UPDATE January 26, 2016
Miss Terri Pohrman, Zone A-1 Vice President has also resigned, citing bad decisions of the majority ruling the Board of Directors and no budget.
Mr. Bob Fleak, GSMOL leader in Sonoma County, has resigned saying: The wheels have fallen off GSMOL. After twenty years as a loyal GSMOL member, I can no longer support the organization under it’s present leadership.
UPDATE January 20, 2016 – GSMOL May Close Down
Hold on to your shorts. A brave GSMOL Vice President, let’s call him Bob for now, just resigned from the GSMOL Board of Directors (January 17, 2016) and “let the cat out of the bag.” His reason: a lack of confidence in the board majority’s ability to successfully sustain a viable League. Bob felt volunteer non-profits should be leading examples of good faith and total transparency, just what COMO-CAL and MH Life Magazine have been saying for years!
This is de ja vu all over again. In 1999, a Vice President and Board Member of GSMOL, namely George Smith, filed a lawsuit against GSMOL (Steve Gullage, President, Maurice Priest, Corporate Council). George won! Here is a portion of a letter he sent to the Board of Directors:
The current policy of the Board to prohibit dissent and undermine the efforts of directors and members with differing views, destroys the democratic principles upon which our corporation was founded and chartered to operate. It has driven from our Corporation, capable leadership critical to advancing the interests of our member mobilehome residents; and, it has resulted in a statewide reduction of membership from approximately 92,000 members in January 1990 to somewhere in the vicinity of 33,000 members in February 1999. That is a net loss of approximately 59,000 in membership, equivalent to nearly a $885,000.00 loss of income this year alone.
So what happened to George Smith? (You can find the whole story at savegsmol.com)
- Contrary to the bylaws of the Corporation, the Corporation, through the acts of the majority of the Board of Directors, continuously punish and remove officers and directors that dissent or otherwise oppose or refuse to support the policies of the majority directors. The means used to punish and remove dissenting directors are acts of humiliation, censure, withholding of expense reimbursements, the denial of corporate information, the refusal to allow dissenting directors an opportunity to present agenda items for consideration at directors meetings, the suspension of directors’ and/or officers’ powers and the termination of their membership in the Corporation. Once dissenting directors and/or officers are removed, the majority on the Board then appoints replacement directors and/or officers supportive of the policies and acts of the majority on the Board. In addition, the board deliberately withholds information from the members by censoring and removing all minority views from corporate publications and member communications. By these acts, the majority of the Board perpetuate themselves and their policies and undermine the rights of the members to elect their own representatives as provided in the Corporation’s bylaws.
- Recently, the Corporation has, through the actions of the majority of its Board of Directors, punished two of its dissenting vice presidents and directors by: (a) refusing to reimburse them for expenses incurred on behalf of the Corporation including the attending of directors meetings; (b) refusing them reasonable requests to place items on the agenda for consideration at the Board of Directors meetings, (c) refusing to include their positions on agenda items in the Minutes of the Board of Directors and falsifying the minutes, (d) refusing to provide them with access or copies of requested corporate records and documents; (e) suspending them from acting as directors or vice presidents or otherwise representing their constituents and (f) removing one by vote.
You might ask: That was 16 years ago, what relevance does it have today? Good question. It turns out that Bob was being treated in a similar way as George Smith, at least regarding important information like financial reports., i.e. the bad policies were continuing. In fact we (Frank Wodley) know more about the financials than does this Vice President! MH Life Magazine and COMO-CAL have tried over the years to ALERT the Community that this was happening. But we were damned if we did and damned if we didn’t. Some still can not understand why COMO-CAL wanted a strong GSMOL. Instead, they chose to believe, wrongly so, that COMO-CAL was attacking GSMOL and trying to destroy it. No true, not for one moment. We were trying to get GSMOL members and managers to wake up and be active and get the “bad apples” out of GSMOL. Instead, they shunned us as being the enemy. We were not! We actually were doing our homework, something they failed to do. We knew the bad policies of the 1999 BOD had continued. And we were alerting everyone that the “bad apples” continued to run GSMOL.
GSMOL Likely Will Shut Down
We have predicted this moment for years. We have done our best to alert the MH Community that this would happen. We are saddened, and actually mad as hell about it. The Community needs a strong presence in Sacramento. In 1990, GSMOL had 100,000 members and a yearly revenue of $1,500,000. Had they not gone off course, they could have accomplished much and MH owners wouldn’t be suffering like they are today.
