I’m sorry. We weren’t so lucky after all.

I have to take back what I said about the restaurant. I can’t recommend any one of the three bidders.

The process being used was so flawed that it virtually guarantees the same failures as SCA earned in the past.

To use an SNL metaphor, trusting the GM to get this right is like trusting Stevie Wonder to do my grandson’s bris.

Doing the wrong job really well so the right job can’t be done right

There’s no point in even giving you a summary of Tom Nissen’s and Forrest Quinn’s reports – even though they tried really, really hard, and they did a lot of fine work. It was just the wrong job, and doing it that way hijacked their job as Board members.

And worse, by them doing the wrong job, it makes it impossible for the Board as a whole to do its job right.

Remind me, what is the Board’s job?

The Board, working as a unit, sets policy, gives direction and defines financial limits and rules to control the GM. The GM then must design and manage the process for getting done what the Board, as a single entity, told her to do.

The Board must hold the GM accountable to get the job done right, not let her pick a few Board members to do her work or let her keep secret what she’s doing.

That’s why she gets the big, big, big bucks. To my way of thinking, she has a long way to go to prove that she’s worth it to the owners she is here to serve.

The Board must hold the GM accountable for building community consensus before she acts –  even though, as she often complains,

It’s really, really hard. After all, at the end of the day, some owners are just whiners.

The Board should have required the GM to do the job right by:

using a volunteer owner-oversight committee to guide a fair and open process and monitor her use of appropriate experts and/or neutral brokers.

(I know. I’ve been warned that I better be careful talking bad about La Principessa. Last time I criticized her performance on the restaurant, I got a cease & desist letter from her attorney, I mean from SCA’s, attorney that probably cost owner’s a couple grand.)

It makes me so sad I want a drink, and there’s no bar.

Really, it breaks my heart. I still really want a restaurant. Well, actually, I mostly want a great big, long bar with a great, long happy hour, but there are just way, way too many things wrong with the process to even consider proceeding to choose a vendor from this highly selective RFP.

There was too much done without the right people being involved and too much info given to the wrong people. Two Board members were doing the wrong job so they couldn’t do the right one. The GM wasn’t doing her job right.

The workshop really hyper-accentuated what has got to change around here. (I’m sorry. I really hope you don’t have to pay for Clarkson to write me another letter.)

Learn not to swallow poison pills

On the bright side, this is a very valuable lesson. The fatal flaws in this restaurant selection process are the same leadership failures and systemic deficiencies that will doom the viability of self-management, if we let it. But having identified the poison pills, we just need to pay attention. We don’t have to swallow them any more. And, if we do, as SCA’s attorney advises, it’ll be our own fault.

What do poison pills look like?

  • Confusion and blurred lines between the Board and GM roles
  • Board as a single entity not providing adequate direction and limits to GM
  • Board’s failure to hold GM accountable for developing processes to achieve cost-effective results
  • Using 2-member Board work groups or attorneys to propose policy or to do the GM’s job
  • Lack of transparency where it counts
  • Incentives that reward the wrong behavior
  • Relying on the wrong experts, e.g., attorneys everywhere and experts with the requisite skills nowhere
  • Board allowing the GM to block functional owner oversight through refusing to have a committee structure appropriate to self-management
  • Board President’s abuse of authority and attorney to make sure Board members are compliant or are disappeared
  • Cultural pattern of “In-groups” and “Out-groups”

 

How to cook our goose

SCA’s secret, but tried and true, recipe

Preparation time: 3 years to never

Chefs: 1 GM + 2-member Board work group handpicked by the king

Warning:
Product is very hot. Chefs are required by law to protect the secret sauce by making sure no one but the “authorized” chefs gets close enough to see what’s in the mix. Their eyes will be burned right out of their heads, and SCA’s attorney advises that it will be their own fault.

Before mixing ingredients:
  • All other Board members, except Rex, may be kept out of the mix at the discretion of the “authorized” chefs
  • 1 Board member must be crushed and removed using a very sharp knife to prevent the product being tainted by new ingredients or botched by “unauthorized” chefs or nosy neighbors

Note:
By order of the king, and upon advice of counsel, Rex can be anywhere. Know this, Board member chefs, you serve at the pleasure of the king. Any deviation from his rule will result in your being banished and shunned.

Upon the advice of counsel, and by operation of some invisible law, the king controls everything – who can be a chef, who is allowed in the kitchen, who must eat the cooked goose, and even, who can know that something is being cooked up.

Critical Step: Mix all ingredients in the dark
  • Consult with 1 possible vendor for a year before other vendors are put in the mix.
  • Throw into the trash any vendors that pop up that chefs don’t like
  • Select 10 possible vendors by secret formula to receive RFP.
  • When 7 vendors (including the one handpicked by the king) don’t go smoothly into the mix, make sure no one else knows their names or why they didn’t fit in.
  • Conduct 3 workshops to report what “authorized“chefs have done, being careful not to let any sunshine get on the actual product or it can be spoiled by nosy neighbors, especially those who “claim” they were chefs in another kitchen.
  • The GM and the king will make sure that the 2 Board member “authorized” chefs become firmly attached to GM & to the cooked goose so they won’t go to the dark side.
  • NO ONE, other than “authorized” chefs, are ever permitted to do any mixing of the SCA secret sauce, regardless of how much mixing they “claim” to have done elsewhere.
  • Do not deviate from this formula. It is a guaranteed way to mix up the exact same SCA secret sauce and cooked goose as has been shoved down the throats of SCA nosy neighbors multiple times in the past.

