Community evicting pair for taking in grandson
By Betty Beard
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 03, 2001 

 
COMMENT :
Grandparents take in their grandson and get kicked out of their home by a 30-day eviction notice. Even if there are rules in a community, shouldn't there be compassion?
I guess one neighborly resident got it right : "I'd rather go to my grave having compassion and understanding than rules!" 
Where is our society coming to?
Please read article and editorial below.
Jan Bergemann
President CCFJ, Inc.

 
           Community evicting pair for taking in grandson
By Betty Beard
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 03, 2001 
GOLD CANYON - Rules are rules, but residents of an age-restricted community near Apache Junction think there should be room for compassion too. 
So they're offering to help a neighbor couple escape eviction because their 16-year-old grandson lives with them. The boy, they say, can live with them. 
If he stays 30 days or less at each of their homes until his 18th birthday next year, his grandparents can continue to live in the retirement community. 
The community, Montessa at Gold Canyon, forbids residents younger than 18. That was fine with Marilyn and Gene Bumgarner until recently, when they ended up taking in their grandson, Rory Coriell, whose mother has died. They felt there was no other choice, but it put them in violation of the community's rules. 
They asked the developer, Cal-Am Inc. of Encino, Calif., to let Rory live with them until Oct. 25, 2002, when he turns 18. Instead they got a 30-day eviction notice. 
They're supposed to be out by Sunday. 
The Bumgarners have put a for-sale sign on their $100,000 home, but there are already about 10 other homes in the community on the market. 
"Maybe we'll find an apartment to move to. I don't know," Gene said. "We're just in a quandary." 
Cory Sukert, who owns Cal-Am, said legally he has to evict the couple because, if he lets one underage person in, the community can no longer be age-restricted. 
But he was impressed by the neighbors' offer. 
"I thought that was very creative," Sukert said. It would work. But on a personal level, as a father of four, I'm not sure that's a healthy situation for the kid." 
The Bumgarners are reluctant to accept their neighbors' offers, saying it would be an imposition and could subject them to legal liability. 
For his part, Rory said, "I think it's real nice of those people." When asked if he would mind moving every month, he said, "I don't know." 
Neighbor Rita Waren, 58, offered Rory her spare bedroom because as a show of support and to "needle the company at the same time." The company, she said, could have been more compassionate. 
Sunny Yates, 75, who met Rory at water volleyball games, says the teen is welcome to stay with her. 
"Maybe our hearts are ahead of our heads. But I'd rather go to my grave having compassion and understanding than rules," she said 
Reach the reporter at betty.beard@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-7982. 

And the EDITORIAL :

Property owner should let kid stay 
By Tamara Dietrich 
Tribune Columnist 
People move to adult communities specifically to get away from squealing rug rats and obnoxious teens. I can respect this. 
Some even insulate themselves behind electronic gates and tall walls. Post a guard at the gate. If they could, some would install a moat. So be it. 

But now and then reality intrudes — an accident happens, maybe somebody dies — and a minor gets a toehold in a grown-ups-only community that doesn’t want him or the rocking horse he rode in on. Rules being rules, an eviction ensues. 

This Sunday, that’s what will happen to Marilyn and Gene Bumgarner, 67 and 69, respectively, who inherited their 16-year-old grandson when his mother died of cancer, his stepfather didn’t want him and his birth father abdicated the position. 
Now Rory Coriell is getting kicked to the curb by the owner of the Montesa community in Gold Canyon. 

“My hands are tied,” Cory Sukert, president of Cal-Am properties in Encino, Calif., said in Tuesday’s Tribune. “I don't have a choice. The minute I let one (minor) in, I’m done.” 

Everybody here is between a rock and a binding lease agreement. Rory will be 18 and eligible for Montesa in just 13 months, but that's irrelevant. Sukert has mentioned helping relocate the Bumgarners to an all-age community he owns in Mesa, but moving the couple's $100,000 manufactured home would cost a whopping $50,000. 
Enough neighbors have offered to take Rory in for 30 days at a stretch — permitted under the rules — so he could, conceivably, live like a gypsy in home after home after home until he finally reaches the age of majority. 

Bottom line, the Bumgarners have a responsibility to their grandson. If compromise doesn’t work, they’ll just have to move. That’s what family is about. Sacrifice is part of the job description. If they must move to another community or into an apartment for a year to give their grandson the first stable home he’s had in years, at least that’s one decision they need never be ashamed of. 

On the flip side, while there’s a lot to be said for hard-and-fast rules with “no exceptions,” little of it is good. It’s “no exceptions” that gets junior high school girls in drug counseling for passing Midol to a classmate, and first-grade boys accused of sexual harassment for planting a kiss on a little girl’s cheek. A community so inflexible, so yoked to “no exceptions” that it has no room for compromise or compassion in the face of family tragedy isn’t a community, but an assemblage of buildings that just happen to be inhabited. As vital as a poisoned ant hill. 

Cal-Am should reconsider. Add a provision to permit — in extreme family hardship, on a case-by-case basis — exceptions to the rules. 
Have a heart. Otherwise, tall walls or a guard at the gate are merely redundant. 

— Tamara Dietrich is staff columnist and winner of the 2000 Arizona Press Club Don Schellie award for feature columns. E-mail her at tdietrich@aztrib.com or call (480) 898-6534.