Darcy Spears nails it about abusive HOA foreclosures

Click on photo for 4-minute Darcy Spears video. Slide right of bell for sound.

Lucky buyer got a half million dollar house for $30,000…
but he’s getting an even bigger windfall

  • He won’t make a mortgage payment – an HOA sale extinguishes the bank’s right to foreclose according to the Nevada Supreme Court
  • He may not pay property taxes. The bank will probably keep paying them property taxes while the case winds its way through the courts over the next few (or not so few) years
  • He didn’t pay Real Property Transfer Tax (RPTT) on the full market value because the Recorder’s office didn’t notice that he claimed the market value was  $30,000

Nice deal if you can get it

…but just exactly how did that guy, Frank Komorowski from Williamsville New York, even know about the auction.

The homeowner and her real estate agent didn’t know it was going to auction and neither did the potential buyer who had an offer on the table.

The sale was advertised in the Nevada Legal News, but that seems to be a hard way for a guy off the street to find out about how to take advantage of such a spectacular windfall.

Frank is a Super Shopper indeed

I’m not saying Frank Komorowski is a straw buyer, but he’s gotten some really great deals in 2018 besides the one in Darcy’s story:

  • Red Rock Financial sold him a condo in Gowan Cliff Shadows for $5,000 on 2/13/18 at an unknown sale location
  • National Default Servicing sold him a place in Monteverdi HOA  for $30,000
  • Hampton & Hampton gouged him out of $6,541 to buy unit 221, 5751 Hacienda Ave., $0.50 more than the unpaid debt, without even bothering with the pretense of an auction

Who was notified about the sale?

That’s a very good question, and, now my curiosity is piqued. So, to find out, I’m doing a little more public records research.

If random guy can make a killing at these mysterious HOA sales, who’s on the losing end of the deal?

Just about everybody else

  1. It’s not just the homeowner that loses.
  2. Taxpayers subsidized the sale by his shorting the county on the property transfer tax (Frank paid $153 on each $30,000 sale and  instead of the $2,200 that he would have had to pay if he had declared the fair market value.
  3. According to Nevada Realtors Association, the property value of each house in an HOA is diminished 1.7% for each foreclosure, but since there are two HOAs mentioned on the foreclosure deed, it’s not clear which homeowners.
  4. The homeowners in Summerlin West will pick up the tab for all the attorneys fees while the bank sues Frank and the homeowner sues Frank, and the debt collectors will ride off into the sunset with the $30,000 Frank paid less the nine months of assessments plus interest that the HOA gets.
  5. The real estate agent who worked hard on the short sale will be paid zero because the sale was snatched out from under him as well.
  6. The bank loses big (unless it’s a bank that’s contributing to the problem by recording false affidavits on titles (but that’s another story for another time).

That can’t be right!

Well, it’s certainly not morally right for HOAs to allow their agents to engage in abusive debt collection practices.

Doesn’t the law limit collection fees?

Yes. It’s definitely not legal to keep money that’s not yours. NRS 116.31164 says exactly how the proceeds of an HOA sale are to be distributed. The debt collectors just don’t do it.

Keeping all the money (except nine months of assessments to the HOA plus interest) is just about all they distribute because they have been getting away with it.

Moral hazard

No big surprise.

When there is so much money to be made by cutting corners and playing fast and loose with the rules, lots of people who are supposed to be fiduciaries go to the dark side.

What about at SCA?

SCA is no better. SCA has been ripped off by EVERY ONE OF ITS DEBT COLLECTORS, to a greater or lessor degree, since 2014 (that I know of, for sure).

For example, in April, 2015, SCA hired some very crooked attorneys, Alessi & Koenig, LLC, as debt collectors, after SCA dumped Red Rock Financial Services (who was really SCA managing agent FSR in disguise).

A & K filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy in January, 2017, allegedly because A & K was named in over 500 lawsuits out of the 800+ HOA foreclosures they did between 2011-2015, not to mention a $640,000 judgment against them for bid rigging and racketeering in the Melinda Ellis case. (You’re right. They stiffed her.)

When the A & K bankruptcy was dismissed, and the creditors were told to pound salt, it looks like the attorney/debt collectors had kept $2.6 million out of $2.9 million they admitted receiving in HOA sales proceeds.

And there’s a multi-million dollar mansion in David Alessi’s sister’s trust’s name in Malibu (unless he’s picked a new place to hide  assets from creditors).

Retained quite a bit over the legal limit, I’d say.

Next time

More to come about the exciting ways HOA agents make the big bucks for a few lucky winner while the HOA homeowners foot the bill.

“Heads will roll if lips aren’t sealed about GM pay”

Or, anyway, that was the threat, before…

Contact13’s Darcy Spears highlighted Sun City Anthem’s excessive executive compensation on the “HOA Hall of Shame” on Channel 13 action news last Thursday.

Living in Las Vegas can cost more when your home is in an HOA, but where does all the money go? Contact 13 looks at who’s getting a big slice of the pie in one of the largest communities in Southern Nevada. Click on photo to watch 3 1/2-minute video.

Threatened with legal action? Really?

Did you catch that report at the end of the video?

