Category Archives: Bob’s Blog

Bob Hogg’s Blog

ANNUAL ELECTION

I’m sorry I’m a little late getting this out, but in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan we get our mail after everybody except a few Canadians. Anyway, I’m sure you all have received your election information from the Hawks Nest by now, and probably some of you have already voted and mailed your ballots back. For those who haven’t, I have a few thoughts on this year’s election:

The two incumbents whose terms are up this year are Mike Oostmeyer and Keith Gilliver. Mike has been on the board since before the hurricane and has shown his dedication to the Hawks Nest and the owners over and over again. Keith hasn’t been on the board as long, but has been through most, if not all the post-Irma drama and knows what’s going on.

There are three challengers this year, two of whom, Atul Kumar and Denise Vereen have never served on the board. While I’m all for new blood now and then, this is definitely not the time for on-the-job training. The one challenger who has served, Rosemary Smith, came in fifth out of seven candidates last year running for 3 seats. As far as I know, she has done nothing in the last year to show that she is the right person for the job.

In short, I believe the two incumbents, MIKE OOSTMEYER and KEITH GILLIVER are best qualified to continue on the board to finish the job that they and the other members of the board have embarked upon to wrap up the business of the Hawks Nest, complete the liquidation of the assets, and distribute the proceeds to all the owners. I voted for them, and I urge you to do so as well.

Help With Your Deeds

As most of you are aware, initial payments from the insurance proceeds are being mailed out to owners. This is the beginning of the liquidation process. Coming as the funds are available, will be the proceeds, if any, of the lawsuits we have pending against the insurance company, and the funds realized by the sale of the remaining assets, consisting chiefly of the real estate and the value of the occupancy permits.

In order for you to receive your share, you must download and sign the affidavit of ownership and permission for the board to sell the assets and distribute them, include COPIES of your deeds, and return them to the office. You can find and download or print the instructions and the affidavit HERE and HERE.

Kate is working very hard to go through the paperwork returned to her, verify the weeks, and process the checks. I addition to all this Kate and and Gary have also been helping people find copies of their deeds on the county website. This coupled with the fact that they no longer work full-time at the Hawks Nest, makes the process quite time consuming.

Over my years running this website and keeping up with the sales at the Hawks Nest, I am familiar with the County Register of Deeds website, and can help any of you find your deeds or find them for you if you are having trouble finding them yourself. I’m happy to help if you wish. Just email me at bob@hawksnestowners.org and I will respond as soon as I can.

Bob Hogg

OCTOBER 21 OWNERS’ MEETING

Friday morning, somebody asked me if I was going to post anything about Thursday’s Owners’ Zoom Meeting. I had to think about it:​ in one way, I’m out of words, and in another way, I have way too many, lots of which aren’t printable. But, I guess I never met a keyboard I didn’t like, so here we go:

First of all, the results of the extended vote were announced by our CPA who counted the votes. The totals were 377 FOR the special assessment, and 777 AGAINST. The effect of this is that the Hawks Nest Condominium will be terminated and the assets liquidated and disbursed to the owners on a pro rata basis.

To those of you who for one reason or another didn’t listen to the meeting, you’re the lucky ones.

I did stay on for the whole thing, and the meeting was just what we have come to expect from our board: a 2+ hour free-for-all with people jumping in and making comments or asking questions with absolutely no control from President Gary Tucker. It was anarchy.

One owner dropped the F-Bomb, in the Zoom chat function, people were openly accusing the board of trying convert the assets to their own use, actively pressuring owners to vote “no”, and more. Another participant actually made a motion to overturn the vote. Sound familiar?

Our lawyer certainly earned his money that night. He patiently explained over and over again what our situation is now that the vote is official. First, the vote is over and final. The board has an obligation, not option, to produce and record a document terminating the condominium. Once that is done, the Hawks Nest Condominium and all its unit weeks are no more. Period.

The Association however, continues, and all the by-then former condo owners will become tenants in common in ownership of all the assets, cash, equipment, building such as it is, and most importantly, the real estate, each owner’s share being based on the number of weeks they owned.

The eventual outcome is, in my opinion, inevitable. The condominium will be terminated, and after a probably lengthy process, and the assets will be liquidated and disbursed to the owners.

The only questions are how long will it take (probably years) and how much of our money will be pissed away on lawsuits. Most likely, the lawyers will get more money than the owners.

My hope is that those who are threatening scorched-Earth lawsuits will realize that this will cost them far more than they hope to gain. I have to say that after numerous plain-talk explanations by the attorney, at least some of the participants seemed to realize that this is it. Sadly, the Hawks Nest is soon to be history.

