July 29, 2009

Freedom of speech? Hello???

After the big show on January 2 when Bill Street took over, we asked for an extension so that he could be caught up on all the legal mess of the past couple of years. To say his arrival on the scene was well received by the other side that day was a huge lie. They were PISSED. As Phil snapped his fingers and commanded his group to reconvene outside the courtroom we all looked on as they shuffled out. This was big news to them. They had expected an entirely different agenda that day.

Anyway, after much debate and calendar checking a new date of Jan. 29th was selected and we all left. The other side wasn't happy. They had expected to move quickly on the MOTION TO SHOW CAUSE WHY THE DEFENDANT, JOSEPHINE S. LEE SHOULD NOT BE HELD IN CONTEMPT FOR VIOLATING COURT ORDER. Sounds like fun!

Our other attorney received a subpoena to appear as a witness at the hearing scheduled before Judge Borchard on Thursday, January 29, 2009. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We had heard in court that an "out of town" witness was to be called as well.. The caretaker for the association. WHAT? Nice, this was shaping up to be a pretty exciting time in court.

Ok, this gap in court proceedings allowed Bill and the rest of us to meet, discuss and work out the defense. In a long, detailed account of mother's "contempt" of court orders, Bill responded; "7. is also denied in its allegation that defendant 'published' this photograph on the internet. (referring to the Sheriff deputy handing mother the orders). These two allegations are not well grounded in fact, are intended to harass defendant , bias the Court, needlessly increase the cost of this litigation, and are frivolous claims warranting imposition of costs and sanctions. On information and belief, the photograph, and some commentary critical of plaintiff David Symons' boorish behavior towards his sister at Christmas time was posted briefly on a web site called 'The Red Door Journal' blog spot, but much of the criticism was taken down. It was not posted by the defendant, (defendant rarely utilizes the internet except for e-mail communications). Plaintiff David Symons filed the instant lawsuit, injecting the issues in this litigation and his own needlessly litigious character squarely into the public domain. The blog posting of other people, and other people's commentary over the internet as a communications medium that is critical of plaintiff David Symons' treatment of his own sister during the Christmas holiday season, is not evidence of contempt of court. It is protected free speech. (US Const Am I and XIV; 1963 Const art 1, paragrahp 5.

Oh.. the other side, besides wanting mother punished by the "wearing of orange" also wanted money. Yeah. Oh, they were so damaged!!! More to come...

July 27, 2009

Lakeside was shining Saturday Night!!

What started out as a rollicking good old Higgins Lake thunder storm in the morning, ended with sunny skies and tons of fun... and money!!

It was a long day. The annual meeting was held in the morning (I took a lovely nap), turned into a bright shiny day by afternoon. Those who weren't working on the auction got to enjoy being out on the lake and the seriously hard working auction group set up for the silent auction and cocktail party. What a day. The auction committee; Sara and Cindy and all those who helped set up, donate, catalogue and organize worked magic for Lakeside. Who said "times" were tough? For one night, you wouldn't have known.

The Silent Auction and Cocktail Party was a huge success. Set up behind the dining hall and in Kris's shop, the food was great, the wine (and spirits) flowed and the bidding was intense. A great show of community all the way around. If that wasn't enough work for the day, the "live" auction kicked off at 8:30 in the DH. As the young ones passed around jello shots for a buck... the good ole Lakeside Bar was front and center so that everyone entering the hall could "lube" up for the big show.

It was an amazing show of support, not only was Lakeside there, Char and her team should up. They donated and they bought. Everyone. Well, almost everyone. Conspicuously absent was the president and family. I'm still shocked by that for some reason. Here was the biggest "camp" fundraiser. Months of preparation, hard work and endless hours of labor by so many "Lakesiders" and no prez. It did not look good for them.

The good news...the camp raised almost $9000.00 for the new walk-in freezer. That's a lot of loot folks. It was a great time, a great community effort and show of support. We had Lakesiders, Cottage Grovers and Pinewoods present!!! Congratulations to the committee and all those who contributed items and especially to those who bid high and bought!! What a night!!!

The first picture shows the "organizers" getting ready. (Kelly Brand, John Lee, Keith Newell, Sara Newell and Cindy Torrence. The second picture; John Lee (in drag) modeling the old dining hall curtains in a Carol Burnett scene from Gone with the Wind...(you had to be there). It was a hoot.

July 24, 2009

Welcome guests from "My North" and "Traverse" Magazine.

Last month an article was published in "Traverse" Northern Michigan's Magazine, titled " Saving the family cottage" Sound familiar? It is about a family, a brother and sister who were left the family cottage and shared it for many years until... That's spooky...One decided they no longer wanted to share.

I conversed with the editor and publisher and he allowed me to post a comment on his blog where the article was reprinted directing his readers to experience the "other" side of partition. Lets give them a great big Lakeside welcome.