Neither the GM or the Board would even answer KTNV’s call to explain how the SCA Board justified such big payouts.

“Instead, they had an attorney respond who claimed State law prohibited the HOA from discussing anything about salaries and we learned the HOA threatened legal action against some owners after Contact13 started asking questions about manager pay rates.”

Is any of that true?

It is 100% true that the GM has used OUR attorney to threaten legal action to try to keep her pay a secret.
  • against me personally,
  • against other owners,
  • against the association itself, and
  • in this case, against a TV station,

But, it is 100% legally and morally wrong to use our SCA attorney to unlawfully hide from owners how much of OUR money is going into her pocket.

Are any SCA employee salaries/ benefits confidential by nevada law?
Short answer:       No.

Per NRS 116.31175, most personnel records are confidential, but not compensation.

…4(a) The personnel records of the employees of the association (are confidential), except for those records relating to the number of hours worked and the salaries and benefits of those employees;

Why would the SCA attorney say employee compensation is confidential when the law clearly says the opposite?

In my view, he is simply representing the wrong client.

As the SCA association attorney, he is being paid by the owners to act as OUR agent, not to be the GM’s agent.

In fact, there is a law specifically prohibiting him from representing the GM because it is a conflict of interest. See NRS 116A.640(6). He is duty bound by law to act, solely and exclusively, in the best interests of the association membership as a whole.

But, is he?

I certainly don’t see it. I see the GM approving tons of unnecessary attorney fees that owners pay to protect her imaginary privacy rights.

And like Ricky Ricardo, I think Adam Clarkson has some ‘splainin’ to do.
Why did I get a threatening letter because of this story?

I was told this story was taped, after the fact, last October, but then nothing happened, and I forgot about it.

On 12/22/17, I submitted a written request for SCA to update the 2017 employee compensation table that had been given to another resident on 1/31/17. The budget was ratified in November, and I suspected the Board had given the GM another bonus in secret despite the petition for a vote of no confidence signed by 825 owners and her failure to meet the 12/31/17 target about the restaurant.

When CAM Elyssa Rammos emailed me around 1/15/18 that the 2018 salary table was ready to pick up at the front desk, I was in Mexico and asked for it electronically.

When I got no response, I asked Ruby Leong to pick it up and email it to me before the MLK 3-day weekend. They gave her the run around.

“It’s not ready.
We gave it to someone else.
We have to make changes.”

None of which was true.

The reason for the stonewalling was exactly what Darcy Spears said. Between the time Elyssa Rammos had notified me that the 2018 employee compensation chart was ready, and Ruby Leong could drive a few blocks to pick it up, Sandy Seddon had gotten a call from someone at KTNV.

Quick as a flash, Adam Clarkson manufactured an absolutely false legal interpretation out of thin air that the 2018 version of the previously-released 2017 table was now confidential because Contact13 was doing a story.

Wow. It’s magic.
Documents become invisible, and our money disappears.

SCA’s $325/hour attorney blocked the release of the 2018 update of the 2017 SCA employee compensation table that was already in the public domain. SCA homeowners had to foot the bill for Clarkson to write “legal letters”, in SCA’s name, in January to threaten legal action against me if I told KTNV what the GM’s pay was (even though they already knew) and against KTNV if they ran the story.

There was no Board action authorizing this threat of legal action – unless, of course, they took the action in a secret meeting.

And, by the way, NRS 116.31088 requires a VOTE of the membership, before SCA can file a civil action. But no big deal.

This is a provision of the law that Adam Clarkson made disappear when the SCA Board filed a civil action to evict the Foundation Assisting Seniors. I’m sure Adam Clarkson’s convoluted reading of the law will come up with some magical way that allows the GM to use him to threaten litigation, against anybody or everybody, in SCA’s name, and on SCA owners’ dime.

What did I do about this “legal letter”?

I filed an affidavit under penalty of perjury on 1/31/18 with NRED.  I requested that this complaint be incorporated with the ongoing investigation into the harassment and retaliation complaint which precipitated my unlawful removal from the Board on 8/24/17.

It is my understanding that these complaints will be heard by the CIC Commission on November 6, 2018.

More to come.

The next few blogs will discuss the magnitude of the GM’s misuse of the association attorney to act as her personal fixer.

Part 2: Secret meetings in general

This is the second part of my 6/6/18 email to the NRED Chief Investigator and Ombudsman to clarify NRED’s process for ensuring that
1. the rights of homeowners in HOAs are protected,
2. Nevada statutes are uniformly enforced, and
3. Board members or HOA agents suffer consequences when they fail to act as fiduciaries.

Issa Anale’a didn’t make us wait as long as NRED

Why has NRED needed more than nine months?

Tomorrow, I’ll see what NRED Chief Investigator’s perspective is on the 6/6/18 email I am sharing below in Part 2 “Secret meetings”, in the previous blog, “Why so quiet?“, and in the final part 3, “In case you don’t think this is enough evidence”

Part 2: Secret meetings in general

The second complaint was that the Board deliberates in secret meetings.  This complaint being dismissed perfunctorily is also problematic. It appears as if NRED condones a pervasive pattern at SCA of decisions being made by the Board, the attorney, the GM or individual directors without proper action by the Board in open session.