AS PROMISED

OK. The first thing I have to say is that our attorney (who attended the meeting yesterday) must now be reconsidering his future in condominium law. I think it would be easier to defend a serial killer.

The meeting was a disaster! I’m not sure how many people were on the call, but I think that an any given time, at least half of them were talking (at least it seemed that way). And on one occasion there was somebody there trying to order food! Gary Tucker at one point said that he was looking into getting ZOOM for the next meeting. That should have been done long ago.

Anyway, the results of the vote on the special assessment were inconclusive even though 60% of the weeks that participated in the election voted “No”. As I wrote in my July 6th blog, there needs to be an absolute majority of the 1393 voting interests, 697 votes, for either approving the special assessment, or to not approve it and begin the process of liquidation. This isn’t 100% clear, since our by-laws don’t entirely coincide with state law, or even with themselves in some cases.

The best solution that the board could come up with (with the agreement of our attorney), was to adjourn the meeting until October 21 to give the Hawks Nest time to get in touch with those owners who did not participate to encourage them to vote so that the question can be settled once and for all.

Of course, there’s a fly in the ointment: Owner Raymond Jones threatened that if things didn’t go his way, he would keep this thing in the courts until most of us are dead. If you know Raymond, please thank him for his constructive contribution.

Other attendees were critical of those who voted no as just being in it for a “payday”. I’m not easily offended, but this did the trick. My family has owned at the Hawks Nest since the beginning. our “payday” was the time spent there and the friends we made over those years. Our investment however, whether in the Hawks Nest, or any other thing of value that we own, is something to be preserved as best we can.

Reasonable people can differ as to the best way to preserve as much as possible the value of our investments. It is my opinion that the best way to do it is to see the handwriting on the wall, and reluctantly let go of the Hawks Nest. if I have to walk away with nothing, so be it. I will have no regrets. HOWEVER, that does not mean that I will sit by quietly while this board or a future one pisses away what assets we do have on a futile effort to rebuild.

Much was made of the fact that we only have one contractor’s bid for the repairs. This is true, but they failed to realize that more bids were solicited, but the companies involved chose no to bid. Some may have just been too busy, but I have been told that at least two won’t do business with us. If after listening to how some people behave at our meetings, would you? I know I wouldn’t if I didn’t have to. That said, The new board should do its best to obtain additional bids.

On the bright side, the election of board members is not affected by this 51% of the total voting interests rule, so that vote is final. Oh, wait – now Marty Shapiro is threatening to sue to overturn his loss because some people did not get his or Rosemary Smith’s resumes in their election packet, and this may have cost him some votes. I think this is disingenuous on Marty’s part since at every opportunity he brags that he has been on this board longer than anyone alive. He didn’t lose because the voters didn’t know him, he lost because they did.

An actual bright side is the election of Jason Moos and Michelle Frigola. I have spoken with both, and believe them to be honest and thoughtful people with talents which would be very helpful in determining the future of the Hawks Nest.

Jason is a construction manager with a large contracting business. He is very knowledgeable with regard to concrete construction and repair. If the vote ultimately goes for repair or reconstruction, and I know that this is his preference, he’s the person to have on the board. But I believe that if the vote ultimately goes for liquidation, he will do his best to make that happen in the best way for all the owners.

Michelle is an attorney, and was actually the manager at the Hawks Nest for a time in the 80’s. She is obviously familiar with the Hawks Nest, but in her legal career she practiced condominium law as well as participating in a number of faulty concrete cases. This gives her a good insight into the problems we face today.

So now we wait. We’ve become very good at that over the last 4 years. You can most likely expect to receive a number of phone calls, emails or snail mails from those who want to rebuild the Hawks Nest encouraging you to vote yes if you didn’t vote before, or to change your vote if you previously voted no. I have it on good authority that this being planned. I have spies.

RESULTS OF THE VOTE!

As I write this, the annual meeting is still under way. The first order of business was to read the results of the election. Those receiving votes for board positions are as follows, winners are in Bold:

Gary Tucker – 518 votes
Jason Moos – 501
Michelle Frigola – 387

Marty Shapiro – 317
Rosemary Smith – 298
Alexander Stanich -296
Steven Vereen – 188

Results of the vote for the special assessment are as follows:

Yes – 322 votes
No – 504

Well, that’s that, right?

Not hardly.

According to our attorney, who is present on the phone, since there was not a majority of the total voting interests of the owners to either approve the special assessment cast, nothing has been decided on that question.

There was a motion to adjourn the meeting to a later date in order to get votes so that we have a majority of all the voting interests, and it was approved through proxy voting. Meeting adjourned.

More to follow.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD??

When Sue & I woke up on June 24 and saw the news about the Surfside condo collapse, we both had the same initial thoughts: “That could have been the Hawks Nest!” “That could have been us!”

