Yep, according to several homeowners, Mike Cadden and his Cadden Parfrey neighborhood management company are up to more suburban shenanigans. Just like earlier gripes, this new batch of complaints against the company, which handles day-to-day operations for some 50 Arizona neighborhood associations, involves a rapacious realtor, alleged sweetheart deals and a secretive management style that makes the FBI look like the Sisters of Charity.
Again, these conundrums only exemplify a steady stream of hassles spewing from homeowners associations across the city and around the country.
And again, finding Cadden Parfrey officials to comment is similar to groping for cat scat in a sand quarry. At midnight. Wearing thick rubber gloves.
Which is to say, it ain't easy.
As astute readers will recall, last fall the Tucson Weekly documented Cadden Parfrey's role in the ongoing harassment of homeowner Armando Lazarte, an unfortunate member of the Monterra Hills Homeowners Association ("Guilt By Association," September 9). In that case, the company provided power-hungry association board members with incorrect, and apparently fabricated information, supposedly gleaned from association rules.
Unfortunately, the custom-crafted bylaws were then used to browbeat Lazarte, a native of Peru.
Lazarte says his mistreatment is being investigated by the Arizona Attorney's office for alleged racial discrimination. As policy, the AG's office neither confirms nor denies its involvement.
Meanwhile, Randy Gossett, a Tucson Realty agent and prime Lazarte tormentor, resigned his heavyweight position on the Monterra Hills Architectural Review Committee after this paper raised conflict-of-interest questions; even as he was reigning over the neighborhood's aesthetic motif, Gossett was apparently busy hawking homes in that subdivision.
After the story ran, The Weekly received a barrage of calls from angry homeowners in Cadden Parfrey-managed associations throughout Tucson. The upshot: Lazarte's predicament seems anything but unique.
A few highlights:
ACCORDING TO JIM Challenger of the Las Colinas Condominium Owner's Association on North Wilmot Road, the company keeps offices in the association's recreation center, without paying squat to residents who collectively own the building. "Cadden Parfrey uses our offices to run much of their organization, including other associations," he says. "Then, when you ask the board how we're getting compensated, you just get stonewalled.
"But if you're a homeowner, and you have a birthday party or something like that, and you want to use the recreation room, you have to make a reservation for it, and then you have to put up a $40 cleaning deposit."
Challenger says he raised a stink at a recent asociation meeting, prompting the board to make Cadden Parfrey pay between $10 and $25 a month for the office. "But there's still no record of them ever paying anything."
Ann Graham also lives at Las Colinas. She likewise has a fistful of questions about "arrangements" between Cadden Parfrey and the association board. In particular, she's concerned over the association's contract with Splash Professional Painting, which is owned by Steve Atkinson. He's married to Dawn Atkinson, Cadden Parfrey's former on-site manager for the community.
When Dawn Atkinson was still running Las Colinas, she was asked to gather at least three bids for a big painting project, Graham says. "Well, she ended up getting two bids instead of three."
The job went to Splash. "But the thing we didn't realize, and Dawn Atkinson didn't volunteer the information, is that she and her husband owned Splash," Graham says. "Then I later found out that they do lots of other work for Cadden Parfrey."
Graham says Atkinson "swore up and down" that the bids were sealed. "Then she said, 'I don't know how my husband found out that this place needed painting.'
"I was on the board at the time, and we never got to see that contract," Graham says. "I was absolutely flabbergasted. Later, when we challenged Mike Cadden on this, he said, 'We had no idea, absolutely no idea that (Splash) was painting those buildings.'"
Steve Atkinson says he's done plenty of work for Cadden Parfrey over the past five years, and that he even released the company from a second contract at Las Colinas when these questions arose. "I lost $16,000," he says angrily. "But I still don't see what the problem was, except that Ann Graham had some sort of problem with my wife.
"The board of directors knew that I was her husband," he says. "None of the residents did, because we thought that this whole thing would come up, and it was none of their business. The whole business was between me and the board of directors."
He blames the fuss squarely on Ann Graham. "She's lying (when she says she didn't know about the contract). You wouldn't want her to live in your neighborhood, I'm telling you, unless you like someone climbing up your butt with a microscope and wanting to know your business."
Atkinson says accusations of impropriety ultimately cost his wife her job.
OF COURSE, NO whirlpool of association controversy would be complete without your obligatory real-estate agent spinning through the muddy mix. This time, it's Las Colinas board president Betty Britton, who sells homes for Catalina Realty. According to both Challenger and Graham, Britton also markets homes in the subdivision through a column in the Las Colinas newsletter, for which she also pays diddly.
Contacted by phone, Britton says her column lists all Las Colinas properties up for grabs, not just the ones she's handling. "Anybody who has a home for sale in there, I just list them. That's all I do. I don't have any listings over there right now. I just do it to help other people."