Jeff Bezos on Amazon remotely deleting Kindle books: We’re idiots

This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.
With deep apology to our customers,
Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO

Hey "Barry Obama" this is how you apologize.

July 21, 2009

Insanity, repeating the same task expecting different results...

Or, welcome to David Meyers world.

As usual The Judge sided with David Symons and allowed the meeting to be pushed up by a week. A blatant attempt to disrupt mothers, Joey and Katy's plans, as they were not due to be home from the cottage for several more days. The sheriff took care of that. Thank god we risked life and limb as well as felony charges and put together a detailed inventory, albeit hurried because of a small issue with the sheriff and the judge and, well you get the point.

The hurried weekend was used to photograph everything in both cottages, and create a detailed inventory list, oh and a dinner party!

Suffice it to say the other party came empty handed and unprepared, as usual. In hind sight I should have not shared our list, I am convinced the out come of events would have been different. Now understand, as most of you will, over a period of 100 years or so, one accumulates a lot of stuff, and we wanted the few items that we had either bought, built or provided along with a few items of sentimental value. You would have thought we were pulling teeth.

We had requested that there be no attorneys present, hey, what was so difficult about sitting down face to face and coming to terms on some contents....
apparently a lot for some of the participants.

The morning started with Mr Meyer stating that he thought he could get this whole thing done in an hour, perhaps less. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was he thinking? He put David Stu and Phill in one room and Betsy, Mr. Campbell and I in another. Oh yea, we lost on the no attorney issue as well.

I questioned Mr Meyer as whether he hadn't learned anything from our previous three meetings where he insisted on separate rooms and the ensuing results. He felt confident that things would be different this time, right.

As usual the onus was on us to provide a list of what we wanted, which was then rebuffed by David and Stu. Almost everything that mother and Katy wanted, David and Stu decided they wanted. I again told Mr Meyer that it would be impossible to negotiate on personal items if we cannot sit down face to face. He assured me again, he had everything under control, right.

For over two hours he walked back and forth, accomplishing nothing. I finally told him unless we meet face to face, we are out of here.

So in comes David and Stu, as well as his counsel, talk about three blind mice. Needless to say we had finagled them into getting pretty much all of what we wanted.

We were down to several(3) items that Mr. Meyer felt deserved a special sort of arraignment. His plan was brilliant, he wanted us to draw numbers, nope I am not kidding you. So we drew numbers. David and Stu sat there with a dumbfounded look on their face not sure what to do next so I drew #1 and Betsy drew #3. David then drew #2 and Stu drew #4, how fitting Stu was out of luck. So sorry!

So we got two out of three, and a small victory.

Oh, the whole procedure once we met face to face, 30 minutes.

But as usual, there were no plans as to when we could get our stuff out, typical of Mr Meyer. That was ironed out several days later, hey getting paid all that money you don't expect him to think of everything did you?

So a small battle was won, and we were off to yet another motion filed by David Symons. Something we had become accustomed to, and for those keeping score, motion # 23 or 24. Bring on William Street.

A side note...

On the road to Ann Arbor for the Art Fair this past Saturday, I was reading the Lakeside Book, brushing up on a bit of history for an auction project. I came across a few paragraphs under "Customs of the Camp" that spoke to me. Keeping in mind the past 3 years of legal action, I was moved to ponder a few statements.

In a comment about the community dining hall the author writes: "But sometime in the dim past it became the habit for family groups to eat at the same table in the same place with the senior member of the family at the head. The practice may not be unique but it illustrates the conviction among Lakesiders that family ties and family unity are important." Later the author writes: "New generations will govern the camp in the decades ahead, and, under conditions no one can foresee, new customs will take hold and persevere. One can only hope that friendliness, respect for the land, love of family, and the enjoyment of wholesome outdoor life will be among them."

Time brings change. Change is good as long as the core values remain. Let us all commit to keeping these core values intact for further generations.

July 20, 2009

A lot was happening....stay with us here...

While mother and I were at the cottage for Christmas, the sheriff visited the day after with the papers that Rick had picked up in Saginaw and delivered to the Roscommon Sheriff's department. From the photo posted previously, you can see he was a great guy. He really was. He was also awestruck by the place. He said he never knew any of this was even "up here". Yup.. just the way we like it, right? Private. Tucked away from all the stress and craziness of the real world. Private. Nice move David.

In reading the paperwork he delivered he mentioned in his notes that "Mrs. Lee is in the process of finishing the inventory/photos of the residence-interior and furnishings- will be out by the 28th-29th at the latest."

That's right. We had planned on staying through New Year's. We left on the 29th. In an e-mail from our attorney that we did not receive until after we had returned home he stated, "Sturtz dropped the order off at my office this noon. He knows from David Symons that you are at the cottage, so made the point of running the order over here before our offices close for the Christmas holiday. This, of course, is sheer vidictiveness on his/David's part. He is also trying to create a situation for a contempt of court claim." Nice. Very nice.

