Resident: complaints made him a target

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:28

    DINGMAN - A Lake Adventure resident says his reporting of a community maintenance worker’s discarding of stamped pieces of mail made him a target for retaliation by the community board. In an August 31, hand-delivered letter to the Courier, Lake Adventure resident Ric Underhill charged that he saw a community association maintenance worker open locked mailboxes in January and discard stamped mail. Underhill said his reporting the incident to Milford Postmaster Henry Radcliff brought on two separate garbage dumping citations from the association, which carried $560 in fines and more recently, the disconnection of Underhill’s utilities at the trailer park. Underhill wrote that the dumping citations were completely “trumped-up charges,” based on incidents when he was at work more than 100 miles away. He claimed mail stolen from his mailbox was used as evidence of his supposed garbage dumping. Lake Adventure Property Manager Gary Stevens said that Underhill was properly cited on two occasions for leaving his garbage by the community mailboxes. Stevens said that Underhill was not off the property at the time of incidents as he claimed and that Underhill was identified as the culprit by the mail found in his trash. Stevens said Underhill has not complained to the association about the theft of his own mail. Regarding the January incident, Stevens said that Lake Adventure clears out the mail from community owned boxes after residents turn in their keys and quit the property. Lock are then changed. Fliers and obvious junk mail are discarded, but the rest is returned to the post office. “All of his allegations are false. He’s got a problem,” Stevens said of Underhill. Postmaster Radcliff said despite Underhill’s complaint, he has no access to the community owned mailboxes. “I can’t prove anything ... I don’t know what goes on there. I told him that if he was concerned about the security of the mail, he should get a box at the post office.” Radcliff, who has been Milford’s postmaster for the past two years, says Lake Adventure’s privately owned boxes have been managed the same way for the past 30 years. “They have keys to purge the mail. They’ve done it in past. Who’s to say what happens? I don’t get paid to be there to watch,” he said. Radcliff said Underhill’s description of seeing “stamped mail,” tossed out did not necessarily mean he saw first class mail, as other mail also carries stamps. Radcliff said he did contact Lake Adventure management following Underhill’s complaint. “I told them, it’s not their job to throw away mail. Fliers, okay, but it’s their job to return first class mail. “I’ve instructed them that they’re to return all mail from now on. Return it all and we’ll throw it away,” he said. Radcliff said the part-time residential community hasn’t closed for the season yet. But when it does, “I’ll anticipate seeing the mail in my hand. If nothing is returned, I’ll go and ask them to hand it to me.”