Arizona Tenants Advocates (ATA) has learned that Trigild, Inc., which is the receiver for the Phoenix area Bethany Group apartment complexes, is said to be intentionally dragging its feet at finding a purchaser for the properties.

A confidential source has told ATA that Trigild’s president, William Hoffman, is blocking purchase of the entire inventory of properties, numbering about 58 nationwide, in an effort to optimize the selling price by way of locking in contractual obligations to staff at the complexes and recruiting as many new lessees as possible. Any bidder would be beholden to honor the obligations, and thus underwrite them by way of an increased bid. Also, the ante would be raised by supposedly better prospects for rental income.

Instead, Hoffman’s actions are actually degrading the rental communities further, due to the lack of closure about who the owner will ultimately be, and absence of capital infusion to right the sinking Bethany ship. ATA has over the past several days noticed an increasing stream of renters calling our office who just want out. They are fed up with these shenanigans.

The source has conveyed that Hoffman’s office is playing games with parties interested in purchasing the Bethany package, and is not even returning telephone calls to serious players. ATA was told that anyone expecting to make real progress towards purchasing the properties is going to have to bypass negotiations with Trigild, which is not acting in good faith.

This bad faith is further evidenced by the fact that apartment complexes under Trigild’s umbrella are continuing efforts to sign up new tenants. Generally, that would be a positive. But in this case, it is doubtful that prospective tenants are being told the whole story about the bankruptcy and possible foreclosures of the Bethany properties. ATA would be interested in hearing from tenants who have experienced such deception.

Further, Trigild has said it will not honor the law by returning security deposits to Bethany Group tenants. First, on March 6, 2009, its agent at The Coves at Newport, Cameo Dawn, publicly acknowledged that tenants would not be getting their security deposits back. Next, this was corroborated in a March 16, 2009 article on MSNBC.com, entitled “Corporate meltdown leaves renters in limbo,” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29697413/ wherein Hoffman is quoted, “There is no obligation for the receiver or the lender to give (tenants) deposits that they don’t have.” If the deposits had been handed over to Trigild it would be different, he said, “but that owner (Bethany) has obviously spent that money or done something with it.”

This is in blatant violation of the statute governing return of security deposits and prepaid rent, A.R.S. § 33-1321(H), whereby “The holder of the landlord’s interest in the premises at the time of the termination of the tenancy is bound by this section.”

Clearly, Hoffman wants to operate his little Phoenix kingdom as a petty dictator, but refuses to accept fiscal responsibility for it. The course of events indicates that Hoffman is merely out to line his pockets at the expense of the same tenants who have already been fleeced by Bethany Group’s Greg Garmon.

At this rate, the former Bethany properties look increasingly likely to be emptied out and boarded up. Repeatedly, at meetings at The Coves at Newport, Riviera at 7th, and Alante at the Islands, tenants have voiced to me that they do not trust the prior managers, and that they will not stay if prior managers are kept on.

Yet, instead of listening to the tenants, Hoffman has sought to muzzle them. The result? They continue to express themselves by walking away from the properties. One tenant at Alante at the Islands today told me that the entire complex is now like a ghost town.

Verily, who in his or her right mind would want to live in places like these? The acrid stench of ego and corruption underlies the structural decomposition.

Selfishness and self-aggrandizement is what got us into this mess, and now perpetuates it. Trigild’s Hoffman should be booted out as receiver, because he is only a taker. And the tenants who have inhabited the former Bethany Group properties have already been taken to the cleaners. They deserve better.

- Ken Volk -
March 19, 2009

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