It also appears that there are no consequences if SCA Board is not compliant with NRS 116.31083, NRS 116.31085, or SCA governing documents.

NRED previously instructed SCA on this point

Previous NRED officials have issued letters of instruction (attached to previous email) to require statutory conformance (with owner protection laws) which SCA now ignores.

I, as well as other SCA residents, have alleged that, currently, many Board decisions are made improperly, i.e.,

  • in group emails,
  • in “workshops”,
  • in improperly noticed meetings,
  • private Board training (no notice, agenda or minutes) sessions which are
    • deemed “attorney-client” privilege while
    • simultaneously are deemed to NOT be executive sessions, but of which recording is prohibited:
  • meetings or email chains involving only a few Board members or which pointedly exclude dissenting directors
What does it mean when the NRED investigation of these complaints just stops without a finding?

Obviously, the SCA Board was notified that SCA has won by default, but apparently the owner who complained was not.

As Bob Burch said,

Both complaints were closed without any action being taken against the Association when the division determined that there was no good cause to continue with the investigation. In other words, we prevailed.

This is essentially what has occurred in 100% of the cases filed in the past year.

Is that NRED’s intent? 

  • Does NRED really intend to say that this Board conduct, that has generated many owner complaints, is permissible despite the Board’s failure to meet the requirements of NRS 116.31183 or NRS 116.31085?
  • Or are you not convinced that the complainants accurately reported impermissible acts?
  • Does NRED’s investigative protocol permit your investigator to rely on information provided by the HOA, but prohibit further investigation by seeking additional information, or at least a response, from the complainant?

Whose call is it anyway?

NRED needs to be aware that at SCA, Board decisions are routinely made by the GM or attorney in policy areas in which the Board is prohibited from delegating by SCA bylaws 3.20 and 3.18 pursuant to NRS 116.3106(1)(d).

These wrong parties (the GM, the attorney, a subset of the Board) falsely claim the Board made decisions that the Board didn’t make correctly, or worse, didn’t make at all, e.g.,

  • hiring debt collectors without an RFP (competitive process),
  • increasing group exercise user fees,
  • failing to comply with the Election & Voting Manual in the 2017 recall election,
  • hiring a CPA without a contract or an RFP to do the volunteer Election Committee’s job,
  • paying that CPA and attorneys, at a $100,000+ un-budgeted combined cost, to usurp the recall election process,
  • over-expending the legal fees budget by $200,000+ in 2017,
  • taking punitive actions, without legal authority, against me as a Board member and unit owner, i.e., threatening letters and kicking me off the Board in retaliation for my complaints and records requests,
  • authorizing the use of owners’ money to pay for the association attorney
    • to appear in the GM’s divorce and
    • to withhold SCA records in discovery that had been previously released to OSCAR, the anti-recall group.
When the NRED investigation into these actions just stops, or maybe never even starts, what does it mean?
  • Is abdication and usurping of Board authority okay in NRED’s view?
  • Does NRED need more documentation and more specific examples to establish that this practice is occurring?

What else does NRED need to stop this?

Here is a link to a www.SCAstrong.com blog, “If they had only known, part 3” that gives some examples of GM decisions that resulted in election interference, hiring bankrupt or conflicted debt collectors without due diligence or following proper procedure, a biased selection of a restaurant vendor (that is not proceeding for unknown reasons, leaving SCA with no restaurant for 2 1/2+ years and counting).

I can also provide you links to the actual documents that are are evidence of these and other specific incidences if NRED needs more documentation to make a finding and prohibit agents from taking advantage of SCA.

Coming up:

Part 3: In case you don’t think this is enough evidence

If they had only known… Part 3

Owners pay a high price for Board ignorance

Basic ground rules the Board must learn by heart
  1. Association exists to serve the owners.
  2. Board exists to speak for the owners.
  3. Board may hire agents to act on behalf of owners.
  4. Association does not exist to serve the Board or management.
  5. Owners pay even when the Board or SCA agents make mistakes.
  6. Agents, including SCA employees, have no rights superior to owners’ rights.
  7. Rules exist to protect owners.
  8. Board must protect owners.
  9. The Board needs to learn the rules and follow them.

How can NRED training help the Board do right?

  1. Without proper training, the Board is ignorant.
  2. The Clarkson Law Group trained the Board to consult attorneys before ANY decision to the point of letting attorneys decide.
  3. Being ignorant, the Board has failed to protect owners from agents’ actions.
  4. Board needs to learn the rules set up to protect owners and follow them.

The process determines the result

Poor process = poor results

Board failures of the “duty of care”

The costly mistakes described below could have been avoided had the Board taken the training about the proper way to hire experts:

  1. The GM did not sign a management agreement with terms required by NRS 116A.620.
  2. The Clarkson Law Group hired as SCA debt collector without an RFP for  debt collector issued.
  3.  CPAs Ovist & Howard were paid $85,000+ to replace the volunteer Election Committee on the 2017 removal election without legal authority:
  4. HOA Lawyers Group LLC hired as SCA debt collector to replace the defunct and bankrupt Alessi & Koenig LLC
      1. without an RFP,
      2. without a Board-approved contract
      3. without competing with NRS 649 licensed vendors.

