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Greg Thompson, Published October 09 2012

Letter: Critic of Goldmark, Rick Berg comes up short on facts, truth

In response to the letter published in The Forum on Oct. 4:

The letter was submitted by Lynda Berger regarding Rick Berg’s involvement in a Grand Forks housing matter for Goldmark Property Management.

I am the attorney Berger references in her letter, and have been Goldmark Property Management’s attorney since early 1983, which was three years prior to the time that Berg sold his interest in that company. I do recall the situation mentioned by Berger, but her recollection of the facts is mostly wrong, and the letters in my file confirm this.

One year prior to Berger’s involvement, Goldmark had discussions with the Grand Forks Housing Authority where Goldmark was attempting to assist those with housing vouchers to qualify for an apartment unit. That was necessary because in some cases the voucher amount presented by the applicant was less than the market rent for the apartment. One way around the issue was to reduce the rent for the unit, and then have a separate lease for the garage. This arrangement allowed more people to qualify for housing at that time.

Contrary to Berger’s suggestion, there was never any attempt to charge extra to the applicant, and in fact, the policy was enacted by Goldmark to allow more people to qualify for housing, all with the consent of the housing authority. When Berger got involved in 2002, it was made known to Goldmark that the practice had to stop because the separate garage lease was a violation of the voucher program. As a result, the policy was changed and the matter was resolved, which probably allowed fewer people to qualify for apartments.

Contrary also to Berger’s letter, at no time did she meet with either myself or Berg. I exchanged correspondence with Berger, but at no time did I meet with her, and certainly Berg was not involved since he had no ownership interest in Goldmark Property Management. I’m sure she doesn’t remember who she met with from Goldmark since it has been 10 years, but to suggest that Berg was involved or that Goldmark was somehow trying to skirt housing regulations is a misstatement of the truth.

Thompson is a Fargo attorney.