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On the Docket: More RA Lake House Discussion, Decisions

by Karen Goff — June 23, 2016 at 11:30 am 11 Comments

New Lake HouseWhen Reston Association’s Board of Directors holds its June meeting on Thursday, there will be several more areas of discussion related to the purchase and renovation of the Lake House/Tetra property.

The Lake House has been in the news recently since RA announced it needed to cover a $430,000 cost overrun incurred since the property was purchased for $2.6 million in July 2015.

RA plans to use the 3,100-square-foot building on the shores of Lake Newport for after-school care, camps and community event rentals.

The overrun occurred due to several factors, said RA CEO Cate Fulkerson. The previous tenant, Tetra Partners, opted not to sign two six-month rent backs, so RA did not get more than $100,000 in rental payments (and had to speed up renovations in order to start earning income from the property). Renovation costs also have come in much higher than expected.

Fulkerson said she has already found $400,000 in cost savings — including forgoing her annual salary increase — to put most of the $430,000 back in RA’s operating fund. That will be part of tonight’s discussion as she presents a financial report on 2016 Lake House Operating & Capital Budgets.

Other Lake House items to be discussed/voted upon:

  • The Board Governance Committee’s recommended process to conduct an independent review of the Lake House Budget Development Process. The Board Governance Committee held a long discussion at its meeting last week on whether to hire professional consultants (which may cost $250 an hour) to discover what went wrong with the project or reach out to people in the community with expertise who are willing to volunteer their time.
  • A request from several RA members, who are seeking significant amounts of information regarding the project’s interior and exterior construction.

See more details on the Board Agenda for tonight’s meeting.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at RA Headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr. There will be a member comment period at about 6:45 p.m.

  • resident

    It needs to get on the Docket to cut our losses and sell this money pit. Pretty soon this debacle is going to start to affect the re-sale values of our homes, not in a good way.

  • Watch Evil Lurking

    Tonight will be all about the Board, CEO working on damage control, including sharply limiting the scope of the truly Independent Review recommended by the Board Governance Committee. You will also see an attempt to eviscerate a draft code of ethics, keeping very weak conflict of interest provision (e.g. as in land swaps) and a powerless Board-controlled Ethics Committee.

  • Eric

    I encourage everyone to attend tonight. I also encourage you to visit the Reston Recall web site (http://www.restonrecall.org) and Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/RestonRecall/), and sign the recall petition (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/recall-ra-board-members-who-are-squandering-your).

    • Overrunhell

      There are 9 people viewing YouTube at moment while board discusses Tetra, and I count maybe 5 people in the audience. Little or no attendance.

      Goes back to Mike M’s views…

  • Greg

    Sell the lake house. ASAP.

  • Bob Morrison

    The thing I find most odd about this questionable purchase is that Reston Association rules concerning property transfers were ignored. When I bought my home in Reston the property owners had to make certain repairs before the purchase could be made. They had patched cracks in their driveway and according to the association the color of the patch didn’t match the color of the driveway and therefore had to be corrected. The fact that the color of a driveway patch could not be overlooked while all the major problems with the Lake House could be is peculiar. I would think that the association could have at least used the issues as negotiating points instead of overpaying for a around down piece of property that could never have been sold to a private individual in the condition it was in.

    • Greg

      I am not sure they were ignored, but the RA’s maintenance covenants were not policed or enforced prior to the sale. The dilapidations did not occur instantly — a 30+-year-old wood-sided building, with 80’s-era Thermopane windows and with a wooden roof does not last long in our humid temperate climate.

      Some money was set aside for a new roof and HVAC apparatus, I believe, but apparently not enough, and all of the exterior dilapidations (and what I have heard were unapproved HVAC outdoor installations) should have been caught and repaired long ago by the Tetra ownership entity.

      But, of course, the “transparent” RA is as transparent as mud with all of this and how our money is being wasted.

  • It was a dumb decision and they should have talked to some real estate experts before paying twice the market value. There is no point in having it ….none. Dump it.

    • JoeInReston

      fwiw – They had two real estate agents on the board.

  • Overrunhell

    So, Wedell has proposed Booz Allen. There’s a nice invoice headed to RA. Amazing.

  • james dean

    the ra cfo told the ra board that having an outside firm like booz allen or others would cost at least $80k…sherri hebert suggested it could be more like $100k-$200k…why does the ra board continue to waste our money? at recent meetings there have been rooms full of ra members who expressed willingness to serve on a review taskforce to do this work….people who are cpas, construction project managers, financial management experts, financial analysts, real estate experts, construction experts, etc…ra throws our money away time after time…just like bringing in an outside consultant to develop an ethics policy…when ra should have had such an ethics policy yrs ago…when the ra ceo chairs an ethics day at south lakes hs…some thing has to change

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