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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

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possible conflict of interestFeb 12, 2021

My next door neighbor, who happens to be Board president and involved in my vetting subtenants sent me the following email today:

"It would be a good time to close the books, in advance on your move, on the loan that I made to you for the new fence five or six years ago. If you could settle this up as soon as possible so that there aren't any outstanding issues before we begin arrangements for new tenants.

As you may recall, the amount outstanding, after .....".

It is true that she paid for the building a new fence between our yards with the arrangement that I would repay her a certain amount each month. I only made a few of those payments. She has never said a thing about it in all the years since.

I am OK with coming up with a payment plan and repaying her. However I object to the implication that the repayment of this personal loan has anything to do with "beginning arrangements for my new tenants". This seems to be conflict of interest in terms using her capacity and clout as Board president to satisfy a personal arrangement that should be dealt with outside of the board structure.

Can you please advise me on how I best handle the issue without being coerced in this way?

Thank you!

Join the Conversation Comments (2)
Possible conflict of interest - Marty Feb 13, 2021

When I read this, I immediately thought what would happen if I saw this situation on an episode of Judge Judy.

There is no conflict of interest here. She lent you money and you never paid her back. That's the only relevant issue. You owe her money. Perhaps you felt embarrassed or guilty by no longer repaying your debt. I get that, but it doesn't absolve you of your debt.

Even though "She has never said a thing about it in all the years since" - you still owe her the money. She has not forgotten. Would you forget? I don't think so. She probably stopped saying anything because every time she did so in the past you never paid her back. She likely felt as if she was talking to a wall.

You acknowledge that the money was a loan. You made a few payments and stopped for whatever reason. And apparently you stopped a long time ago, like 4 or 5 years ago. Maybe there was a legitimate reason (lost your job, family illness, etc) that you stopped paying. If so, then you should have told the woman what's happening. If you did that, most people will work you because you're being upfront. But, you didn't. So you've defaulted on a loan. That's the bottom line.

You're telling us how YOU feel in this situation. How do you think SHE feels? How would you feel if someone owed you money, promised to repay it, made a few token payments and then stopped paying the debt completely years ago? Wouldn't you be angry and frustrated? I guarantee you that's exactly how she feels, especially now that you've told her that you plan to move.

I'm guessing that she mentioned the part about "in advance of your move" because she figured that if you move, she'll never get the money that you owe her. So she threw that phrase in there as one last gentle reminder that you owe her money.

I'd say your neighbor has been extremely patient for years dealing with a deadbeat. Sorry to use that term, but that's what you are.

Instead of complaining how you're a victim of a conflict of interest, go have an honest talk with your neighbor. She deserves to know why you stopped making payments. If you do, there's a chance she might work with you.

If you don't, she is well within her rights to take you to court and sue you for the balance of the loan. No one wants that, so avoid that scenario by swallowing your pride and having that honest discussion that's years overdue.

As this forum's well-learned Steven424 likes to say, I'm not an attorney so take my advice based on what you paid for it.

Good luck.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)
Possible conflict of interest - Marty Feb 13, 2021

One last thing. If she takes you to court and sues you for the loan balance, she will win and you will lose. Please keep that in mind.

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Habitat Homes - Tom Feb 13, 2021

But what would you expect if Staff meetings are held in Bars, and Staff members children's pictures are posted in front of Bars for happy Hour events?
The CEO had her girls sell Girl Scout Cookies in the Restore Lobby, no one else was allowed to do that. The Asst. Manager bought hot dogs all the time but was let go. The Restore video poster child has multiple convictions. They do not post their death count or injuries. They stood with 10 feet of a young girl from Germany as her hand was crushed in the lift gate of the truck. I never let get hurt. But I quit after being asked to drive in "Snow Emergency Conditions"-operate an illegal fork lift (they run it past toddlers on the store aisles)-they had a leaking fuel line in one truck and the other's Registration and Inspection was expired-they allowed employees to steal and rewarded them-price tags were changed all the time and items put into vehicles with out a sale-2 Dead, many more severe injuries, never reported-Manager while screaming pounded his fist against the nearest surface and had that wrapped up a while-he had Staff and Volunteers RUN dragging 4 by 8 plywood and ran over a Staff members foot with a blue cart breaking his toe.....So I advise you to write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper because these Habitat "Franchises" are just fronts for $85,000.00/yr plus salaried CEO's who spend more time in Happy Hours some days then they do in the Office.

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