To The Daily Sun,
Dear Ms. Brenda Baer:
OMG! I can't believe, you of all people, have fallen for the misinformation rhetoric ploys of the anti-co-op people at Briarcrest Estates (BcE)! Let me try to set straight some of your misconceptions.
I, too am a resident of Briarcrest Estates, now for five years and previously visiting, nearly every day, my parents since they moved here in 1997 from a condominium situation. I am quite familiar with the BcE community and have experienced the largesse of the management myself. Briarcrest is indeed a first-class place to live, as you have said, with the excellent work of the grounds crew in all seasons under the firm hand of the management. We all feel safe here and wanted a place to live that was worry-free. I have no beef with you as we see Briarcrest Estates now.
Some of the points I'd like to make are:
— First of all, the Lakemont Cooperative was not formed to "take over" the BcE community, only to determine our own destiny instead of being at the mercy of an out-of-state company that needs to make a profit for its shareholders. All profits of the Lakemont Co-operative will be plowed back into the park and after a couple of years, that amount of money is substantial. Lot rent increases will go up approximately $10 per year till up to about the 9th year, when the lot rents may be stabilized for an unknown amount of years.
— All residents of BcE were invited to join the cooperative for a $25 refundable fee (refunds are if the co-op fails to purchase the park). You have to join the cooperative in order to vote on anything the cooperative does.
— New Hampshire State Statute RSA 205 (deals with residents buying their park) allows tenants to form a co-op in order to offer a purchase and sales agreement to the seller/owner of the park and that seller/owner must "negotiate in good faith" with this purchase and sales offer. If the seller/owner fails to "negotiate in good faith" with the P&S offer, he could incur a penalty, which would be divided up among the tenants of the park. (Please look up RSA 205 online for precise wording.) That same law does not mention the number of tenants it takes to make a co-op legal, nor does it mention which tenants would get a part of the penalty money.
— That same RSA 205 mentions that the co-op, once formed, had 60 days to offer a purchase & sales agreement which they did, despite the seller/owner taking legal action against the co-op several days before the deadline.
— You are right about when the nastiness began and continued unabated until a "cease and desist" letter from the Lakemont Coopertive lawyer to the Briarcrest Estates lawyer. Tell me, do you really believe the co-op group would make up letters/notices against themselves (signed "concerned resident(s)"] then rip them down? What would be their reasoning to do this? I have copies of most of those "concerned resident(s)" notices and they are full of misinformation! As far as I know, the co-op has not knowingly made any false statements about leases, lot rents, services, management, or the other prospective buyer. You can go online yourself to find out about Hometown America headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Maple Holdings and Redevelopment is a company of Hometown America.
— If you had come to the informational meeting on September 27, held by the Lakemont Cooperative at the Gilford Community Church Youth Hall, you would have seen the "proforma" (a spreadsheet-type document) which showed that the co-op would be able to handle the $10 million purchase of Briarcrest Estates with a profit even in the first year. In fact, we were told by ROC-NH (Resident Owned Communities - New Hampshire) that at least three local banks are vying for our business! That means all monies would be handled locally for years and years. And, as soon as the park owner complies with the laws of New Hampshire and negotiates in good faith with the Lakemont Cooperative and the other prospective buyer, the co-op will be able to provide all tenants with the co-op "proforma" (spreadsheet), with all the necessary and correct income and expense figures if the co-op buys the park. But then again, maybe you didn't see the meeting notice because it was torn down several times.
— The Lakemont Coopertive's purchase and sales agreement offer was almost exactly like the one from Maple Holdings and Redevelopment including keeping the Mooneys on the payroll for the similar two years.
— The Lakemont Coopertive Board of Directors are all volunteers and will not get paid for their service, nor will any subsequent board of directors. The co-op will contract out with local companies for any and all services that may be needed, including a financial management firm to collect rents and do tax reports.
— As for the "poll" that was taken up at the Community Center, it has no legal standing. Some residents were told lies and harassed to scare them into "voting" for the sale of BcE to Maple Holdings. And certainly, it was not the co-op members doing anything untowards.
I hope I have given you and other residents of Briarcrest Estates enough information to dispel the "misinformation" that is out there and get you thinking about joining the Lakemont Cooperative to run this community of ours the way we want without interference from an out-of-state entity.
Briarcrest Estates Resident