That's not saying she hasn't pitched a Las Colinas property or two. "I have," Britton says. "I sell homes all over Pima County. I haven't sold anything over there in awhile, though. That's not my designated area to sell. Those are low-priced properties, so I don't push myself over there."
As for Cadden Parfrey's bargain office space, "We have a contract with them," she says. "Yes, we furnish them offices there."
Does the association pocket any green from the deal? Britton won't say. "That is something we don't really need to discuss with the public. We discuss it with all our homeowners. I don't just go around revealing that stuff to outsiders."
According to a contract between the Las Colinas association and Cadden Parfrey dated August 7, 1998, the office space is provided free-of-charge. However, the association still pays $2,475 to the management company each month, and coughs up half of the on-site manager's salary.
Per the agreement, Cadden Parfrey can indeed conduct business for other associations from the Las Colinas offices, in what Britton calls a "wonderful, wonderful arrangment."
Much of that abundant joy rises from the benefits to homeowners in Las Colinas, she says, since management officials now keep regular hours in the neighborhood, making them more available to answer questions and troubleshoot complaints.
When pressed on other beneficient details, Britton refered a Weekly reporter to Cadden Parfrey itself. The reporter called the Las Colinas office, where current association manager Cindy Dutton refused to discuss any homeowner beefs, before abruptly hanging up.
Meanwhile, across town -- and a few notches up the socioeconomic ladder -- at the La Paloma Property Owners Association, there's a similar buzz of discontent over Cadden Parfrey's management acumen. Only this time the buzz is quite literal, in the form of a disastrous bee hive inhabiting one wall of Barbara Duvall's condo.
"We each pay Cadden Parfrey $171 a month, and here's what you get for your money," Duvall says. "For six months, I had African bees in the walls and ceilings of this unit, and the unit behind me. Other tenants told me that bees were coming in their places too."
So Duvall got on the horn to Cadden Parfrey, and also wrote them letters complaining about the ferocious fliers. Then she returned to her other home in Houston. That's where she received a letter from former association manager Edna Balko (the very same Edna Balko who'd battled Armando Lazarte in Monterra Hills), saying she'd look into it.
"Well, she didn't look into it," Duvall says, "and the bees swarmed in here." She says Cadden Parfrey did send over a pesticide company to treat her place with wasp poison, "which didn't do anything to the bees except make them frantic. It didn't get rid of them."
Duvall was still in Houston when she received a frantic call from her house sitter. "She said, 'Barbara, there are thousands and thousands of bees all over your place inside, and every square inch of your home is covered with dark brown stuff.' "
Next came a quick flight back to Tucson. "So I get to see firsthand that honey has run down the walls, and the place is just a mess. I was just absolutely furious," she says.
Duvall spent two nights in a hotel while clean-up crews lumbered through her luxury condo. Ultimately the carpet was ruined, along with a good share of custom-made furniture. She says Carole Turso, an association board member, experienced the same problem. Turso told Duvall that Duvall's own winged invasion had never been brought to her attention.
"At this point, I go over and talk to Mike Cadden," Duvall says, "and he blamed it on Eileen Farrell, who was board president at the time. Eileen of course denied this, and I had nothing but a mess on my hands, with no one taking responsibility for it."
Anyhow, Duvall later asked Cadden Parfrey to compensate her for cleaning costs -- which included ripping up the roof to root out the hive -- and for her hotel bill, totaling between $4,000 and $5,000. "And they refused to pay," she says. "Then Edna Balko proceeds to abuse me on the phone, and scream and yell at me, and tell me that she knew nothing about the bees."
According to Duvall, Balko piped down when reminded of a letter she'd dispatched to Houston, promising that the bee problem would be squashed.
Finally, DuVall threatened to sue. "But they have an attorney on retainer, and that attorney will harass homeowners, and we pay for it," she says. "Thus, if I sued Cadden Parfrey, then the homeonwers would be paying to defend against my lawsuit. You end up paying both ways."
Finally, she says she got about $1,800 in compensation -- and enough of Cadden Parfrey to last a lifetime: after 10 years in La Paloma, she's selling out and moving back to Houston full-time. "I'm leaving. I'm fed up with the place, and I've had so much grief with Cadden Parfrey. It's horrible here."
Turso didn't return phone calls seeking comment. According to Duvall, the board is involved in other ongoing litigation with the management company, and won't speak to the press. The nature of that litigation is unknown.
For their part -- and reminiscent of Armando Lazarte and Monterra Hills -- Cadden Parfrey officials pulled another suburban shuffle when contacted for comment.
Following Cindy Dutton's hasty disconnect at Las Colinas, a subsequent call to that office was answered by a husky-voiced chap who also refused to answer questions. Instead, he referred the reporter to Mike Cadden's main office. And that number led to Mike Cadden's voice mail recording, which sounded remarkably similar to the fellow answering the Las Colinas phone only seconds before.
And there you have the latest from association land, where managers pick the menu, homeowners don't know what's cooking, and the buck passes quicker than corn through a holiday goose.