Board must learn the rules

Click here for the NRED training all directors should take to know how to prevent SCA being controlled by agents instead of by the elected Board: Hiring Experts and Professionals


Lessons the Board has yet to learn

1. When SCA became “self-managed”, the GM/CAM were hired without of a management agreement.
Not okay.

Absent a management agreement, the GM is an “at-will” employee and has no other rights than those bestowed by the SCA Employee Handbook.

2. RFPs are required for professional services not just construction or maintenance contracts per NRS 116.31086.

2.  The GM wasted $85,000+ for an unknown CPA, Ovist & Howard, to take over the recall election:

  1. without an RFP,
  2. without a Board-approved contract,
  3. without funding to pay for a CPA to do the recall in the adopted budget,
  4. without the Board amending the Election & Voting Manual to strip the Election Committee of its duties, and
  5. after the GM and attorney were both the subjects of active complaints that they were interfering with the independence of the Election Committee
  6. which resulted in diminishing the integrity of the election process.

Guess who benefitted. (P.S. It wasn’t the owners.)

  1. Four of the six Board members who allowed the GM to usurp the Board’s authority benefitted personally from unlawfully hiring a CPA to replace the Election Committee.
  2. Owners’ right to lawfully petition for a removal election was besmirched by the subjects of the petitions who wrongfully blamed the owners who petitioned for their recall for the huge cost of hiring a CPA that was done solely, 100%, by the GM under their watchful, grateful eye.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”   – Newton’s 3rd law

Hiring a CPA wasn’t the only way the GM sashayed in to usurp the authority of the Board, but to really take over, all dissent had to be crushed. These are things a properly trained Board would never have tolerated.

Action
As the liaison to the Election Committee,  I tried to get the GM, President Rex, and the attorney to leave the Election Committee independent and neutral to do their normal job during the recall.

Reaction
I was removed as the Board liaison to the Election Committee by the very people accused of interfering with the Election Committee’s independence.

Action
As a non-conflicted Director (not one signature, not one petition against me), I was one of the three Directors who should have decided

  • how the recall election was to be conducted,
  • whether the Election Manual should be amended for this one election
  • how best to protect the integrity of the election process

Reaction
The GM and the attorney decided to relieve the Election Committee from its duties despite having no legal authority to do so.

Action
I gave the Board notice of my intent to file a complaint of harassment and retaliation for all the actions they had taken against me in retribution for my recommending that the attorney and the GM be fired.

Reaction
The Board took the law into their own hands and kicked me off the Board without notice, process or appeal.

Kinda the same way Putin handled the one serious challenger to his re-election.

3. Restaurant RFP mistakes

  1. GM and one Director met with one competitor to give a leg up prior to RFP.
  2. Board was not informed of GM + director actions until it was a fait accompli.
  3. RFP issued to a hand-picked group of possible bidders
  4. Bids were not opened at a Board meeting.
  5. Bids were not not submitted on the same terms.
  6. After the number of vendors dropped to two, the “operating parameters” were adopted.
  7. Winning bidder who negotiated with GM in advance was allowed to change bid after the other bidder dropped out because the terms had been changed.
  8. No other bids were sought nor considered.

4. Last two debt collectors shouldn’t have been hired without RFPs

Doesn’t it seem like it’s a problem that

  1. HOA Lawyers Group became SCA’s debt collector without issuing an RFP to replace the defunct Alessi & Koenig, LLC?
  2. The Clarkson Law Group became the SCA debt collector without a RFP?
  3. The Clarkson Law Group, hired via the RFP issued to replace the Leach law firm as SCA legal counsel, used its “authority” as the SCA legal counsel to  “rule” that its own selection as the SCA debt collector did not require a separate RFP?

Who cares about debt collection?

We all should. Debt collectors are the source of huge expenses for HOA owners because of the weird way the Nevada courts allow HOA foreclosures to extinguish the bank’s security interest. While you might think this is good for HOAs, it is actually only good for the debt collector.

Remember, abdicating debt collection is:

  • a huge cost to owners
  • a violation of SCA bylaws 3.20 and 3.18(a)
  • foolish
  1. The cost of collection exceeds the amount recovered.
  2. HOA homeowners pay for the debt collectors’ fight with the banks.
  3. The loss of property value to each and every home in a Nevada HOA is, according to the UNLV 2017 study commissioned by the Nevada Association of Realtors, is 1.7% per foreclosure for delinquent dues.

 

 

 

If they had only known…Part 2

Board training is a MUST

NRED Power points are available for anyone to view on the training section of the NRED website. Check them out all out there or though future blogs.

Why be trained by NRED?

Learning from these FREE resources will reduce costly mistakes and transgressions by the current Board. In contrast, the attorney Clarkson trained the 2017 Board into handing over OUR wallets.

Look at this NRED training below that clarifies the Board’s job as the ounce of prevention that will save SCA a pound of excessive legal fees. A well-trained Board is a big – and necessary- step toward bridging the community divide.

Willful ignorance is a failure of duty of care

Here are two essential governance lessons that the 2017 Board REFUSED to learn.

