Thursday, July 19, 2018
News Roundup

Clearwater senior seeks answers from mobile home park management

CLEARWATER — Just after her 80th birthday in March, Shannan Johnson had what she calls an "episode." A combination of blurry vision, confused thoughts and unsteady footing — it's something that happens sometimes after the mini stroke she had in November.

With a fixed income that barely covers everyday necessities, Johnson knew she couldn't afford to hire a professional for the in-home care her doctor suggested. So her 47-year-old son, Terry Sean Hannan, came to live with her. Three days later, she found an eviction letter taped to the door of her home in Serendipity Mobile Home Park, a 55-and-older community at 29081 U.S. 19 N.

More than two months have passed since that day, but Johnson says she still hasn't been told why her son can't live there. She's met the park's requirements for moving in a non-primary resident — paying for a background check and corresponding with park staff — and even provided a note from her doctor. But the letters kept coming.

"You are hereby notified that you have violated (Florida Statutes), and the Rules and Regulations (of the park) by permitting the continued unauthorized occupancy of the home," a May 18 letter to Johnson from park attorney Andrew J. McBride reads. An almost identical letter was sent to her son, and both said he had seven days to leave the park.

Hannan soon left, and Johnson says she has lived in constant fear since.

"I'm a little old lady with health problems, and I need someone with me," she said. "I never know when something is going to happen, and without someone here, I don't have security."

Homeowners association president Ray Brooks, who has rallied a support group for Johnson, says she doesn't need just anyone there, "she needs her son."

"By God, people get older, and when people get older, they have a right to have their children move in to take care of them during hard times," he said.

McBride did not return repeated calls for comment, but the statute he cites in the letters says a park can evict a resident who doesn't comply with park rules. Serendipity declined to provide its most recent list of rules, but according to the most recent set Johnson has seen, dating back to 2005, she doesn't think she's violated anything.

"They just simply aren't allowing me the comfort of having my son in my home, so I live with constant apprehension and just hope I can make it through the day without an incident," she said, calling the ordeal a type of harassment. "Where is the compassion? Where are my rights?"

Johnson said that after weeks of unanswered questions to McBride and property manager Jeffrey Scott Hahn, who declined to comment several times, she and Brooks started trying to figure out it out themselves.

It couldn't be his age, they said. The 2005 rules say as long as one resident is 55 or older, a second resident can be as young as 45, and Hannan is 47. The part of the rule book that addresses eviction says a person could be asked to leave if they have been convicted of violating a federal, state or local law that is "deemed detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of other mobile home owners of the park," but Hannan's state record shows only a string of traffic infractions, including one felony charge for driving without a license, and an eviction charge from 2005.

Johnson says she doesn't think those are the problem either, because according to her bank statements, the $30 check she wrote to Serendipity for the background check wasn't cashed until June 10, weeks after the last letter and months after the first, which she got before staff ever mentioned the background check.

Someone can also be evicted for failure to get approval to move in, rules say, and in letters to Hannan, McBride says "your application has been denied. You are not approved by the Board of Directors and/or Park Management to reside in the Park." But Johnson questions if there was ever a vote.

Board president Bernie Lantiegne declined to say why Hannan's application was denied or whether it ever came up for a vote. Board vice president Cliff Bittner did not return calls for comment. Board treasurer Judith Mootsey said the board did vote, but decided to refer the situation to McBride because "we always involve legal counsel in any situation where there could be a problem." She declined to elaborate. Board secretary Linda Taylor declined to comment on whether the board voted and would not say whether the board takes regular minutes.

Larry Stanley, one of five directors on the board, said he would he doesn't remember voting for anything regarding Johnson or Hannan, "but that doesn't mean it didn't happen." The rest of the eight-person board did not return calls for comment.

Along with the group of about 20 park residents supporting Johnson, Palm Harbor Civic Association member Jo-Ann Totty said her group plans to step in, too.

"She needs someone to speak up for her, and we have more voices," she said. "As push comes to shove, we will stand behind her, get signatures, do whatever it takes."

