I’m 100% sure if privatization at Southbridge Towers had lost by 10 votes, privatizers would already have hired a lawyer and called for a recount. I’m also sure they would not need to beg for money. There were problems with duplicate proxies and co-operators receiving other people’s proxies in their mail. The DHCR, the state agency that oversees Mitchell-Lama, should be forced to do their job.
It is easy to see from listening to people at Southbridge talk that they were quite confused about privatization. I heard one woman say that she voted yes when she read in a flyer that rent control would be available at SBT. Another person was overheard saying “We’re now home owners.” And what is one to make of the woman in the elevator saying, “I know the overhead is going to triple, but I just went with the flow.”
People are now asking real questions after the voting. One question I heard is what is going to happen with car owners that use the Icon garage and opt out. We don’t know because the Board of Directors at SBT – sponsors of the privatization plan – kept the lease a secret. Someone else wants to know about the internal list and deposits made by co-operators; what about storage lockers – we don’t know because this is also not even mentioned in the Black Book. I would like to ask people at SBT why they voted for something they didn’t fully understand, that could have dire consequences for them? Why did you fall so easily into the deception and greed mantra being sold? But that was the game plan: Lie, Misrepresent, Bully – and repeat as needed. This was never a fair fight because the sponsors of privatization also happen to be the Board of Directors at SBT. The DHCR and Attorney General office should have been playing close attention to what was going on at SBT – they didn’t. They dropped the ball big time on this. Case in point: Where did the money for additional printing related to privatization come from? Under DHCR’s own rules for a Mitchell-Lama, money for privatization has to be voted upon by co-operators. Wasn’t the $300k originally allocated for privatization spent long ago? The recent SBT President’s Report shows a mysterious increase in operating expenses. This is only one of the questions that I have, and would like to ask DHCR to look into. But then the DHCR should be replaced by people who want to do an honest day’s work.