EDITOR’S NOTE: This information was provided by Regency Retirement Residence President Steve Miles and the Regency Retirement Board of Directors.
Next Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, a court hearing is scheduled to hear this case.
There have been numerous newspaper articles, with pictures, and local television coverage in the past year. However, only one side of this case has been presented. This is the other side of the story.
To understand the situation involving Jack Wilson’s eviction from Regency and his subsequent court challenge, it is important to understand how the circumstances that have ultimately led the Regency Retirement Residence community to November 2021.
First, COVID impacted our entire nation in early spring of 2020, and also, the residents in the Regency Retirement Residence community. One must understand the average age of the residents is approximately 86 years old. Many folks have compromised medical conditions for which contracting COVID could possibly lead to hospitalization or death. Peg Marsh, the executive director, put into place, strict measures of mask wearing, social distancing and limiting outside visitors (other than family members). She also delivered mail and meals to residents’ apartments and social activities were limited. To her credit, Peg should be recognized for the fact not one resident has contracted COVID to date.
The residents of this community moved here for many reasons … some needed a smaller environment, downsizing to an apartment and some wanted convenience to medical facilities or shopping as they became older. Some like the idea of no snow scooping or lawn mowing. Security is a high priority for living at Regency. It is important to note, residents are independent seniors who value their privacy and the idea of coming and going from their homes in Regency at their discretion without interference from others. It truly is their home.
Apartments are rented and a rental agreement is signed, stipulating the rules and requirements. If someone wants to move, a 30-day notice is required to be given to the management, i.e., Peg Marsh. Likewise, if a resident is unable or will not comply with the rules of the community, or fails to pay rent, the Residence Board of Directors can issue a notice of eviction.
Peg Marsh is not a voting member of this board. She is simply the person hired to manage the community. She is committed to providing a safe environment for all residents. She plans and provides social activities. She is responsible for the paperwork, filing state nonprofit documents, handling the office details, cooking for special functions and driving folks to their doctor, hair and other appointments. She does these things, and many more, not because she has to, but because she recognizes the importance of providing senior citizens with a caring, warm, comfortable and safe atmosphere in which to live. Her positive personality is evident daily as she performs a variety of tasks needed to keep the Regency community functioning.
In December 2019, a resident left their enclosed garage to buy lunch at a local business. By the time the resident returned, an ice storm had covered all areas of the driveway, the parking lot and the grassy areas. Returning home and seeing a car parked outside and blocking that resident’s garage door, the resident parked in the front parking lot. Attempting to walk to the front door, the resident fell on the icy pavement twice before getting to the grassy area. The resident was able to crawl to the front door and, fortunately, was not hurt. This situation led to a re-evaluation of previous parking violations.
Family members are always welcome at Regency. This is a vital part of the well-being of the residents. However, for some time prior to the ice storm, Jack Wilson had been letting his family enter via the garage area instead of coming in the front door. It is important to note, the first entry door at the front entrance of the building, is always open. However, for security reasons, the second entry door is always locked and may be accessed by contacting the individual resident via phone. Jack was allowing his family to enter the premises through the garage area without following the usual procedures. Family members were parking outside of Jack’s designated garage space.
Seeing one car parked in the garage area, led to several other families who also began parking behind residents’ garage doors. Some were parking, not behind a family member’s garage door, but behind any garage door. Blocking a non-family member garage door led to the fall on the ice by a resident.
After the potential seriousness of the ice incident, the Regency Board of Directors met and addressed the issue of parking. They determined a “no parking” rule was needed by the garage door areas. Visitors were to park in the designated parking spaces in front of the building.
Family members who were affected by the new no parking rule were related to three residents. They were upset and did not like the new rule. Likewise, Jack Wilson began confronting and harassing various board members, one at a time, at their apartments or in the halls, hoping to get them to change the rule. He also began bullying and undermining Peg’s management style with others who lived at Regency.
When the board did not respond to his tactics, Jack began to create a “new” board. Learning of his plan, the official board of directors warned him three times to stop calling meetings and harassing the residents. Because he refused to comply with the warnings of the board, a 30-day notice of eviction was served to him on Oct. 22, 2020. Evictions follow a first of the month schedule, so his eviction would become effective on Dec. 2, 2020.
Jack hired an attorney and began the process to fight the eviction. A court hearing was scheduled for Dec. 16, 2020.
It is important to note the following incidents occurred during the COVID restrictions on outside visitors. On Dec. 11, 2020, at 10:40 a.m., a resident’s family member, Mike Follmer called 911 and reported there were members of a newly elected board, who had entered the Regency building and were trying to remove Peg Marsh, the executive director. Mike Follmer is not a resident of Regency. He identified himself as the president of the board … an attempt to convince law enforcement he had the power to do this. This was completely untrue. This board had been falsely elected through the efforts of Jack Wilson’s inability to resist the rules of the community.
Three police officers responded but did not interfere after discovering there was no legal reason, nor did Mike Follmer have a court order to do this. This incident created a stressful situation for the residents watching police cars with lights flashing and entering the building. Being unsuccessful in removing Peg Marsh, Jack Wilson and Mike Follmer then went to the bank where the accounts for Regency are located. They tried to freeze the accounts and remove Peg’s name from the accounts. Jack Wilson was known in this bank, as he had on several occasions visited a bank officer, who sits on the recognized Regency board of directors. Learning he was attempting to take control of the financial accounts of Regency, the bank intervened and he failed.
Jack Wilson has created a stressful, uncomfortable and negative atmosphere in this community. After his unsuccessful attempt to gain control of the bank accounts, he contacted the local veterans organization. Misrepresenting his situation, he convinced this group, he was an elderly veteran who was about to be evicted, homeless, kicked to the street or living in a tent, which was reported in the local newspaper and covered by local television stations. A public protest by the veterans group, on the grass and parking lot of Regency, led to one resident calling a family member to take the resident away for the day because of the fear the protestors would enter the building. Jack has continually tried to persuade residents to remove Peg from her job. At the time he attempted to form a second board, some residents agreed to support him. However, documented resignations from these folks have been received by Regency.
Jack Wilson has not missed a rent payment.
There are primarily three families related to three residents who have contributed to the unrest at Regency, spearheaded by Jack Wilson. Although one resident has moved, that resident’s family members and one other family continue to support Jack’s eviction. They are in the minority.
The legal system has continuously postponed and rescheduled hearings for almost a year. Because of the confusion created by Jack Wilson over the legitimacy of a Board of Directors, the eviction issue has been allowed to continue. It’s time to make the decision to evict Jack Wilson. A recent election by the majority of the residents have re-elected and support the current board of directors of which Jack protested and left the meeting.
The current residents are tired of the stress and the uncomfortable feelings they have when Jack approaches them. It is time for us to return to the love, joy, laughter and safety of this wonderful place we call home.
Submitted by the Regency Retirement Residence Board of Directors with Steve Miles, president.