Resident Bob Hart, who is a shareholder in the resident-owned community, said he's on board to help because he's tired of arbitrary park policies. He said if Johnson's son was in fact denied, she has a right to know why.

"Seniors come to live in places like this because they need rest and help, and that is not what they are getting anymore," he said. "So much for living in peaceful serendipity."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Megan Reeves at [email protected] or (727) 445-4153. Follow @mreeves_tbt.

Comments
Brink: Sure, forgo straws and shopping bags, but innovation is key to tackling plastic waste

Brink: Sure, forgo straws and shopping bags, but innovation is key to tackling plastic waste

Plastic is found in everything from heart stents to fishing nets to athletic clothing. It extends the shelf life of food and improves the fuel efficiency of planes. Undoubtedly, the wonder product has made our lives easier. Unfortunately, the systems...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
We asked readers for tips on how to cut down on plastics. Here are 24 ideas they gave us.

We asked readers for tips on how to cut down on plastics. Here are 24 ideas they gave us.

Many of you are passionate about how to cut down on disposable plastics. You lit up our inbox with suggestions that ranged from the everyday — use cloth shopping bags — to the cosmic — get SpaceX founder Elon Musk to build a space ship capable of dep...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay softball team

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay softball team

Hillsborough Pitcher of the Year: Ashley Blessin, Jr., Plant CityUsing her vast arsenal of pitches, Blessin went 21-6 with a 0.90 ERA and had 245 strikeouts in 162.2 innings pitched for the Class 8A, District 6 champion.Blessin was the reigning two-t...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
ESPYs host Danica Patrick falls flat in opening monologue

ESPYs host Danica Patrick falls flat in opening monologue

LOS ANGELES — Danica Patrick’s monologue to open the ESPYs went over like, well, a flat tire at the Indianapolis 500. The newly retired racecar driver was the first woman to host the annual show honoring the past year’s best athletes and moments on W...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The house featured in the ‘The Brady Bunch’ hits the market for $1.885 million

The house featured in the ‘The Brady Bunch’ hits the market for $1.885 million

There could soon be a new owner for one of the U.S.’s most iconic Hollywood homes.The house that’s featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch is now up for sale.Its asking price? A cool $1.885 million, the Los Angeles Times reports...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Quarterback rankings: The best seasons in Buccaneers history

Quarterback rankings: The best seasons in Buccaneers history

It was Dec. 20, 1981, the final Sunday of the NFL regular season, and the NFC Central title was on the line. The Buccaneers were in Detroit, where the Lions hadn’t lost all season.The Lions, who were favored by a touchdown, took a 7-3 lead in t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Body of missing diver, 20, recovered from Eagle’s Nest in Hernando

Body of missing diver, 20, recovered from Eagle’s Nest in Hernando

WEEKI WACHEE — Rescue crews have located the body of a 20-year-old free diver who failed to resurface at a dangerous cave in Hernando County, the Hernando County Sheriff’s office said Thursday. Said Marjane was found by a civilian dive team after he ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rabid bat clings to woman’s arm in Sun City Center parking lot

Rabid bat clings to woman’s arm in Sun City Center parking lot

SUN CITY CENTER — A Sun City Center woman got an unusual surprise as she used the bathroom in her home Monday – a rabid bat clinging to her arm.According to the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, the woman was helping a friend into ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Dodgers land All-Star shortstop Manny Machado from Orioles

Dodgers land All-Star shortstop Manny Machado from Orioles

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the Manny Machado sweepstakes, getting the prized All-Star shortstop from the Baltimore Orioles in a trade Wednesday night. The Orioles received five prospects: outfielder Yusniel Diaz, right-handers Dean Kremer and Zach P...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Owner brings new touches to Rouen Thai restaurant in South Tampa

Owner brings new touches to Rouen Thai restaurant in South Tampa

A popular South Tampa Thai restaurant has a new owner and a few additions as well.Rouen Thai has been around for nearly 20 years and has its fair share of regular customers, so when new owner Chonlada Malingam came along, she had big shoes to fill to...
Updated: 1 hour ago