Pair of Crestwood Place board members resign to end dispute
Crestwood Place senior governance board members Marshall Gardner (left) and Bert Ofsaiof (right) face accusations from fellow Crestwood Place residents during a heated May 24 meeting. Both resigned their posts June 8. | Ruthie Hauge~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 15, 2012 2:26PM
Two members of Northbrook’s Senior Services Commission who were accused by some residents of trying to intimidate residents and staff at Crestwood Place Senior Apartments have resigned.
Burt Ofsaiof and Marshall Gardner, who also live at the apartments on 1000 Waukegan Road, left their seats on the advisory board after most of the residents signed a petition presented to Village President Sandra Frum asking for the pair to be removed from it.
Residents Nina Popovich, Elayne Perlman and Delores Boot, who drew up the petition, received a letter from Frum at the end of last week informing them of the action, they said.
The senior housing was 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.
“A lot of the things that were said about me were totally untrue, but that doesn’t alter the fact there there was a very high ‘noise level,’” Garnder said.
“I’ve committed myself to helping senior citizens, but sometimes one has to do what’s best for the total picture and step aside.”
Gardner added that he was disappointed that he didn’t get to accomplish as much as he wished, but at this time he could do more for seniors by not being a member of the commission.
Ofsaiof had said earlier that the residents became angry with him and Gardner, because the pair wanted to rent out a basement unit used for storage the last several years against the management’s wishes, but Crestwood needed money for building repairs, he added.
The former commission members also said the residents were unhappy because the pair ended the seniors’ Tuesday night bus service to save money. However, the three tenants leading the revolt against the commission members said that was not why they launched the petition.
“The apartment? There could be nothing further from the truth. Nine-tenths of the people here don’t know anything about the apartment,” said Nina Popovich.
“The petition was totally about the harassment that Michael Beverley (a maintenance man) and his family has endured since their little girl was born about two years ago.”
Beverley responds to problems 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and knows the apartments inside and out, she added.
Perlman said she personally witnessed Ofsaiof trying to intimidate Beverley’s adult son in the laundry room one day although Ofsaiof didn’t know she was nearby.
Ofsaiof also allegedly said that Mike Junior shouldn’t be doing wash there, because he and his family didn’t belong in the building, Perlman said.
“This all started when the baby was born. Bert doesn’t believe children belong in senior’s housing and he wants the family to leave,” she added. “Do you know what it means to seniors to have a child in the building? She is a breath of fresh air!”
And as far as the bus, the residents each paid $2 to go into town on Tuesdays for dinner or a show, although that was probably subsidized. But one of the former commission members’ wives kept coming to see how many were waiting for the bus and if it was financially worthwhile, Perlman said.
John Kollar, a former commissioner who left his seat last year because of illness, said he expected the community to return to the happy place it was before the two former commissions were appointed.
“When I decided to leave my seat on the commission, there were 12 applicants for it almost overnight. I don’t think we’ll have trouble getting two good commission members to fill those positions.”
Dan Kaup, assistant to the village manager, said both seats will be filled by appointment, just as the seats on all the other comissions. Those interested can apply on-line at the village site, www.northbrook.il.us/.