  1. The buck stops with the Board. The Board MUST learn what its job is. The Board is not relieved of accountability by pretending  that management or the attorney have decision-making authority.
  2. The Board is restricted by law from delegating ultimate  accountability. The Board MUST define IN WRITING limits on the authority and actions of management and agents.

What’s wrong now?

Now, blurred lines allow the GM, the attorney, and individual directors (rather than the whole Board acting officially) to make decisions that ONLY the Board acting as a unit has the legal authority to make.

Requirements for a Board vote to be valid

Skip any of these steps, and no official Board action has been taken
Board action = motion, resolution, OR Board action item (BAI)
  • Notice to all Directors who ALL get to vote
  • Notice to all members who get a chance to speak
  • Agenda that clearly defines the action the Board is voting on
  • Minutes that say how each director voted

What if the GM says, “the Board decided…”,

but it didn’t follow the rules required for a valid Board decision?

THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS FAILURE TO ACT AS A FIDUCIARY

Here in SCA, these actions the GM took during the recall election diminished the integrity of the removal election process and could have biased the outcome in favor of the Directors who support her.

The modus operandi of malfeasance

  1. GM served the four Directors facing recall by removing people from the process who were dedicated to protecting the integrity of the recall election process (me as a Board member and the entire Election Committee).
  2. GM took away the authority of the volunteer Election Committee without approval by the only legal authority, i.e., vote by the non-conflicted Directors was required to change the Election Manual and spend un-budgeted funds.
  3. Rex worked with OSCAR to lie to the Election Committee to get them to remove me, a non-conflicted Director, as the liaison to the Election Committee after I attempted to protect the integrity of the election process.
  4. GM spent >$100,000 on a CPA and attorneys to do the volunteers’ job.
  5. GM allowed the paid interlopers to “lose” two pages of signatures which would have put Bob Burch on the recall ballot.
  6. GM disenfranchised the 2,001 voters who voted for me and kicked me off the Board without an official Board vote (on fake charges) at the EXACT SAME TIME as the recall process should have been controlled by me and the two other non-conflicted Directors.
  7. GM never officially notified the Board of the receipt of petitions to call for a removal election of four Directors who approved the GM’s double-the-market pay.
  8. GM never officially notified the Board of the receipt of a petition of no confidence against her.
  9. Right after the GM refused to notify the Board the petitions had been received,
    1. the GM used the association attorney to quash a subpoena in her divorce to prevent the petitions from being released in discovery
    2. AT THE EXACT SAME TIME that those petitions were released to OSCAR, the opponents of the recall of the Directors who support her excessive pay.
There is no end to this cycle without a properly trained Board.
Click here for the Powerpoint:
Executive Board Responsibilities & Fiduciary Duties
Click here for Powerpoint
Responsibilities of the Community Manager
Without training, SCA is doomed to repeat history.
  1. 2015 Board, including Rex and Tom, hired the GM at double the market pay.
  2. Rex claims that, as President, he has the right to control which directors get to participate in Board decisions and routinely excluded Directors with dissenting opinions.
  3. Rex appointed Aletta and Bob to study committees.
  4. On the advice of the GM and without consulting owners, Aletta and Bob decided that owner committees should be weakened or abolished under self-management.
  5. GM’s power isn’t controlled by written executive limits.
  6. Independent candidates are discouraged from running for the Board.
  7. Independent Directors will not run for officer positions.
  8. Rex and Bob keep the leadership roles.
  9. Rinse and repeat.

 

Why SCA now pays so much in unnecessary legal fees

Adam Clarkson trained the Board,

and he has convinced them that the budget doesn’t matter when it comes to legal fees.

The Board, following Rex’s leadership, foolishly insisted that the 2017 Board training be conducted in secret by Adam Clarkson.

Despite the excellent free training programs available through NRED, the Board refused to allow owners to see how they were being trained to abdicate their decision-making authority.

And the the Board certainly didn’t want owners to be able to comment on the self-serving training that was provided by Clarkson so it was deemed “attorney-client confidential” even though the training packet began with a legal disclaimer.

NRED complaint still pending

The secret Clarkson training was a self-dealing disaster. It bordered on elder abuse, and my complaints about the abusive conduct at that July 25, 2017 “attorney-client-privileged, not-an-executive-session workshop” are still under investigation by NRED.

Naturally, Adam Clarkson is billing the association ($325/hour, thank you very much) to defend himself and the other perps from my complaints about being bullied and harassed in that session in retribution for my telling the lot of them that they needed to straighten up and follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

What was wrong with the way Clarkson trained the Board?

Setting aside the for the moment the attorney-led misconduct of the participants (shunning, threatening and bullying me), Adam Clarkson twisted the interpretation of the law so far as to assert that it was a violation of the Board’s fiduciary duty to act ON ANYTHING without the attorney’s blessing.

