September 22, 2017 / "During Times of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth Becomes Revolutionary" - George Orwell

Pettiness on parade

I’ve witnessed a lot of pathetic displays of human pettiness in more than 40 years of journalism but nothing, repeat nothing, can match the courtroom melodrama that played out in Floyd County general district court Thursday afternoon.

A long-simmering neighborhood squabble involving Floyd County’s only gated community, Park Ridge, erupted into full-fledged legal warfare in front of Judge Thomas Frith and displayed just how incredibly carried away people can become over minor problems.

On one side sat the angry father of a combat Marine and an ally of a neighborhood association board of directors ousted in what one resident calls a “hostile takeover.” On the other, the new board and its leader, an arm waving hysteric who loses control while accusing others of doing the same.

“Your honor, this has been a circus,” current Park Ridge Association president Larry Martin told Judge Frith after more than four hours of testimony. Martin should know. He was one of the ringleaders of the carnival that played out in the courtroom and Judge Frith had to tell him to sit down and shut up more than once. But both sides share the blame for allowing what was once a simple neighborhood dispute turning into a long-running legal battle in both civil and criminal courts. Neither can claim the high road if such a road actually exists.

This latest war erupted when Chris Koumparakis, father of a property owner – Marine Capt. Speros Koumparakis – – appeared before the Park Ridge Board in August of last year to ask for a waiver of his son’s community association assessment while the Marine served overseas in Iraq and also to demand payment of an overdue bill for survey work the elder Koumparakis performed for the old board of directors.

Martin and his backers say Koumparakis was there simply to stir up trouble at the urging of Donald Stoneman, president of the old board of directors. That’s probably true. Animosity runs deep between the two factions and you could feel it from the snickers and giggles from both sides of the spectators that packed the courtroom on Thursday.

So the new board went into a stall, telling Koumparakis they would check into the matter and get back to him. When he heard nothing, he came back in September and, from all accounts, things got nasty.

Next, the board banned Koumparakis from future meetings and threatened to place a lien on his son’s property for the unpaid assessment. Koumparakis returned to the November and December meetings only to be ejected by Floyd County deputy sheriffs.

He appeared in court Thursday as a defendant facing two counts of disorderly conduct and two counts of criminal trespass. He also swore out a warrant for a Park Ridge owner, Reece Prillaman, for assault, claiming Prillaman belly-bumped him at the September board meeting and threatened him.

After four hours of charges, counter charges, some shouting and a lot of hyperbole, Judge Frith dismissed the two charges of disorderly conduct against Koumparakis and the assault charge against Prillaman but convicted Koumparakis of two counts of criminal trespass and fined him a total of $400. Frith told Koumparakis that he should have stayed away from the two board meeting and not made such a nuisance of himself. He also said Koumparakis should have sought remedy for his unpaid bill in civil court and not thrown a tantrum at the board meeting. But Koumparakis plans to appeal so the matter is far from over and the nuisance value continues. The two sides of this long-running squabble have tied up court time in three counties and no end is in sight.

“You folks have a real mess up on that mountain,” Frith told both sides.

Park Ridge is a community with a long history of neighborhood warfare. It illustrates the dangers of community associations and boards of directors who rule their fiefdoms in Gestapo fashion. Those who know Park Ridge’s story consider the neighborhood a joke and the best reason of all to do everything possible to make sure that no future gated communities with power-mad neighborhood associations spring up in our county.

24 Responses to Pettiness on parade

  1. Did somebody call Park Ridge a “fun-loving community?” I have friends who live there, friends who don’t have a dog in the fight one way or another, and they say life there is anything but fun thanks to the bloated egos and self-important bluster of both the old and new boards of directors.

    Park Ridge is a joke in Floyd County, an example of just the kind of life that most of us moved here to get away from.

  2. So, you have “friends” that live there and that gives you the knowledge to make an “informed” posting??? I think NOT!!

    And, by the way, if your friends live in Park Ridge, then they do have a “dog” in the fight whether they realize it or not… that is unless they do not care about their investment…

  3. If you had been through what we have with all this you would not want your name smeared anymore than it has been already.
    You sound a lot like the old board, unable to take criticism.

  4. Gee whiz. How about boxing gloves, water pistols at 20 paces or an old-fashioned eeney, meeney, miney, moe…

  5. I am a resident of Park Ridge and, no, I will not allow my name to be used because those in power, be them the old board or the new, have a long, established history of retribution and harassment of anyone who does not agree with their narrow points of view.

    The war that rages within our community is a result of opposing sides of control freaks who seek to rule all aspects of the lives of those of us who only wanted to move to the mountains for some peace and tranquility.

    Instead, the opposing groups of little Hitlers have inflicted an incredible toll upon Park Ridge, both financial and emotional, with their inability to behave in an adult manner.