We are VERY lucky the restaurant choice is obvious

Two years the restaurant has been closed, and the process being used by the GM and a couple of Board members to make a decision seemed doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Three proposals from the 9 invitees

Click this link for the PDF of the spreadsheet below. It’ll show you my very quick review of the responses, but the decision is, frankly, a no brainer.

Recommended Proposal: Village Pub

The Village Pub offers the only opportunity for a successful enterprise. They have accepted all the risk because they are confident in their model and the effectiveness of their marketing. They will put up $750,000-$1 million to  the cost of renovating the facility for their use. They have a solid, tested program, and would pay $3,000/mo. rent.

Best of all – they expect to only need to meet with management once a year. This inspires true confidence that the GM and the Board would stay out of their business and let them succeed here like they have elsewhere.
G2G Proposal

I was turned off immediately by the first paragraph.

“The Club”…is also reflective of the Country Club style restaurant we have been discussing with you for a year.

The GM’s interaction with one vendor bodes ill for an arms-length transaction. It also totally chaps my hide because when I was on the Board, the GM would not work with me on the restaurant as she only favored working with Tom Nissen and Forrest Quinn, Board members who “treat her right.” When I told them I had heard that they were meeting separately and playing golf with one of the potential vendors for the restaurant lease, they blew me off:

You are not authorized to be work on the restaurant even though you are a Board member. The GM is in charge, and Rex did not put you on our little Restaurant Space Board Work Group. Thank you very much, but no thanks.

Your concerns about our cozying up to one competitor are just silly. We don’t think we are creating a biased or inadequate selection process that creates future problems and conflicts of interest. Therefore, we’re not. So go away. Your comments have been duly noted and round filed.

Given this personal context, I’m sure you’ll see that it was hard for me to look favorably on G2G who, from all appearances, had a leg up. So, I’ll let his proposal speak for itself.

Annie’s Gourmet Proposal

Annie’s is a very small operation, and selecting Annie’s would present SCA with an unacceptably high level of risk with a promise of considerably less reward than we could get from the Village Pub.

Remodel for alternate use of the space

Table this. Save the money that would have to be invested in remodeling. Save the time that would be sent in further dithering.

Let us have a restaurant that people like and can afford and that owners don’t have to subsidize.

If the Village Pub pays up to $1 million for their own renovation and setup, doesn’t rely on SCA for any marketing support, pays $3,000/month, and runs a business like they are running in 13 other successful locations in the valley.

Don’t interfere with their business. Let them do it. They know how.

Save owners the $4,000/month we are wasting while the GM dithers.

 

 

 

 

 

Who will allowed to speak at today’s 2 PM SCA Board candidate forum ?

Who is running and deemed eligible?

10 owners self-nominated for the Board
7  cleared whatever vetting the GM and attorney dreamed up
2  did not pass muster, but will remain unnamed for unknown reasons
1  was declared ineligible in yet-another $325/hour attorney letter.
4 candidates who did not show up on 2/13 were included in the drawing for ballot position
2 of the 4 no shows on 2/13 did not send a rep and did not send regrets
1  candidate (Nona Tobin) showed up on 2/13, but was prohibited from drawing for a ballot position because, of course, she is a monster.

What happened to the other two nameless candidates who were gone in the first round?

The unnecessary secrecy makes me suspect that the GM’s implying that 3 owners were ineligible (deeming anyone ineligible to run is unprecedented) was a sham to cover up how I have been singled out and wrongfully disqualified by the attorney asserting the same false charges used to unlawfully kick me off the Board last August which was done without legal authority, without a requested open hearing and without any appeal or equal time to contradict the defamatory statements they’ve published about me.

Who are the 7 candidates whose names will appear on the ballot?

The candidates are listed  above in the order assigned to them by which lot was drawn for them at the 2/13/18 Election Committee meeting.

Two of the listed candidates – Vickie Lisotto and Cliff Wigen – did not show up for the drawing, Nevertheless, the Election Committee drew ballot positions for them without knowing whether Vickie or Cliff were even still interested in  running. They thought it was the only fair thing to do since they were absent. They apparently didn’t see anything wrong with prohibiting me from drawing a ballot number even though I was present and I had submitted an appeal.

What if there are only five candidates and four openings?

If Vickie and Cliff drop out, or were shills to begin with, and the Board is vindictive and disingenuous enough to insist I am a such a financial threat to SCA that I must be kept out of the race, there will only be five candidates for four seats.

This means that at least one of the two incumbents, Aletta and Bob, will get re-elected, despite the fact that they usurped the rights of the 2,000 owners who voted for me when Aletta and Bob voted to unlawfully kick me off the Board at exactly the same time that they were themselves were the subjects of recall petitions signed by 800+ owners.

