Running in Place


13015169_1202591883114894_6170326588927552849_nIt has come to my attention that there exists (VERY understandably) some MASS confusion, coincidental with a smaller, but significant amount of MASS HYSTERIA as residents struggle to tell the difference between  Celebration’s TWO Foundations.

As a dualist I believe I can make the identification process easier than getting a letter from CROA about your mailbox.   Personal Opinion is heavily in use here, so please resist being offended, and should you be offended-to paraphrase  Harrison Ford in “Air Force One”-Get off my plane.

Town Center Foundation= Bad

The Celebration Foundation= Good

The chasm between the two organizations is wider than Kim Kardashians stunning butt, a chasm SO wide that it would take DAYS to cross on a mule, and by the time you reach your destination-very much like the unfortunate Tassel-eared  Kaibab squirrels- evolutionarily marooned on the NORTH RIM of the Grand Canyon-you will no longer recognize your South Rim Kaibab cousins (SHOULD you actually survive the trip.)

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-12-55-04-pmAnd SPEAKING of evolution, 20 years into our shared Project Named Celebration, several of our Cornerstones have not so much “evolved” as “devolved”, and bring to mind Michael Keaton in “Multiplicity”, having been replicated far too many times, corrupting their images, their structural integrity compromised beyond recognition.



This has NEVER been true about  The Celebration Foundation which has grown continuously and organically, an organization which never stops expanding the scope of its idealistic visions, representing the high-minded thinking which drew me, and most everybody, to Celebration in the first place.


Promoting the principles of New Urbanism , placing world class music within walking distance, feeding those who need to be fed, educating those who deserve to be educated, making it possible for ALL of us to see ourselves in the best possible way, as the kind of people who like-and help-our neighbors. I think it’s called community.


Under the extraordinary leadership of Gloria Niec The Celebration Foundation excels at identifying community needs and making meaningful efforts to eliminate them.


And as I am not getting any YOUNGER the Foundation’s Thriving in Place program holds the fascination of a super-shiny silver dollar lying in front of my feet, a promise that Celebration is a great place to be born, and to live until, well, you just AREN’T living anymore.

This is in PERFECT OPPOSITION to everything the Town Center Foundation Represents. Rather than “THRIVING IN PLACE” TCF operates on the principle of RUNNING IN PLACE.

To those who  fixate on the Malthusian decay of Town Center it is clear that NOTHING is ever truly repaired. The months of shuffling building materials around 709 Bloom Street exemplify the worst kind of construction, a HUNDRED CODE VIOLATIONS, ongoing water intrusion, cheesy finishing, still rotted wood hidden behind a layer of stucco, windows that will not open, and the end is NOT near. img_2181_26784879011_o

Town Center Foundation= Bad

On the DARK side of the moon, the unfortunately named “Town Center Foundation” is a Not-For-Profit Corporation created, controlled and master-minded by Lexin Capital/Metin Negrin. (Mr. Negrin would tell you that Lexin Capital does NOT control the Foundation, however Lexin Capital Officers have had 100% of the majority voting power for 100% of its 12 Year history of incorporation.

Ostensibly the Town Center Condominium Association unit owners are ALL  CLASS A members of the Town Center Foundation (which sounds impressive, the letter “A” resonating with being the best and all) yet the CLASS A members SOLE participation in any Town Center Foundation fiesta is to watch Captain Queeg roll those little balls around in his palms while counting out scoops of representational sand/strawberries. Metin/Queeg appears nervous even though he KNOWS he has ALL of the votes in the boardroom TIMES THREE.And why shouldn’t he? After all, HE wrote the documents

In The DCCRO The Town Center Foundation is charged with maintaining pretty much every square inch of Town Center.

6.5 Maintenance of Shared Facilities. The Foundation will be responsible for the Maintenance of the Shared Facilities.img_4956_26863119472_o


6.6 Maintenance of the Component Facilities. The Foundation will be responsible for the Maintenance of the Component Facilities, including Component Building exteriors.


6.7 Requirements. All Maintenance will be performed in a good workmanlike manner, by employees or agents of the Owners or the Foundation, as applicable, or by licensed contractors which carry public liability insurance and employer liability insurance in amounts usual and customary for the work undertaken and such worker’s compensation insurance as required by law: 

Just re-reading these sections makes me feel a bit light-headed. I am happy that the GOOD Foundation will be around to help me avoid what without them would surely be a trip to the Home For The Bewildered.


A Tale of Ruth

Prince Harry meets 95 year old Ruth Uffleman
Prince Harry meets 95 year old Ruth Uffleman at the wheelchair tennis on the final day of the Invictus Games Orlando 2016  on May 12, in Orlando, Florida.

