Well, that was strange.
Goodman Real Estate held an open house at the Ballard Senior Center Thursday night to explain their plans for Lockhaven and offer the services of various "relocation specialists." The evening consisted of about a dozen employees of Goodman Real Estate and Pinnacle Family of Companies standing around and fielding questions from Lockhaven tenants.
It was much less well attended than the event organized by the Lockhaven Tenants Union in October. About 20-30 tenants were there, almost all of them associated with the Union. The main piece of information the Goodman people shared was the dates when we all be driven from our homes. Find your building's address here to find out when you'll get a 20-day vacate notice:
By their own admission, these dates are not necessarily to be believed. As it says in black and white, "dates subject to change." Does that mean we could lose our homes sooner than that? Or later? It's apparently impossible to tell.
One of the questions that raised was so-called "key money," which is basically a cash incentive landlords offer tenants to move out. They claimed this is not legal, which is odd, since they actually made such offers back in September. One of the questions they refused to answer was about the name of the contractor doing the renovations on the outside of the buildings. For the record, that contractor is American West Contracting:
At one point, a group of tenants was questioning GRE employee Josh Obendorf, who began to lose his composure and act in way that some of us found unprofessional and condescending. In response to this, we have sent a letter to Mr. Obendorf and cc'd his boss, John Goodman. This entire interaction was witnessed by a reporter for the Ballard News-Tribune and caught on camera.
Here's the letter we sent:
Dear Mr. Obendorf,
We are writing to express our disappointment with last night's open house for Lockhaven residents.
At a basic level we are disappointed that the purpose of the evening was to help people "relocate." We don't want to relocate. We want Goodman Real Estate to not drive us from our homes in the first place.
But we were also disappointed and disheartened by the conduct of you and the other employees of Goodman Real Estate and Pinnacle Family of Companies. You were strangely unforthcoming about basic information we have a right to know, for example the name of the contractor responsible for the appalling and unsafe conditions we are being forced to live in. You and other employees became flustered and emotional while evading these questions, and your attitude became at times openly contemptuous. When a tenant mentioned a ladder and scaffolding blocking the entrance to his building, you snapped, "It's a good thing there are two doors then, isn't it?"
We thought the purpose of the open house was to give clear and accurate information in a respectful way. If you hoped that the evening would placate Lockhaven tenants and convince us that your intentions are honorable, then it must be considered a failure.
We hope for a more respectful and constructive dialogue in the future.
The Lockhaven Tenants Union