Don’t forget that Aletta and Bob voted to spend almost $90,000 of owners’ money to pay a CPA and the attorney to botch the recall election so they could keep their seats and the attorney and the GM could keep their big, fat jobs.

Very convenient for Bob Burch and Aletta Waterhouse who have tried to ruin my reputation by saying that I deserved to be kicked off without any recourse and who personally benefit from knocking me out of the competition.

I guess nobody in power sees a problem with that.

Notes on Incumbents

  • Robert (Bob) Burch has been on the Board one term. He has not been an officer, but he has been instrumental in causing serious deterioration in owner oversight, the personnel and compensation policy areas, has aggressively attacked owners who signed the petitions of no confidence in the GM or who signed petitions to recall four of the directors. He failed to disclose that he has lived across the street from 2763 White Sage, the property that is subject to my quiet title litigation and two other lawsuits.  and he voted to force me to recuse myself from all collection matters even though he voted against me and voted to kick me off the Board over the litigation about that same house. Bob should be questioned about his reasons for refusing to address any of the owners’ concerns listed in the petitions for an election to remove him from the Board.
  • Aletta Waterhouse is Board Secretary and a two-year incumbent who was the subject of a petition and a vote for removal from the Board. She needs to be held accountable for her failure as the Secretary to ensure that the agendas, minutes, and other documents were not corrupted by error, negligence or fraud.
  • Both Bob and Aletta should be questioned and need to be held accountable for their actions as Board members in kicking me off the Board, refusing to respond to any of the concerns owners raised in their petitions, for concealing information that is legally accessible to owners, and for harassing and retaliating against me, for tolerating significant misconduct on the part of the GM is threatening frivolous litigation, using the association attorney as her personal attorney, and for allowing the GM and attorney to expend unbudgeted funds
  • James Coleman was hand-picked last August without any competitive process in violation of SCA bylaws 3.6 to fill my Board seat after the 6 other directors unlawfully kicked me off. Jim was not involved in any of the decisions that led to my being kicked off unlawfully off the Board and did not vote on any of the myriad foolishness the other two incumbents participated in.

Suggested Questions for today’s Board Candidate Forum

Here are some questions I hope somebody will ask the candidates today.
I would ask them myself, but you know, it’s the kiss of death when the words pass my lips…

Ask Aletta Waterhouse

  1. Did the Board vote in executive session to give the GM another bonus  after 800+ people complained and petitioned for a vote of no confidence?
  2. Why didn’t the Board follow the equitable enforcement procedures (notice, hearing, right to present evidence, witnesses, appeal in SCA CC&Rs 7.4, p. 35 and bylaws 3.26, p. 20) when the Foundation was evicted, when SCA forecloses on someone’s home, or when 6 of you kicked Nona Tobin off the Board?
  3. that are fair to owners except when the Board is taking action against  Why as Secretary did you allow the Board to meet in secret (no notice, no agenda) to take actions against owners without giving them a chance to defend themselves?
  4. Why didn’t you answer any of the complaints against you in the petition calling for an election to remove you from the Board?
  5. Why did you and Bob Burch recommend to eliminate the Golf Course Liaison Committee, the Communication Committee and gut the Property and Grounds Committee?
  6. Why did you vote to evict the Foundation Assisting Seniors?
  7. Why did you refuse to vote for proposed owner-oversight committees that are needed under self-management to control costs and prevent waste and fraud
    1. Communications
    2. HR and compensation
    3. Legal Services
    4. Investment
    5. Insurance
    6. Collections
  8. Isn’t a little arrogant to use 2-person Board “work groups” as if they would be more knowledgeable and achieve better results than owner-oversight committees comprised of resident experts, like the Finance Committee?
  9. Why did you ignore it when you personally were put on notice that the former debt collector had filed chapter 7 bankruptcy and SCA was at risk by continuing to contract with their sham successor  LLC?
  10. Why did you join 5 other directors to secretly vote to remove Nona Tobin from the Board when no one signed a petition to remove her, like 800+ people signed to remove you?
  11. Why have you abdicated policy control over the budget to the GM and the attorney even though our bylaws prohibit it and 2017 legal expenditures were $321,110 instead of the $90,000 budgeted and $38,000 has already been spent for legal fees January 2018 alone?
  12. Don’t you think having one firm be SCA legal counsel and SCA debt collector is a potential conflict of interest?
    1. What “Director Issues” cost $39,635 in attorney fees? Dumping Nona Tobin? That’s pretty high for a wham-bam process like a Muslim divorce where the man just says, “I divorce thee” three times and it’s done.
    2. Why did you let them spend $84,866 for a CPA to do a sloppy job on the recall election when the proponents of the recall supported letting the election Committee do their normal job?
    3. Why wasn’t there a bidding process for the CPA? Whose friend was he?
  13. Why should anyone vote for you when you always say that you are just following the advice of counsel?
  14. Why do we need you, or a Board for that matter, if you let the attorney and the GM take over?
  15. Why as BOD secretary did you allow the miutes of meetings to be falsified, e.g., to refuse to correct the minutes of the 7/13 executive session. It was not an emergency. You did not notify Nona to attend. The topic was false on this and 7/27 and 8/24. Why is that ok if you benefitted by lying on the official record and by
  16. that Nona had been excluded and not allowed to vote

Ask 2-year incumbent Robert Burch

Many of the questions to Aletta also could be asked of Bob. He wasn’t the Secretary but he should answer to why he voted me off the island for quiet title litigation when he has the potential conflict of interest that he lived across the street from the house I’m fighting to get back for 15 years, and those neighbors are certainly not neutral.

