BERKELEY'S NEWS • OCTOBER 01, 2022

Senior residents protest against apartment complex directors in West Berkeley

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JIHOON PARK | STAFF

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MARCH 08, 2015

A group of senior residents protested the mismanagement and negligence of their apartment complex by its board of directors Saturday afternoon in West Berkeley.

About 20 residents of the Oregon Park Senior Apartments, located at 1425 Oregon St., started gathering about 1:30 p.m. in front of the apartment complex. Armed with numerous signs, they marched around the neighborhood before marching back to the complex to conclude a 30-minute protest.

The complex comprises several apartment buildings and is home to more than 60 low-income seniors. The apartments are governed by an annually elected board of directors, which comprises seven residents.

The protesters accused the current directors of abuse of power, negligence of duty and failure to comply with the complex’s bylaws, according to resident Juanita Edington.

Edington said the main objective of the protest was to “pressure the board to organize an election” later this month, which some residents worry might not happen. Edington added that utility bills have gone unpaid since the new directors took over last year, and the complex’s bank account has been frozen because of signator irregularities.

Vic Coffield, another resident, said the account’s freezing could lead to the complex’s foreclosure by the bank, but he is hopeful it can be prevented if a new board is elected imminently. Part of the problem, he said, is due to the lack of transparency, because the directors refuse to talk to residents or release any financial information.

“The board has not organized a public meeting in two months, which is illegal because the bylaws require monthly meetings,” Coffield said. “Whenever we see them around and raise these issues, they literally just stare at us and say nothing.”

But Katherine Wenger, the attorney who was hired by the board to represent the apartment complex, said in an email that allegations made by the residents are “false” and “unfounded,” and attributes the current issues to the previous directors.

She said the current directors began looking at the management of their predecessors and found that, among other things, at least one former director received “significant monetary payments” in violation of the bylaws and did not ensure rents were paid on time, and that the previous bookkeeper “had written checks to himself and his friends” with no proper documentation.

Henri Davis, an unpaid consultant to the board of directors, said the board does not talk to the residents because it believes residents fabricate concerns. Davis said the governing structure of the apartment has been “wrong” from the very beginning and believes the only viable solution is to put the apartment complex under a receivership.

The board will hold a public meeting Thursday to discuss the issues.

Contact Natchapol Praditpetchara at 

LAST UPDATED

MARCH 09, 2015


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