As my brother will explain in greater detail, the cottage inventory was to be negotiated at a session with David Meyer. That was scheduled for Tuesday, the 30th of December. While we prepared for that session, David was busy preparing to bring a motion of contempt of court against mother. In a very serious family pow wow it was clear we needed to bring someone on board who could represent mother in court against the nasty contempt of court charges. Mr. Campbell is a gentleman all the way. He was not the sort to take on Phil Sturtz. As soon as we got home, we called William Street. He was just what the doctor ordered. He would join us all in court on January 5th, for some big fireworks....

July 19, 2009

It was to be a wonderous Christmas Holiday at the lake.....

Some of you might remember the events of December 26Th, for others who are new to this blog, welcome and let me explain. I am not going to re post my original thoughts in their entirety, but instead give you a glimpse of the madness that occurred.

Recently Joey spoke of she and mother going north for one last Christmas and new years, as has been done countless times in years past. She also mentioned the low fuel oil episode we have all chalked up to a faulty level reading, so here is act II courtesy of David Symons.

We had been waiting for a ruling from the judge, who's words "I will have a reply in three (3) days", were said on December 14Th, 2009. Fast forward to December 23, gosh that seems like more than three (3) days doesn't it ???
It is interesting to point out that all previous communications had indicated they were to leave Saginaw on the 23rd, but due to incoming weather, they got out of dodge a day earlier. That apparently didn't set well with some!

I posted this rarely seen photo of David dressed as the Grinch, or was it the Grinch dressed as David, anyway I digress, what a great way to welcome Christmas than with a ruling from the judge that you can not use your cottage over the holidays or you could be charged with being in contempt of court. If that doesn't bring tidings and good cheer to a whole new level I don't know what does.

This was followed up a day later when from out of nowhere appeared Santa, sorry, wrong Christmas poem, a Sheriff's deputy from Roscommon County. Compliments of, you guessed it, David Symons via Richard Symons. It seems that Rick was none to happy to gather from the court on the morning of the 26Th, the papers the judge signed on the evening of the 23rd and drive them to Roscommon. I'm thinking David was a little too full from the gorging he must have participated in, I feel sorry for that holiday bird!

So there you have it. It is inconceivable to think that an adult, and I am speaking kindly here, can show such an arrogant display of viciousness towards his only living sibling. Unfucking believable was my original comment and it still works today.

There is nothing that he can say or do that will change my opinion of him. He is despicable.

However, if history has taught us anything, it ain't over yet. Things are going to get interesting real fast. We might need to bring in heavier guns for the looming battle.

ahhh....we miss you.

Yup.. the bacon. And the pancakes and the french toast and.....we'll be back. Next weekend.

July 17, 2009

As is often the case, new owners tend to put their own touch on decorating.


On orders from the judge, Mr. Meyer was caught searching for a better way to market and sell the cottage.

T'was the night before Christmas....

and all through the house.. it was warm and cozy, but not so nice.

The fuel oil problem resolved, the Christmas tree delivered, we decorated the cute tree and put a few Christmas touches around the cottage. That awful pit in the stomach feeling was on high. Between crying and wanting to throw up, I'd gotten a call from my brother letting us know that somehow.. some weird miraculous thing had occurred. The judge had ruled. It truly was a miracle. The judge didn't usually rule and no one expected a ruling before Christmas. How that happened is any one's guess.

I discussed the situation with my brother. We could not be reached at the cottage because David had taken the phone. Oh.. there was still one in the kitchen but it didn't ring. We could call out..no one could call in. It was broken. Hmmmm.. and why the need to remove the only working phone is still a mystery. Especially since we'd been ordered by the court to NOT remove anything. So, our attorney reached my brother and he forwarded on the information regarding the ruling. We were banned from being there. What to do? I made the decision to not tell mother. She was already struggling and it just seemed too much to deal with. We simply could not take down the tree, all the trimmings, pack up and leave. We stayed.

We had a delicious Christmas dinner. I had told mother at this point about the situation and since the rest of the family had planned on coming the next week, we needed to get ahold of everyone and huddle. Mother wanted to leave. I put in a S.O.S. call on Friday morning to Topper and said "get your ass up here NOW". He couldn't make it until Sunday. I called John. "Get your ass up here". He did. Called Betsy.. she came with her scanner. We had a major ice storm and there was NO WAY I was going to be able to take down the tree, finish the inventory..and load the car. What to do? We had a party! Invited many in camp to come for dinner and eat up all the food that we'd stocked up on for the week ahead. Oh yeah. The Sheriff came on Friday morning so we knew "officially" what the ruling was. I will ask my brother to re post the original photo and post regarding "the gift". All I can say.. it was supposed to be a "stress free" Christmas for mother and I. It was definitely NOT that.

