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Esther invited them inside and turned to the waiting Randy and Freddy. Angelo stepped forward to make the introductions, “Good morning, thank you for meeting with us. I am Angelo Rossi, I think you know Bernice Brown the Treasurer, and this is Hazel Davies the newest owner at Eagle’s Nest. “He turned to Hazel and said, “This is Freddy Beaner,” who nodded in acknowledgement, “And I am assuming you are Randy Jacket.”
Randy stepped forward, “Yes of course, please, everyone, take a seat.” Ignoring any niceties, he turned to Angelo and said, “I understand you had asked to see us regarding the financial statements. I realize a condo association is a little different from other businesses, because it has to operate under Florida State law as a non-profit organization, but we will try to help you understand what is going on. Which expenses are you concerned about?”
Angelo did not appreciate being talked down to by Randy, but he swallowed hard and held his Italian temper, at least for the moment. He explained, “Let me give you a little background first. I own and operate a multi-million dollar business back home and Hazel here, was an auditor for a prestigious accounting firm back in Seattle before she retired.” He paused to let this piece of information sink in. Randy looked a little startled and Freddy, swallowed hard. Angelo continued, “Hazel and I looked at the financial statements, such as they are, yesterday. We had two sets of accounts, one provided to Bernice by Esther each month, and one to me from you, Freddy. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that a comparison of the monthly figures revealed that they were totally different!”
Earlier, Hazel, Angelo and Bernice had discussed their strategy for the meeting. As Bernice had already raised questions in the past and had basically been ‘blown off,’ as unreasonable or unnecessary, they were already prepared for confrontation. They had decided not to lay all their cards on the table initially, in case it shut down even the pretense of cooperation. Instead they hoped to obtain more information.
Randy’s response was predictably defensive, “Impossible, you must have made a mistake.”
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