Letter to the editor in the Chronicle.
Monthly Archives: February 2012
Squelching Little Neck cottage conversions
Ipswich Chronicle article.
Ken Swenson’s Question and Loeb Deposition Extract
Unfortunately we have only obtained a section of the deposition of Jeff Loeb taken by the Feoffees. It includes this quote:
“the concept of a sale is not in the best interest of the Town of Ipswich…I think that changing that community from a summer community …to a year-round condominium complex was not going to be good for the town… from a drain on services standpoint.”
Probate – Feoffees – 111212 – Loeb Deposition
Compare this with his answer (or more accurately non-answer) to Ken Swenson’s question on this topic at the January 5, 2012 School Committee meeting.
Tens of millions of dollars?
In the most recent Chronicle article, Doug is quoted as saying that the schools have lost “tens of millions” of dollars due to the mismanagement of the Grammar School Trust by the Feoffees. Here is the background for that assertion.
At the links below you can find a PDF chart as well as the actual Excel spreadsheet used to calculate the difference between what the Feoffees have provided to the schools and what they could have provided with prudent management for every year since 1968.
Other – 120212 – Feoffee Deficit (PDF)
Other – 120212 – Feoffee Deficit (Excel file)
The value of Little Neck as a rental property in 2010 is taken as an average of the four appraisals. The value for previous years is calculated using the Boston Case/Schiller Home Price Index from 1987 forward:
…and National Association of Realtors national median values before that:
For the estimated distribution, we start with the average cap rate from all four appraisals and then reduce it by the average expenses from the appraisals. In our case, we reduce it still further in order to account for the effects of keeping the property seasonal and hiring a professional manager, both of which we feel are critical to achieving the highest net return for the beneficiaries. We also give the Feoffees “credit” for payments toward the wastewater system, since this is necessary to retaining the value of the property and would not be captured in the “normal” operating expenses.
Lastly, all numbers are brought into 2010 dollars using the CPI numbers from here.
Please send any comments on ways you feel this analysis is faulty using the contact link.
In summary, it is not necessary to come to the conclusion that the Feoffees are “bad people” in order to come to the conclusion that they are ill suited to the task of being Trustees of this Trust. All we are asking is to let professionals have a chance to manage this asset properly before liquidating it and cheating the schools out of yet still more tens of millions of dollars.
Intervener filing in the Appeals Court
Here is the complete recent filing of the interveners in the Appeals Court which center around a motion to stay judgment. In it we are asking the court to stop the sale from proceeding while our appeal is pending.
Appeals – Interveners – 120210 – Motion to Stay Judgment
Appeals – Interveners – 120210 – Memo in Support of Motion Stay Judgment
Appeals – Interveners – 120210 – Record Appendix
Appeals – Interveners – 120210 – Bauman Affidavit
Intervener’s Notice of Appeal
Rulings on Intervener’s Motions
The motions to intervene, to stay the judgment and to report matters to the appeals court were all denied today. Given that this judge had already signed off on the settlement, the denials were no great surprise. These motions were a necessary step along the path to a forthcoming appeal.
It was a little disappointing that she did not even give any logic for her rulings, but then she has never actually written down any logic for any of her actions in this case.
The rubber stamped motions can be found here:
2011 Spring Town Meeting funding vote
Many of those who attended the January 5, 2012 meeting where the School Committee “explained” its vote were surprised and confused to hear Chairman Loeb state (and committee member Laura Dietz concur) that “The vote at Town Meeting was not ‘not to sell’. The vote at Town Meeting was to support the School Committee relative to the sale and the change of governance.”
We encourage you to go back to the actual presentation of Article 26 at the 2011 Spring Town Meeting.
Watching this is 15 minutes well spent. Never is there any indication that by voting in favor of this article the town was supporting the sale of Little Neck. Quite the opposite: Mitch Feldman’s presentation of the article on behalf of the Finance Committee was focused on the “benefits of land ownership” (9:00) and his central point was that short term pain is required to achieve a long term gain for the community. At 5:50 he specifically defines the article as “all three boards asking for another $300,000 so that the School Committee attorneys can continue to oppose the proposed sale and to seek to change the governance of the Feoffees”.
The School Committee was last to speak and they had the opportunity to clarify any statements they felt might be misleading or inaccurate. Chairman Loeb chose only to say “The School Committee supports this motion unanimously” (12:40)
No reasonable person would have left the Annual Town Meeting believing that the School Committee had the town’s blessing to agree to the sale of Little Neck. The proposed sale may not technically violate the language of Article 26, but it is hardly consistent with what the voters of Ipswich were led to believe and it is hardly the course of action that voters had a right to expect from the School Committee.