Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dishing the dirt at my housing co-op: The special "I want revenge!" issue of my newsletter

Sometimes turning the other cheek just doesn't make it any more. Sometimes you just want revenge! I'm sorry, but I'm only human. I guess I'm not Saint Jane after all. But after enduring TWENTY long years of being harassed and intimidated by an alliance of Savo Island Board members solely out for their own self-interest at the expense of our co-op, I've had it up to here!

For 20 long years I have sat and listened to this alliance call me names, call me a liar, lie to me, physically and mentally intimidate me, say nasty things about my children, play the holier-than-thou card, try to evict me, order me to resign from the Board and even threaten me with jail. I've had it. I want revenge!

"What has finally sent Jane over the top," you might ask. I'll tell you! It was the actions of one former Board president who used to be my best friend until I found out that she took all the things that I had told her in confidence back to the Alliance. What kind of stuff? Evidence that I had that alliance members were breaking the co-op's bylaws, that's what. Humph.

Then this person, apparently to show off to the alliance where her loyalties were at, called my foster care agency and lied to them so that I wouldn't be eligible to have foster children any more. Thankfully, her scheme didn't work and the agency believed me. But I knew it was her because of the type of lies she had told the agency. Then she physically threatened me, shoved me and intimidated me to the point where I had to file a police report. Then she sued me and "forgot" to serve me -- because the charges were bogus -- and I only found out about the court date at the last moment. I could deal with all that. But when she started telling lies about my daughter and going after her with obvious vicious intent, my patience ran out. Don't mess with me, sure, but DON'T MESS WITH MY FAMILY.

This person complained to the management company that my daughter was making noise -- on a night when my daughter hadn't even BEEN in the apartment. And for three Board meetings in a row, this person has slandered my daughter in a public meeting. Why? To evict my daughter so that her own relatives can move into the unit? Probably. But, more than likely, to get at me.

But what hurts most about this person's totally hostile and vicious actions is that last week, I had offered this person a truce. "This thing between us could escalate and escalate. For instance, I have witnesses of you abusing your children and I could pursue that. But I don't want to do that. Let's just take a deep breath, de-escalate and stand down before there is a Pyrrhic victory and we both lose. You back off of my daughter and I'll back off of you." She agreed.

"Oh, Jane," answered this person, "you know how much I love you and I'd do anything for your daughter. She's like a daughter to me. Thank you so much for proposing this truce!" And all this time this person was lying to my face. And at the very next Board meeting, there she was, screaming about how my daughter was making all this noise. Not true! My daughter is not stupid. Once she had been made aware of this person's attacks on her, my daughter has been quiet as a mouse. For instance, I was over to her apartment the other day and we were playing "Go Fish" and I won and gave a big cheer. My daughter immediately hushed me and told me to keep my voice down.

I've seen this person in action before when she wants a unit that someone else has. For instance, when she wanted to move to another same-sized unit, she laid a paper trail against her neighbor -- just like she is now doing to my daughter -- claiming her neighbor's behavior as a reason for her to move; then she hounded the Board until they approved the transfer. And then when she wanted to up-size to a four-bedroom unit that was occupied by somebody else, she continuously hounded the Board to downsize a disabled person on her deathbed so that this person could get the unit, claiming that she had a disability herself. Well. The poor woman died and this person moved into the unit and her disability magically disappeared and now she can climb up and down stairs like a mountain goat.

Bottom line? I am really tired of being treated like dirt by alliance Board members while they happily commit every violation they can think of, secure in the knowledge that they have all the power and will never get called to account. They have unregistered people living with them, live in under-utilized units, violate the bylaws with impunity, move their relatives into the units illegally, harass anyone who stands in their way including the 12 or 13 management companies they have fired, denigrate HUD, block our re-hab, manipulate the Board elections, block the rent increases we so desperately need because it affects them, cause us to be on the edge of bankruptcy, waste our money and intimidate any members who attempt to stand in their way.

Heck yes, I want revenge! Got any ideas?

PS: The one good thing that this alliance has done for me over the years is to give me the awareness to be able to understand what is going on in the White House these days -- and to help me develop my writing skills. I do owe them for that.