During our years-long dysfunctional relationship with Lexin Capital the owners in Town Center have, of necessity, developed a Codified Rules of Survival. Most often called upon is Rule Number 8,  Never Cry Over Something That Can’t Cry Over You.

Because if we welled up EVERY time we encountered a rotting beam or a leaking roof or spotted the banner-like shaggy tarps flying over BOTH sides of Market Street, well, massive drifts of soggy Kleenex would clog Market Street and collect in the entryway of the AMC Theater and on the Banks of Lake Rianhard. They would be visible from SPACE, just like those acres of floral tributes to Princess Diana.
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And SPEAKING of seeing things from space, it is now SUPER EASY to-on Google Earth- pinpoint Town Center, using the Lexin  extraterrestrial communications device-innocent blue tarps to those who don’t know better, but SO obvious to us as landing pads. Or birthing pools for their young, we never know.
 And SPEAKING of TARPS, the Google Earth shot has them looking PRETTY spiffy. But that was long ago (taken on March 6th) when they were young and pretty and full of HOPE. Once again, Don’t cry…
But news of a NEW TARP-no, NOT a second Tarp, but a THIRD TARP from the Lexin Foundation Bunker is meant to be ENCOURAGEMENT, the relentless kind of encouragement spoon-fed to hostages constantly being promised a bath. This news has created a reflexive grab for our Codified Rules of Survival, Rule Number 3, Believe NONE of What You Hear and HALF of What You See from Lexin.



Not exactly the kind of day one hopes for at 91…
At last, sadly, the real purpose of this post, is to openly grieve over the loss of a woman who SURELY would have cried over us, Ruth Uffelman, Town Center’s Queen Mother, our moral compass, our passion and our hero. It is outrageous that at 91, her porch gone,  her windows tarped, her garden destroyed by endless construction delays and mishaps, she was forced to spend the last six months of her life entombed in a single room of her home, eating meals off a tray on her bed, while Metin Negrin stalled and maneuvered mightily in his attempt to gain advantages, and to profit by the very chaos he created. The value of our units has been decimated by the Foundation’s neglect, and in the fear and disarray created Mr. Negrin swoops, even now purchasing three units while allowing the buildings to collapse around us.
Ruth expressed herself often about Lexin, referring to them as “thieves” in a February meeting, and just two days before her death stood at the CNOA meeting, speaking her last words about the indignities and sociopathic callousness of Lexin’s failure to act. All of us heard her, and her iconic spirit is the inspiration for the TCCA Codified Rules of Survival Rule Number 1- Remember Ruth. Do Not Give Up.
We promise Ruth, we are NOT throwing away our shot.

Reaped by The Walt Disney Company

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The antics of Lexin Capital and the Machiavellian Town Center Foundation burble around in my head endlessly ,as we seek to unravel their super-puzzling approach to the Care and Management of Celebration Town Center. Depending on the days events our observations, like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, bounce back and forth between a firm conviction that Metin Negrin has a mind of Madoffian Brilliance and yet, MAYBE The Town Center Foundation should be simply misted with nutrients and water twice a week. It is like an ENDLESS game of Candyland, without the structural soundness of the ORIGINAL gameboard but WITH all of the sudden recurring catastrophes which gave Candyland its essential infinite loopy ENDLESSNESS, firmly establishing its reputation-along with Chutes and Ladders-as one of the MOST to-be-avoided games ever. Don’t I wish our little game of “TownCenter Land” could be put on the top shelf, far out of reach of the children in charge, SO in need of Adult Supervision.

All this talk of “LANDS” steers me back to the creator of lands, The Walt Disney Company, for our purposes ALSO known as The Celebration Company. Because, much as we love to consider Lexin The Source of our continued affliction, I came here, bought here and stayed here because of The Walt Disney Company.
And The Branding of The Walt Disney Company is arguably THE most successful advertising and emotional manipulation campaign since the naming of “Greenland “. I was so addicted to the emotional promise of Disney World that at the tearful end of every bank-busting trip, the FIRST thing I would do-after wedging myself into the middle seat of a crowded flight-was to plot the accumulation of enough cash to return. Given that mindset, I had no more free will than The Manchurian Candidate, a lifetime of Cubby and Karen and that damn sparkling castle having rearranged my synapses.And I am NOT special, there are millions of us who have funded Disney’s rise to power. EMOTION is the basis of the Brand, and The Walt Disney Company knows full well that when Mickey has a four-fingered grip on our hearts and minds, our money will follow.

