Lake House Independent Review Could Cost RA Just $1

Lake House May 2016The Reston Association Board of Directors will vote on Thursday on hiring Mediaworld Ventures LLC to conduct the independent review of the Lake House overrun.

A committee of citizens and RA Board members voted 4-3 last week to choose Mediaworld, a Reston-based company that will use Reston Association members to conduct the review. The price is right: Mediaworld is charging RA just $1 for the investigation.

The Board decided at previous meetings that the review needed to be done by professionals, but also warned that the review may cost into the six figures if paying the going rate.

After renovations at Lake House (formerly the Tetra Building) were found to be nearly triple what RA initially estimated, RA moved $430,000 from its operating budget to cover the deficit.

The money has since been replaced, says RA CEO Cate Fulkerson.

However, RA organized a panel to choose a professional firm to “review of the processes and internal controls that were followed across the organization in handling all decision-making, governance, administrative and financial aspects of the Association’s purchase, including the referendum, planned use, and renovation of Tetra (now known as the Lake House property), that have led to cost overruns and revenue shortfalls.”

The board received 11 proposals and narrowed it down to four finalists, RA documents show.

Mediaworld’s proposed bid is $1, with a contingency amount not to exceed $2,500.

Mediaworld is a :company that leverages experienced corporate executives to provide financial, operational and strategic consulting and advisory services to clients around the globe,” it explains in its proposal.

It is headed by Sridhar Ganesan, who serves as president of the Reston Citizens Association and has been active in other Reston causes, including the support of a RA indoor tennis facility.

“Our proposal will demonstrate that our team for this proposed independent review brings a wealth of knowledge, technical skills and experience that will enable us to perform this review to the satisfaction of all parties concerned, including the Reston community, and make appropriate recommendations going forward,” Ganesan said in his proposal to RA.

“Furthermore, you will find that the Mediaworld team brings a very unique perspective in that each of the members of the team is a resident and member of RA, and are active volunteers who are very familiar with RA and the Reston community.”

Mediaworld’s team will be comprised of RA members, including:

  • John Higgins, who formerly served as RA’s Treasurer. He left that post in April 2015, just before the Lake House was purchased for $2.6 million.
  • Reston resident Jill Gallagher, an associate at Booz Allen and former Budget Analyst for New York City.
  • Dr. Richard Stillson, retired Senior Economist & Division Chief, International Monetary Fund 5.
  • Moira Callaghan, a Restonian who has been an active voice in issues such as the Baron Cameron Dog Park. Callaghan also served on the Fairfax County Public Schools budget task force in 2015.

Once it gets approval from the full board, Mediaworld says it has an “ambitious timeline” of providing a report in late October. It estimates 80 hours of interviews, approximately 60 hours of document review, and 120 hours of analysis and report preparation.

Read Mediaworld’s full proposal in the Board Agenda for the Sept. 22 meeting.

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