  1. Why have you consistently voted against meaningful owner oversight?
  2. Did you vote in executive session to give the GM a raise for 2018?
  3. Why do you think the right way to deal with owner complaints is to chastise them at BOD meetings for signing petitions or otherwise legally registering their disapproval of your performance or the GM’s?
  4. Why did you think you and 5 other BOD members could vote in secret to remove Nona from the BOD and block her from running again when over 800 signatures on a petition to remove you wasn’t deemed legally sufficient to remove you from the BOD?

Ask James Coleman, appointed in fill my seat 9/17

  1. When and how were you approached to sit on the Board?
  2. Do you think that your appointment was fair to others who might have wanted to be considered for appointment?
  3. What were you told was the reason that you could be appointed without any competitive process or notice to owners when the SCA bylaws 3.6 (p. 11) say otherwise?
  4. When you started last September you talked about values. Is one of your values creating meaningful owner involvement in governance?
  5. Why do you think having 2-board members be the Board-owner communication work group is more likely to come up with better proposals than a work group that includes owners?

General Questions

  1. What are your values and principles that would guide your decision-making?
  2. What do you think you could do to improve the performance of the Board in terms of responsiveness to owner concerns?
  3. Will you “Go along to get along” or will you speak up if the Board is not protecting the owners first?

Why can’t I be a candidate for the Board?

My latest rejection letter

I’ll translate it from legalese into what they are really saying are my fatal flaws:

The Election Committee and the GM predictably refused to acknowledge my appeal in the same manner they treat all complaints. Send to the round file. Don’t listen to both sides. Don’t do anything to resolve the situation. Treat the appellant like dirt. Call the attorney. Make the owners pay him $325/hour to get rid of the pest.

SCA GM published defamatory statements against me last August

How can they do that? OPERATION OF WHAT LAW?

The attorney is totally off base. And, in doing this, his conflict of interest is showing. He is not serving the owners who are paying him. He is serving the interests of the GM, himself as SCA’s debt collector, and individuals on the Board.

For him to be right, dozens of laws, CC&Rs and bylaws provisions would have to be violated or “deemed vacated”.

Not to mention the facts that:

  • the allegations that there are matters before the board from which I could make a profit are beyond false to the point of being absurd.
  • I’ll bet that I’ve spent more defending myself from these unreasonable attacks than all the other Board members combined have spent to serve as a volunteer, probably including all Board members since the SCA began.
  • I have made all the required disclosures and a full page of litigation disclosures and court documents have been posted for a year on nonatobin.com/litigationdisclosures.
  • I have no monetary demands against the association.
  • I have not, and have never intended to, pursue claims against the association through mediation.
  • There is zero financial risk to SCA from my service.
Why would the other Directors do this awful thing to you?

Because the GM and the attorney want me gone. They want me to stop asking why the GM, the CFO and the Facilities Manager are paid double the market. They want me to stop telling owners that the GM and the attorney have struck a devil’s pact to take unlawful control of the SCA’s budget.

I am all over them about the GM’s and attorney’s undisclosed conflicts of interest, but they have the full support of the Board President, Rex Weddle, who tried every which way to Sunday to make himself into a king and me into a second-class director who he did not authorize to get the same information or participate in Board deliberations which he only “real” Directors to participate in.

These three “leaders” have fed the Board a line of BS about how evil I am and that I have told their secrets. It is nonsense, of course, but it was very convenient for the other Directors to swallow it because it fit the “Us against her” model that they used from day 1 to marginalize me.

All of this drama is what really allowed them to feel self-righteous  declaring me ineligible for the Board. Claiming that I was making a profit from being on the Board was merely a pretext.  All the conflict between us was related to me blowing the whistle on their shenanigans. Only after I informed them that I intended to file an intervention affidavit with the Ombudsman to complain about harassment and retaliation did they start falsely accusing me of a secret profit motive.

In fact, the letter to dump me off the Board last August was clearly in retaliation to my intended complaint of retaliation against me for prior complaints about their multiple statutory violations, secret meetings, and the GM using the SCA’s attorney for her own private benefit.

99% of you can stop reading here. The rest of this blog is primarily links to laws and rules that were violated.

This detail is for the benefit of the NRED investigator to facilitate her completing the investigation with the required 60-day lead time before the June CIC Commission meeting where, hopefully, these issues will be adjudicated. 

The serious risk here is that a negative ruling could set a bad precedent for around 3,000 HOAs in Nevada if Boards or attorneys or managers could bypass voters and dump owners off the Boards for political reasons without any recourse.

What laws were ignored and what lies were told to get rid of me?