Reward for complicity

Adam Clarkson rewarded the Board members who fell for his money grab, by creating a punitive cone of silence around non-confidential, discoverable SCA records against the non-compliant Director. Clarkson has also given his blessing to the unlawful claims that

  • the GM controls which owner or Board member can access SCA records and can withhold records at will, including in violation of a court order
  • the GM, President or Secretary
    • can exclude a Board member from Board meetings, and
    • can prevent a Director from voting,
    • and can block a Director from placing items on a Board meeting agenda
    • and can falsify the minutes of those meetings
  • the President does not have to follow Parliamentary procedures and
    • can magically use non-existent “substitute motions” and
    • can block a vote on a Director’s seconded motion and
    • can prevent a nomination for an officer position that would compete with the President’s pre-selected slate.
  • Annual reporting of gifts is voluntary

What does “fiduciary duty” mean?

Adam Clarkson actually gave this self-dealing definition of fiduciary duty saying that being guided by legal professionals was required by law AS IF only lawyers were experts on every subject.

The legal requirement is actually to consult with appropriate experts of all types (not just attorneys) when it is prudent to do so. This means reserve specialists, HR experts, accountants, construction experts, not just attorneys. There is no legal requirement for a Board to delegate its decision-making authority to attorneys. In fact, it is prohibited by both NRS 116.3106 and SCA bylaws.

“Consult with appropriate professionals as necessary before making major decisions…”

And the definition of fiduciary really is focused on the duty of care that the fiduciary has to ACT SOLELY AND EXCLUSIVELY IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE MEMBERSHIP.

A fiduciary is personally accountable for a duty of care and using good judgment to serve owners, not oneself.

It does not cut it to do (or not do) something that hurts the membership and then claim,

“The attorney made me do it.”

Defy the ruling of Judge (and jury) Adam Clarkson at your peril!!!

According to Adam Clarkson, attorneys are justified in verbally attacking and threatening a Director who tells the other members of the Board that:

  1. attorneys don’t have the expertise to assist on ALL Board decisions and that
  2. it is the individual Director’s responsibility to use common sense and ethical principles to evaluate courses of action to decide how to vote.

Give me a break. That’s idiotic.

We are actually paying $325/hour for that type of inane self-dealing pronouncement against a Director who tells the attorney to knock it off.

Guilty until proven innocent

“Unauthorized practice of law” for “advising other members that legal counsel is not necessary”????

“… will be deemed to have committed a prima facie violation of NRS 116.3103”?????

Prima facie”  =  fact presumed to be true unless it is disproved.

Quid pro quo = “something for something”

Quid

“Guilty until proven innocent” is the Clarkson pro forma edict he uses to bully Board members who are not in his or the GM’s pocket.

Quo

At the same time, Clarkson has protected the interests and defended the unlawful actions of the GM and those Board members who unquestioningly have agreed to pay whatever he bills with OPM (other people’s money).

“Prima facie” = “presumed guilty”

Here’s what NRS 116.3103 actually says

Clarkson is wrong

Telling the Board that the buck stops with it, and not with the attorney, is NOT a violation of a director’s fiduciary duty.

It is a true statement made on an informed basis, in good faith, and in the honest belief that

  • getting attorneys out making decisions for management or the Board, and
  • preventing attorneys from self-dealing or
  • serving the personal interests of a few individuals over the interests of the membership

is acting in the best interests of the association.

SCA Board officer selection orchestrated again

Officer elections over in a flash

  • No competition
  • No owner input
  • No surprise
  • No hope 

President            Bob Burch
Vice president   Rex Weddle
Secretary           Candace Karrow
Treasurer           Forrest Quinn

Why was last year’s officer election so bitter?

Simple answer. I committed the ultimate sin.

I volunteered to fix what I saw wasn’t working right in the transition to self-management. I told them the truth.

Unfortunately, changing the tone at the top means regime change.

OMG! Shut up!! You did not!

Yes, I did. Unlike this year’s newbies, I was totally unaware of SCA’s political realities. I never dreamed that volunteering to share my expertise would be treated as a capital offense.

How low will they go?

Frankly, I was surprised to see that Rex and his cronies would do anything – even break the law- to crush a political opponent.

And yet, here we are.

We have a full year of evidence that proves this point. This past year, we have seen VERY clearly many examples of how they have spared no expense (owners’ money, of course) to keep a death grip on the reins of power.

So, Dona Quixote, what did you say to tick them off?

I told them the incumbents were the bottom vote-getters so it was…

a mandate to improve the effectiveness of the Board as a unified governing body

That’s really bad.  What other evil did you spew?

I caused an uproar of outrageous indignation when I said that the vote showed an interest in changing the “tone at the top”

Yes, horrible as it was, I also said

the Board needed to be trained together to be guided by common, articulated goals.

You said what!!?

Actually, what I said is exactly what happened. The Board predictably devolved.

“…(absent proper training)…this Board will predictably devolve and return to a pattern of making backroom deals, abdicating its policy role to management, creating dissent in the community, and interfering with operational decisions which should legitimately be handled by staff.

Examples of how my fears were realized.Obviously, you can’t be trusted to keep a secret.
Remember,

Snitches get stitches.

On the advice of counsel
Unbelievably, Adam Clarkson or his underling, John Aylor, said these things directly or helped the GM and her buddies on the Board do them.

