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MARINA DEL REY : Shared Management Deal Approved for City Club Condo Complex

August 07, 1994|JOHN BUZBEE

Despite the protests of some Marina City Club condominium owners, including Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden, a federal bankruptcy judge has agreed to a reorganization plan that allows the developer and homeowners to share management of the troubled waterfront complex.

The homeowners association and lawyers for the partnership led by developer Jerome Snyder agreed to the plan Wednesday. Holden and a lawyer for two dozen other homeowners had asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Samuel Bufford for more time to work out a better deal for the homeowners, who contend that lax management since the bankruptcy filing in 1992 has caused their property values to tumble by up to 50%.

"Every person is being hurt, even the people who just want to get it over with," said Holden, who said he splits his time between the condo and his legal residence in Southwest Los Angeles. He said he bought the condo after anonymous death threats in the wake of the Rodney G. King beating.

"They recognize they're being hurt, but they want a solution, no matter what," Holden said.

But Bufford said bankruptcy court proceedings can often be unsatisfactory to all parties.

"It isn't going to be all the gold in Fort Knox," he said. "It's only going to be a small portion of it. It's fairly typical for a good settlement to have nobody happy."

The partnership behind the Marina del Rey development filed for Chapter 11 protection after defaulting on a $24-million loan from Aetna. Homeowners, the partnership and Aetna have been working on a reorganization plan ever since.

Under the plan, a committee composed of two homeowners and two representatives of the partnership will share management of the 600-unit complex, which had been managed exclusively by the partnership.

J. Elliot McIntosh, a lawyer for homeowners opposed to the plan, argued that it did not spell out a way to resolve complaints about noise from trash chutes and an exercise room.

Bufford replied that although there were no guarantees the problems would be solved, the plan sufficiently addressed them.

In a court-sponsored, advisory referendum on the plan, Bufford tossed out more than 200 votes against it because an opposition group led by homeowner Richard Annotico funneled the ballots to the lawyers responsible for counting them.

Bufford said Annotico tampered with some of the ballots, but Annotico said he only tried to help his neighbors understand how to fill them out because they didn't trust the developers' lawyers to count the ballots accurately, he said.

But Shirley Bailey, president of the board of the homeowners' association, said most homeowners approved of the deal. After Bufford tossed out the disputed ballots, the vote in the referendum was 227 for and 68 against.

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