Almost certainly, a major component of the Surfside disaster was spalling, a condition with which we are all intimately familiar. Their board of directors had commissioned a report three years ago which discovered serious spalling issues and poor waterproofing of the building. Sound familiar?

Sue and I and several other Hawks Nest owners toured the Hawks Nest in February 2020, and I can tell you that the condition of the concrete in the Hawks Nest is MUCH worse than the photos that were shown on TV of the damage report received by the Surfside property’s board.

While I am no engineer, and do not pretend to be one, I spent over 40 years in the real estate industry, mostly as an appraiser, which included interior and exterior inspections of the subject properties. I have never seen concrete in worse condition than that in our building. Ever.

For better or worse, the Surfside collapse will make it much more difficult to obtain permission to repair the Hawks Nest. There will be heightened scrutiny on older concrete buildings such as ours, and on the local officials who grant permits for their repair or alterations. There was a local official in Surfside who addressed the condo board, and after reading the report about the spalling and water infiltration damage, told them that their building was just fine, that there was no danger. This guy is in a lot of trouble, and city and county officials around Florida are looking at his situation and are making sure this does not happen to them.

The Hawks Nest is now asking us to decide whether or not we want to pay for a $13± million project to repair or rebuild our building. This would require an estimated $6,850 special assessment Per week owned added to the insurance proceeds we have been paid so far, and our other cash on hand. The amount of the special assessment is based on assumption of the participation of every single owner. No one, including the board, believes that every owner will pay.

So what will happen?

Well, first there will be the vote. Some people will vote “Yes”, hoping to return the Hawks Nest to its former glory, and willing to pay for it. Some will vote “No”, either because they can’t or won’t pay what is required to accomplish that goal. In any case, most, if not all of the latter will either give their weeks back, or will have them taken away by foreclosure if they don’t pay the special assessment once it is billed.

After this, the population of owners has gotten smaller, which means that the assessment will have to be larger, maybe much larger. If that’s the case, it’s likely that more will drop out, necessitating a still larger assessment, and on and on. I and many other owners believe that this is not sustainable, and will result in the eventual liquidation of the property regardless of the vote we take this month. The only difference will be that the number of owners left to share the proceeds will be smaller, resulting in larger payouts for them, and no payout for the rest of the by-then former owners.

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES OF THE POSSIBLE VOTE RESULTS AND THE NUMBERS OF OWNERS DROPPING OUT OR BEING FORECLOSED ON ARE ENTIRELY HYPOTHETICAL. They are for illustrative purposes only. I think they are conservative, but others may disagree.

For instance: suppose the proposal currently in front of us is passed 60% to 40% of the voting interests. If the 40% don’t pay the assessment and lose their weeks, $6,850 is no longer sufficient to pay the freight. The assessment would have to be raised to $11,400 for each of the 835 voting interests remaining. That increase would almost certainly cause more to drop out. If that number is 30% of the remainder, voting interests would fall to 585, requiring a new assessment of over $16,000 per week. You can see where this is heading, with every increase in the assessment, there will be a corresponding decrease in the number of owners willing to pay it.

Additionally, we are being asked to vote for three board positions. Three current board members, President Gary Tucker, Vice President Rosemary Smith, and Marty Shapiro, are running as well as four challengers, Michelle Frigola, Jason Moos, Alex Stanich, and Steven Vereen. It is refreshing to see challengers despite Gary Tucker’s statements discouraging potential challengers for the third year in a row.

Editorial Notes:

I don’t have a problem with people who have given up on the Hawks Nest and signed over their weeks over the years losing out on the liquidation. Nor do I have a problem if people drop out because they can’t or don’t want to pay for rebuilding losing out if the building is actually rebuilt.

My problem is, that I and many others believe that liquidation is an inevitability, and if that is true, it is not fair to ask people to pay an assessment that cannot reasonably be expected to be sufficient to restore the Hawks Nest, only to later add another assessment and hope more won’t drop out.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ATTEND THE INFORMATIONAL MEETING ON JULY 7 AND GET ANSWERS TO THESE CONCERNS. The call-in number is (605) 313-4178, and the meeting code is 777053#. This is different from previous meetings.

With regard to the board, we need new blood. I take no joy in saying that I do not believe that any of the three incumbents currently running are equipped to handle the enormous tasks of overseeing either the reconstruction or liquidation of the Hawks Nest.

Finally:
The decision we all make will be an existential one. It will determine whether or not the Hawks Nest continues or not. EITHER WAY, YOUR VOTE IS VERY IMPORTANT. According to Mike Oostmeyer, our Treasurer, and the most knowledgeable and thoughtful member of our board, it will take a majority of the voting interests to either continue or liquidate the timeshare, NOT just a majority of those voting. If there is no absolute majority either way, we will be in limbo, which would probably would require some sort of court action to resolve which could take years even before any other action could be commenced.