  • the Board can act without voting
  • the GM has rights that exceed those of the membership
  • directors facing recall have more control over the recall election than directors who were not named in petitions because the attorney says so
  • it is okay for the GM to use the attorney however she likes, including to get rid of a director who is too nosy about her pay and protecting the directors who like her from getting recalled
  • owners must pay whatever the GM and the attorney sayYou are so arrogant and mean, and you lie.

Even if I were arrogant and mean, I am not lying. Everything I say, I will eagerly say under oath.You deserved to be kicked off because, obviously, you are making a profit from doing this.

Seriously. They said that.

No decent Board member should have to work with you.

Well, that hurts.

It shows how stunningly effective a marketing campaign to demonize me has been. It persuaded a lot of people to agree with both that unfair assessment of me and with the ridiculous claim that other directors are above me and special.

It’s really sad, but the smear tactics have been led by,
Guess who?
current and former members of the Board, with the full support of the GM and the attorney, and funded by guess-whose money.

I was forced to become a blogger to respond to GM-initiated defamation and threats of litigation.

And now, Rex put out another self-righteous editorial claiming that it is the bloggers that have destroyed our property values.

Exhausting.

Since Rex has aggressively blocked anyone having equal time to debate his self-serving prostelyzing on the Spirit, the website or at meetings or any other forum, the only way to get the other side of the story out is to blog.

Will Bob write patronizing, insulting President’s reports?

If his diatribes during director comment periods at Board meetings are any indication, he will invest a great deal of energy in verbally assaulting anyone who disagrees with him that tries to speak up.

But, I’m pretty sure the deal he made with Rex, our new Vice -President, was to be a version of co-Presidents so Rex can keep a grip of the reins.

By my best guess, as far as the written word goes, Rex will continue to treat the Spirit as his personal snide blog as he ghost writes the President’s reports next year for Bob.

Previously, Bob complained that he finds writing boring when, on May 1, 2017, immediately before I disturbed the peace of last year’s pre-determined officer election, he wrote

“I have no desire to be President. In my entire military and civilian careers, I have never found writing reports or articles in magazines very interesting. Therefore, writing monthly Spirit articles, monthly Board meeting recaps, etc., is not something I would look forward to doing.”

So, President this year,

Way to take one for the team, Bob.

Paying attorneys to disappear political opponents

Lesson 3 – Create a false narrative to win

or as Chuck Lorre, the creator of Big Bang Theory crudely put it in Vanity Card #586:

(Quote redacted)

Item 11 E – Quarterly Litigation Reports

Now that I have your attention, let’s discuss how item 11 E – quarterly litigation reports – is an example of how the Board wastes lots of our money to use the many SCA lawyers to control who sits on the Board. (I’m sorry. It seems I have to offend some people to keep everyone else awake.)

Only one Board candidate seemed to notice problems

In member comments, Board candidate, Gary Lee, pointed out some inadequacies in the reports.

Of the 15 cases reported, 9 are foreclosures. Is there a problem with the way we are handling foreclosures? There are inconsistencies.

Gary did not know what I’ll tell you below. In my case, that the defamatory and false statements were used as the pretext for kicking me off the Board and that the Board has refused my repeated requests to correct “errors” for a year.

Clarkson, SCA legal counsel and debt collector, lies like a rug

Clarkson Law Group has given the same false report for the last five quarters on the case that supposedly disqualified me from the Board.

Wrong!

  • The current status of the quiet title case is not as of 2/1/17. That is the date when the original cross claim was filed, but dismissed on 5/25/17.
  • This ignores that the claims of the Gordon B. Hansen Trust, by Nona Tobin, individual and trustee,  were dismissed by Judge Kishner at a hearing on 5/25/17, and that the order (due in June 2017) was not filed by the SCA attorney until 9/20/17, a month after I was ambushed and kicked off the Board on 8/24/17 .
  • The mere existence of this case is what Clarkson falsely claims disqualified me from serving on the Board. More importantly, what this lie has achieved is keeping my nose out of his debt collection business.

The Lipson law firm’s report is defamatory.

I was not removed from the Board “for cause”.
This is a horrible, hurtful lie.

It brands me “guilty!” without any finding of fact. It is a continuation of the harassment and retaliation I have been subjected to for over a year.

I was unlawfully removed by the other six Board members in a secret meeting based on the totally false and unsubstantiated allegation that I was making a profit from my position on the Board. Poppycock.

The FACTS

  1. SCA was a named party in 2015 by the plaintiff Jimijack, who has possession of the house and been collecting rents on Bruce’s house since 2014.
  2. Nationstar filed a second lawsuit against the buyer at the foreclosure sale of 2763 White Sage Dr. in January, 2016 and completed a failed mediation with  SCA a month before I showed up as the third lawsuit.
  3. On behalf of the Gordon B. Hansen Trust, I entered the case on 2/1/17 as a defendant in intervention on the two existing cases in order to regain the title for the trust.
  4. The 2/1/17 cross claim against SCA was to get SCA to void the defective foreclosure sale from which SCA’s former agents unlawfully kept $60,000 that should have been distributed to either Nationstar or the GBH Trust after paying SCA only $2,701.
  5. On 5/25/17, all claims against SCA were dismissed ($2,701 paid SCA in full in 2014 so SCA has no financial stake in the quiet title dispute), but the Lipson attorney did not file the 5//25/17 order until 9/20/17, a month after I was kicked off the Board on the pretext that the mere existence of this case disqualified me from being on the Board.
  6. I did not, and could not, make a profit from my position on the Board.