July 16, 2009


I had hoped that my wishes for keeping comments on target and civil would have been adhered to. Good gosh, I've asked enough times to stay on message, and be civil with your comments. I have also asked on more than one occasion that there are people who do not deserve to be talked about in the fashion they have been, i,e wives, children, fringe players, and so on.

Today it appeared that things got carried away with regards to comments concerning our caretaker. He is not, will not and wont be a party to this. He has done a masterful job, balancing his responsibilities for Lakeside, and the awkward position he has been put into with this mess, he does not need this notoriety.

You may or may not agree with this blog, or what I have attempted to do, I am cool with that. If you have a bone to pick with me, comment, that's what it's there for. It's easy to hide behind the mask of anonymous, and another to take a position and identify yourself. I thank and appreciate those who have.

What my uncle has done is pretty obvious, what I have tried to do with the help and assistance from my sister, is to highlight the difficult position we were forced into. This should be a wake up call for all who share joint ownership.

I was very tempted today to close the ability to post comments, or force you to identfy yourself, I didnt. I really want to know your thoughts and feelings. Just keep it open and honest. If you choose to identify yourself, wonderful, it will add greatly to this forum, if not then, please keep it honest and pertinent.

Christmas was almost here....

With the attorneys busy in December, waiting on David Meyer's report, we were asked to make arrangements for the cottage contents. Mother had sent David and e-mail on Dec. 9, 2008 stating:

Good Morning,
It has been suggested that you and I sit down and go over the contents of the cottage. There are some decisions that need to be made. Choose a time after Jan. 4th and we can meet for lunch at the Saginaw Club and take care of this.

Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving with your family and that Christmas will be a very fun time with the grandchildren.


So then we went to court. We had to hear their side go on about how we may cause damage to the place and we were arguing fees that David M. had come up with..one in particular the title insurance (which could not be obtained) among other fees. The judge said he'd have his answer by the end of the week. He didn't. He generally didn't so it was no surprise. We packed, talked with our lawyer who had also talked with David M. and because they felt there would be NO ruling before Christmas, we headed up north.

We went up on Monday instead of Tuesday because the forecast was calling for even more snow. There was a ton up there already so to be safe, we got ahead of the storm.

We unloaded the car. That's an ordeal in the winter with snow banks 10 ft. tall but Kris had created a path to the back door of the front cottage.

Remember the fuel everyone agreed should be ordered??? About 1 a.m. mother and I woke up freezing. And I mean FREEZING. We were out of oil. Geee, wonder how THAT happened???

July 15, 2009

July 14, 2009

A lovely evening with our cousins...

Many have asked if we had "other" relatives up here. We do!! Real ones. The Harbert/Kennedy group!! We had a great visit with some of the cousins. It was great. It was also Bitsy's birthday and what a great way to spend some time. We don't often get the chance to see them and we had a nice time catching up. It's nice to have family here!!

Where were we?? Oh..

Busy packing to head north for Christmas, the attorneys were busy plying David Meyer with arguements regarding the assignment of purchase, the contents of the cottage, etc. and on and on. We were looking for ornaments to take up north. Kris, in a rather strange phone call asked "what's up?"... Ahhhh.. nothing. I told him that nothing has changed, we are planning on Christmas at the lake, we discussed the need for more fuel oil...I believe he'd had several communications from David and I believe he mentioned that David thought getting an additional amount of fuel oil was necessary. I agreed and told him to order more. He mentioned the tree again and said he provided trees to anyone in camp for the holidays. I told him how much we appreciatated that. The phone call was all rather odd. Oh well.

We were asked by Mr. Meyer to provide a full inventory of everything at the cottage. Course the other party was also asked to provide one. We made preparations to complete the inventory over Christmas. Back to packing.....

July 13, 2009


I was trying to delete 1 photo and swap it out for another in a previous post. Ooops. Deleted the whole thing. I'm still somewhat new to this blogging thing. Here are some of the photos that got deleted...

Party Pics....

It was a great time....

July 12, 2009

Back to Lakeside

Or what I used to call the Friday night therapy.

It used to be when you made the transition from the blacktop to dirt, you left the burdens of the past week at that small little crack that separates the two. I worried on the drive up, will that same calm peaceful feeling take over again when I make that transition?

Exiting the expressway I felt a twinge of apprehension, like I don't belong here anymore. You know like running into an old girlfriend or spouse after having moved on.

Yea, the drive in was as it always has been, peaceful and calm, I knew then that nothing had changed, and the reception given was as warm and friendly as it always had been. The typical Lakeside reception!

Then I remembered, I need to turn right instead of left!

July 10, 2009

We argued...

With the report in from the receiver, Mr. Meyers, we reviewed his opinion that the cottage would be sold to David C. Symons and the Radke Trust as well as the proration of costs. The itemized statement of attorney fees from Sturtz were not included. We didn't lay eyes on that until we were back in court the first part of the next year. At this point, all we had was David Meyer's report with figures provided by David Symons. You'd think he'd have taken the time (Mr. Meyer) to actually gather all the figures.


