This week’s events included: (a) Mr. Garrett filing a second lawsuit [“Garrett #2]; (b) Garrett’s solicitation to UPCC residents to join his suit; (c) results from the District’s request for proposals (“RFP”) for the Bond Anticipation Note (“BAN”); (d) collections being received for the operations and maintenance assessments; and (e) further refinements to the website.
1. Garrett #2 Filed
Garrett #2 argues that the District is not authorized to: (a) levy a special assessment for operations and maintenance (“O&M”) and (b) issue a BAN. Garrett’s attorney failed to file a notice of companion case, and the case is currently pending before Judge Charles Sniffen, nor did she notify the District of the filing. The District will notify the Court of the companion case and it will be reassigned to Judge Nicholas.
The filing of this lawsuit does not stop the collection of the $1,000 assessment. Only the entry of an injunction by the Judge will preclude continuing with the assessment. Moreover, the assessment amount must be paid to the District. In the absence of a Court order, there is no authority for the residents to pay the assessment amount to the Court instead of the District. Garrett #2 has filed an emergency temporary injunction to stop the District from continuing to collect its special assessments at $1,000 per residence for O&M. The emergency motion for temporary injunction will have to be set for hearing and ruled upon by the Court, and until then the District can and will continue collecting the $1,000 special assessment. Please, send in your $1,000 assessment for O&M to the District as required.
The District will vigorously defend this suit. We will petition to move the case to Judge Nicholas since he is the judge of first encounter and consider filing motions for summary judgement to have some or all of the suit dismissed. In Garrett #1 Judge Nicholas has already ruled that the District does have the authority to levy special assessments. Concerning the BAN, the District’s bond counsel has opined that the District has the power to issue short-term borrowings, including a BAN. In fact, the District has already completed a short-term operating loan of $350,000. Therefore, the District is confident of prevailing.
2. Garrett Solicits Residents to Join in Garrett #2
Under the guise of UP Concerned Residents, Mr. Garrett solicited UPCC homeowners to join his suit. To promote this, he falsely claims if his suit to block the O&M assessments were to succeed, those who had paid the O&M assessment would lose their money. This is typical of the fear mongering and false statements common to his communications with the community. Should he succeed in blocking the O&M assessments, all moneys would be refunded.
The solicitation also falsely claims that the District is “preparing an assessment of approximately $20,000 on each house, but that is not official yet.” This is a gross distortion of what the District is doing. This District is not about to collect a $20,000 assessment on your home.
To support the possible issuance of a BAN, the District is in the process of collateralizing the BAN with a special assessment of +/- $20,000 per home. As we have stated many times, the District does not intend nor expect to EVER have to collect on this assessment. Instead, the District plans to issue bonds to pay off the assessment and would then cancel the BAN assessment. The earliest conceivable time when the District might have to collect on the BAN assessment would be in 2021, if the District were unable to issue its bonds. Even in that case, the District would take other actions, such as amending its charter, to provide more time to sell the bonds needed to pay off the BAN.
3. Results from the RFP for BAN Financing
The results of the RFP for BAN financing were disappointing. We received only one response, and it contained an unworkable litigation contingency. Prospective bidders informed us that Garrett #1 prevented them from bidding on the BAN. However, subsequently we did receive strong indications of interest from two prospective investors. We are in discussions with them now and will report at the July 9th workshop.
4. Collection Progress for the Operations and Maintenance Assessments
Canadian residents began receiving their BAN Assessment Notices for the hearing on July 23, 2019. If you are out of the country or haven’t received your O&M Statement, the letters for O&M assessments and for the assessments for the proposed BAN are available on the District’s website: http://universityparkrd.com/letters. The O&M Statement is dated 07-01-2019; the assessment for the BAN hearing is dated 06-14-2019. The Master Assessment Methodology Report University Park Recreation District Series 2019 Bond report dated 06-10-2019 is also on the website: http://universityparkrd.com/special. To date the District has collected over $5,000 in O&M assessments.
5. Further Refinements to the Website
Website enhancements to the landing page were completed this week. The WHAT’S NEW section lists the recent letters to the residents, Newsletters, and Meeting Highlights.
Many residents are signing up for the newsletter. Currently, 486 residents have subscribed to the UPRD Newsletter. And an average 85% of the subscribers have opened their newsletters.
6. Upcoming Meetings
Workshop 10:00 am July 9, 2019 Card Room
Regular Meeting 1:00 pm July 12, 2019 Lakeside Room
Special Meeting 10:00 am July 23, 2019 Card Room
7. Upcoming Court Hearing on Garrett #1 and Bond Validation
On Wednesday July 10th Judge Nicholas will hold a case management conference at 11:00 AM EDT, in Court Room 6E, in the Manatee County Judicial Center, located at 1051 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, Florida 34205, (941) 749-3600. The purpose of the conference is to set the schedule for the cases and to determine the scope of the inquiries that will be allowed.