Companies sometimes do dumb things. The smart ones realize that they have made a mistake and then try to make amends.
And then there is builder, developer and property manager JC Hart.
In late October, Brian Hafer died. That's him with his family in the photo. He lived in an apartment with his wife Krystal Ventro Hafer and the couple's 16-month old daughter. The apartment is in Miamisburg, Ohio (near Dayton) in a community called Austin Springs. Austin Springs is owned by JC Hart.
On December 15, JC Hart had its maintenance people throw away everything left in Ms. Hafer's apartment including pictures of her husband and other irreplaceable things. The apartment had been vacant for more than 45 days and apparently JC Hart had had enough, even though they told Ms. Hafer she could "take all the time she needed."
Krystal took her story where lots of people take their stories these days, to Facebook. It was a way to get support from her friends and friends of friends (I came across this story from my friend, journalist David Waters, who is a friend of Krystal). As Christmas approached, the story began to gather the attention of local television stations. In addition to responding to local media requests, JC Hart posted its statement on Krystal's Facebook page.
The company has its own Facebook Page. The statement is not posted there. The company's homepage is hosted on a Blogspot domain. They didn't post it to their blog. Something like that doesn't happen by accident.
I understand that companies want to defend their actions; I encourage clients to get their message out. But, posting the statement on Ms. Hafer's Facebook page is simply vindictive. JC Hart seems pissed that it's getting negative attention so they lashed out at a widow. Lashed out after they threw out all her stuff because she didn't move out fast enough.
Anyone wondering the appropriate length of time to grieve the loss of a spouse need only consult with the JC Hart version of Schneider from One Day at a Time.
The statement is an amateur's delight. There's the poor attempt at compassion ("We apologize for the distress this has caused anyone"). Anyone? They don't need to apologize to anyone, they need to apologize to Ms. Hafer.
How about the lame statement of focus (JC Hart is focused on treating all residents with respect). Of course they are, right up until they toss all their stuff in the dumpster.
Finally, the useless boilerplate ("...and takes pride in providing a premier rental community in the Dayton area"). That's great, because I wouldn't want just any landlord to throw away my priceless things. I want the folks at Dayton's premier rental community to do that.
JC Hart says they "stand behind our actions." Whatever.
Maybe that will be of some comfort when Ms. Hafer has to explain to her daughter why there are so few pictures of her father.