A brand new allegation towards Potter’s Area Ministries founders Mike and Pam Rozell has surfaced from the homeowners of a Whitefish space ranch who declare the ministry leaders operated in unhealthy religion and didn’t make lease funds on the ranch property.
“They have been the reason for our monetary wreck,” mentioned Amy Ericksen, who rented the property generally known as Potter’s Area Ranch—previously the Whitefish Equestrian Heart—to the Rozells from June 2018 to July 2019 when the ministry instantly closed. amid allegations of abuse towards interns.
“We suffered financially from their shenanigans and we nonetheless are struggling to this present day.”
Ericksen and her husband Kirk, who opened Residence Consign and Design in Whitefish in November 2019, personal a 40-acre property on Twin Bridges Street that features a three-bedroom house and horse stables. The Ericksens beforehand operated a horse boarding facility and pony camps for youngsters on the website.
In June 2018, Ericksen mentioned she was approached by the Rozells to hire the ranch to Potter’s Area Ministries for its ministry actions. The Ericksens and the Rozells entered into two separate agreements on the time—a lease to the Rozells to hire out the property for as much as two years at $6,000 in month-to-month hire, and an option-to-purchase settlement giving the Rozells the choice to purchase the ranch outright on the finish of the two-year interval.
In July 2019, when allegations towards the ministry started circulating publicly, the Rozells abruptly terminated their lease with practically a yr left on the settlement and declined their choice to buy the property. Rob McCoy, who had been introduced in from Thousand Oaks, California, to supervise the ministry on the time, agreed to pay 4 months out of the excellent 12 months hire—leaving the Ericksens with $24,000 and nothing additional.
Ericksen mentioned she felt blindsided by the sudden resolution to dissolve each agreements and strong-armed into shortly renegotiating with the Rozells to attempt to recoup as a lot cash as they may from the nullified contracts.
“It was actually, actually disappointing and discouraging,” she mentioned.
Ericksen and her husband consider they have been denied funds they have been due—together with the anticipated $2.5 million to finally promote the property and 1000’s of in unpaid property taxes the Rozells refused to cowl.
SHARON DIMURO, the Rozells’ legal professional, maintains the Potter’s Area management did nothing unlawful by renegotiating the ranch property contracts. She mentioned she believes the ranch homeowners have been merely victimized by their very own unhealthy enterprise dealings and now wish to attempt to extort the Rozells for more cash than they’re due.
“We had no (sic) obligation to pay something additional upon termination of the lease,” DiMuro wrote in an e-mail to the Inter Lake. “…however Rob McCoy was being sympathetic and so he agreed to an extra 4 months of funds ($24,000) BEYOND our use and possession of the property.
“As a result of they’d not been managing their funds properly, they have been in monetary misery (money circulation poor) and needed PFR to pay extra,” DiMuro added. “We respectfully declined.”
She pointed to the unique option-to-purchase doc, which supplies the lessee the choice to buy the property on the finish of two years or “terminate the lease, vacate the property and abandon any choice to buy.”
She additionally mentioned, based mostly on the settlement to terminate the lease and unique choice to buy, signed by Rob McCoy and the Ericksens on July 31, 2019, “we’ve happy the obligations below the Settlement to Terminate the Lease and Optionally available Buy Settlement (which canceled out ALL the unique Lease and Buy Choice phrases).”
BUT ERICKSEN mentioned the disagreement is extra difficult than it’d seem on paper. Regardless that the unique choice to buy settlement contains the chance the lessee wouldn’t buy the property on the finish of the two-year interval, Ericksen mentioned her understanding was all the time that the Rozells would finally purchase the ranch from her on the finish of the lease time period.
“I solely would lease if it was connected to a buy-sell [agreement],” she defined. “Their intent was to buy the property, interval.”
She added the Rozells paid her an undisclosed down fee in June 2018, which indicated to her they have been intent on shopping for the property, fairly than simply renting it. Ericksen additionally gave the ministry members full entry to a few quarter-million ’ value of farm tools on the ranch below the expectation they’d finally purchase it from her, which she mentioned she wouldn’t have allowed from a renter.
“That’s the one motive we signed the lease up-front,” Ericksen mentioned. “In my thoughts we had bought it.”
She mentioned the dissolution of the sale, in addition to the losses of eight months’ hire and $four,000 in unpaid property taxes, “had a horrific ripple impact on us.
“Not having that earnings, I can’t even inform you what it did to us,” she mentioned, tearing up.
When the ministry got here below hearth for widespread abuse allegations, Ericksen mentioned she was approached by Rob McCoy, who instructed her the ministry was shutting down, they have been promoting all of their properties and there was no cash left to pay her. In 24 hours, and following a police raid on the ranch to test on the Potter’s Area interns, Ericksen swiftly drew up the paperwork to terminate the lease, hoping to keep away from any potential legal responsibility for wrongdoing that may have occurred on the ranch property and to get better any amount of cash doable from her supposedly financially strapped lessee.
THERE WAS additionally a cloud on the title for the ranch that prevented the Ericksens from promoting it to anybody however Potter’s Area Ministries with out dissolving their authentic agreements. Ericksen mentioned this was a significant factor that drove her to attempt to strike the quickest deal doable to separate herself from the controversial ministry officers.
However she mentioned she was disillusioned when she later discovered the Rozells had information of potential points in January 2019, however didn’t attempt to renegotiate together with her till the tip of July. She mentioned she discovered Pam Rozell saved the information of abuse allegations below wraps for months.
“I actually want they’d instructed us once they knew in January,” Ericksen acknowledged. “From January to July is a really very long time to maintain shifting ahead in a downward spiral.”
She mentioned she felt the delayed info put her in a troublesome place to shortly attempt to regroup, and her reference to the Rozells on the time when abuse allegations emerged has damage her personal repute.
“I don’t need anyone to assume we’re a part of them,” Ericksen insisted, however she mentioned she’s obtained damaging suggestions at her house consignment retailer as a result of some clients assume she is complicit in Potter’s Area Ministries’ alleged mistreatment of interns.
Due to the black cloud across the ministry’s identify, Ericksen mentioned she determined to cease attempting to promote the ranch property till she will be able to construct up her personal repute. She and her household at the moment are shifting into the ranch property and reopening it as Whitefish Equestrian Heart. They hope to begin a horse boarding cooperative and construct group relations for the subsequent few years earlier than placing the ranch again in the marketplace.
Reporter Bret Anne Serbin could also be reached at (406)-758-4459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.