Seal Beach Leisure World may be delinquent in paying its property taxes.
Bruce Smith, president of the Golden Rain Foundation, told the Sun on Monday, May 9, that the checks for the 16 “mutuals” that make up Leisure World were made out on April 8 and were due on April 11. The Foundation is a private, non-profit entity.
Smith said the Foundation board has not been able to learn from the Orange County Treasurer’s office if the Foundation owes the county money or not.
Smith also said the county seemed confused about the number of mutuals that owe money.
“We have no idea what’s going on and we won’t until we get notice from the treasurer/tax collector,” Smith said.
Seal Beach Mayor Michael Levitt, who represents part of Leisure World on the City Council, said that to the best of his knowledge, the omission was caused by a clerical error. Levitt is also president of Mutual 4.
“Somebody in accounting screwed up,” he said.
Levitt said he hoped accounting staff learned from the experience.
The Golden Rain Foundation provides accounting services to all of Leisure World’s mutuals, which are essentially homeowners associations.
Mayor Levitt said he first heard about the past due tax payments sometime last week.
Levitt said he had heard two versions of the story: that all the mutuals were past due in paying their property taxes or that 13 of the mutuals were delinquent.
Smith said he had heard that three mutuals were not due to make their tax payments yet.
Dave Lyon, a frequent critic of the Golden Rain Foundation, said the Foundation has management contracts with all 16 mutuals. One of the services the Foundation provides is accounting. Part of the job of the accounting service is to pay property taxes.
“That’s what the uproar’s about,” Lyon said.
Smith said there was no truth to rumors that the Foundation was trying to cover up anything. He said the chief financial officers for all Leisure World mutuals were notified at a treasurer’s group meeting. “I think it was in April,” Smith said. He could not remember the exact date. He said the treasurer’s group meets once a month.
Smith said Foundation board members are all volunteers who are trying to do their best for Leisure World. As for the critics, he said that there are a certain number of people that want to stir up trouble. He did not specify any individual or group.
Elections are coming up in some of Leisure World’s odd-numbered mutuals. It is not yet known if the unpaid property taxes will become an issue.