Carol Moore, director of Third Mutual, was standing in the street in front of my manor this morning discussing the Connexion issue in full loud voice with another person standing there. Anybody on the entire block who was interested could have heard what she had to say. She kept repeating herself, as many seniors do, but she alluded to the fact that Russ Ridgeway, as the person who is responsible for the liaison with Connexion, knows CEO Glen Lang. He did, after all, work in the business in North Carolina before being here. Was he the “expert consultant” GRF touted in one of their early paid advertisements for the “benefit” of the community?
The Connexion deal smelled from the outset. Director Mike Curtis was kept out of meetings and Curtis is the only director who would have pushed for proper investigation of the finances of Connexion before entering into any kind of business arrangement. It’s called Due Diligence. It was never properly conducted. That alone is a huge breach of fiduciary duty. NO OUTSIDE BIDS WERE SOUGHT. THERE WAS ONLY ONE BID. Bill Hart of Hart King and Coldren allowed this to happen as counsel to GRF. Kathryn Freshley tried to defend having no outside bids by saying nobody else came forward and nobody was interested. NO BIDS WERE ASKED FOR. BIDS WON’T COME IN WITHOUT KNOWING THAT THEY ARE BEING SOUGHT.
Moore alluded to the fact that Russ Ridgeway knew CEO of Connexion Glen Lang personally. The entire deal was brokered in secret and no information was given to the members until it was complete.
Ridgeway suggested to a member he spoke with on Friday after coming out of meetings about the Connexion problem that THOSE PEOPLE WHO USE THE PHONE AND INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDED BY GRF FIND A NEW PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY.
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RIDGEWAY should be fired immediately. Hart King and Coldren have no business representing GRF. Did HKC fulfill their legal obligation to consul GRF regarding the need for due diligence and open request for proposals and competitive bidding? Obviously bids and RFPs were not issued. That was confirmed by Freshley in her quasi defense of the action taken. To the best of my knowledge GRF admitted the same when they announced the deal at the board meeting.
Part of the negotiating team were Milt Johns, then general manager for PCM and Janet Price who was the finance director here and has been elevated to higher office in PCM. What did they get out of brokering this deal? What was the direct benefit to Laguna Woods Village in the brokering of this agreement through the management company and their legal staff? The only direct benefit I am aware of was the fee that amounted to the value of the connection boxes. GRF claimed one other benefit; a reduction in salary expenses because Ridgeway was supposedly going off of the PCM/LWV payroll and be picked up by Connexion. Did that happen?
The IRS will take a very close look at this little “deal” while they are continuing their audit of GRF.
Remember who the directors past and present on GRF and remember the directors on the housing boards who VOTED FOR THEM.