    I would sell my property in a heartbeat but the actions of our so-called leaders, old and new, have robbed us of any return on our investment and turned Park Ridge into a laughingstock among the real estate world.

    As the writer stated, the blame lies with both sides. By taking even the smallest dispute to court, the opposing boards have forever robbed Park Ridge of any chance for tranquility. Shame of all of you for dragging Park Ridge through the mud. Your little minds are now exposed for all to see.

  6. We looked at buying in Park Ridge but our Realtor, who repreented our interests not the Floyd Realtor who was just trying to earn a commission, warned us off by showing us a memo that had been circulated among Realtors about the many problems of the community. It was like reading about something out of Dante’s Inferno. We bought elsewhere.

  7. I’m Connie’s friend and live in Park Ridge and I am here to tell you that it does not do any good to have a “dog” in any of the fights because the board does not give a goddamn about residents of the community or our investments. The board exists to take care of a few friends and no one else. My investment is shot to hell because of the negligence and malfeasance of both boards. Neither have been worth a damn.

  8. Oh, and by the way, our community’s name cannot be “smeared” any worse than it already has been by the stupidity and incompetence of our community association.

  9. I really feel sorry for “Friend”, most of all because they use God’s name amongst other words. You can slam any board you want to, but these words hurt when you slam God! I’m sorry you feel the way you do about the current board because I am on it and it cuts deep knowing someone feels this way about me. I have been the secretary for almost 2 years, stayed up many a nights working on Park Ridge papers, trying my best to do a good job for the benefit of everyone, not a select few! I have not received a penny for anything that I do as the secretary, if so, I would be rich getting $25 an hr. None of the board members are even excepting mileage for attending the meetings and that’s saying a lot for some.
    For those of you that are unhappy, I really feel for you because the day we had our July celebration, that was the most people I have ever seen at Park Ridge at one time and guess what, “everyone was having a lot of fun”!! I recall for several summers about 3-5 years back, no one was coming to Park Ridge because they hated it, now they come and don’t want to leave!!
    You know what folks, I attended a funeral today & plan to go to a wake tonight (no one you would know). What I’m saying is, life is too short, think on this thought! If you were the next to die, what would the last thought of you be in people’s minds??? I’ve been praying for all the people at Park Ridge & plan to continue! Thank you for your time.

  10. I was in the courtroom last week and I didn’t see anybody from Park Ridge, myself included, having any “fun.” Watching my neighbors go at each other like schoolyard bullies is not what I call fun. It is sad, very sad, that our community has come to this. Our community is lost because those with disagreements must find a courtroom to try and settle their differences. Park Ridge is neither a community nor a neighborhood. It is a war zone where nobody wins and everybody loses.

  11. Having endured some of the shouting matches that claim to be meetings of our community association board of directors, I can agree with Judge Frith that we’ve “got a mess” up on our mountain. It is a mess of our own doing and one that we should be solving without having to air our dirty laundry in public. If Park Ridge does not want is name “smeared” then I suggest we stay out of the courts and try to settle our problems ourselves. Every lawsuit, every legal action, every accusation and every day we waste with lawyers just drives our property values down and destroys our community. If we had not been in court last week we would not be having this debate here right now. Whose fault is that? Those who decided to pursue legal action. Both sides. We have met our enemy and our enemy is us.

  12. It is sad to read the comments on this post. So many residents of the community in question are so filled with anger that I can only imagine how it must be to live there. This is truly a neighborhood in turmoil.

  13. Yes I too, have to put my two cents in. I have sat on both boards (the old & the new). I quit the old board and I quit the new board. I have a family that I am trying to raise and it’s impossible to do that in Park Ridge. I have so much more to live for and so much more to worry about than the “stuff” that is going on here. I can only thank God that our house finally sold (almost had to give it away after a year & half on the market). We have purchased a small farm with no neighbors in sight – peace & quite at last – the way Floyd County should be. Yes there is a handful of people in Park Ridge that I will dearly miss but my family comes first.

  14. I’M SORRY THIS LAST PERSON THAT SAYS SHE SERVED ON THE OLD BOARD AND THE NEW BOARD DIDN’T BOTHER TO STATE THAT SHE RECEIVED 2 PLAQUES FROM PEOPLE ON THE NEW BOARD AND OTHERS IN THE PAST FEW YEARS IN APPRECIATION FOR HER SERVICE!!!

  15. I find the last post to be a perfect example of petty sniping.

    Here in Hot Springs, Arkansas (where my husband is temporarily working for a few months) there is a gated community called “Hot Springs Village”. It has this Gestapo mindset, and the same petty squabbles. I like the post earlier that said, “One good thing about gated communities is that it corrals the idiots, and keeps them away from the normal people.”

    Truer words were never spoken.