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When the going gets tough…

October 23, 2012

We’ve all heard the inspirational saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

That’s what’s happening in Waterville Valley in the wake of accusations of misappropriation of funds by a long-time property management company.

The initial shock, disappointment, sadness and anger has given way to a more proactive perspective.  Cooler heads are prevailing and the community that was reeling late last week following this unbelievable news is responding to the problem the way we respond to most problems:  by rallying together.  

Right now condominium association board members, property owners and community stakeholders are working together, sharing information and resources, locating individuals and organizations that can provide guidance to the impacted condominium associations, locating and providing temporary land, offices and equipment to help new service organizations get up and running, and helping condominium associations meet and plan how to move ahead.

I prefer to stay out of the rumor mongering and will keep you updated as I have more definitive information.

If you have questions, I suggest that you contact your condominium association board president or the Town of Waterville Valley’s Department of Public Safety at 603-236-8809.  Don’t hesitate to leave me a comment with any questions and I’ll try to find an answer or refer you to someone who can try and help you.

Update Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 ... According to the Waterville Valley Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Attorney’s office is now involved in this case.

Update Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 … A meeting of condominium association board members, town officials, Waterville Valley stakeholders and property owners was held on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Waterville Valley Conference Center.

This was an informational meeting with three primary speakers: The Town of Waterville Valley’s police chief, Dave Noyes and town manager, Mark Decoteau; an insurance agent, Bill Clark, from Melcher-Prescott, Plymouth; and Scott Wolf, president of the New England chapter of the Community Associations Institute.

A brief summary … Wateville Valley police chief, Dave Noyes, stated that reported losses are currently at $1.6 million and growing with 19 associations filing complaints.  One additional association was going to file a complaint following the meeting, making the total 20.  Chief Noyes stated that no arrests have been made. Search warrants were executed at three locations, including Stone Property Management.  Although they have enough evidence to make an arrest(s) now, they are waiting because as soon as an arrest occurs the clock starts ticking for the right to a speedy trial. The amount of evidence being collected is huge and it appears that the various law enforcement agencies investigating want to hold off making any arrests until they can make sure they’ve gathered ALL the evidence to move forward with an airtight prosecution. The FBI is now spearheading this case and resources include a forensic accountant.

Bill Clark, the insurance agent, answered questions.  The bottom line is that you need to talk to your association about insurance coverage.

Scott Wolf, president of CAI, offered information and advice to condominium association boards about what to look for when choosing a property manager.

Update Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 … NH Business Review article re “forced bankruptcy” >>

Update Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 … Union Leader article by Paula Tracy >>

Update Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 … Statement/FAQ’s from the Waterville Valley Department of Public Safety >>

Update Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 … Stone Involuntary Chapter 7 Petition by Creditors >>

Update Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 … FAQ’s from the Waterville Valley Department of Public Safety (updated Jan. 21, 2013) >>

About Jan Stearns

I've been living in and loving New Hampshire's White Mountains for most of my life. I moved to Waterville Valley in 1981 and quickly realized why it was dubbed a Yankee Shangri-la. Once you’ve experienced Waterville Valley, you’ll want to call it yours. The great team of Realtors at Waterville Valley Realty can help you find a Waterville Valley home that fits your lifestyle and budget.

7 thoughts on “When the going gets tough…

  • Lisa Fiascone says:

    Wonderful, perfectly appropriate post in light of what is happening…we will all get through this. Thanks, Jan!

  • Steve says:

    We used to love WV. What i\has happened? Restaurants closed, golf course ruined, graffiti appearing, hoards of hockey kids vandalizing property…and now this??? What a shame, it used to be so nice.

    • Jan Stearns says:


      I appreciate you stopping by. I’ve talked to a lot of people in the community and 100% of those I’ve spoken with and heard from still love Waterville Valley. Like it has done for over a century, our community is rallying together to support each other and work through this.

      I have to respectfully disagree with the rest of your comments. If your reference to restaurants closed is regarding Diamond’s Edge North, it will be reopening this winter under new ownership.

      Ruined golf course? It’s different, it’s safer without the multiple road crossings, a few holes are more challenging – but, to say it’s “ruined?” I disagree.

      Graffiti appearing and hoards of hockey kids vandalizing property??!! I’ve worked in the Valley for 32 years, both ‘behind the scenes,’ so to speak, and on the front line. In the VERY FEW instances that I have observed or been aware of cases of bad or rude behavior, it may have involved Waterville Valley visitors, residents and property owners alike – and in some cases it was LONG BEFORE there were hockey camps or even an ice arena in Waterville Valley. The perpetrators come in all shapes and sizes – children and adults, individuals and groups. Some of the situations were downright funny, others are best forgotten. The bottom line, though, is that most of these RARE situations were pretty harmless and somewhat inconsequential compared to the bad, rude, lewd, illegal, and immoral behavior that occurs in the rest of the world today.

      Let’s be realistic. Whenever a group comes together – any type of group – you have to expect that there may be some behavioral issues. It doesn’t matter if it’s a group of hockey families, soccer families, skateboard campers, a ski group, a family reunion, a conference, or a corporate getaway. We live and work in a resort community that caters to vacationers. I hope we can welcome all groups. We should work to help our guests recognize our limits on acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

      Back to the situation I blogged about…I think we can all agree that we’re shocked, saddened and hurt, and we have lost some faith in our fellow man. One way or another, it’s affected all of our wallets. I don’t want to sound trite, but, I have not lost my love of Waterville Valley or my faith in my Waterville Valley friends, neighbors and colleagues. It’s going to take time, but we will work through this. This incident will ultimately be a catalyst for positive change that will result in better, more efficient service providers.


  • Howard K. says:

    We also find that the valley has changed in character and has lost some it’s its charm. And Jan, there has been a real difference with hockey kids coming up on weekends. Try to get a good nite sleep in the Black Bear!

  • Dan says:

    Jan – -thanks so much for doing this; it has been very difficult to get basic info and updates (and like you I am not interested in the rumors and gossip), so this is very helpful.

    BTW, SPM was put into involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy last Thursday in Bankruptcy Court in Manchester (Case 13-10105-JMD). It looks like three condo associations put them in to the proceeding.

    I agree with your glowing assessment of a very special place and I am confident that with so many people committed to the Valley it will continue to thrive. I have not seen the “decline” mentioned by Steve and I think the new local ownership of the mountain and Town Square can only be a good thing for all of us. Thanks again! –Dan

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