Where it becomes abusive is when marketing fails to distinguish between delivering a magical week in a Themed Suite-which Disney does every day every year in a FLAWLESS fashion-and using the same methodology to deliver a HOME in a COMMUNITY OF THEIR DESIGN. This requires FAR greater thought and care and responsibility as it is more a MARRIAGE than a “date”. Because we were presented with a CONTRACT here in Celebration, and the Pre-Nuptial agreement was very, very, detailed. Potential residents paid attorneys to review these legal commitments, which of course could not be altered in ANY way no matter what, and then settled back as they found assurance in the fact that THEIR contract was created by The Walt Disney Company, a Corporation (and a carefully crafted brand) which in MANY minds implies a greater warranty and sense of security than the full faith of the United States government. I mean I have Disney Dollars which are worth more today than when I bought them, more than I can say about US Currency.

Back to Lexin Capital, definitely NOT the Walt Disney Company. But the Chain of Custody over the care and maintenance of our property was, in MASSIVE documents, legally attached to the transfer of Celebration Town Center. So while WE had no idea who Lexin Capital was (most of us with ALL our might wish that were STILL the case) The Walt Disney Company provided assurance to us that ALL would continue as before. In their contract that is defined as until the death of the last surviving descendent of Queen Elizabeth II, the present Queen of England. Really.

Up next, Deceptive Advertising.

Town Center Fever

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Most  Celebration Residents are able to express their great affection for Our Town yet still retain an ability to note Things Which Could Be Improved Upon, PERFECTION not being what it used to be and all.  Delicately Co-Existing is a second group, populated by those who embrace a more Black and White Love It or Leave It Philosophy, the kind which makes me nostalgic for a good old Nixonian Era March on Washington,their ranks personified by the kind of caregiver who might ignore a FEVER because once you ACKNOWLEDGE A FEVER you really DO HAVE a fever. The kind of caregiver who SMASHES the thermometer as a disloyal anarchist communist sympathizer. Because the THERMOMETER caused the fever. We DO have some THERMOMETER SMASHERS living right here in our otherwise perfect town-but I am betting none of them reside here in  Town Center, the Reality-Ridden area of Planet Celebration.

 Here is a LEARNING opportunity.

The Celebration Non-Residential Owners Association, affectionately known as “CNOA” has the duty to do to the NON-Residential Owners what the ARC (under CROA) does to the RESIDENTIAL owners on a alarmingly regular basis. We’ve ALL been there, particularly those of us who think of ourselves as “creative”, admire massive examples of South American or Mexican pottery as planters, or identify our homes with flag-holding frogs.
Back when I lived in Aquila Reserve I was threatened with excommunication and significant fines for my failure to remove TINTING from windows. Repeatedly. My lack of compliance created a document exchange which lasted several contentious months as the only defense I had for this crime was that I did NOT HAVE tinting on my windows. I wrote to ARC at the time  You have not responded to me regarding the specious window tinting issue at our home at 1255 Aquila Loop, although I faxed you on September 7th, 2006 asking for review and clarification. We have no window tinting. We have never had window tinting. You have never provided a picture, a drawing, or notified me in any fashion approaching constructive notice. Yet your fine for 13 days of non-existent window tinting is on our CROA bill. And you said in your communication  of August 24th, 2006 that the tinting has not been removed. So why was I fined for those 13 days and no other? Because it does not exist, it never existed and it remains non-existent. I have left voice messages and faxed notices to you and have received NOTHING in response.
 I KNOW, I KNOW, I am not special, these things happen to people all over Celebration on a daily basis.
One of the Thermometer Smashers posted about their love for EVERYTHING about our town-EXCEPT perhaps for the nit-picking of the Architectural Review Committee. This is plenty ironic, as we in Town Center have been TRYING  for years to turn ourselves IN to  the Architectural Review Committee with absolutely NO SUCCESS. Town Hall! CNOA! CNOA!  PLEASE make LEXIN/The Foundation/Town Center clean up its room, we squeal. And every few months someone might wander through town with a clipboard, and make a list, which they hold up at a meeting. And possibly at the NEXT meeting. Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera.
Now my husband LOVED Golf Digest, and after subscribing to it for years I thought the bold titles of the cover articles began to look remarkably similar. “The Grip That Will Shave 5 Strokes Off Your Game”,  “Marshmallow Center Golf Balls Shave 5 Strokes Off Your Game“,  “Shave 5 Strokes Off Your Game With A  Mucho-Dinero Driver”, “Play Your Age if Your Age Happens to Be 101!”  (That last title both encouraged and depressed Edward.) Ultimately I came upon the idea of simply recycling the issues, and on the 15th of each month I would slip a still-warm-from-the-iron  issue into a brown paper sleeve and toss it into the mailbox, simultaneously saving 30 bucks and half a tree’s worth of gloss paper annually  .
The point of this story is two-fold. ONE,  it warms me to relate such memories of Edward the Golfer, and TWO, such repetitive content is the HALLMARK of CNOA meeting minutes, particularly on the topic of Lexin and Town Center “Aesthetics”. One might assume that CNOA holds a similarly anvil-like weight over the non-compliers in the Commercial Sector of Celebration as CROA/ARC hold over residential owners.Yet reading over the minutes of YEARS of CNOA meetings yields verbiage consistent with the covers of Golf Digest.
No Subscription is required. Conclusions are not reached-at least concerning the dereliction of Lexin’s Duty, the same conversations reoccur, so patently clear and yet so unreachable.
As usual NO-ONE has to read all of this stuff, there are NO quizzes to be taken. I would like everybody simply to consider the possible consequences of SUCH inattention, and if part of YOUR perfect town includes stopping by Town Center on a snowy evening, or gazing across Lake Reinhard while congratulating yourselves for choosing SUCH a wonderful place to live (which is something I do every day) you might consider what the view will become as more buildings implode. (Tarps will be placed on 660 Celebration Avenue tomorrow, continuing our march) And what might become of Town Center should the biggest foreclosure in Celebration history come to pass.

