Autumn on Lake Audobon

Autumn on Lake Audobon
Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Statement of Terry Maynard for Reston 20/20 at Special RA Board meeting on Tetra review, March 20, 2017



Statement of Terry Maynard, Co-Chair
Reston 20/20 Committee re
The StoneTurn Group Tetra Report and Follow-up
March 20, 2017


Good evening.  I am Terry Maynard, 2217 Wakerobin Lane, and I am speaking on behalf of the Reston 20/20 Committee.

First, I would like to thank StoneTurn Group and its investigative team for its excellent report prepared in far too brief a time.  It does exactly what you, Deidre, promised it would do:  It lays out a clear forensic description of what happened during the unfolding Tetra debacle.   Regrettably, from our perspective, it does not lay out specifically the who, why, and how of the many events it identifies. 

The members of Reston Association deserve to know all the details in this shameful episode, including those reported by StoneTurn Group and others that are not covered in this report.  We need to know, first, because somewhere between our Board and RA staff and its contractors, including counsel, RA spent $2.65 million of our money on a property worth less than half that in 2015.  Moreover, in 2016, RA spent nearly one million dollars repairing and renovating the property without any budget or identifiable Board approval until some $600,000 had been spent.  The total spending was nearly quadruple the quarter-million dollar forecast estimate in referendum documents. 
 
These are colossal errors.  We must know in depth how and why they occurred and who caused them to occur.  Then we must take steps to prevent these blunders from being repeated, and to discourage anyone from ever making them in the future. 

Our preliminary report, which used the StoneTurn results extensively, highlights several major areas of mishandling of Tetra’s purchase and repair.  As the many questions it raises suggest, it is meant to stimulate further investigation. 

In contrast to numerous mistakes StoneTurn Group documents, neither StoneTurn Group nor we have been able to identify a single attempt by RA or the Board actually to lay out a price offer, formal or informal, to Tetra’s owner for less than his asking price of $2.7 million.  To the contrary, we have an e-mail from the RA land use attorney’s office to the CEO attempting to justify the seller’s $2.7 million price.  Maybe such an offer document exists, but it hasn’t surfaced yet.  If it doesn’t, that’s a monumental failure of RA Board, staff, and counsel fiduciary responsibility. 

Similar unexplained and highly questionable events occurred throughout last year’s period of renovation, but I think we have made the point:  There is much more to know and do before closing this ugly chapter in Reston’s history.

What all this points to is the need for a follow-up investigation to understand fully all that occurred and to make appropriate corrective recommendations.  The core purposes of that investigation would be to identify specifically what mistakes, accidental or malicious, were made, identify who was culpable for those mistakes, and recommend to the Board appropriate corrective policy, process, and personnel actions.

We propose that the next RA Board of Directors appoint a special committee of RA residents with an extensive period to work and extensive authority to access RA documents and personnel to pursue this investigation.  Heaven knows, this community has the expertise to conduct such an effort.  In the end, the community is the aggrieved party in this fiasco, stuck with a white elephant, millions in debt for decades, and the near certainty that facility revenues will never cover costs.  Moreover, by using community resources, we have the opportunity to avoid yet another major expense related to this shameful episode. 

That said, we appreciate that this Board, the majority of which served throughout the purchase and renovation of Tetra, is not planning to take action on StoneTurn Group’s recommendations.  Moreover, as the CEO rightly pointed out in last week’s Board Governance Committee meeting, RA’s specific ideas on how to address process and procedural matters need to be refined.  We think that a further indepth investigation will help shape those ideas much more effectively and accomplish much more for the betterment of Reston.

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