Town meeting focuses on local trailer park

Joe Ruland, regional manager for Evergreen Estates mobile home park in Ansonia, speaks to the audience during a meeting with town council and residents of the park. Also shown is Mayor Ted Adkins. (Linda Moody photo)

ANSONIA–Joe Ruland, who is the regional manager of Evergreen Estates LLC, traveled 3 1/2 hours to Ansonia to speak with the mayor, village council, and residents of the local mobile home park this past Thursday evening.

At that meeting, numerous allegations were made of the manager, who lives in the park herself.

Residents there aired their opinions about the goings-on at the park, which has more owners than renters.

One person claimed she was pretty much a tyrant at the court, even after they offered her their help.

Others said there were threats of evictions from her toward them.

Another trailer owner claimed that the manager had shown her private information that she had on a computer to others in the park, neglecting confidentiality.

It was also noted that two trailers (lots 35 and 36) need to be taken care of as one of them was “full of crap,” and one was left with numerous cats in it.

“When I got in town at 2 o’clock. I drove through the park and didn’t look bad,” Ruland commented.

That is when Councilwoman Crystal Gibbs remarked, “That’s because we cleaned it up.”

Kris Riffell, in the foreground, accepted the managerial position of the mobile home park in Ansonia during a meeting of residents, the town council, and a representative from the owners. (Linda Moody photo)

That was done twice, the first time this past July and another one a week or two later. She and Kris Riffell, who first alerted townspeople to what was going on, spearheaded a cleanup committee who worked long hours on various properties at the park and around town.

“I can’t explain anything for her because she’s not here,” Ruland said.
He also asked, “Were any of these problems from the last owner?”

Quite a number of “nos” came from the audience.

Then Ryland remarked, “Since all of you are here, who wants to be manager of the park?”

It was then that Rick Kremer, a local businessman, spoke up, “I want to buy it,” to which Ruland responded, “We’ll talk later.”

“I’m representing you guys,” Ruland told the residents of the mobile home park. “I will speak to the higher-ups.”

Additional allegations were that the manager promised those who purchased trailers for $500 that they would get two months free rent, and, for many, she had not fulfilled that.

“If evicted, you cannot come back in the park,” he informed one of the men in the back of the room who spoke and admitted he was evicted.

One lady reported that she was living in a trailer there when it was someone’s idea to make the manager her power of attorney.

“I moved in with her (the manager) and stayed for a couple of months after leaving a nursing home,” she said. “The only thing she paid for me was my rent. I decided to go back to my trailer.”

“That’s between you and her,” Ruland told the woman. “I will talk to you in private.”

A new resident of the park alleged that the manager offered him a job, but he didn’t accept the offer.

“I try to mind my own business,” he told the audience.

That’s when Ruland said, “The manager does not hire anybody.”

Another man then spoke and said he has been threatened with eviction. “My bills and rent are paid up,” he said. “She refused me a major repair, and all my outlets in the trailer are fire hazards.”

“We’re not getting anywhere,” said Councilwoman Gibbs. “We need to get something done. She can’t manage, apparently.”

Another woman, who owns two of the trailers but does not live there, was in attendance has had some issues with management and stated, “She told me that she can’t get in trouble because you (Joe) like  her.”

That’s when Joe sat his paper and pencil down on the table and shook his head.

He also asked the residents if the things the manager told him were true. He revealed them, and most of them were not true, according to them.

The manager is alleged to have told one of the residents that when an issue came up, he wasn’t to talk to his mother, who lives in another trailer.

Ruland was asked if people were allowed to sell their own homes.

“If you own the trailer, you can do that, but it has to be approved by the park,” he replied.

He finally stated, “She is fired.”

Ruland then went on to say he needs someone young to do maintenance with knowledge and some experience up to $20 an hour.

And, then he asked Riffell if he would be interested in the manager’s position. He obliged.

“Give your complaints to Kris so I can get them repaired,” Ruland said. “Please call when you have problems. This will happen immediately.”

Afterward, this is what Riffell had to say: “I just want this to be known that our intention was not to run somebody out of their job. From the beginning, we were just trying to make a point of a job not being done. After that, she has had plenty of opportunities to make things better. We love our town and our community. All we ever want is to make sure others see the beauty in our town like we all do, and that can’t be done when a big section is not being taken care of. We are really excited to be given an opportunity to try to make a difference. We know our community has potential and is a home to many good people. We know to some a trailer park may not be much, but it is our homes. We want to help them make the areas around their homes to look better and help them love their community like we do.”