Unfortunately, our ALERTS were labeled as “self serving” by some of the community, and they shunned us. However, we challenge anyone to go back and read every article we’ve written about GSMOL. Yes, most came from Frank Wodley, but the fact is Frank Wodley was a darn good GSMOL member, Chapter President, and GSMOL Associate Manager. His first presentation before the GSMOL BOD was in October 2003. At that time Frank was worried about the image of GSMOL and wanted the BOD to brainstorm ways GSMOL could be improved. Since that time, Frank has made numerous suggestions to improve GSMOL, including a comprehensive Recomendations Report written by eight GSMOL managers, including Jim Burr (later to become GSMOL President), Donna Matthews, and others. Frank has offered the services of MH Life Magazine to promote GSMOL, at no cost to GSMOL. In 2009 Frank suggested COMO-CAL and GSMOL partner. You can read about it in the February 2016 issue of MH Life Magazine. So what happened? As with every offer, with every good suggestion, the GSMOL BOD rejected it without even a discussion! The “bad apples” prevailed. Their policies bankrupted GSMOL and led to this day. Shame on them!
GSMOL Zone A Vice President Resigns January 17, 2016
Dear Fellow Homeowners:
This is a note to advise you I have just resigned my position as VP of Zone A of GSMOL (the League) because of my lack of confidence in the board majority’s ability to successfully sustain a viable League. This DOES NOT affect the CONCLAVE. It will be held as scheduled. I did not establish this one as a GSMOL ZONE A-sponsored event. I AM RETAINING MY GSMOL MEMBERSHIP. I AM STILL PRESIDENT OF CHAPTER 1136. I WILL CONTINUE TO HELP THE PEOPLE IN PARKS I HAVE WORKED WITH FOR THE PAST 18 MONTHS.
Volunteer non-profits should be leading examples of good faith and total transparency. Here is a report that provides a healthy dose of both … the information I share with you has been gleaned from League President reports and League Treasurer reports. This report is strictly my opinion based on the information told me or read in written reports along with my personal experience in board meetings, both in person and in telephone meetings of the board.
I discovered 6 months ago that the League (GSMOL) had no established and approved budget…that they had been overspending their income since at least 2010 … it was about that year they sold their building for $700,000 and moved into a rental office. The proceeds from the sale were to be the Reserve Account. However, they had already been overspending because they immediately paid out over $300,000 in back debts. They have continued to overspend their income until this day, using that reserve account to make ends meet. A few weeks ago they reduced their overspending (at that time around $30,000 a month) down to just under $5000 a month. And, there was about $28,000 left in the reserve account a few weeks ago.
How long will it take to use up $28,000 in reserve funds if you need an extra $4,000 a month to pay obligations: 4 into 28 is 7 … months in this case … to maintain solvency. After that time where does the money come from? The Board doesn’t know. I don’t know. And, there is yet the April Convention to pay for, which usually costs over $10,000 net, after any income.
A proposal was put forth to the board of directors a couple weeks ago, that would have balanced the budget and eliminated the monthly overspend, if accepted and approved. I and three or four other Board members voted in favor of that. The majority, however, voted against the proposal and it was defeated. The president and treasurer ignored my request to see the financial books to see for myself what else might be trimmed.
At this time, I feel I can do no more to help. And, I am concerned that when the League runs out of money and the day of reckoning comes, the Board will rightfully be held accountable. I did not want to be on that board when that time comes. If I cannot help, I want to get out of the way because even as a board member I could not stop the excess spending. Also, I believe that any organization, especially a non-profit one run by volunteers should be entirely transparent … which this board and I suspect previous ones, have not been.
I must continue to support GSMOL as must you. If GSMOL falls, hopefully a new entity will spring up to take its place. We must have a lobbyist and MRL-savvy attorney and intelligent leadership to help protects us, as mobilehome owners, from unscrupulous park owners of California and their attorneys, who would wipe away our MRL rights in a heartbeat if no one stands in their way.
I trust the majority of you will wish to remain on my FYI email list. The new email address I will use is: firstname.lastname@example.org, my local chapter address. I will be closing out the gsmolvpzonea address in about 30 days, so be sure to write me at the new email address if you want to continue to hear from me as you have in the past and are now. I will answer your calls and continue to give my best advice.
I hope to see many of you at the Feb 5th CONCLAVE to hear attorney David Loop tell us how to buy our park, should the opportunity arise.