To “deem the board position held by Nona Tobin vacated as a matter of law” to be valid, legally-enforceable act, the following preposterous notions would also have to be true instead of the big, fat lies that they are:

  1. That I actually had made a profit, or tried to make a profit, or placed matters before the Board from which I could make a profit, when I did not;
  2. That I had failed to disclose a financial interest so that I could sneak up on the Board to catch them unawares to make them unwittingly vote for something that made me money;
  3. That the attorney or the GM or 6 members of the Board have the authority to deem me ineligible for the Board by declaring that I have a disqualifying conflict of interest and that they have the authority to impose greater eligibility, disclosure and recusal requirements on me than  the law ( NRS 116.31084(1)(a)(b)or NRS 116.3103(1)(a) or the SCA  bylaws 3.6, or SCA Board Policy Manual 4.4A(1)(2) impose on them;
  4. NRS 116.31036 and SCA bylaws 3.6 (both define the only legal way to remove a director) protections only apply to 6 of the 7 SCA directors, and those same 6 got the legal authority, magically from some unknown source, that permitted them to strip the 7th director of her legal protection from removal by any means other than by  a removal election;
  5. That NRS 116.3013(2)(d) (limitations on board power to define a director’s authority or term) and Board Policy Manual 4.3  (Director Authority) do not actually mean that 6 directors are prohibited from ganging up on a director by claiming that she is not “authorized” to act like, or be treated as, an equal director with an equal vote and with equal access to the same information and deliberations needed to make Board decisions.
  6. That the other 6 directors could simply decide in secret that I stood to make a profit from matters before the Board, and their decision superseded the conflict of interest provisions in NRS 116.31084 and  NRS 116.3103(1)(b) or SCA bylaws SCA Board Policy Manual 4.4A(1)(2)  that one would think applied equally to any Board member;
  7. That the 6 directors were acting as fiduciaries (acting solely for the best interests of the association membership) even though they failed to provide me or SCA owners ANY of the owners protections guaranteed by NRS 116, NRS 82, or SCA bylaws;
  8. That my quiet title litigation is inherently disqualifying regardless of the fact that SCA has no financial interest in the title, i.e., there is zero financial risk to the SCA regardless of whether the 8th district court  quiets title to me, or the bank, or the dentist who has possession;
  9. That my filing a notice of intent to file an intervention affidavit with the Ombudsman alleging harassment and retaliation constituted putting matters before the Board from which I stood to make a profit when I have no monetary claims for damages against the association;
  10. That my motion to correct the SCA litigation reports was putting matters before the Board that could make me money when the motion was to correct the willful misstatements of SCA attorneys to misrepresent the actual status of the quiet title litigation (all claims against SCA were dismissed on 5/25/17 and SCA has no financial risk in the remaining title dispute);
  11. That the secret vote of 6 directors was actually an official action of the “Board” as a whole in the 8/24/17 executive session despite there being no item to remove a director on the 8/24/17 executive session agenda and that the minutes provided were completely redacted to conceal that 6 directors kicked me off the board without due process by a secret vote in direct violation of NRS 116.31085 (3)(4)(5)(6) and, ironically, in explicit response to my notice of intent to complain about harassment and retaliation.

 

What’s being human got to do with it?

We are all more irrational than we think

I don’t know if anybody clicked on the links to psychological studies in my last blog about the 2/13 Election Committee’s hostile reaction to my appeal of my unfairly being excluded from the 2018 election process. But let’s assume nobody did.

Anyway, here’s the point.  These important psychological studies contributed to our understanding of how people conform to roles or how people tend to obey authority figures even if they hurt innocent people. This research contains valuable lessons that we all need to learn– but these are particularly important lessons for those in SCA power positions — if we are ever going to heal our community divide.

Why am I talking about this?

My goal is to encourage people in our community to re-frame the way we approach conflict resolution. None of us can be trusted to be completely objective and completely rational 100% of the time so we need to have a fair and objective governance system that’s strong enough to make sure those in power don’t abuse it.

Those in power can’t be allowed to run roughshod over anyone more vulnerable for any reason. And the only way to guarantee that is to have a system that won’t let them get away with it.

We are wasting our limited time, money and emotional resources on attorneys who cannot fix what is wrong, and who are, in my view, a big part of the problem.

Study #1: The Milgram Experiment

The Milgram experiment (1961) was designed to test how readily people acquiesce to authority even when it is in conflict with personal conscience. The goal was try to understand why so many “good Germans” just went along with Hitler’s horrific actions.

Conclusion

“Ordinary people are likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being.  Obedience to authority is ingrained in us all from the way we are brought up.

People tend to obey orders from other people if they recognize their authority as morally right and/or legally based. “

This Milgram study concluded that people obey authority figures even if it hurts innocent people. This can easily be applied to what happens here in SCA, given that we are all humans.

How could we use this knowledge?

So, to me personally, giving more power or “authority” to a small group of people is not the answer. The answer is having a governance system that will control those who have the power to prevent them from abusing it.

And to have a system that requires the uniform application of the rules to everyone to ensure that ALL owners are protected from any form of abuse, regardless of who is in power.