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What is your PLAN, Metin?


When I’m tired and I can’t sleep I count my blessings instead of sheep. HAH.

No, I DO count my blessings, of which there is an endless stream. Yet in these jam-packed days my pre-frontal cortex is often involuntarily wrenched into a sharp left turn, to the big-fat OBSESSIVE lobe, the  lobe where disturbing thoughts DWELL, where in THESE troubled times the VERY SAME unanswered question, over and over and over burbles and marinates and ferments, (I am VERY big into fermentation, and one of the often overlooked blessings of a life in Town Center is the opportunity to see LOTS of bacteria in action. It’s EVERYWHERE, really.)

Isolating my point here,THE GREAT unanswerable question, the Razor’s Edge of my quest, the question which holds its own alongside such ALL TIME great QUESTIONS  as chicken/egg?, tree/forest?, cat/box? is Lexin/Plan.?

My extensive online searches have yet to produce even one streaming view inside the clanging, erratic, cash-clogged Windmills of Metin Negrin’s Mind. Consequently I have had to create my OWN, completely imaginary view of a possible  Lexin BUSINESS PLAN.* and have had to do it working backwards (as if I were writing notecards for a report, which is ALSO the only way notecards truly work out.) Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 2.45.21 PM

I mean it, just WHAT is the PLAN The Wizard of Lexin has for Town Center? APPRECIATION, DEPRECIATION and ROI are often listed Goals for Real Estate Investors. SO Methodical DISINTEGRATION is a SURPRISING addition, particularly in the NUMBER ONE spot, as it is here in Town Center. Since 2004 when Disney met Lexin and the Town Center Death Dance began Maintenance in all its forms has been systematically and WILLFULLY ignored.

In WHAT Business Plan does this become logical? How do you take an investment of no SMALL magnitude and leave it outside in the rain, unprotected from the ravaging Florida Sun and the Impressive Florida Rain? Just like an unloved sweater.

FORGET the fact that we Town Center Owners had faith in The Promises of Extremely well paid lawyers. We cheerfully booked our cabins on The Lexin Titanic with all the confidence in the world that Our Captain was NOT bat-shit crazy, and would NEVER NEVER NEVER set an iceberg-attracting compass on the auto pilot.

But this ongoing philosophy, at first leaving us in Town Center looking, like a bit of Celebration Shabby-Chic next to the other PRISTINE villages, seemed to be an anomaly. Over time however a methodical pattern made itself apparent. In the TWELVE years since Lexin began captaining our little ship there has not been ONE significant example of preventive maintenance. The FIRST roof repair-other than some tar and muscovy feather patching-was at 709 Bloom Street, in 2014 and remains a MASSIVE failure.

There have been some laughable attempts at painting during which the on-staff Lexin workers, uninstructed in the ways of professional equipment such as “drop-cloths” and “ladders”were slowed by constantly having to pick mulch, or rotted wood out of their brushes, and an impromptu “average height” evaluation of the staff could be made by seeing just how high they could paint on their tippy-toes.

Over the years the Mortgage on the town has gone UP, UP, UP.

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Do NOT fear for Lexin, dire as THIS looks they have removed more than 25 Million in equity, off to parts unknown.

