To The Daily Sun,
This letter will probably only interest residents of Briarcrest Estates, but in view of three recent letters published regarding Briarcrest, it is necessary to make a few remarks.
I am answering to inform the residents of facts that were not contained in those letters, to the best of my ability, as a resident of this community for 20 years. I must also say I am not a member of the co-op, so I approach this as a private homeowner and resident of Briarcrest with no affiliation to anyone.
For background information, which is important, the following is a snapshot of the proceedings that brought this community into a co-op.
— July 9, 2013, residents advised of proposed sale to Hometown America.
— July 29, 2013, Roc-NH held meeting at high school. No factual cost information was given. Hand vote for all those present was called for the formation of a co-op. Asked who would be voting, the reply was everyone was invited to come and those there could vote. No verification of residence and more than one resident of a home was allowed to vote. On a hand count, co-op was voted in. Volunteers came forward to be incorporators and form the initial board of directors. No vote taken.
— July 30, 2013, owners of Briarcrest, with their lawyer and a lawyer from prospective buyer, held an open meeting. Two hundred people attended, with most opposing co-op. A vote was asked for but shouted down by pro co-op members. Owners not wishing to appear biased, called off vote.
— July 30, 2013, Roc-NH group filed corporation papers with the state of New Hampshire bearing the date of signing as Jan. 12, 2013, rather than date of signing July 29, 2013. Strange. The second illegal step.
— Aug. 7, 2013, co-op group under the name of Lakemont Cooperative held meeting. At this meeting there was a joining fee of $25. Membership fee to follow. Election of interim board of directors was next, but only people who had paid the $25 were allowed to vote. The vote as 31 in favor and five against, demonstrating a total of 36 members.
Remember there are 241 homes.
Questions and answers were at the end of the agenda. When people demanded to be heard and ask questions, they received abusive treatment and questions were not answered.
Half the people left as they had no voice and refused to pay for the right to vote. Yet another questionable action.
— Aug. 15, 2013, Briarcrest owners held a meeting overseen by an attorney and a witness for signatures. This was a vote by residents and the vote was 164 against the co-op and for selling to Hometown and seven for the co-op. More ballots coming in by mail made total 176 to seven with only one resident per home voting.
Because only votes of paid members were considered, the co-op group prevailed.
I bring this up because it was a heart-wrenching time for the people living here and many friends were no longer friends and those who lost hoped life would return to a peaceful atmosphere and they would be allowed to live in peace and with the same kind of service they had always received from private owners.
Now, the same people who originated co-op and Roc-NH are again working hard to influence people to reject the newest offer from Hometown. They are sending out emails to residents with false information and holding an "informational meeting" that was not sanctioned by the board of directors and had only the Roc-NH people there. No one from Hometown. Once again a one-sided meeting. They are saying the board is receiving a financial benefit from Hometown to sell. Not true.
This board has not taken a position and while some of them might have personal opinions, they have kept them out of public meetings. The board merely presented the offer to the residents and it is the residents who will decide. Only one member from a household will vote. If you are paying for membership in installments, you will be able to vote.
This is a $12 million operation and is being administered by volunteers. That can be risky. It should be run by people used to this kind of big business. Over the three years there has been a lot of turnover on the board and with the volunteers. Not because they don't get their way, but volunteers are tired and did not buy a home where they had to go time and time again to do something. The board members are being harassed daily. It is not easy. We should be thanking those on the board for giving their time and expertise to a very tough situation. We don't want neighbor against neighbor to exist again.
The infrastructure at Briarcrest is now 25 years old and many things will be coming up that need fixing and they cost money, no matter who owns Briarcrest.
Let's wait for the April informational meeting which will include reps from Hometown and hear their side of this. More people will be back from Florida and after this meeting there will be time to decide before June annual meeting when a vote will be taken.
Measures are being taken by the board to see everyone gets a vote. If you work in the daytime or are too ill or elderly to make meeting, there will be absentee ballots and you will have time to get your vote in. Details will be given at April meeting and just prior to voting date.
Don't listen to rumors. Keep calm and make up your own minds. This is still your home and you will make the decision.