Study #2: The Stanford Prison Experiment

Stanford Prison experiment (1971) demonstrated how quickly people adapt to their assigned roles. Students randomly assigned to be the guards began acting aggressive and authoritarian and rapidly began feeling justified in being abusive while those randomly assigned to being prisoners took on so much of the fear and agony of prisoners subjected to abuse that the experiments were stopped for ethical considerations.

Today’s Communication workshop and yesterday’s Board meeting yielded some examples of how people conform to their roles, respond to authority, and conform to norms that are placed upon them that I will discuss in a future blog.

Right now, I just want to recommend a book to anyone who would like to explore a little further how we as humans behave irrationally and how we need to have strong social norms and systems in place to protect us from ourselves and the limitations we have from just being human.

The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty
How we lie to everyone – especially ourselves

How could this book help SCA leaders grow into their roles?

I think Dan Ariely’s entertaining and informative writings (and other research I will suggest later) could teach us concepts and skills that we could use to help ourselves and to resolve some of our SCA community’s deepest divides.

I love listening to this guy’s books while I’m hiking. He describes about experiments that test and analyze theories about the many ways:

  • we humans are a lot less rational than we think,
  • how we’ll do something completely irrational and then just make up a reason to justify it,
  • how we all have blind spots,
  • how much our expectations can influence what we see, feel, or can learn.

Polly Anna speaking here:

It might encourage those in power to be more open to handling conflict in a more constructive way that might prevent exacerbating problems until court is the only answer.

The price we all pay

Refusing to openly discuss and fairly resolve owners’ concerns “on the advice of counsel” creates a litigious environment in which only the attorneys profit.

The price ALL owners pay is much larger than just the attorney fees. We pay for it with our most valuable resources: peace of mind and sense of belonging and joie de vivre.

Election Committee was inhospitable, angry even. Nevertheless, I persisted

Today’s SCA Election Committee meeting was an important part of the SCA Board election process because it was the official start of the election process where candidates drew lots for their ballot position.
What could it hurt if I drew a lot until the proper authority rules on my eligibility to serve?

Instead of considering the rejection of my candidacy for the Board as final, why not just treat me like any other neighborhood volunteer  – at least until there was one iota of proof that I really was worthy of such vilification?

What happened went I went looking for justice?

I gave the Board and management notice that I was appealing the 2/9/18 Notice of Ineligibility that the Clarkson Law Group had whipped up on SCA owners’ dime to make sure that someone who had the support of at least 2,000 owners was blocked from even being a candidate.

In the prior notice, I asked for them not to use the attorney or security to threaten or humiliate me. They accommodated me only insofar as owners didn’t  pay for an outside agent to ensure that I was relegated to pariah status. But then, they knew full well, they didn’t need to bring in the heavy-weights, the Election Committee – dutifully, sternly, and totally predictably stepped up to take on the enforcer role.

The Officials act official, or was it officious?

Before the meeting, I went to the EC chair, Carol Steibel, and told her that I was appealing the attorney’s decision to deem me ineligible and that I wanted to draw for a ballot number so I could stay on equal footing in the election process until a determination on my eligibility was made by proper authority (NRED).

When I handed her my 2-page appeal, she tossed it aside testily, and said,

“I’ve already read that.”

“How could you have? I just wrote it this morning.” said I.

“Well, I read something else, then. The attorney said you can’t be a candidate, and we have to listen to the attorney.”

When I sat at the table, two members of the committee told me sternly to get away from the table. Only candidates could sit there.

Carol somberly started the meeting by saying that the meeting would not be recorded and that no one was allowed to record it as it was against the law.

The thing about this edict that totally chaps my hide is a major owner protection to allow recordings so, to be ornery I guess, I said I was going to record it. Their reaction was intense. Forrest Quinn joined in saying that he did not authorize recording him.

Bob Burch said he wanted my assurance that I wasn’t going to record it. I said I wasn’t recording it, and he announced to the crowd,

“We’ve had this trouble before”

further solidifying the ‘Us vs. Them Her’ dynamic permeating the room.

Carol very formally read a notice from the attorney about my situation. She would brook no argument. It was FINAL!

  • The Board deemed Nona Tobin’s Board position vacant by law making her ineligible to be on the Board.
  • Nona herself made the charges public.
  • No circumstances have changed that would make her eligible.
  • Clarkson law office was merely asked to inform Nona since the Board’s decision that  was ineligible has not changed.

My, my, my…what an awful person that Nona is! An existential threat.  Carol’s tone made it totally clear that questioning the veracity or authority of the attorney would be considered treason, the concept of “Innocent until proven guilty” totally shrouded by her blind spot.
P.S. None of the above statements from the attorney that Carol reported are true. I’ll be handing the documents over to NRED to prove it as soon as I can.

Carol was so busy genuflecting before Clarkson’s awesomeness that she might have forgotten for the teensyist second that as the Election Committee Chairperson, her primary job is to protect the integrity of the election process, to ensure the election is free from undue interference and to protect ANY owner from being disenfranchised.

Maybe a little training? I suggest training should come from NRED or any competent, independent professional, but absolutely not conducted by Adam Clarkson.

Gary Lee, Board candidate new to the scene, innocently asked for a better explanation why I was dumped, but Carol was adamant that she had said all that needed to be said on the subject, and that he was holding up the very, very important business of the committee.