Mike has asked me to tell you that if anyone has any questions about the status or the process, that you are free to call him at (231) 745-7870.

PLEASE VOTE!

BILL McLENNAN

I am very sad to say that we have lost another Hawks Nest friend. Bill McLennan, long-time partner of Owner Sue Fleming, passed away in Ottawa, Canada Sunday after a short illness. Sue had provided loving care to Bill during his illness.

Bill and Sue were our close friends for many years at the Hawks Nest, and we continued seeing them for the last several years at New Smyrna Beach.

May he rest in peace

To see Bill’s obituary, please click Here.

You may send condolences to Sue at:

Susan Fleming
43 Kinmount Private
Kanata, ON K2T1K3
CANADA

Please note that U.S. Forever stamps do not work on mail to Canada. First Class postage for one ounce or less is $1.20.

UPDATE: It turns out that you can use Forever Stamps. At present, 3 Forever Stamps will be sufficient to send a one-ounce letter to Canada.

KAREN NORVAL

It is with a very heavy heart that I tell you that our very good friend, Karen Norval, long-time second generation Hawks Nest owner, and wife of Graham Norval, passed away Sunday, March 8, 2020 in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

She succumbed after a relatively brief but valiant battle with cancer. Karen and Graham sold their weeks at the Hawks Nest a few years ago, but still maintained the many friendships they formed there over the years, and followed the news from the Hawks Nest, sad as it has been.

She will be missed not only by her family, but all of us that were privileged to know her and Graham.

For details on her obituary, click here. Condolences can be sent to Graham and her family at
11 Ravine Crescent
Townsend, ON N0A1S0

    CANADA

P.S. US Forever stamps do not work on mail to Canada. First Class postage for one ounce or less is $1.20.

RESPONSES FROM AND TO MIKE OOSTMEYER

After my letter to the board of February 13, Treasurer Mike Oostmeyer responded to me.

Below are his response, and my response to him.

Bob–

I am writing this to clarify some of the information contained in your email dated 1-29-2020.

While I agree that the Board has not formally responded to the questions in the “Document” dated 1-29-2020, I believe they have stated earlier that they would do so after we know the actual amount of the insurance settlement. I also believe some Board members have informally responded.

I believe that Keith Gilliver had a discussion with you covering the questions posed in the Document.

You and I had a conversation Monday, February 10, 2020, where I thought the questions had been
answered to your satisfaction.

You and I had a phone conversation Thursday, February 14th, 2020 about both your email and the Document.

I also spent some time with a group of concerned owners that Joe and Cathy Shipman brought together Wednesday, February 5th, 2020, in Marathon, where I distributed copies of the Document and then used it as my outline/notes to make sure I covered everything with them.

Further, I remain as I always have, available to any Hawks Nest owner(s) to discuss the
situation and status of where we are, and where I believe we are going in this process.

It might be helpful to make my cell phone number available to your group of owners. That
number is 231-349-7648.

Mike

——————————————————————————————-

Dear Mike,

First, I want to say that I’m grateful for all you have done and are doing for the Hawks Nest and the owners. I hate to think where we would be without your efforts. You are correct that both you and Keith have been in contact with me and we have had several discussions on the subject of what needs to be done at the Hawks Nest.

Respectfully, while you and Keith are board members, you are not the entire board, and don’t even constitute a quorum. The letter was written to the board and was signed by owners representing over 250 unit weeks. To my knowledge, the board has not responded to them, and apparently doesn’t intend to. All the owners, not just the ones who signed the letter, deserve answers to these questions just as soon as it is appropriate, so that we may make informed decisions as how to proceed.

We all know that there are certain questions that cannot be fully answered until we have a final settlement, and we understand that. We did ask a number of questions that can be answered however, and they should be addressed without delay, in writing, to everyone.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that several of the board members have not been active in the affairs of the Hawks Nest for quite some time, and I understand that there may be good reasons for that. However, the owners need and deserve a complete, fully engaged board, and I fear that this is not currently the case.

Best Regards,

Bob Hogg

SAD NEWS

Adam Clausen, Son of Hawks Nest owner, Kathy Clausen and grandson of original owner Van Adams, passed away Tuesday Morning. He was always a friendly young man, and was very helpful to us back when we were having the pig roast week 11. If you wish, you may send condolences to:

The Clausen Family
1807 N. Park Dr.
Mt. Prospect, IL 60056

Kathy has told me that in lieu of flowers, donations in Adam’s name to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon would be appreciated.