The community manager at the Grand Oasis manufactured home community, 400 N. 500 West, has been fired after distributing a profane and rambling letter to residents.
Community manager Mel Sando sent an undated, three page letter recently that surprised even the people who have lived in the community for a decade or more.
“I was really surprised that his language was so outrageous,” resident Melody Pace said. “He kept referring to us as ‘you people.’ This park has a wide array of people, and we’re not the same by any means. I’m 69 and this is my little home.”
Among the statements Sando wrote in the letter was, “I am not a psychologist, a cop, or a vigilante, and I sure as [expletive] am not going to run a Daycare for Dysfunctional Adults.”
Sando went on to describe what issues he has noticed in the community, such as barking dogs and dog excrement, and wrote, “What the [expletive] is wrong with you?”
Pace said there are a lot of retired people who live in the community.
“Everyone really feels it is coming to a head,” she said. “No one really trusts the management. They feel it will be, you know, close the swimming pool, shut down the fitness center — little by little, they will be forced out — water and garbage rates go up. There are an awful lot of people in here on fixed incomes.”
Pace said that California-based Inspire Communities, the company that owns Grand Oasis, sent a “swift” apology letter following Sando’s letter.
The apology letter was sent on July 23 and signed by Alicia Owen, the company’s regional manager. The letter said Sando had sent his letter without the management’s knowledge or approval.
“Inspire does not condone the tone, the language nor the message that was presented in this (Sando’s) letter,” Owen wrote. “I would like to personally apologize for this letter and assure you this is not the way we speak to any of our residents … At this time, Mel Sando is no longer working with the company and we have begun our search for a qualified replacement.”
“I was very pleased with the management’s immediate response,” Pace said.
Dan Clapshaw said he has lived at Grand Oasis for 11 years. He said Sando’s letter had some “good points, like taking care of your dogs.”
“But it’s the way that he said things and the language that used that most of us didn’t like,” Clapshaw said. “I was a little bit angry, definitely surprised … it was his attitude toward us — he seemed like he was talking down to most of us.”
But around the corner, 13-year resident Kataleena Mastin said she wasn’t surprised by the nature of the letter.
“I’ve met the (Sando),” she said. “I wasn’t surprised at all.”
Mastin said the letter was “very harsh” toward specific residents of Grand Oasis.
“I think that he did take it way too far. He could have been more proper about it, less cussing. It wasn’t necessary to call out specific homes in a letter. He could have done different letters to the specific homes and be like, ‘Hey, can you work on this?’” she said.
Down the street from Mastin’s home, a resident shared a different perspective: “I thought the letter was great,” the man said, but he was not willing to share his name.
Debbie Yoakum agreed. She said she moved to Grand Oasis about two months ago, and has had issues with unfriendly dogs running loose through her yard.
“The letter was great. No one in my family was offended by the letter,” she said. “It left out quite a few things that also go on in this park … hopefully those who are implicated in the letter aren’t offended, and those who are implicated in the letter will take it to heart.”
The letter was posted on social media in a community discussion group. There, it began to receive hundreds of concerned comments.
Among those who made comments was Sherilyn Sowell, a Grand Oasis resident and the director of the Family Support Center. She wrote that her address was one of the many to be directly referenced in the letter.
“He put all of us into one basket as trouble makers…dysfunctional adults,” Sowell wrote in response. “I’ve never been so humiliated … I’ve never met the man (Sando) … and yet he has pegged me for a horrible dog owner and renter. I would have (gone) and talked to him, but to be perfectly honest, I’m afraid of him after this letter. And I don’t scare easy.”
Residents speak out; Manager fired by corporate office
“Inspire does not condone the tone, the language nor the message that was presented in this letter.”