August 4, 2008
Name-calling. Threats. Profanity-laced tirades. Restraining orders.
Welcome to life at the troubled Sierra Pointe Condominium Association, a 282-unit complex near Austin Bluffs Parkway and Academy Boulevard.
All involved describe the association as a soap opera. But Sierra Pointe's problems are in no way escapist entertainment.
When Side Streets first looked at Sierra Pointe more than a year ago, it found opposing condo owners battling for control of the association board, smearing each other viciously in competing newsletters and attacking each other in recall elections.
Since then, a new board has taken over, led by president Randy Pech, who promised to restore order to the board and repair deteriorating roofs, fences, retaining walls, parking lots and other facilities.
The physical repairs are under way. But the personal turmoil remains and appears to be intensifying.
Within the past year, former board member Roxanne Reyes won a permanent restraining order against property manager Robert Bleck after a physical confrontation following repeated arguments over condo operations. His counter-complaint was dismissed.
Then came fiscal irregularities discovered during an audit. Auditors found that $13,224 in Sierra Pointe funds had been deposited into the account of Bleck's Premier Colorado management company over several months in 2006 and 2007. Bleck said it was an honest mistake that stemmed from the bank giving him blank deposit slips for Sierra Pointe's bank account.
Condo owners are divided over the revelation. Some aren't satisfied that the money simply was returned. They want a deeper investigation and question Bleck's ability to handle money, pointing to his unrelated guilty plea in 2000 to felony check fraud. The charge eventually was dismissed after he completed a one-year deferred sentence, said Lin Billings of the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
Other owners, Pech included, believe Bleck's deposits were an innocent mistake and are more upset at the $30,000 price of the audit.
Monthly meetings routinely dissolve into shouting matches, as in May when condo owners Angie Brown and Denise Berndt say Bleck called them "stupid and stupider," then tried to pick a fight with Brown's husband when he rose to defend his wife.
"I ended up having to call the meeting short because our vice president couldn't get (Bleck) under control," said Sean Clark, a board member. "The entire meeting went berserk."
Pech said Bleck was formally reprimanded for the incident, but he generally defended Bleck for his brusque treatment of owners, including Gene Schermerhorn, who says Bleck routinely insults and threatens them.
Consider this July 28 e-mail Bleck sent to owner Annette Daymon accusing her of defacing a Sierra Pointe retaining wall. Daymon spent years covering the wall with a mural of psychedelic flowers and butterflies. She was heartbroken when Pech ordered the wall power-washed. When new chalk appeared, Bleck sent the 56-year-old woman a terse e-mail Monday, ending with this:
"I want a email stating you are going to be a good girl from now on."
Pech blames all the problems on a "small minority of disgruntled owners." And he said Bleck's treatment of Daymon and others was "warranted."
Bleck unleashed a profanity-laced tirade when asked about the issues.
"You have a half-dozen disgruntled, frustrated old biddies who don't like me," Bleck screamed. He said they were angry he wouldn't have sex with them. Further, he described his detractors as "toothless trailer trash" and "punks."
If this is a soap opera, it'd better be rated PG-13.
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