"Defendants disagree that the court had the authority to approve sale of the property to plaintiff's assigns because the purchase agreement executed by plaintiff stated in pertinent part:

'15. Assignment. Purchaser may not assign his right to purchase the Parcel under this Apreement.'

Under plain, clear, and unambiguous language of the purchase agreement, the plaintiff agreed that he could not assign his right to purchase the property under the agreement. The parties are bound to their agreement. The court may not make a new contract for the parties or change the intent of the parties to the contract."

(various rulings are referenced...)

more..."The purchase agreement makes no provision that plaintiff pay only two-thirds of the purchase price. The receiver is, in effect, modifying or reforming the purchase agreement without authority and is not adhering to the clear and unambiguouis terms of the purchase agreement."

"c. The closing expenses do not reflect the $575,000.00 sale price, the proration of the LC Association dues, the proration of the home owners insurance, the proration of association assessments. The request for additional attorneys fees in the amount of $37,311.00 that plaintiff provided to the receiver, was not provided to the defendants for their review. Defendants have been unable to review the proposed attorneys fees as to whether they are reasonable. This is prejudicial to the defendants.Plaintiff has not submitted the proposed additional attorneys fees to the court for approval or copied defendants. Plaintiff has not provided any documentation that he actually paid the attorneys fees, even though the receiver has deducted plaintiff's alleged unsupported payments from the calculations for the reimbursement of plaintiff's attorneys fees."

More legal mumbo jumbo. Boy there sure was a lot of that!!!! Our closing summation:

"WHEREFORE, defendants, Josephine S. Lee and Katrina Jenkins, object to the report of receiver for closing on sale of real property because the terms for the closing do not comport with the terms of the offer of purchase signed by plaintiff. The report authorizes plaintiff to assign his interest to the Reinhardt Radke Trust, which is expressly prohibited by the offer to purchase. Defendants request the court to enforce the terms of the offer to purchase and request the court to adjourn the hearing until plaintiff provides documentation to support his claim for reimbursement of attorneys fees." Dated December 30, 2008

Note the date. While this was going on, another motion had been filed preventing mother and I from using the cottage over Christmas. I'll share that story tomorrow. Clearly, the cottage had not yet been sold. Distribution of property had not been worked out yet. The receiver requested a detailed inventory and that hadn't been prepared as yet. Our plans to head north for Christmas remained unchanged as of Dec. 22, 2008.

July 9, 2009


So, we argued back and forth...no surprise there. David assigned the purchase rights to the Radke Trust. With that, they wanted us to pay the fees related to the transfer of deed..that would be "no". So then came the issue of property. We'd been asked to submit lists many months prior to this and both mother and David had done so. You should have seen David's. Right. Nice list. He actually had a question mark next to the porch swing. (I built it 28 years ago). He would not be getting that!!

In a letter dated Dec. 9, 2008 to Mr. Meyer, Mr. Sturtz says.."As to the personal property and the requests of the sister, David Symons has no objection to her taking those items. Katy has requested a picture of her mother and father on skis, plus a barometer, and Mr. Symons has no objection to her taking the picture of the mother and a copy of the picture of father on skis.

Mr. Symons has no objection to the Lees taking the items which they indicate are theirs and Katy taking what she claims is hers. Those total some eleven items specifically mentioned. All other items are to stay with the cottage and if there is no agreement as to the disposition of the other items they are to be packaged up by a moving company and placed in storage pending auction".

Yeah right!!! Over our dead bodies. Of the items that we had listed as ours as well as some of the items we'd requested, he says...

"The primary items over which some individuals have some interest are:

1. OLD china in the front and back cottage;
2. Picture of Indian Chief:
3. A paddle made by an Indian Chief (hanging on the wall of front cottage) and;
4. An old rug, which apparently was appraised at approximately $6,000.00

Of those items Mr. Symons is suggesting that the Indian picture and paddle remain with himself, along with the couch in the back cottage. The china goes to sister Joe, along with the rocking chair, books, copy of the picture of Ben Symons on skis, round table and chairs in back cottage, Ben's fly rod and wish's picture.

Katie is to get her barometer, a copy of the picture of Ben Symons on skis and Stu may have the rug".

What??????? And who does he think he is??? Notice the spelling of names...earlier he had them right, later it was sister Joe and Katie. Phil never once got the names right. He mangled every one of them. So, there was clearly going to be a big ole fight over the stuff. Lot's of stuff. Plans for scheduling a meeting were to come. Knowing that we were going up for Christmas, they were playing with some dates between Christmas and New Year's. Yeah. That wasn't going to work out so good. Also, on David's request for injunction... the judge didn't get around to ruling on that one when he said he would. Usually, the motions were "taken under advisement". I'm sure there are many that were never ruled on. We'll see.....

A new view.....

