Editor: on April 11th, we ran a piece on the re-newed efforts to sell the old building that once held the Children’s Energy Center on Santa Monica Avenue.
The Center was run by Chris Yule for 26 years as its director and a teacher. Thomas Funke had owned it for decades, and then rather abruptly sold it to Mark Winkler, a local realtor. Winkler, in turn, unceremoniously turned out the children, and Chris Yule was fired without any pension or severance compensation. It appears all this was done to make a quick buck. But the market tanked, and the place never sold. Now, it’s back on the market, three years after the Center’s closure. A close friend of Chris Yule approached us with a rant for her, and follows.
Pat James of the James Gang, was there the day the Center closed, May 5th, 2006, and the photos are his with his approval. Even Larry Himmel showed up the last day to do a piece. There had been some effort by the community to save the school and to prevent the four large condos approved for the site. But not all stories end happily in our little village by the sea.
Chris Yule is far too modest.
My family has known Chris for years, she is my closest friend.
She begged both Funke and Winkler to keep the school open.
At the time of its closing, less than $3,000.00 in repairs would have kept the school open. The school was refurbished long AFTER its closure. My guess is Winkler needed to cover that mortgage any way possible. Why no comments from Winkler? Too many rocks to look under!
As for Chris? Her story is a down right shame.
Funke pulled every last dime out of that school for himself and his future real estate endeavors. He left Chris with nothing, no severance pay, back vacation pay, nothing.
Chris is too proud to say that she is living on nothing but her deceased husbands Social Security of less than $800.00 a month.
She even found time to help get a new landscape sprinkler system donated to the OB Fire Department. Did any of them show up in defense of the Energy Center on its final day…nope.
If there is a hell, Funke will be the usher.
Not all stories end happily in our little village by the sea.