Shareholders form JTSA at Jamie Towers

633 Olmstead Aveneue building of Jamie Towers
Photo Courtesy of Robert Christie

The conflict between a group of shareholders and the elected executive board at Jamie Towers have only gotten worse.

At one point the police had to be called in to calm an escalating situation.

On Sunday, January 22, disgruntled shareholders decided to gather after a meeting of the Jamie Towers Shareholders Association.

They’re meeting was called after the executive board rejected a proposal for an ad hoc shareholder’s committee.

The committee would have allowed shareholders at the state-run Mitchell Lama cooperative to voice their displeasure and discuss ways to address them.

According to dissident shareholder Kathie Jackson, the Sunday gathering was met with resistance when the group attempted to meet in the lobby at 4 p.m.

A maintenance floor mopping prevented the impromtu meeting from being held at 2070 Seward Avenue, one of the four-buildings comprising cooperative development.

When the meeting was moved to the laundry room the shareholders were booted out by a security guard.

Jackson said eventually the police were called and the responding officer attempted to mediate the situation by asking if the group could meet in a community room.

However, according to Jackson, the security guard said no and threatened to shut down the laundry room before its usual 9 p.m. closing time.

Shareholders have been complaining for several months of an increase in carrying charges and maintenance fees at the coop despite ongoing issues such as inconsistent heat and a change in security guard hours.

Linda Milner, head of the JTSA, said her carrying charges and maintenance fees went up as much as $800 since the start of the decade.

Milner’s monthly fees were $480 when she moved into Jamie Towers in 1994.

According to the NYSHCR, in 2016, air condition fees rose from $25 to $35 and parking fees rose from $50 to $75.

An NYSCHR spokesperson said the carrying charges went up by $12.71 per rental room at the start of this year.

NYSHCR had planned to increase the carrying charges by $14.57 but decreased the amount after receiving complaints from shareholders.

In addition, a November meeting between shareholders, the executive board, the NYS Department of Housing and Community Renewal and elected officials produced concerns about an alleged misappropriation of funds.

Ssuspicious shareholders, who declined to be named, believe there could be as much as $2 million missing from the Jamie Towers operating budget and called for an audit.

Executive board president Earl Washington, father of actress Kerry Washington, said, “There are no unaccounted for funds.”

“The budget and financial operations of Jamie Towers are overseen by the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal and annually an independent accounting firm performs an audit of the corporation’s finances and issues audited financial statements,” Washington added.

Milner said Washington and the board took several weeks to respond to her request for an ad hoc committee.

In addition, Milner and other residents emailed pictures of violations they received for illegal protests.

On Tuesday, January 24, Milner even sent out a letter to elected officials and NYSHCR outlining that day’s events

Washington said he has encouraged all residents wishing to form a shareholder’s committee to attend the February executive board meeting.

“It is important that committees be beneficial and helpful and not harmful to Jamie Towers,” he said.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at rchristie@cnglocal.com.

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