Crestwood Place embroiled in bitter personality clashes
Crestwood place resident Dolores Lindenbaum listens with concern as fellow residents accuse two senior governance board members and their wives of harassing residents and staff. | Ruthie Hauge~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:40AM
Residents of Crestwood Place Senior Apartments in Northbrook are fighting mad over what they believe is intimidation of tenants and staff.
A roomful of seniors gathered Thursday to confront two members of the advisory Senior Services Commission, Burt Ofsaiof and Marshall Gardner, after signing a petition sent to Northbrook Village President Sandra Frum asking for them to be removed from the board and evicted from their apartments.
The apartments at 1000 Waukegan Road were constructed with village funding in 1984 to provide area seniors the ability to live independently in Northbrook at an affordable rental rate.
Priority is given to current residents of Northbrook, then to retired village employees and parents of Northbrook residents, in that order. Applicants must be 62 years of age or older to apply.
The seniors already were unhappy that the two commissioners advised eliminating Tuesday bus services as a way of cost cutting, although Monday bus services remain. But when the residents learned that the commissioners wanted to rent against the management’s wishes Apartment C-107, a basement unit used for storage the last several years, they became angry.
And when some residents heard that Ofsaiof and Gardner, as well as their wives, were allegedly disrespectful to some fellow seniors, as well as to the maintenance staff, they became furious.
John Kollar, a former commissioner who left his seat last year because of health problems, said that the commissioners have caused “rancor, stress and distress.”
“This has to stop. Where do they think they get the right to tell the staff what to do? They have no authority to bully the staff or the residents.” he added.
Kollar also accused one of the commissioners’ wives of trying to intimidate the son of a staff member, and the other wife of taunting seniors waiting for a bus by stating the service would soon be cut.
Resident Alex Stewart noted that no one could find a better place to live because the staff takes care of the residents, and the residents take care of each other and the staff.
“If you’re saying that Michael (Beverley), the maintenance man, and his family don’t deserve to live here, he always comes as soon as he can if there’s a problem. How much do you think it would cost to have private firms come here?” Stewart asked.
“We don’t want you living here. Don’t bother calling a moving company. We’ll help you move!”
Muriel Cornelius heard that the two commissioners - the only members of the commission who live on site — were nice to their closest neighbors, she said.
“But you don’t live on an island. Don’t throw the rest of the people here a bomb. We resent (you) coming in and trying to be kings!” she added.
However, both Ofsaiof and Gardner said the allegations against them and their wives were not true, and that some people were spreading rumors against them.
Ofsaiof noted that he has even had two tires on his vehicle punctured, one after the other in March, while it was parked at the complex.
“I’ve even been accused of doing it myself to get sympathy — something I didn’t do,” he added.
And Gardner said the residents had a lot of misinformation.
“We need to have meetings more often, so people understand how and why things are done,” he added.
Dan Kaup, the assistant to the village manager who acts as a liaison between the commission and the village board, stated that all the commissioners sitting on the Senior Services commission, as well as other commissions in the village, serve at the pleasure of the village board.
“At this point, having received the petition, President Frum has to determine what to do with it, and probably will discuss it with the board,” he added.