Tobin appeal to being disqualified as a candidate

Quick note about # 4 above, it should read that in addition to the NRED form 850, I also submitted the disclosure form as edited by the attorneys even though it was not legally-mandated for me to do so.

Tobin Appeal Page 2

Ask Yourself:
Would my actions make sense if I were on the Board to make a profit?

What does my being on the Board have to do with what the court does about the house? The Board doesn’t have anything to say about it.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s say the Board could vote on something related to the outcome of the title fight. If my ulterior motive was to get the Board to vote to quiet title to me instead of the bank, wouldn’t I have tried a different approach?

If I were trying to get a Board vote on litigation I could profit from, wouldn’t I have been smarter to ingratiate myself and “go along to get along”.
  • Wouldn’t I have been foolish to risk the ire of the Board to protect the right of owners to legally sign petitions to call for a vote to remove directors from the Board?
  • Would I have pursued formal complaints to enforcement authorities saying that the attorney and the GM should be fired for causing the Board to act unlawfully?

Ask yourself:
Isn’t it more likely that the same over-compensated GM and attorney, after protecting compliant directors in power from a removal election, just created a convenient ruse to bypass owners’ votes and remove the thorn in their side and block me from coming back?

 

 

Election Committee TOMORROW 9 AM – pick order of names on ballot

Concord Room Anthem Center
9 AM Tuesday, Feb. 13
Election Committee
Board Candidate Orientation
Candidates draw for ballot order

I’ll be there despite Clarkson’s challenge to my eligibility. I have requested that I be treated as a candidate unless a State of Nevada official with proper legal authority rules that I am not eligible to be a candidate.

As you can see in the email below (which I sent to the SCA Board, the GM, the Ombudsman, the NRED investigator and others), I have requested, in respect for my advanced age and frail heart, that I not be treated unfairly or be subjected to a hostile surprise attack, be escorted from the room or face any other bullying or humiliation because I have the temerity to insist on my right to volunteer to serve as a member of the Board.

I encourage you to come if you are interested in ensuring that SCA is not the kind of place where a homeowner in good standing, acting in good faith, can be treated shabbily for simply trying to be of service.

Remember, this is not about me. 

This is about having a system of governance that is fair, open and protects ALL homeowners equally – no matter who is in charge.

Who gets to decide who is eligible to serve on the Board?

Who authorized the Clarkson Law Group to block me from running for the Board?

Not the law. Not NRED. Not the SCA Board. I believe Adam Clarkson and his whole Law Group should be re-trained to better understand who their client is. No Association attorney has legal decision-making authority to control who is eligible to sit on a Board of Directors.

Follow this link for a 2012 article by Barbara Holland, “HOA directors should be held accountable“, in which she noted:

The majority of the people who have been found guilty in the current FBI investigation of the massive Southern Nevada HOA scandal have been on boards of directors.

Holland argued that HOAs needed to be protected from fraud, but note her warning about the potential for abuse

There should also be some discussion as to whether a homeowner should be disqualified from being placed on the ballot when he or she is currently in violation of the community’s governing documents.
Now, this is a touchy subject as this proposed law would be used improperly by HOA boards that could try and block homeowners from sitting on the board.

Why didn’t Clarkson disclose his former employment to SCA when it could be perceived as a potential conflict?

Adam Clarkson’s resume submitted to SCA during the 2017 RFP process did not disclose where he practiced law after he passed the Nevada bar in 2006 until 2014 when he incorporated the Clarkson law Group. Last September, AnthemOpinions reported that Clarkson was had been an associate attorney for the firm of Quon, Bruce, Christiansen early in his career.

Law Partner Nancy Quon was a principal player in the HOA corruption scandal from 2008 until her suicide in 2012. The massive conspiracy involved rigging HOA board elections and taking over HOA boards to steer legal and construction defects contracts to specific firms.

Adam Clarkson was never charged with a crime or even accused of knowing of the conspiracy that purportedly was led by Nancy Quon, a partner in the law firm that employed him. However, given the job Clarkson was applying for, shouldn’t he have disclosed to SCA, that his prior employment “would appear to a reasonable person to result in a potential conflict” ? Shouldn’t he held to as high a standard of disclose as he is imposing on me?

When I went on the Board, Clarkson demanded  that I “voluntarily” relinquish some of my legal rights to “avoid even the slightest appearance of a conflict” by signing an agreement to recuse myself from ALL SCA collection matters . This demand far exceeds the conflict of interest requirements in NRS 116.31084 and NRS 82 and seems pretty self-serving.

In fact, forcing me to recuse myself from current SCA collection matters did not protect SCA or homeowners one iota since my quiet title claim is for unlawful acts by SCA’s former agent, FSR.Stripping my access to information about collections as a Board member, and now trying to prevent my getting back on the Board, appears to a reasonable person to only protected Clarkson’s interests.

Clarkson Law Group is both SCA’s general counsel and debt collector which in my book creates a potential conflict of interest. Oh yeah, one of the ways Clarkson justified deeming my board position vacant was saying  I “put matters before the Board from which (I) stand to make a profit” when I proposed to the Board that some remedies to my complaint of harassment and retaliation would be to:

So who has the greater appearance of a conflict – me or Clarkson?