And the estimated costs of REPAIRS has gone UP, UP, UP.Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.08.38 PM

Yet Lexin’s commitment to maintenance has remained level. Most of the funds handed over to the Foundation are for OPERATIONS. Massive electricity, massive trash, massive insurance, vague items which hardly seem to be of “SHARED-BENEFIT” value to unit owners are on our bill.Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 2.36.53 PM

This introductory essay seeks to trigger thought and conversations about what might be below the water-line where bottom feeders dwell. If one simply looks at the facts-the equity has been stripped, the repairs needed are monumental and the situation is now obvious and dangerous to the residents. Is the LACK of systematic maintenance and the removal of equity the PLAN itself? There are some pretty dire possibilities if one dares to explore THAT part of Metin’s mind.

Bonus Thought-IF I Ran The Zoo.

If I had been so fortunate as to purchase Town Center I would have immediately bought crisp and fine looking painter’s garb from the Uniform Section of the Land’s End website. AND I would be reading This Old House TUTORIALS night and day, The BEST roofing company in Florida would be on my SPEED DIAL.And I would have populated my management company with skilled communicators who  perceived their FIRST and FOREMOST raison d’être to treat the buildings and their occupants as RESPECTED partners in an extraordinary venture. EVERYBODY on staff would be able to recognize CAULK, even carrying CAULK GUNS on their belts.

*That is my official disclaimer as everything written here is conjecture, intended to induce a zen-like objective calm over any attorney who might happen upon this post.

The “P” Word and Metin Negrin

IMG_2167Saying “parking” to a Celebration resident can produce an effect similar to saying “squirrel” to a golden retriever-one observes the same instant tensing of every bone in their bodies, the same piercing stare followed by profuse drooling. It’s not pretty, and I, for one ALWAYS carry a wadded up paper towel in my pocket, just in case I encounter a neighbor who needs assistance with their chin.

Back when I moved to Celebration I was a Parking Denier. (As I am writing parts of this for dramatic effect I want to throw in a personal DISCLAIMER to the effect that I still believe we should ALL ditch our cars anyway, transport our groceries and ourselves via Disney Magic with a boost from our God-Given FEET.) But Celebration Town Center/2016 is HARDLY what it was when Barbara Muenks oversaw an impeccable Market Street,  the masterpiece of Urban Design, the product of the 20th centuries finest town planners and architects.  THEN Unknown Cast Members in Higher Places made the misguided decision to pass the ownership torch for The Walt Disney Company’s Magnum Opus to an over-reaching fledging investor. Metin Negrin, and Lexin Capital then AND now, display NO knowledge of, or affection FOR the extraordinary PLACE  they somehow managed to impale and pull into their sticky web. Ka-ching, ka-ching.

Within 24 hours of closing on Town Center Lexin had sold off both Carlyle lots. And within the year they had sold the now converted apartments at prices you would not NEARLY achieve today, 12 years later. Ka-ching, ka-ching.

I was drawn to Celebration by the attention to detail, by the cornerstones, by loftier aspirations, by the use of architecture and place to create community, by all of it. Preceded by hundreds and followed by thousands of others who share my feelings, I stand in dismay in the beautiful, beautiful Town Center, where Michael Graves compact little Post Office has columns which are crumbling at the bases. If he had not died two years ago I would call him up and sob with him.


Okay, back to the PARKING. I think we can ALL agree that Lexin LOVES restaurants. If I had to guess I would suggest that it is because, just as Al Capone LOVED banks, Metin  LOVES restaurants because that is where the MONEY is. And Money, I opine, is what Metin loves most.

Since 2004 Lexin has added an estimated 450 (FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY) restaurant seats to Town Center. To do that he converted the former and BELOVED Goodings’ to the Thai-Thani, the former DayDreams to Sweet Escapes, the former HopScotch to the Wine Imperium, ADDED 50 seats to Cafe’D’Antonio, added the massive outdoor bar to the Town Tavern, added Le Macaron, 80 seats to the Columbia, took over the former Celebration Store for Avocado. I am stopping there, my list may be incomplete but you get the picture.

Restaurants require a GREAT DEAL more Care and Feeding per square foot than retail establishments. As they feed SO many, they need to be fed SO much. Where a retail store may get a UPS or FedEx delivery daily, restaurants such as D’Antonio’s require FRESH vegetable, FRESH meat, FRESH canned tomatoes, cases of wine, bread, linens, loads of wood, much like YOUR  shopping list if you were cooking for a few thousand plus or minus.