John Bertaut, Pres, GSMOL Chapter 1136, Citrus Hts (916) 500-1485
GSMOL Zone A-1 Vice President Resigns January 17, 2016
Please be advised of my Resignation ! On the the 17 of January 2016 . After 10 years and the Thousands of Dollars I have Spent, I cannot Take the Nonsense and Bad Judge of the Currant Board. Not Having a budget That Make Sense, and All of your Bad Decisions That Have Been made for Our Members That Rely on a Voted in Position To make a GOOD Decision !!! I am NOT going to a Trusties Office To Answer Questions . I Will Deliver all Items that Belong to GSMOL to Diane McPherson. Best Of Luck for your League.. I have A Great Reputation In the MHP Communities and I Plan on Keeping It !!!!!!!!!!! There is NO Need To Contact me I am DONE !
Miss Terri Pohrman, Zone A-1 VP
Letter from Bob Fleak, Long Time GSMOL Leader, Rohnert Park
The following is a report from the Jan 22 luncheon. It was sometimes contentious meeting with notice’s of resignation from GSMOL. I will start with my personal opinion and statement.
Quote; ” The wheels have fallen off GSMOL. After twenty years as a loyal GSMOL member, I can no longer support the organization under it’s present leadership.
Not only have we lost key personnel like our lobbyist, Brian Augusta, we have lost GSMOL Vice President Zone “A”, Mr. John Bertaut, and Miss Terri Pohrman, Zone A-1. They are here and can explain why they resigned. (John could not make this meeting but his letter of resignation was read. )
I do not intend to ask my some 190 members of Chapter 1014 to continue their membership. I will not renew my membership. As long as we have an MRL, I WILL continue the luncheons for information and guidance for our own protection. I will support SCMOA even with the apathy of non volunteer’s within
It is also my personal opinion that the MRL will not survive after two/three years. We no longer have a voice on the floors of the State Capitol. We have no one to initiate any new bills or the Senators or the Assembly persons to introduce them. With a declining membership, there is declining financial support.
I also do not expect GSMOL to survive financially past June of this year and will be forced into bankruptcy. After eight conventions, and if there is to be another convention, I will not attend.
The promises of transparency has never been achieved. Maybe our state Treasurer can fill us in on a balanced budget and explain where did the money go from the sale of the Garden Grove property and why are the BOD’s and paying members not allowed access to the books? We don’t need graphs and pie- charts, we want to know who and where is money going to.
(Editor’s Note: Balance of email is about Miss Terri and not of general interest to the MH Community)
Shalom ( Grace and Peace)
Bob (Fleak), Rohnert Park
Without GSMOL, the MH Community is more vulnerable than at any other time in its history! How many times have we written about this in MH Life Magazine? How many times have we been ignored? Well the time as come when MH owners can’t ignore us any more. If they do, they stand to lose all their rights. The park owners will continue to attack the Mobilehome Residency Law, rent control and other protections we enjoy today. Bottom line: you might as well just hand your manager the key to your home and walk away.
However there is another option. And that’s the Regional Group Plan we’ve been promoting since November 2014. We can make lemonade from lemons if and when the MH Community comes together and supports us. It’s just $25 each, chump change for a new day in advocacy. How do you know we won’t be like GSMOL? LOL. We are ethical. We have pledged to be open, transparent, and responsive to you. We will work together, network and share. It’s your choice. Read this and go your own way. Continue to ignore us. But when you lose your home, don’t come running to us crying that we didn’t do enough. We have been offering our services for years, we are experts, no one else even tried to warn you about GSMOL, but so far you’ve tied our hands. Last year the magazine received about $3100. from subscribers, and our expenses were well over $100,000. COMO-CAL received about the same amount, hardly enough to begin to hire an attorney or lobbyist. May God bless us and protect us. Seems as if no one else cares. (However we do!)
We disagree with John Bertaut on one point. “I must continue to support GSMOL as must you.” Do not continue to empower the bad apples on GSMOL’s BOD. That only means they will continue their reign of power. The only way to get them out is to stop sending them money. Money is their life’s blood. No money means they have no power and will eventually leave. We do agree with John that a strong presence in Sacramento is critical. But GSMOL isn’t the only organization that can employ a lobbyist.
By the way, we believe there should, at a minimum, be an investigation of the GSMOL Board of Directors. GSMOL members and managers should complain to the state Attorney General. Perhaps even a class action lawsuit against the “bad apples.” They are the only ones responsible for the loss of GSMOL, no one else, especially Frank Wodley, COMO-CAL or MH Life Magazine.
We will actively work toward a new advocacy group, based on the Regional Group concept. We will contact area leaders. If you want to be a part of a new page in advocacy, please, please call Frank at 818-886-6479. It we don’t get our sh..t together now, we are all lost.