WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio - Owners of the Clarkwood Townhouses #3 in Warrensville Heights were issued a shocking piece of news, their homeowners association is more than $47,000 behind on their water bill.
To make matter worse, the Cleveland Division of Water sent them a notice that their water is scheduled to be turned-off on Aug. 10, if payment arrangements aren't made soon.
Townhouse owners like Gloria Davis told NewsChannel5, many will lose their homes if water service is interrupted.
"If the water is shut-off here, that would become a medical emergency crisis," said Davis. "We have seniors living here, we have children living here."
Davis and other tenants said they were not aware their association water wasn't being paid over the past three years, and blame their former management company, and association board for the massive total.
The huge water bill was also caused by a growing number of association members not paying their monthly dues, and going bankrupt.
NewsChannel5 confirmed 12 of the 20 units on the property are now vacant, many of the unoccupied units are in foreclosure.
Still, Clarkwood residents believe they were not properly informed about the growing water bill by Continental Management, and their association board.
NewsChannel5 Troubleshooter Joe Pagonakis questioned Clarkwood association board member Lena Nance.
Nance said Continental Management never showed her the association water bill, but admits she never asked to see the statements.
"I didn't know it was that bad," said Nance.
But Continental Management told NewsChannel5 it terminated its contract with with Clarkwood Townhouses #3 in June, due to mismanagement by it's association board, and delinquent condo owners.
Continental claims it was board members who instructed them to make only 3 of 12 water bill payments over the past 3 years, due to a lack of funds.
Continental issued the following statement in response to our story:
"Continental Management Company has an agency relationship with all community associations it manages, in this particular case, Clarkwood Townhouse #3 Condominium Association, and works at the direction of the Board."
"The Board of Directors makes all the final decisions relative to the repairs, maintenance, assessment amounts, and payments to vendors etc. that are relative to the Association. The Association is a Non-Profit Corporation in the State of Ohio as defined by State Statute 5311."
"Ms. Annah Villnuve is the individual who represented this particular Association over the last several years. Ms. Villnuve has attempted to guide the Board on how to handle the financial situation. Our company brought to the attention of the Board the need to increase fees, and be aggressive on collection actions against individuals who have not paid their Association fees, etc."
"While the Board has held Annual Meetings each year as required by the Association Governing Documents, they have been poorly attended by unit owners. At these meetings, the Board provides copies of the Association’s financial reports and was ready to discuss the financial issues of the property."
"The majority of the unit owners of record have failed to make the monthly Association payments to Clarkwood Townhouse #3 Condominium Association over the past several years and/or have abandoned their units.
After years of serving the Association, Continental Management made a business decision to terminate the Management Contract with Clarkwood Townhouse #3 Condominium Association."
"This decision was made because Continental Management has not been paid for its services in the past two years and because of the apathy of the Association to attempt to correct their financial issues. In the transition meeting, Continental Management offered to assist in continuing to help the Association if the Association would begin a payment plan for their past due amounts owed to Continental Management Company."
Meanwhile, NewsChannel5 contacted the Cleveland Division of Water, requesting a hearing on the water bill total.
The water department said it would delay termination of water service if one-third of the bill was paid within the next month, as both the townhouse association and management company workout their differences.
Still, Clarkwood Townhouse owners like Gloria Davis, are hoping for a fair and accurate settlement.
"I've explained to the water company, that there is only a certain amount of money coming in through the association," said Davis. "We're asking for a payment plan, if that is the money we owe, based on the investigation."
NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com will continue to follow-up on this developing story.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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