This is a LOT of HEAVY trucks lumbering up and down the pot-hole ridden Celebration Avenue, and despite VERY SPECIFIC regulations regarding the use of loading areas, ain’t NOBODY caring where the trucks park. As my husband used to say about the cars in Rio de Janeiro they are not so much PARKED as ABANDONED. Such is the case with Town Center deliveries. Lexin NEVER instructs their vendors, many of whom  also appear to be challenged, similar to our British visitors, about which side of the STREET they should be occupying. I am certainly hoping that their legendary “attention to detail” carries through to their liability insurance. But I am not betting on it.

Impact fees in Osceola County are dependent on use and retail is ONE space per x customers while restaurants are THREE spaces. We are down about 900 parking spaces I think, which explains a lot. I have dug a bit in the permits and have yet to find an additional impact fee paid. There may be some there, if anybody locates one, be sure and let me know.

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Press. Release. Repeat.

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Recuerdos of The Mickey Mouse Club, “Today is a Day That Is FILLED With Surprises!-NOBODY KNOWS What’s Gonna Happen…”

Town Center residents have lived in alternating states of ennui, anger and frustration,  trying to cobble thousands of documentation shards together into a story which can be tracked and comprehended by many, if not all or even MOST. Frustration on the part of our intermittent audience has resulted in our group being pegged as top-seeded whiners,unwilling to take action, only willing to drone on about issues and not TA-DA! the SOLUTION.

We feel your pain. We SHARE your pain.

In our defense the problems in Town Center are SO complex and AMORPHOUS that a Venn diagram requires an endless roll of paper. (At this point I will mention that a future post will be nothing BUT a Venn Diagram)

Yet today is a benchmark in our quest, a day for celebrating a First Step as we toddle towards Mother Justice, who is living in Kissimmee at the Osceola County Circuit Court.

For Immediate Release

New York Real Estate Firm Turns Disney’s Dream Town Into Nightmare For Owners

Celebration, Florida’s Town Center Condominium Association (The Association) today filed suit in Osceola County Circuit Court against Lexin Capital,LLC and the Town Center Foundation (TCF), alleging that the 12 condominium buildings containing 105 units are in a “colossal state of disrepair” and have suffered from “pervasive sustained moisture intrusion with resulting rot of structural components and of interior components with related termite infestation.” The Association contends that TCF has breached its contractual and fiduciary obligations to unit owners to properly maintain the Condominium Component Facilities and Unit Exteriors and seeks to prosecute for negligent maintenance.

The Condominiums are located in Town Center, the heart of the new urban community of Celebration, Florida and were  constructed by the Walt Disney Company in 1995.

The Association contends that years of neglect and lack of maintenance have allowed the buildings to deteriorate, and conditions now represent a danger to the residents. As Celebration approaches its 20th anniversary this November the state of decay has reached a crisis level. Owners cite years of water intrusion damage to the interiors of their units, mold,wood rot, sagging floors and bubbling stucco.

Residents in 16 Units on Bloom Street have been living in an opaque tarp cocoon since January, owner Sheila Slutsky moved to temporary housing after tests showed dangerous levels of mold. 91 year-old Ruth Uffelmann remains a virtual captive. Expanding wall cracks and shaking balconies on 660 Celebration Avenue are of great concern to Emily and Frank Cooper, who first reported leaning floors to Lexin in 2008, their requests for assistance were ignored.  On April 12 Osceola County Building Inspectors filed a complaint against Lexin, citing unsafe structural issues.

In 2004 Disney/The Celebration Company sold Town Center to Lexin Capital, a New York Real Estate Investment Firm. Lexin converted the residential apartments in 12 of Town Center’s 21 buildings to a condominium and formed The Association, as well as TCF, a master association with control over all 21 buildings. The governing documents of TCF provide “all maintenance, repair and replacement of the Component Facilities and the exteriors of all buildings will be performed by the Foundation and the cost thereof will be included in the assessments made pursuant to the Foundation Declaration.” Lexin Capital LLC has retained control of the TCF Board of Directors at all times since conversion.

In January of 2015 TCF hired Dan Dixon, Architect LLC, to inspect and analyze Town Center building problems and create a detailed report. Following this TCF commenced construction repair on Association buildings. TCF has refused to provide The Association with Dixon’s detailed engineering study and to allow experts hired by the Association access to the construction site. The Association believes it has a potential legal claim against Lexin for its failure to timely file a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company for negligent construction of the 12 buildings which contained the condominiums, and instead is attempting to pass off the costs to the unit owners. They contend that critical evidence to these claims is being destroyed or discarded without the Association’s experts being able to shadow the process.