Good morning! Moving around camp isn't bad. This is a new view of our neighbors. Isn't it lovely? We can't see the old cottage from here. Nice.

July 8, 2009



Dec. 8, 2008

NOW COMES the plaintiff.....by his attorneys, Sturtz and Sturtz, P.C., and hereby petitions this Honorable Court for Injunctive Relief....

4. That on or about November 24, 2008, apparently following the most recent motion in Court directing that the cottage has been sold, the Defendants announce, "The cottage has been reserved for the Christmas holiday period Dec. 23 through New Years", see exhibit #1 attached hereto and incorporated herein. The Plaintiff, DAVID C. SYMONS, objects to the cottage, which he has purchased, (not) being opened up to any parties for use during the Christmas holidays, or at any period of time.

5. That since this matter has been filed there have been numerous and repeated actions by parties which suggested the commision of waste or damage, including the painting of doors and "the internet saga Red Door Journal blog".

6. That it would appear from the e-mail, that while the cottage has been sold (not) to Mr. Symons, that any and all parties will be using the cottage.

7. The the Plaintiff is concerned about the commission of waste, turning on of water, reheating, lack of oil and other neglect that may be committed to the cottage by parties.

8. That Mr. David C. Symons is the current purchaser, and as the pruchaser has paid a large sum of money (not) and he is concerned about his investment and the condition that he may find the premises in if other third parties are allowed to use the cottage".

Ok, so David had NOT bought the cottage yet. He put a $5000 deposit down when he submitted his bid (per Mr. Meyer). Being accussed in court of causing waste??? Damage??? You have to be kidding me!!! We were the ones taking care of the place for years. He put in docks. Any efforts to take care of the cottage were refused by him. And he was worried???? What a boat load of you know what.

Meanwhile, Mr. Meyer was still trying to calculate costs, fees, etc. and the contents of the cottage were still up for grabs..stay tuned to part 2. of SYMONS SAYS......


The picture above is of one of those "priceless" moments in camp. Taken around 5:45 a.m. today, the moon is full and if I'd snapped it just moments earlier you'd see the twinkle of moonlight on the water. This was taken from the front path in front of the Cox/Pletcher cottage.

Many of you have asked for more pictures. I'll have plenty. It's such a beautiful place it's hard to resist grabbing a few pictures. I will also continue blogging after breakfast. I NEED pancakes from the DH to get me going!!!!! Stay tuned...

July 7, 2009

The holidays were fast approaching....

While the attorneys and Mr. Meyer were working out various terms, fees, costs, etc. for selling the cottage to David and the Radke Trust, mother and I made the decision to go to the cottage for one last Christmas. It was clear that the court was not going to make any decisions until later in the year or the beginning of Januaray so, we sent an e-mail to the other owners announcing that the "cottage has been reserved for the Christmas holiday period. Dec. 23, through New Years." The e-mail was sent the latter part of November per our usual procedure for letting the other owners know when the cottage has been "booked". Stu used the cottage over the holidays several years previously and the last time I used the cottages was 1999-2000. I had both cottages filled to the max to celebrate the "big" one. We had a blast. We were warm..(can't remember when the cottage was WINTERIZED, but it was a long, long, long, time ago).

So, on Nov. 26th mother received this e-mail from David: "While you are north, check the fuel oil once in a while. You have 135 gal. now which should be more than enough. If it gets below 75 gal. you should call Fick. Happy thanksgiving all, D"

Ok. That was nice. In the meantime, paperwork flew back and forth, terms and fees were being challenged, nothing yet had been done about an inventory and the distribution of possessions and NO money had changed hands. We were going to the cottage for one last Christmas. Mother and I.

July 6, 2009

This was it....

Sometime after the summer of 2008 came to a conclusion, the last of the Lakeside parties were just fond distant memories, and another setback in court, we gathered to discuss our next move.

The economy was starting to tank, and it appeared that with the election looming and the polls not in our favor things were headed for a hard landing. Fortunes were being lost daily, peoples retirement savings were being decimated, so we sat down to discuss all options.

Five hundred seventy five thousand dollars was a steal. Our original goal, our only goal, was to see that "whomever" bought the cottage paid a fair value for it. We had been stymied, bullied, lied to at every turn, and we were forced to deal with some of the most inept, incompetent and unscrupulous individuals anyone could have imagined.

We talked about how things might have been different had we had the luxury of numbers been on our side, 66% ownership vs 33% instead of 41% vs 59% ownership. Might the judge and facilitator viewed this differently? Who knows. I can't help feeling that the outcome could have been different had Stu participated and fought alongside us for a better deal. In the end he not only hurt his cause he hurt ours as well, and that is unforgivable.

