.

There are quite a few photos below of the exterior of the building and grounds, and several of the manager’s apartment which suffered quite a bit of flood damage, and Unit 301, which also had water damage.

There were many more pictures that what are included here, but these were in my opinion. representative of the entire group.

Here is Gary’s post:

I am sorry it has taken me this long to respond on the condition of the Hawks Nest. I have actually driven out of the keys and that is why I am able to finally post anything. The best estimate we have right now is for anyone having travel plans before February 1, 2018 to change your plans. This date may actually be extended and is not set in stone. I know some people think the damage is not all that significant, but I can tell you it is much different in person. The ability to acquire supplies we need and contractors is extremely difficult. Gary Tucker has been able to secure a roof company that will dry us in for now and come back and complete it later. With the amount of destruction that has occurred in the Keys this is what companies are doing to try to help as many people as possible. The Hawks Nest took a good punch from Irma, but it is still standing and can be fixed. It is just going to take time. No matter what anyone has seen on TV and the internet, it does not prepare for the reality on the ground in Marathon. Things are getting better everyday and the city of Marathon has done a terrific job post Irma. The reality is this no place anybody wants to come visit right now, 30 foot high piles of garbage line the streets and the smell is not pleasant. It will take time for Marathon to come back, but the truth is right now this is not the Keys that you remember. Hopefully in the near future we have phone and internet restored and I will be able to update you more frequently.

Probably the most important picture I have posted here is the 5th one from the top. It doesn’t look like much, but it is the fire pump. This is what supplies the sprinkler system with water in the event of a fire. This particular pump would pull water from the swimming pool to feed the sprinklers. It has been on its last legs for years, and I think that there’s a very good chance that it’s irreparable. The last board had been planning to replace it with a new one that would be fed from the city water main in the street instead of from the pool, and would have an emergency generator in case the power was out at the time of the fire. Either way, there won’t be anybody staying at the Hawks Nest until we have a working fire pump.

P.S. A little good news: The Sunset Grille reopened this weekend.

Oh, wait. Gary R just sent me 12 more pictures. They show some of the progress that has been made so far. It’s looking better already.