Category Archives: Owners’ Forum

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!

GIVE ALL OWNERS ALL THE FACTS

This post was written by Charles Lea and has been posted on the Hawks Nest website. For those of you who have not been able to secure access to the Hawks Nest website, here it is in full:

The recent letter sent out as the President’s Letter does not provide adequate information for owners to make the major decisions called for in the letter. The letter is incorrect, confusing , ambiguous and misleading.

1. The President states that no meeting is required, when quite the contrary the Declaration of Condominium (DoC) requires that a meeting must be held (See section XIV B 6 (c)) which states – after receiving reliable and detailed estimates (more than one), as well as the expected amount of insurance proceeds, THE BOARD SHALL CALL A MEMBERSHIP MEETING. At such a meeting the owners will have a right to ask questions and discuss the information among themselves PRIOR to any consideration of a vote on decisions of this magnitude. Don’t the owners have a right to ask questions and seek other data/options?

2. The owners need detailed and reliable estimates (plural, more than one) as required in the DoC – not an estimate that the Board has had “whiteout” put on it so that owners don’t know who it is from nor when it was issued. Provide all the REQUIRED information PLEASE. The estimate from Keystar was issued a year ago. Has anyone asked them to provide more details? As I recall, there was another estimate provided by ACG in the range of $6,500,000. And in 2018 the President stated that he had obtained estimates approximating $4,000,000 and that the owners might expect to receive some reimbursement. Willthe Board please provide all four of these estimates, with reliable and detailed information? Will the Board also please provide the reliable and detailed estimates totaling $1,559,700 for other items than the building?

3. Did the Board obtain any estimates to demolish the current building and REPLACE it with a NEW building. It seems inconceivable to me that it would be wise to invest approximately $10,000,000 into a building that is 40+ years old. Has the Board contacted an architect to draw some basic, varied scenarios that would meet Monroe County legal requirements (no more than 3 stories, to new code, minimum setbacks, etc.). One owner has suggested a crescent shaped building that would stretch oceanfront from property line to property line, three stories high (would accommodate current 28 unit requirement) with the other facilities realigned as well. Some argue that it would take a couple of years to build a new building. I suggest to repair the building would take longer. Which is better from an investment perspective if timing is the same?.

4. The DoC DOES NOT require the owners to make a vote NOW as the President implies. Ir simply states that a meeting be held to discuss information to help them form a decision. Asking owners to vote on the current limited and incorrect information isn’t fair to the owners. The owners shouldn’t be required to vote until all facts are provided. If an owner votes for a Special Assessment, it does not mean that they are required to pay such assessment. Likewise, if an owner ultimately votes against a Special Assessment, it does not mean that they cannot pay the assessment and retain their rights. The vote is to make a Special Assessment, not to require payment. When the vote is called, if a majority (50% +1) of all votes (1393 votes) are cast in favor of a Special Assessment, such assessment shall be made, per DoC. If an owner does not pay said Special Assessment, per DoC section X111 (page D7 – D8), the Board shall have the right to enforce said assessment, if unpaid, up to and including foreclosure on that unit. It simply is not correct to say that if 49% do not approve a Special Assessment that the others would have to pay $12,000. If, for example, all those that voted “no’ had their units foreclosed then the Hawks Nest would own about 700 prime units of Keys timeshare units. How much could these be sold for? $10,000 each would produce $7,000,000 for the Association. All of these avenues should be put out as possible scenarios for the owners and FULL information/options provided. It just is not as simple as the President implies!

5. As to the additional lawsuit, it was filed 4/13/21 and totals approximately $3,000,000. Given the magnitude of this lawsuit, would the Board inquire of our attorneys to seek their best expectation of the timing and expected outcome of this lawsuit, This lawsuit was FILED AS A PART OF THE ORIGINAL CASE – same case number, same Judge who is knowledgable of the case, etc.). We would NOT be starting all over again. For details on this lawsuit, follow the link on Gary Rumberger’s 5/1/21 Hurricane Update and click on the Doc dated 4/13/21. This amount of money makes a huge difference in any proposed special assessment. We have waited three and a half years, what’s a little while longer to decrease any Special Assessment by $3,000,000?

6. The President’s letter states the payout to owners, if the Hawks Nest is terminated, would be in the amount of $3,200/wk and this would “increase depending upon the sales price of the land”. Has the Board obtained reliable appraisals of the value of the land? I have heard a number of $3,000,000 being thrown around which I personally believe is far too low. Again, do we have appraisals of the bare land? If so, please provide them. I have also heard that due to the prohibition on development in the Keys that each current unit carries Certificate of Occupancy which is transferable to any future buyer and that the value of said COO would approximate $100,000 per unit, thus another $2,900,000. If correct, this could increase the payout to owners from $3,200 to $6,500 per unit week. These are not small amounts and the owners again need to know what can really be expected.

In recap, we seem to have other options rather than just simply Repair or Terminate now. The Board should first provide detailed estimates and other information as noted above. Once this detailed information is provided, the Board should call a meeting for all owners to discuss the data. We should not vote until we meet and until all owners have had an opportunity to have all their issues and questions addressed. We should consider building a new building and consider how additional fundings noted above would help pay for this new building rather than the President’s simple “vote for or against a Special Assessment to repair a 40+ year old building”. In my opinion, THE OWNERS DESERVE BETTER.

BILL BEAVER

MOst of you probably don’t recognize this name, but Bill Beaver was a celebrity Of sorts in Marathon. He’s the man who most often could be seen on Sombrero Blvd behind the Publix. He may have been homeless, but was always well dressed and friendly. Over the years many of us have spoken to him or given him a ride.

The past few years he has been hitchhiking back and forth between the Keys and the West coast.

According to this post on the What’s Happening in Marathon Facebook page, Bill passed away in Arizona recently. He will be missed.

Bill Beaver

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