Commentary: TetraGate Review or Audit

Commentary: TetraGate Review or Audit

There is a bit of a frenzy going on at the Reston Association. The Board and staff are struggling to find the bucks to pay the mortgage and huge rehab cost overruns for the Tetra property, or “Lake House.” Bake sales, car washes, and raffles just don’t seem to add up fast enough for the million or so dollars which could be needed this year alone. The Board members are also scurrying about the follow-up on their promise made at its May 26 meeting to conduct an independent review (may I suggest a more apt term—perhaps audit or investigation) to determine how we got into this mess. That is, how did the RA CEO and then-president arrive at the overpriced “deal” for the property, including calculating a purchase price twice the assessed value for a property with no other buyers in sight. And, who inspected the property and came up with the absurdly low cost estimates for rehabbing it for association occupancy and use?

There are at least two quite different approaches to the process and scope for conducting such review/audit. On the one hand, I hear that Board VP Mike Sanio will suggest to the RA Governance Committee that the Governance Committee itself (up to 6 members of the Board plus the CEO) undertake a general review of the history of the “Lake House.” That is, the review would be performed by the very same people who made the Tetra purchase decision, shaped it for marketing to the community in the referendum, and made or signed off on all the problematic cost estimates. Who is kidding whom? This has little hope for either essential fact-finding or restoring community confidence, much less establishing a path forward in which anyone not among the usual suspects could have confidence.

Restonians deserve a more thorough and genuinely independent review/audit staffed and led by professionals with recognized competence for such work. They should be neither Board members nor RA staff. Furthermore, the scope of work for said review/audit should be published for all to see, and the work team should make periodic reports on progress and issue a final, public report with a recommended course of action to the RA Board.

This is a serious matter involving literally millions of dollars belonging to the 24,000 or so households who make up the Reston community and our Association.

Reston Association owes those who pay the bills a full accounting for what has transpired to date and a far better proposal for the use, management and financing of the property than we have seen to date. In my opinion, there should be an open discussion with the community about a new proposal before another dime is spent on the Tetra Lake House.

For more information on this subject and updates, go to and Also, you may want to check out Reston Recall on Facebook.