So the decision was made, while going over numbers with mother regarding other issues, it became clear that now was the time to end this. The financial markets were going down fast, portfolios flush with cash two years ago were no longer, and in most cases valued 30% to 50% less as a result. The idea of having to liquidate the equivalent of 800K plus to generate 575K was no longer a prudent decision. We felt that most sane, inteligent people would walk away from that prospect.... Further more the Real Estate market had taken a hit with values down 20% to 30% with the bottom no where in sight, it was in the end an easy decision, a sad decision, but the right decision.

Our only concern was that David would somehow come to his senses and realize what the cost of this was going to be and reconsider.

As Barnum said, "there's a sucker born every minute"

So the decision to stop the madness was made, but not the motions it seemed.

More to follow......

Where were we??? Oh yeah...



For the most part, in brief.. they denied our motion for final order...ruled that any and all "stays" be lifted, that the property shall be conveyed to Plaintiff, DAVID C. SYMONS, his agents, servants or assigns... and that all fees, costs, attorney fees, expenses associated with this case, charges or fees by David Meyer, Mediatior/Facilitator, costs associated with the processing title be assembled and given to David Meyer, along with the preparation and conveyance of title to Plaintiff, DAVID C. SYMONS, his agents, servants or assigns....and on and on.

It wasn't a good day for us in court. I was just reading the actual transcript of this hearing and it's actually sort of funny. Perhaps I will post it. It makes the judge sound sort of stupid. Really stupid. Oh well.

So, we figured we are about done with all of this. Along came David Meyer's report with 29 pages of Phil's fees. He sure did a lot of talking to Rick. He sure seemed to be pretty slow in writing up letters and things.. think we'll have to argue this one. Also, David Meyer attempted to put together a list of fees etc. that the seller/buyer etc. would be responsible for. Seems to be rather off his rocker and missing some things. Back to court. Thanksgiving was approaching and it sure looked like a great time for all of us!! More court. More to follow.... remember, do not try this at home.

July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday America!!

The weather looks like it'll be a great day to celebrate our nation's birthday. Celebrate! Celebrate and honor our freedoms, our country and all the benefits of living in this, the greatest country on earth. Also, please enjoy some pancakes and bacon this morning!! I can't wait to get up there and start my mornings at the DH.

If any of you have any questions about what we've been discussing, ask. If we haven't been clear about anything, let us know. We've covered a great amount of material but some of you may still be wondering about how this all happened. Unfortunately, most of what went on was the very nature of tenants in common and the old, old law of partition. The system is a rocky road. Enjoy your time at the lake, talk with your family and don't let this happen to you!!

Go Lakeside!!

July 3, 2009

The what trust? We thought David was buying the cottage!!

From the very beginning, there were a few things that remained constant. One, expect the worst. Two.. David C. Symons wanted the cottage. Three... in Mr. Meyer's "rules" for sale.. purchaser could not assign their rights of purchase. Ok. David C. Symons had taken Carol off the deed sometime before all of this started. David C. Symons was the only person to submit a bid. In every piece of paperwork, David C. Symons was the person buying the cottage. In all the various motions to convey sale, it was to David C. Symons.

So, to our surprise, (again, expected response).. Mr. Meyer's letter dated Dec. 1 now has the cottage being purchased by David C. Symons as well as the Reinhart Radke Trust. What? I mean, we know the name... it was Carol's father. The letter from Mr. Meyer went on to explain what costs, special assessments, real estate transfer taxes etc. were to be paid by seller (us). Deed recording to be paid by buyer...etc.

He also went on to state: "It has been my experience that cottage properties are normally sold with most of the furnishings. However, before I complete my report to the Court with respect to the sale closing, I would like to hear from each of you with respect to your proposal for the furnishings and personal property.

Finally, Mr. Sturtz has requested that his client not be required to purchase his own interest, and additionally that the two-thirds interest which is held by the other tenants in common be acquired by a trust designated as follows:..."

(some notes from Betsy regarding the trust and transfer tax are scribbled on the page.)...

and then, "Provided that Mr. Symons is willing to execute an assignment of his right to acquire the property under the Court's previous Order, I see no problem with this request. However, if the other parties have a concern with this proposal, I would be interested in your comments." blah, blah, blah...Very Truly Yours, David B. Meyer.

What???????? What happened to the "not assigning rights" part of the "rules" did we miss? What the hell was the Radke Trust doing getting into this mess in the first place????

It was just after the elections. Remember the market??? It hit bottom. Really bad. So, after scratching our heads for a bit, we could only surmise that David needed to find a buyer. Hmmmmm. And, hello? What about the multiple requests for lists of personal property etc. and inventories that had been requested??? Yeah. WHAT ABOUT THAT?? There is a lot of stuff up there. About 4 generations of stuff plus all the stuff that came over from the cabin. Yeah.. what about that???? David could go to hell before we would walk away from all of our STUFF. Stay tuned, have a safe and happy 4th of July everyone.

July 2, 2009

Loose ends...

I enjoyed a lovely fall visit to the cottage. Isn't it just the best time up there?? I can't think of a better place to be when the leaves change color and the air starts to crisp up. Beautiful.