  • In July of 2015 owners in 709 Bloom Street were advised to stay off their balconies, citing unsafe conditions.
  • In October, 2015 the Osceola County Building Inspector closed a stairwell at 611 Campus Street for emergency structural repairs.
  • Temporary structural support beams have been installed along  the entire back wall of 660 Celebration Avenue after structural cracks appeared in existing beams and walls, and floors on the third story slanted.
  • At 600 Market St. continuous roof leaks and water intrusion have been documented since 2008 with water pouring down inside the walls and through ceilings of third floor units. After inspection by mold experts the entire roof was covered by tarps, yet despite  the reports and inspections by experts Lexin/TCF has taken no action.
  • 709 Bloom Street demolition began in January of 2016, and other than necessary shoring up to prevent collapse, Lexin’s only activity has been to remove debris and cover nearly the entire building exterior, including the windows, with tarps.

In February, 2016 TCF Director and Lexin Capital Manager Metin Negrin informed Association that an assessment in excess of $4,000,000 was to be imposed on the unit owners for repairs, the first in a series to be levied over coming years.

As shown in Public Documents Lexin Capital has twice refinanced Town Center since its 2004 purchase, the last time in May of 2015, the timing coincidental to the Dixon’s Engineers report. Both times it has removed significant equity without any evidence of capital being reinvested in the town.


Osceola County Inspectors DO Just That.

That one, right over YOUR head there, with those CRACKS in it-that is called an EYE beam.

Trundle past the increasingly pale and wan Suntrust Bank towards Market Street-Actually it might be BEST if you crossed Celebration Avenue at Sycamore and continued on the Imagination Realty/Waterstreet Condominiums side. I suggest this as the Chief Inspector from the Osceola County Building Office came to Celebration yesterday, resulting in the following notice.Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 3.33.05 PM

So I am thinking that walking near those balconies MIGHT not be advisable any time in the near future. Not that any of the REST of the structures in Town Center are better off, their secrets remain secure (hahaha) behind Celebration’s Premier building envelope system, Some Kind of Stucco-Like Product on Green Wood, therefore the extent of their structural damage is hidden from us as much as possible.After ALL, this is NOT our business.

Metin Negrin/Lexin Capital/TCF- retained Dan Dixon early in 2015-ostensibly to perform an engineering report on all of the buildings in Town Center so that, under Town Hall/CNOA’s tutelage he might “spiff-up” the downtown-(emphasis and verbiage are mine) but interestingly enough The Report was COINCIDENTAL to the timing of a REFINANCING of Celebration Town Center. A document such as this would have been essential to the procurement of such a significant loan-it is in excess of $34,000,000, and replaced a 2007 mortgage in the amount of $23,000,000, plus or minus.(While NOT a math wiz I will suggest that Mr. Negrin took MORE than 10 but LESS than 12 MILLION dollars back to his lair-after closing costs, of course.

SO, I am thinking a loan like that, he would have needed a NICE engineering study from a licensed Architect to add GRAVITAS to his appraisal. (Actually Lexin Gravitas sounds like one of the DOZENS of LLC’s under which he operates-OH NO I STAND CORRECTED, IT IS LEXIN VERITAS, which I find hysterical.) True enough, Mr. Dixon did NO destructive testing in his analysis. But the final document was quite EXTENSIVE and, according to Mr. Dixon, ran about 485-FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE- pages. Now THAT is a report.

We owners yearned-and continue to live lives of GREAT yearning-to grip a copy of that report. And we have tried, and tried again, through a virtual CURLING TEAM of attorneys to GET A LOOK at an honest overview of just what shape our homes are in, to know what to expect, how we can move forward.

I was always afraid of an overdue library book, so remain stunned that those crisp letters on VERY expensive paper which are delivered, with signatures required, can be SO totally ignored. Wow. There is a LOT more to this topic however I need a glass of Gin before I can deliver a pithy synopsis. (Is it “pithy” or “pissy”, I always get those two confused.)

I do want to very quickly add that earlier we received a 15 page “summary” and ALL is well, so don’t worry anymore.

Previous Convictions, Front of House-Back of House

Other than believing that “cleanliness is next to godliness” one of my longest standing convictions was that The Walt Disney Company, particularly in the Magic Kingdom, believed 100% in Truth, Justice and Charming, RELATABLE spaces. SCRUBBED and MAINTAINED spaces. That the Disney Standards Handbook had been authored by someone on Work Release from the Clinic for the Helplessly OCD.

Years into my long, long, life I learned firsthand that Disney “Front of House” and Disney “Back of House” can be very, very, different. Another Disney World really. A bit OCD myself, I spent many a happy 40-minutes-out-of- every-hour gathering trash from the perimeter of various character break rooms, wondering at why this was.

