Charlotte Square sorting out fiscal fiasco

Article Courtesy of The Charlotte Sun

By Steve Reilly

Published September 26, 2008 

PORT CHARLOTTE -- Charlotte Square residents are still trying to sort out a fiscal nightmare.

Chelsea House and the residents of the other nine buildings -- which are called "houses" -- that make up Charlotte Square are discovering money missing from their associations' accounts, more than $143,000 from Chelsea House alone.

Stacey Herrin Tuck, a 34-year-old former Star Hospitality manager at Charlotte Square, is suspected of inappropriately commingling individual associations' funds, as well as cashing, writing and depositing checks for the associations. No charges have been filed against Tuck.

The Charlotte Square executive board -- made up of representatives from the individual houses -- met with residents Wednesday.

"We are gathering all the information and are in the initial stages, determining where we go from here," said attorney David G. Muller, whose firm, Becker & Poliakoff, represents the Charlotte Square executive board and other associations.

"(The associations) are working with the police and my office to determine what we have, what funds are missing, the scope of the alleged thieves," Muller said.

The condominium's insurance company, Great American Insurance Company, e-mailed residents and advised them not to talk directly to the press because "information to the press is extremely damaging to potential sales at Charlotte Square and this damage will and can persist for years to come."

Association representatives were encouraged to close their existing SunTrust accounts and open new ones.

Star Hospitality dismissed Tuck in August and reported to the executive board that fiscal irregularities had been discovered. Bill Danko, Star Hospitality's chairman and owner, told residents he will be taking over their condominium management.

"Obviously, we want to do whatever we can to improve the situation," Danko said. His "good news" was that the associations may be receiving insurance advances to cover needed expenses.

"We want to get this mess cleared up as quickly as possible," he said. "We've received no cooperation from (Tuck), and we are going to let the justice system work its way through. We are working at ascertaining the limits of what has occurred."

Danko suggested each association should have independent financial reviews.

"I can't stress that enough," he said. 

Charlotte County Sheriff's Economic Crime Unit Cpl. Randy Whitney told residents investigators are just now gathering complaints from the associations. 

"As far as where it goes from there, I can't give you an avenue yet, because we don't have (all) the information yet," Whitney said. "We have to determine what's missing and how it's missing."

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