Revenge of the insiders
Started: Just after midnight June 30th, 2018
Status: We are still locked out
Old school skulduggery
After weeks of negotiations with the City of Mesa for a new lease, and manoeuvring to prevent our equipment from being permanently stolen by ACTRA. The City of Mesa's attorney, Jim Smith, ordered the AZLabs facility to continue the lockout. The ACTRA lockout was 60 days, this new lockout is on top of the original lockout.
The stated reason for this lockout was to "take inventory". Yes, sadly the same reason ACTRA gave, and really unoriginal. The City of Mesa has no right to "take inventory" of our equipment. ACTRA sent a letter clearly indicating they did not contest our ownership of the equipment. This means there is no dispute over ownership of the equipment itself. One may conclude that no inventory assessment was necessary.
If there is no need to "take inventory", why then has the City of Mesa exceeded their authority and taken our equipment hostage?
We were locked out, so we had no ability to remove our equipment. The City of Mesa has sent us no notifications, and are refusing to even communicate with us. One can only conclude they are sending a serious message. Don't worry, we hear you. We acknowledge your betrayal. Let this be a warning to anyone doing business with Mesa, AZ, they are filled with mixed messages and infighting. The net effect is further harm our organization. All we did was help Mesa generate massive wealth in a formerly dead facility.
How did we try to resolve this new lockout?
We sent the City of Mesa a letter indicating our desire to remove the equipment from the property. We had no active lease, therefore we wanted to remove our equipment.
We had a verbal agreement to have a new lease in place by July 1, 2018. However when that failed to materialize, we made arrangements, including leasing storage space, to hold our equipment while we executed a new lease somewhere else. We had scheduled volunteers, a truck, a trailer, and a plan to remove our equipment as quickly as possible. the only problem, the City of Mesa denied us access.
As of July 18, 2018, their attorneys are jerking us around. Playing games. We engaged our attorney since they want to play.
- Under what authority does the City of Mesa justify the theft of our equipment, intellectual property, and personal effects?
- Why did the City of Mesa negotiate in bad faith? Even going so far as to offer expansion of our footprint before they changed course, locked us out again, and are refusing to even communicate.
- Why would the City of Mesa ask us to never leave when it is clear by their actions they want us gone?
- Why was no notice sent of the continuation of the lockout?
- Why does the lockout continue without any explanation?
- Why does the City of Mesa seek to destroy a non-profit, 501c3, operating within its borders?
- Who else is behind the continued lockout?
Update Dec. 5th, 2018: It would seem that Mesa will now be allowing us to remove only some of our equipment. We will only be allowed to remove equipment without actra tags. As we know from our tagging visit, Terra Verde's staff placed new actra tags on our newer equipment. Of course, we have photos.
We are not yet allowed to remove our stuff, there will be some odd procedure where they will be "taking inventory" or everything we that we are allowed remove. Nothing formal yet, but it did not escape our notice that the deadline for a formal "notice of claim" looms. This seems to be a manoeuvre to disrupt our filing a formal notice of claim. Not to worry. When allowed, we will remove our stuff. The notice of claim will also be filed.
Update: Dec. 31, 2018: The City of Mesa did their very best to cause us to miss the deadline for filing a Notice of Claim. We filed more than 8 so far and there are many to come. Yes, they are forcing us to sue them to get them to return our property and the property of our volunteers.
Update: August 4th, 2019: More than a year after the Lockout, the City of Mesa no longer responds to email. None of our equipment has been returned. They have refused to work with third parties. There is no dialogue. No prospects. Simple theft. Apparently they are planning to use our equipment to start their own cyber range. Yes, you heard that right.