Posted on Monday, May 14 2007 by Heather Brandon
Late last week I received news from Springfield resident and Concerned Citizens for Springfield fellow board member Russell Seelig (pictured), one of the subjects of an interview series published here focusing on the five-building complex Longhill Gardens Condominiums, which CCS has engaged in Housing Court for numerous health and safety code violations.
Seelig’s email reads, “The bizarre saga of Longhill Gardens continues!” and offers the most recent events based on information from representatives of Valley Real Estate, the Court-appointed receiver for the condominium trust. From the email:
Apparently on Friday, May 4, Shalom Segelman, owner of Longhill Omega, LLC (owner of 192 units), and therefore manager of the site, fired all the employees, locked the office door and walked away.
Unaware of this move, Valley Real Estate personnel arrived Monday morning, May 7, to begin an orderly transition [to receivership] and found the office locked and no employees or management around.
VRE had a locksmith drill out the office door lock, and had the lock re-keyed. On entering, they found all the vital records were goneâ€”either removed or dumped, but in either case, not available. No leases, no rental records, no vendor contracts, no accounting records. VRE has re-hired people who had been working at the site to handle the ongoing maintenance requirements.
Two of the five buildings’ oil tanks were empty, which meant no heat, no hot water. Oil deliveries were made and hot water re-supplied. Luckily, it is close to the end of the heating season and no one is going to freeze.
Vendors have come in asking for payment for past services to the tune of $63,000; people have arrived at the office asking if their apartments are ready yet; others who are moving or have moved have asked for their security deposits. VRE, as receiver, has no responsibility for these issues.
VRE was appointed receiver about two weeks ago, but the official takeover date had not been set by the Court, pending receipt of comments from all parties regarding the conditions of receivership and consideration by the Judge of these comments. So VRE probably is not officially in place as a receiver but is managing the site in the interim on an emergency basis.
Two hearings are now apparently scheduled in Housing Court for Monday, May 21. One is a contempt hearing for Segelman’s failure to deposit $150,000 in escrow by April 30, as ordered by the Court; the second on a motion by the receiver asking for the missing records.
A follow-up interview with Seelig and his colleague in court, Bill Malloy, is forthcoming, in which they discuss some of the current concerns related to the transition to receivership.