Fallen Leaf homeowner tells his side

Open Letter,

The Mumford family has owned 440 Fallen Leaf Lake Road for 25 years. In the early years, we participated with a handful of folks to buy one of the first fire trucks and the initial gas tank at the landing. Since that time many safety and services improvements have been made for residents by the hard work of volunteers like yourself.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for volunteering to serve and, more importantly, to lead the CSD. The current actions on the store and marina management contract are the most heated and divisive we have ever experienced at Fallen Leaf Lake. It was pointed out at Saturday’s (Sept. 5) meeting that recent questionnaires and surveys of the community made an almost unanimous directive that the Board should not get involved in the management of the fire station, store, or marina activities, but should hire professionals for those services. Betsy Spurlock, in addition to those in attendance at the recent meetings, showed that there was a clear majority support for the continuation of the Fallen Leaf Landing contract. The minutes show that 71% of recent emails sent to the Board on this matter were in support of renewal of the Fallen Leaf Landing contract as well. I was personally moved by the number of former Board members who made thoughtful comments of support.

When we came up at the end of June, we were sadly surprised to hear of this controversy. As an entrepreneur, I have viewed the store and marina start-up, development, and profitable operation as an American success story, only to be improved through community collaboration. Instead, it appears that we are witnessing a government committee run takeover. In July I applauded (silently) your leadership to respond to the majority of residents and, with the help of Steve Malley, to make changes in the Management Contract that both parties could live with. It seemed like that process was working, until Mike Kraft came back late and introduced a whole new set of conditions, which Fallen Leaf Landing had not received in time to review for Saturday’s meeting. I appreciate Steve Malley reading his letter into the minutes on Saturday, so that we could all understand his frustration with the process and Mike Kraft’s actions to undermine a resolution.

The Board and attending residents then got to hear Mike Kraft enumerate his efforts to develop a viable CSD run scenario that he would be personally responsible for. He stated that an “anonymous” committee had been identified to be responsible for researching and accomplishing all tasks, reporting to him, that he felt were necessary to perform the start-up and operation of the store and marina next year. Because this group was “anonymous,” neither the Board nor the residents were able to feel comfortable that anyone in this group had the required start-up or ongoing management experience to make this CSD/Kraft-run proposal successful. Next, Kraft read a letter from a Foundation of “anonymous”donors with a potential $30-80,000 donation commitment to support Kraft’s proposal. The record, hopefully, shows that the amounts of these donations were highly questionable and some felt that this “anonymous donation offers” amounted to a bribe.

We then watched something I still cannot believe happened. The CSD Board approved your motion, as amended, to have Kraft and another Board member negotiate Kraft’s version of the Management Contract modifications and demands with Fallen Leaf Landing. If in two weeks an agreement is not reached, then the Kraft CSD run proposal will go forward. Fallen Leaf Landing had apparently received the Kraft revision just prior to the meeting, and had no time to review them. No one except certain of the Board members and possibly Steve Malley had read the Kraft revision. I admittedly do not know the Brown Act, which was referred to, but do have over 40 years of corporate law and governance experience in well over 100 companies (ranging from seed start-ups to NYSE), and this takes the conflict of interest and breach of fiduciary duty Gold Medal!

The CSD Board appointed Mike Kraft, who is a member of the Board, and has a fiduciary responsibility to the Board and the residents of Fallen Leaf Lake, to negotiate the Mike Kraft version of the Management Contract with Fallen Leaf Landing. If an agreement (which Mike Kraft has to agree to) cannot be reached in two weeks, then the Mike Kraft Proposal, which he stated he favors and has developed with the “anonymous committee and funding, would be the CSD run approved plan.

This violates every conflict of interest and fiduciary principal I know of, and probably leaves the Board very exposed. As importantly, a CSD-run structure is not consistent with resident member questionnaires, surveys, the advice of prior Board members, and clearly the majority will of the residents in attendance, on petitions and emails.


John B. Mumford, Fallen Leaf Lake resident

Warning from dog owner — rattlesnakes near Caples Lake



To the community,

I was hiking Aug. 19 with five women and four dogs to Margaret Lake. (Margaret Lake is the first trailhead on the right after passing Caples Lake. It’s about 1.5 miles in. Nothing too strenuous — a beautiful hike.)

Halfway back we encountered the largest rattlesnake I have ever seen right off the trail. The consensus is the snake was about 3 inches in diameter. Huge. And about 1 foot off of the trail.

The hike leader ran the dogs past it and yelled back to us about it. We tried to hurry around it, but my dog Bohdi and Judy’s dog Darlin came back to it. They started to fight it and it was striking at the dogs. We were yelling our heads off and they kept fighting it and everything happened so fast.

Then Judy stepped in and grabbed the dogs and pulled them away — stepped right over the snake. We ran up the trail.

Bohdi looked OK, so we went about 60 yards or so up the trail and stopped to try to get our hearts back to normal. While we were discussing the event, Bohdi went back down the trail to fight the snake again.

Of course I was screaming at him at the top of my lungs, but to no avail. He finally came back and sure enough he had been bit right below his nose. He was bleeding. We started back ASAP and he started swelling up.

We were 45 minutes from the trailhead and another 45 minutes from home.

He’s OK now. He did not need the anti-venom, which as of then was not carried by any of the vets in this area. Closest one I was told is Placerville, though I think a place in Carson City carries it at $700 a pop.

Bohdi got antihistamine, pain meds, antibiotics and steroids. We have to keep the bite mark really clean because apparently the skin can die in that area and may have to be cut out.

Judy’s dog immediately had an eye that was closed shut. Darlin’ eventually lost her eye.

Had the snake put venom in them, they probably would not have made it all the way back. A doctor happened to be at the trailhead with Benadryl, which helped both dogs quite a bit.

So, if you are hiking, apparently we have rattlers in the area that we did not know about. This was the first time these ladies had heard about rattlesnakes here and they hike like 50,000 miles a year.

Lori Tupaj, South Lake Tahoe