When I got home, another flurry of legal papers swirled like leaves, racking up more expense, antagonizing again and the plaintiff was pushing hard to get HIS cottage. Keep in mind, money had not been paid, mother was still paying her 1/3 of cottage costs and David wanted not only his cottage but all the money for his legal fees.

Remember when I discussed the pages and pages of his attorney fees? Unreasonable? To say the least.

In our answer (Oct. 14th) to the motion to lift stay, convey property, allocation of costs, distribution of proceeds and payment of attorneys fees....#4. "In answer to the allegations in paragraph 4, defendants admit that the court entered an order on October 29, 2007 granting plaintiff's motion to confirm sale and convey real estate, but found that the actual attorneys fees claimed by plaintiff were unreasonable. The court reduced the attorneys fees to $13,145.41 (from some $23k+)and ordered costs in the amount of $319.64, payable out of the proceeds of the sale. The attorneys fees and costs covered the period from September 14, 2006 through Septemeber 27, 2007 The court also entered an order staying proceedings in order to permit the defendants to file an appeal".

further: #10. "in answer to the allegations in paragraph 10, the court, in its order dated Oct. 29, 2007, has already ruled on plaintiff's invoices dating from September 14, 2006 through September 27, 2007 and held that they were unreasonable. The court reduced these attorneys fees to $13,145.41. In regard to the invoices from September 27, 2007 through August 28, 2008, approximately 10 1/2 hours were devoted to plaintiff's counsel representing co-defendant, Stuart deGeus, in a dispute with his sister and co-defendant, Katrina Jenkins. This would not be an expense incurred by plaintiff in the partition process. Further, plaintiff charged 4 1/4 hours to prepare the 2 1/4 page motion to confirm sale, convey real estate, and payment of costs and expenses and 4 hours to prepare the 3 1/2 page motion to conform to the Court of appeals order. Defendant's efforts to appeal the case at this stage of the litigation is to avoid unnecessary additional legal expenses and to promote judicial economy. If the Court of Appeals were to rule contrary to the trial court's order after the property were transferred to plaintiff and the procceds distributed among the parties, the defendants would suffer irreparable harm and would place this court in the position of having to judicially undo the sale and marshal the funds that had been distributed".

You have no idea how aggravating this whole procedure was. It was a big move on the side of the judge to reduce Phil's charges by the amount that he did. They usually won't touch the fees with a big stick. No way. But, we celebrated a small victory whenever we got one, and enjoyed a good laugh at Phil's attempt (or David's) to gouge.

July 1, 2009

The Summer of '08

With the stay in place and our appeal to the higher court waiting at the gate, we headed up north. The issue with Stu was behind us and Katy was able to use her allotted time when she chose. They tried to argue she could only use the cottage the "first" week but she'd wanted the 4th of July week. Too bad, so sad. She got the 4th of July week and David's family used the rest of Stu's time. I can only guess that they had some agreement with David that if he "covered" the legal costs to do that, he could "use" their time. Such a nice family.

We enjoyed what would be our last summer in the cottage. Really we did. It wasn't as difficult as the first summer and come on.. how can you not have a great time up there? We were very careful with everything. We'd already been accused (sort of) of making off with Carol's wedding rings. Anything missing would have resulted in another flurry of motions and lawsuits. Very occassionally we'd cross paths with David. He would circumvent the cottage to access his boat like he'd done for years. As far back as when my grandfather was alive and at the cottage, he'd take wide berth. I remember mother calling to him to come over because grandpa wanted to say something to him. He'd just keep on huffing his way to the lake. Never knew why he'd kept his distance from him. Always did though. Was this always the case??? As far back as I can remember, we'd see the Symons family on Christmas morning. Period. When we were little we would occassionaly be at the cottage at the same time, however that was rare.

That summer, David had indicated to mother that he was too busy to work on getting estimates for some of the work that needed to be done. Mother agreed to take care of it. The Pink Bathroom! That bathroom had been on the "to do" list for years. Ranked #1 in our list of "things that needed to be done". Instead, if you'll remember, we got new docks. Yeah. Close huh? So, mother got some bids, worked on a couple of projects, got no support and finally cancelled the work that needed to be done.

This motion followed on the heels of our notice from the Michigan Court of Appeals that stated (again) that they would not hear the case because (again) they felt that without disposition of the cottage/funds/transfer, etc. it was not considered a "final" order. Despite the judges stronger wording of "final", the Michigan Court of Appeals, with a very long backlog still wouldn't let it get past the gate. Game over. (for now).

Katy and Larry and I went up north for a long week in the fall. It was glorious. It was lovely. It was the best time ever. Perfect fall weather, I had the back cottage and they had the front. We went about our days doing whatever we felt like. They did their thing, I did mine.. it was really great. I'll always remember that time as one of the best in my life. Our Christmas trip wasn't so great... more to come...