Clarkson has overstepped his authority

I am not in violation of any governing documents. I am a member in good standing. I have no financial claims against SCA. SCA is still in the quiet title litigation only because they refused at least eight attempts on my part to resolve the issue without litigation and before I got on the Board.

Why have homeowners had to pay the Clarkson Law Group tens of thousands of dollars to:

  • order me to cease and desist asking about the GMs excessive compensation
  • falsely accuse me of making a profit on my Board position,
  • having undisclosed  or “potential” conflicts, c
  • reating “employer liability”?

Did the Board declare me ineligible to run?

Not the Board. There was no Board vote to declare me ineligible to run.
At least there was no agenda or notice of a Board meeting to take such a vote.

There is no provision in law, SCA governing documents or SCA Board policy that creates a mechanism for the Board to take such an action. Compare this Clarkson/Seddon edict that I am ineligible with the FBI Russia investigation:

Even if the FBI investigation produced a finding that Russia manipulated the vote enough to make Trump win the Electoral College, there is still no mechanism in law for the Attorney General to invalidate the election, declare Trump ineligible, or to put Hillary Clinton in Trump’s place.

So, absent action by the Board, who decided I was ineligible and on what legal authority?

The GM, probably just did the same thing she did when she wanted legal cover for interfering in the recall election and cost homeowners $84,866 unbudgeted dollars to hire a CPA to make sure the recall failed.

But, given how Clarkson has buffaloed the Board into thinking that an Association attorney has higher decision-making authority than an Association Board, Clarkson might just as easily taken this action on his own initiative.

But whichever one did it, he or she acted without legal authority. And the Board let him or her or them do it.

Clarkson and the GM have done a fair amount of monetary damage to the Association that they have fought like hell to keep you all from finding out about.

I’m just saying.

Don’t you think it is weird that the same attorney who insists that I am a financial threat to SCA is the same joker who charged SCA $39,635 in 2017 for legal fees just to write me threatening letters and to help the GM threaten to sue SCA if the Board didn’t stop me from asking questions about her pay.

And it didn’t end. Clarkson sent me letter last month demanding that I  stop asking for SCA records that the law says are available to any owner. He sent another one to the KTNV keep Sandy Seddon’s pay confidential to protect her privacy. All SCA owners will have to pay $325/hour for these letters and for Clarkson to handle the NRED complaint. See a pattern?

Why is it a problem for the Board to act only “on the advice of counsel”?

Opportunity Costs – What owners had to give up to pay attorneys

A lot of it is unnecessary. A lot of it is by creating conflict, and common sense remedies are rebuffed. No effort to do best practices is rewarded when attorneys work on the principle of using the legal minimum as legal restraints.

This is the same guy that advised the Board that it was somehow magically exempt from black letter law in NRS 116 on such trivial matters as freedom of information and owner rights to know how their money is being spent.

This is same guy who says the GM can spend money that isn’t budgeted on her own initiative without measuring the opportunity cost to owner services where those funds were supposed to be spent. I personally would have much rather SCA spent some of the money that was wasted on attorney fees on

  • a better sound system for group exercise classrooms or
  • better pay for the fitness instructors or
  • enough funding to not cancel exercise classes.

This is the same guy who had no trouble with SCA’s 2017 expenditure for legal services that was triple the already ample $90,000 budget.

Really, in 2017, this Board expended 300% of what prior Boards needed to govern responsibly. Of course, those other Boards didn’t have a legal counsel who told them it was a violation of their fiduciary duty to make any decision without the approval of the attorney.

This same crackerjack attorney told me it would be considered practicing law without a license if I told people they didn’t need a legal opinion every time someone blew their nose.

My commitment is to owners

Whether I get on the Board or not, I will fight for Board action to

1) prevent the overuse of attorneys,
2) prohibit the GM from using the attorney as her personal counsel against the association or individuals or groups,
3) require the Board policy manual section 4.10 be rigorously followed,
4) prohibit the use of attorneys in debt collection  prior to foreclosure,
5) use foreclosure as a last resort and not ever to benefit the debt collector over the homeowners,
6) to get the NRED or CIC Commission to rule that any fines or monetary damages come out of the attorney’s pocket so that he not be paid for causing the Board to violate owner protection laws and that he not be paid for the unlawful, abusive and threatening letters he sent me both during and after my time on the Board.

What’s the big picture statewide?

This interference in HOA elections is a much bigger issue than what happens to me. It affects every HOA in Nevada. The Clarkson Law Group claims to represent 300+ associations in Nevada, an amazing career trajectory for  firm that incorporated only three years ago. Adam Clarkson is the President-elect of the Nevada Community Associations Institute, a lobbying group geared primarily to serve the interests of the HOA agents – attorneys, managers, debt collectors, construction defect-related agents. CAI is NOT a homeowner advocacy group.

If Clarkson is allowed to get away with influencing the composition of the SCA Board for his or the GM’s profit or to support the political advantage of compliant and docile Directors, he could do it anywhere.

In fact, I bet he already has.

 

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