And yet, the Lipson report brands me

My request to correct false reports was not heard.

Click here to link to the request I intended to, but did not, bring to the Board.

I stayed silent.

The tone of the meeting and the mood of the crowd made it clear that there was a zero% chance that the Board would see through their prejudices and willful ignorance to treat me fairly.

There was a standing ovation for Jim Coleman who was shaken and outraged at being falsely accused of voting to kick me off the Board by lying, probably racist, Mr. (name redacted) blogger.

There was zero acknowledgement that I existed in the room, let alone was deserving of compassion as the falsely accused (of making a profit off my Board position) and the actually-injured (kicked off the Board without a trial or finding of guilt) victim.

Who cares?

Good question. The issue is way bigger than me.

The precedent puts homeowners in all 3,000 HOAs in Nevada at risk of losing control over who sits on their Boards if who they elect can be “disappeared” without cause, a trial or an appeal on a pretext.

Let’s face it

I was kicked off the Board because the GM and the majority of the Board did not like me telling them they sub-standard in their  implementation of self-management and that they were breaking lots of rules and needed to straighten up or I would tell on them.

So, they made up a story to get rid of me

If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere

All the directors in any HOA would need to do to get rid of a Board member they don’t like would be to deem their position vacant by operation of law.

It’s easy to kill a political opponent if you have attorneys willing to ignore all the other laws that exist to protect homeowners from arbitrary and capricious abrogation of their rights.

This precedent is especially risky for the state because Adam Clarkson is the president-elect of the Community Association Institute and claims that his firm represents 300 HOAs, 10% of those in Nevada.

Good-bye, democracy.

Being serviced by SCA attorneys is painful and pricey

This is the second blog in a series about lessons learned at the April 26 Board meeting.

Lesson 2-
When we don’t get what we paid for, we should send it back.

This blog is about how it is always “lose-lose” when the SCA Board abdicates to attorneys instead of being guided by:

  • common sense,
  • NRED Board training,
  • owner oversight and
  • professional management standards of practice.

This blog is about the overuse and wrong use of the SCA attorneys to protect individual Board members and the GM, and actively, purposely hurting owners – all on owners’ dime.

Special thanks go to Rex Weddle and Sandy Seddon for setting the mean-spirited and divisive tone at the top that has prevented all neighborly, amicable resolution of differences on their watch.

Highlights of legal expenditures

  • First quarter 2018 $101,300  more than double the $48,750 budget
  • 2017 quarterly budget was $22,500, so $101,300 was nearly five times what was expected to spend in a quarter last year
  • In 2015, before self-management SCA actually spent $116,292 for lawyers
  • In 2014, $52,219 was spent for the whole year.
  • In 2016,the whole year of lawyers was $118,861, but that was before buckets of money were extracted from owners’ pockets in 2017 to pay to be aggressively serviced by the Clarkson Law Group

Again, a special thanks to Rex and Sandy for their utter disregard of best practices and fair play to make owners pay attorneys to keep your dirty little secrets.

What are we getting for our money?

Can we figure it out from the budget variance “explanation”?

“NRED, FAS, Director liability, policy updates, etc.”

Pretty unsatisfactory explanation, I’d say. I’ll also say these ridiculous legal fees are not necessary expenditures. They are only necessary if the Board is duped into doing everything the hard way instead of opting for the ounce of prevention.

Some of these fees are also caused by individual Board members and the GM using the attorneys in inappropriate ways, and the attorney leading, or going along with, unfairly stripping owners’ of their legal protections. The attorney makes big bucks as a quid pro quo for the Board abandoning even the appearance of controlling budget policy.

SCA leaders refuse to be transparent about what they are doing, but I think you all should know what you are buying.

And remember, unlike blogger # 3, Mr. (name redacted), who was drummed out of the legal profession for forging a judge’s signature, I will swear under oath to the truth of what I say, and I will, willingly and openly, back my words up with evidence.

I’ll show you in Lesson 3 why attorneys’ lies about me are so serious and why doing this to one owner hurts ALL owners.

 

 

 

 

Board meeting as self-serving bully pulpit

Lesson 1 from April 26 BOD meeting

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”                                             -Mark Twain

Blame the bloggers

At least the first hour of the meeting was dedicated to blaming bloggers for all that is wrong, including the loss of SCA property values. It was a stunning example of how the Board marches lock-step against  owners rights and reflexively resists holding itself and the GM accountable for fixing problems of their own making.

Board beliefs vs. an alternative point of view

Tom Nissen listed his beliefs – all concerns shared by the Board – as his parting gift to the membership.

My beliefs offer another, albeit unwelcome, perspective, to show the way I think the Board and GM could better create value for owners.

Click here to link to the article about the UNLV study on HOA foreclosures referenced above.

Next time, I’ll share with you my planned request to correct the false and defamatory statements in the April SCA litigation reports. I didn’t speak up at the meeting because I was afraid I’d get lynched for complaining.