NorthIowaToday.com contacted the manager at Gracious Estates to find out more details about the events that have led to a court petition that was filed Friday in District Court.|NorthIowaToday.com contacted the manager at Gracious Estates, Melissa Noland, to ask about the events that have led up to a court petition that was filed in Cerro Gordo District Court on Friday, January 7th.
The petition, filed in Cerro Gordo District Court by the Mason City Human Rights Commission, alleges Noland and park owner Ken Brenton discriminated against residents with disabilities or due to their familial status.
Noland told NorthIowaToday.com “I haven’t heard about that or seen that at all. Will a Sheriff deliver that?”
Noland said no discrimination has taken place at Gracious Estates. “We are just running a business here, and try to be good to all the residents.”
NorthIowaToday.com received several calls from Gracious Estates residents in support of Noland.
Diana Carriveau, who lives at Lot #73, told NorthIowaToday.com “I moved in May 1st, am handicapped, and have never been mis-treated. Melissa is very helpful, she even cut my grass.”
Kim Moffett, of Lot #53, also called NorthIowaToday.com and said Noland is a good manager and treats all the residents with respect.
Meanwhile, Gemini Joyce, a resident mentioned in the court petition was served eviction papers the same day that the court petition was filed. Joyce received an eviction notice on Friday afternoon, January 7th. The court petition filed the same day in Cerro Gordo District Court seeks to halt evictions temporarily at Gracious Estates.
Jane Mikkelson of Lot #66 called as well and said “Melissa is a very good manager. She is not discriminating. She has made several payment plan workouts with residents, including Gemini Joyce, who were behind on rent.”
In addition to the discrimination allegations, the petition is seeking a flat rate of $30 on all water bills for Gracious Estates residents and suspension of all termination proceedings (evictions).
Many Gracious Estates residents have been fighting against higher water costs at the mobile home park ever since water meters were installed on homes there.
According to Noland, the owner was losing a lot of money on water costs and the meters have made the water charges more fair. “We put on the water meters due to the high cost of water we had here. We got one bill for over $13,000 for just one month. The meters help us charge them by usage instead of a flat fee. The meters help residents be mindful of their water usage, like everyone else in the city has to be.”
Noland says the flat monthly water fee was not working because residents could use as much water as they wanted and still pay only a flat monthly rate. She says the rates were $30 for two residents in a home, $35 for three people, and $40 for four or more people. She said the water costs were so high that Gracious Estates had to work out a payment plan at City Hall. Noland also says no profit is made from water charges to residents. “None whatsoever,” she said.
NorthIowaToday.com will continue to follow this developing story.