Owner give insights into Heritage House fiasco

by Jeff Sykes

The owner of 34 residential units at the troubled HeritageHouse in Greensboro expressed frustration at the dominant members of thehomeowners association there for allowing the group to fall tens of thousandsof dollars behind on their water bill.

City of Greensboro officials said this week that they willlikely move to condemn the 177 residential units in the six story building onWest Meadowview Road on July 30. That’s the deadline the city set last monthfor the Heritage House Homeowners Association to make a dent in the more than$50,000 owed for city utilities.

Assistance City Manager Chris Wilson said Wednesday that thecity has received no input from the HOA regarding the past due water bill andwill plan for the worst case scenario, to condemn, secure and shutter thebuilding next week.

The city is currently working with New Jerusalem Church, theGreensboro Housing Coalition, the Community Foundation of Greensboro, and othergroups, to help find housing for those who remain in the building since a swarmof city inspectors descended on the residential tower last month. Inspectorsfound more than 800 code violations in one day.

The city also announced in June that the HOA was more than$50,000 behind on its water bill, but officials seemed hesitant to comment onhow the bill became so large without payment.

Wilson said HOA officials indicated last week that theydidn’t have the income to pay the city for water services.

One man who owns more than 30 units there blamed the husbandand wife who occupied two of three positions on the Heritage House HomeownersAssociation board. Charles Coffey and his wife are listed as agents for the HOALLC in documents on file with the Secretary of State’s office in Raleigh.Charles Coffey, and Coffey of GSO LLC, of which he is the registered agent, ownthe most units at the troubled facility. Police have been called to thebuilding more than 2,800 times in the last year.

The owner, who asked not to be identified, said that theCoffey’s were poor managers and failed to communicate with other homeowners.The man said that other owners pleaded with the Coffeys to have regularmeetings and to improve communication among owners.

“They would never meet with the homeowners,” the man said.”We don’t know anything about the books. We don’t know anything. We are in thedark. If we knew about (the water bill) four or five months ago maybe we couldhave done something.”

The man also said many owners fail to pay their dues to theassociation, causing revenues to dry up. He admitted to having fallen behind atone time himself, but said Coffey went after his units until he was able tobring his balance down to an acceptable level.

“He needed to be more aggressive with other people who don’tpay their dues,” the man said.

He explained that he had begun buying units as investmentsmaybe three years ago and now owned 34. When asked about the potential loss ofhis properties when the city condemns the building, he was sanguine.

“It’s gonna hurt us. I don’t know what happened,” he said.

Most of his units were bought at foreclosure or from peoplelooking to sell, but he said that many owners have mortgages of $45-48,000 onunits in the building.

Calls to a number listed for Charles Coffey were notreturned.