And in Celebration Town Center this pattern has been replicated by Lexin. Of course HERE the dramatic juxtaposition is MUCH less, as Lexin and TCF do not REALLY give a Flying Fig about the FRONT of House OR the BACK of House. To Metin Negrin the World is a giant spreadsheet on which there appears to be some virtue (benefit) in presenting an-if not GOOD, then marginally BETTER-PUBLIC face, the better to encourage one’s appetite AND along the way maintain-in an extraordinarily marginal way-NOT the buildings, but the CASH FLOW to his FAVORITE parts of Town Center, the Restaurants.

Just how much cash flows past our greasy walkways and into our greasy parking lots will be the topic of an upcoming post, but one does not have to be channeling Warren Buffett to see that in THIS tiny town Restaurants TRUMP (sorry) retail.

At last circling back to my elusive point; what YOU might see, as a visitor to Town Center, is NOT what WE, as residents, GET.

Sweet Escapes-Front of House


Sweet Escapes-Back of House



Cafe D’Antonio-Front of HouseIMG_5003

Cafe D’Antonio-Back of House



Thai Thani-Front of House


Thai Thani-Back of House


Town Tavern-Front of HouseIMG_5004IMG_5007

Town Tavern-Back of House

A dream is sometimes just a dream.


I know plenty of people who build their lives around  All Things Mickey Mouse, EVERY vacation is a Disney Vacation. A  group profile might reveal a broad mix of Conservative Adventure Seekers, collectively enjoying the mild terror as they wander in a romantic land where the elevator ALWAYS breaks its fall, even Halloween is Not-So-Scarey. Safely exciting days are filled with expertly risk managed experiences, at the end of which all return to spiffy themed guest rooms,  air conditioners are set on arctic high and a bottomless  tumbler full of some Coca-Cola  product  rehydrates and replenishes the  perspiration expended on a central Florida summer day. These are the Disney Brand True Believers.

Ears and pins are purchased, Disney Vacation Club Points eagerly sucked up by True Believers.  And daring to dream beyond the dream they are already IN, True Believers imagine their own lives spent where every detail of their physical world would be as obsessively detailed and immaculate as Town Square in the Magic Kingdom. At this point in the narrative enters the Ultimate Disney Souvenir, a home in the Town of Celebration.

It hardly seems unrealistic on their part to assume that home ownership in Disney’s Town of Celebration would come with an insurance policy which, while it MIGHT not contain coverage on items such as “disappointment”, would certainly imply a home warranty matching the legendary standards of excellence and quality assurance solidly embedded in the Disney Brand. After all, Celebration Rules and Covenants run to thousands of pages- HOW your home looked was Everybody’s Business. Wrong plants? Wrong mailbox?, Wrong curtains?, Stained sidewalk? Boo Hoo. Nut up.

Standards  abounded,  and True Believers EMBRACED the Standards. I said more than once that I did not need to see someone with 43 shopping bags and a battered Publix cart sleeping on a sewer grate to fully feel the pain of homelessness. I too want it nice. After all, Walt himself  had taken such pride in his immaculate parks, providing trash bins every 23 feet, re-painting and scrubbing all night long, believing that if things were neatly kept it would encourage visitors to his parks to embrace the same standards. The average lifespan of a piece of litter in Disneyland is 15 seconds-as it has been since 1988. These people KNEW how to do this immaculate thing and True Believers BELIEVED they knew, and wanted to buy into it.

They were also willing to pay the Disney Brand price. Miles of buyers lined up to pay Brobdingnagian premiums on historically inexpensive Florida homes, happily signing on to a lifetime of controlling and paternalistic rules, trading cash for Adult Supervision and protection of their property values.

That all started in 1996- lives of cosseted protection courtesy of the Disney Brand and their Colossal Legal Department. Title Companies and attorneys alike caved under the weight of the closing documents.  And we all signed, secure that we had made safe, True Believer decisions.

Without overdoing the fairytale metaphor, less than 20 years later in 2016 we find ourselves stunned awake, Rip Van Winkle-esque.  Abandoned by the Disney Brand, abandoned by the Disney attorneys and their well crafted clauses, the visible effects of neglect and mismanagement  are displayed in the decay and disarray, rotting beams and mold, leaking roofs and plummeting values of our homes.

How we got here is not a short story, and not a pretty story either. And while I do not know ALL of the  story  I DO know quite a bit of it, and more is revealed every day. After years of spending far too much time reading DCCROs and statutes I yearn to share some interesting stuff, assembled documentation, facts and opinions about just how the hell we got here.

 Please read along.