III • A History of Action

An HOA’s Capital Reserves are funded from portions of HOA dues set aside for the purpose of long term repairs and replacements due to normal aging and wear and tear. i.e. re-sealing a parking lot.  A 1994 Capital Reserve study, analyzing the health of the HOA Capital Reserve fund, indicated Centennial actually had a surplus of funds due to increased dues, reduced expenses, and repair costs coming in under budget. The surplus was not refunded to homeowners as Asst. City Manager Crook and others claim, but instead was applied to the next year’s capital reserve collections.

In 1995, Wilson Consultants returned to examine the overhang system and venting. They declared that it was effectively alleviating the problems it was designed for. They found that the buildings had suffered from an abnormal amount of wear and tear in their first decade due to design deficiencies. They suggested further repairs estimated at $900K. Repair costs were lowered to $264K when actual bids were received from contractors and the feasibility of recommendations was investigated. Wilson had recommended $275K to replace the substandard original windows and doors (typically the responsibility of individual owners); and $170K to replace the poorly designed 10-year old roof (this type of roof is meant to last 60 years.). By this time Centennial had cut ties with CCMI, developer Brown’s property management company due to conflicts of interest signified by Brown’s ignoring of advice from his maintenance manager to address the buildings’ defects and the HOA wanting to put more money into Capital Reserves rather than pay the increased management fees Brown wanted . First Choice Prop. Mgmt. was brought in. What continues is a history of responsible budgeting and on-going repairs. In 1999, Wilson Consultants was brought back. Once again, they reported that repairs were effective and the buildings appeared to be in good condition for their age. This report was backed up by White Horse consultants who came to the same conclusions. Both companies recommended that as much as $800K would be needed to deal with previous damage from poor building design. Centennial HOA is often accused of ignoring these recommendations. Once again, Wilson suggested $228K for a new roof; $290K for new windows; $56K for new doors; $189K for painting and caulking; and $255K for repairs and maintenance to the sidewalk and parking lot. All this for a 14-year old “affordable” housing development.  Repairs continued as needed and capital reserves continued to be funded at manageable and appropriate levels.

All documentation may be viewed HERE

In 2009, a sewage pipe begins leaking into a unit on Free Silver. The cause is improper gluing. (In 2000, another unit had a broken pipe due to improper soldering) It is discovered that extensive water damage unrelated to the pipe break has been hidden by the redwood siding. $60K in repairs to the buildings takes place. Centennial hires REG engineering on the recommendation of City staff to examine the problem. In addition, DS Consulting is hired to examine mold. A construction consultant and architectural consultant are hired as well to provide a comprehensive report. Their conclusions are, once again, design flaws and construction defects and this time elevated levels of mold are discovered. Short of tearing the buildings down and starting over, $10M is needed to make these buildings safe and durable for the long term. Out of desperation, Centennial approaches City staff and officials for help. Other than former Mayor Ireland declaring that Centennial was “value-engineered” the only actions taken are the City hiring Rudd Construction , Building Sciences Co., and National Jewish Health to produce a studies indicating that only $7,000 per unit ($650,000 total) is necessary to repair Centennial and that no mold problems exist. Actually, Rudd’s initial estimate is $212,000 total for all 7 buildings. In addition, asst. City Manager Crook pours over 24 years of HOA meeting minutes and extracts one page worth of out-of-context excerpts to characterize Centennial owners as negligent and irresponsible and presents this to Aspen City Council along with the recommendations to not reconcile the competing estimates or negotiate with the HOA. For example, the many instances of the HOA coming in under its annual budget are ignored in favor of 2 instances in 29 years where the HOA was over budget. Also, ignored are the reasons for the deficits; excessive repair bills from water leaks and other infrastructure problems added to responsible budgets, not lowering of dues as they claim. An impasse is reached as there are now “dueling experts’ and contradictory reports. Crook later claims that the City has “helped” Centennial by spending $65,000 of govt. funds to produce these reports. Not one dime is contributed to repairs.  In addition, likely due to the influence of developer Sam Brown, Crook mistakenly believes that the rental units constructed at the same time and in the same manner are somehow immune to these problems even though the same scope of work recommended for the owners units is currently taking place to the rentals. He also equates deed-restricted employee housing units owned by 92+ individual working class Aspenites to a rental property owned and operated as a business investment by a wealthy, private developer.