Important Statement to Tracey Grimshaw, A Current Affair Production Team, & National Nine Network Legal Affairs Department, Regarding Stephen Snowden & Berkeley Living Serviced Strata Apartment Development, Monday 18th September 2017
Allegations raised in recent articles in The Age and Fairfax media and directed at Stephen Snowden by an A Current Affair camera crew last Friday in Melbourne in relation to the entitlements of so-called ‘Departed Resident’ families, and other matters including conditions, care and staffing at Berkeley Living serviced village apartments, and to Mr Snowden, are factually wrong, incorrect and defamatory.
For the purposes of providing a fair, balanced and accurate account of issues pertaining to the above matters in a story proposed to be screened by the Nine Network this (Monday) evening on the A Current Affair program, Stephen Snowden states that:
1) Berkeley Living and Stephen Snowden comply with industry standards and regulations in relation to strata serviced apartment units and management of retirement villages
2) Berkeley and Stephen Snowden continue to meet Consumer Affairs regulations and licence conditions as required and monitored by relevant regulatory bodies
3) Staff are paid above award wages. The story of the cook not being paid is false and a bank reconciliation demonstrates that she has in fact been paid in advance. Further 3 of the 4 full time care staff and their partners are residing at Berkeley Living, with no rent, utilities or other expenses being paid.
4) Staff-to-resident ratios exceed industry standards.
5) The claims made to media and other 3rd parties of staff stopping work are also false. When this claim came to light, Mr Snowden and Berkeley arranged for independent nursing and care staff to attend the village to ensure the residents had quality of care. The independent staff have reported to the police that upon attempting to enter the facility they were abused, harassed and threatened by the staff. The police were called by Mr Snowden and a police statement will confirm that they were advised that the staff were there and looking after the residents and the allegation of them stopping work was false.
6) Resident units have been provided with all food and other supplies as agreed. Once again a bank reconciliation and receipts clearly show good amounts of food and supplies have been provided. Any payments by staff for food, are only a result of petty cash advances for them to purchase the food as part of their job and responsibilities. When rumours of lack of food surfaced, Mr Snowden became involved in his capacity as a consultant for the operations of the facility and in conjunction with an independent party, made the food purchases and deliveries directly.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE:
- Berkeley Living has previously been through liquidation by Westpac and financial problems at Berkeley Living were inherited by Berkeley and Mr Snowden from the previous administration and were not caused by Mr Snowden.
- Mr Snowden is trying to work through the difficult financial situation he has inherited while complying with industry regulations and keeping the strata service-styled village units in operation and to support residents.
- The Berkeley Village is a retirement centre comprising serviced strata units.
- Berkeley is not an aged care home or nursing home.
- The Strata Title Owners are legally liable for the monies owed by ‘Departed Relatives.’ Mr Snowden is not liable for these debts.
- Berkeley Property Management (BPM) and Mr Snowden became involved in 2009 and has attempted to rescue the Retirement Village, when it became apparent that the proprietor at the time, Zac Andrejic, was not paying current and past debts owed. This was done in conjunction with all of the residents and families, along with the departed residents family members. Once again this is all documented and clearly demonstrates the fact that the allegations are completely false.
STRATA OWNERS LIABLE FOR DEBTS OWED
- Under the statutory Retirement Villages Charge which was in place prior to the subsequent creation of Berkeley Living Strata Title lots, the Strata Title Owners of each of the apartments are jointly liable for the monies owed to the Residents and indemnify Berkeley, as per the legislation signed agreements and court orders.
- These owners are also in significant arrears with Owners Corporation Fees and Council Rates etc.
- Mr Snowden admits to a fraud conviction in the past which did not involve Berkeley Living.
- Mr Snowden says he has learnt from past mistakes made in areas that do not relate to his role with Berkeley Living.