SCA Board inched closer to restaurant decision

Volunteer Tom Nissen led the Board’s latest decision-making process on the restaurant space study. Once again, the highly-compensated GM sat coyly by and let the man who hired her hold center stage.

Remember where we left it. The GM was charged with having a decision by the end of 2017, but instead she chose to hand off leadership to two Board members, Tom Nissen and Forrest Quinn. The three of them had workshops, gave regular retrospectives about what their little triad had done, listened to owners patiently, and then handpicked 10 potential bidders. Coming in to today’s meeting, only two remained in the race – the Village Pub and G2G, the preferred candidate with a leg up.

Now, instead of before the RFP was put out, they decide to define parameters. It is all but guaranteed that the vendor that Tom had met with for a year before nine other vendors were invited to apply is all but a shoe-in.

The Board passed seven of Tom’s eight motions to decide operational restrictions that will be placed on the one of the two providers left standing.

  1. Approved having a restaurant vs. attempting to re-purpose the space.
  2. General public can be customers of the restaurant. It won’t be only for members and accompanied guests.
  3. No smoking will be allowed in any SCA facility, but there will be designated outdoor smoking areas as exist now.
  4. The provider will get exclusive rights to catering in ALL SCA facilities – Anthem Center, Independence, and Liberty. However, the good news is that  potlucks will not be prohibited. There might even be an opportunity for pizza or some other type of delivery, said the GM, based on her experience at other Sun Cities. She also said that G2G didn’t really mean it when they said in their proposal that they wanted clubs to be restricted from having events off site.
  5. Approved having a subsidy. This was an odd way to put the thumb on the scales considering only one of the two bidders is going for the free ride approach. The Village Pub offered to invest $750,000 to $1 million of their own capital to set up and then to pay $3,000/month. The one they have nurtured through the process, G & G, proposed getting free rent and free utilities.
  6. Coffee window to be closed while restaurant is open.
  7. No 24/7. Restaurant hours will be limited to the hours the Anthem Center is open unless there is a special event.
  8. The motion to prohibit gaming failed so it was left to the discretion of the Tom/Forrest Board work group and the GM to work it out with the last vendor standing. No substitute motion was forwarded.

Financial vetting must be rock solid

Several people have over time raised the question of how the financial stability of the chosen one will be vetted. The answer has been vague so there are rumors out there that G2G has been in bankruptcy four times.

So, I checked. The chapter 7 bankruptcy is some other G2G, LLC. –  not our guy, who is G2G Management Group, LLC

I don’t know anything about this vendor. My objection is to any process that gives one competitor an edge. While I was on the Board, I wasn’t “authorized” to work on the Restaurant Space study, but in response to concerns that the bidder might have dark secrets, I checked. A quick glance tonight at the NV Secretary of State’s website and bankruptcy court public record was sufficient to show that our bidder is none of these problem entities that raised red flags to some owners.

Problem entities

Bidder for SCA’s space

 

Telling lies, ruining lives

“As I understand it, Ms. Tobin was prevented from running for the Board not because she has opinions that are critical of the Board and SCA management, but ONLY because she is involved in litigation against SCA from which she might stand to gain a financial benefit.” -David Berman

Poppycock.

My unlawful removal from the Board was completely 100% done in retaliation for my complaints of harassment and retaliation.

I presented the issues formally to the Board, the attorney, the GM, and the former CAM and to blogger David Berman as statements of intent less than two weeks before they acted in concert, without cause, without authority and without due process to strip me of my legal rights and my Board seat and to disenfranchise the 2,001 voters who had put me in office.

While I was on the Board those interminable 116 days (5/1/17-8/24/17), the GM, the former CAM, the attorney, David Berman and 5 of the 7 directors acted in concert to marginalize me from day 1. (Art Lindberg should get a pass since he was the only one who asked the right questions. The attorney lied to him too., and the pressure to conform was very, very strong.)

They made my life miserable, shunning, lying, berating me, denigrating my contributions, making false accusations, publishing false and defamatory statements, and making it impossible for me to be an effective homeowner advocate as a member of the Board.

They only came up with the convoluted ruse that I had put matters before the Board from which I could make a profit because, even relying on Adam Clarkson’s tortured reading of the law, they couldn’t say they were getting rid of me because I was an outspoken pain in the ass.

Execution was a complete non sequitur

The 8/24/17 letter which constituted my walking papers, signed by Adam Clarkson, was the totally unlawful and unethical response to my notice of intent to file a Form 530 Intervention Affidavit alleging harassment and retaliation.

Before that letter came out of the blue, there were many disputes between me and five of the other Directors, the attorney, the GM and former CAM, most of which you will recognize. I was transparent and vocal as possible as I sounded the alarm on deferred attention to owners’ concerns.

It’s pretty obvious why I had to go

And it was not because I did, or even could, profit from being on the Board.
My profit = ZERO

Did I mention I never made a dime off SCA before, during or after my Board service?

How much did the attorney make for creating the ruse that I did?

Attorneys’ profit for 2017 = $300,000+

2017 legal fees for “Director Issues”  = $40,000
January 2018 legal fees = $38,000

but they won’t admit how much of that was to unlawfully block owners knowing how much the GM’s salary was bumped up in 2018

Deny. Deny. Deny.

Accept no responsibility for ANY problems.
Then attack your accuser.
And kill her.
Sample of the problems I publicly said needed correction
  • No restaurant -Failing to comply with the CC&Rs and good business practices about the restaurant space study, letting only a couple of directors work on it, refusing to use an independent expert, too cozy with one bidder
  • Owner oversight committees – Refusing to allow appropriate owner oversight in areas where going to self-managed and changing legal counsel and debt collectors caused a high level of risk – personnel, compensation, legal services, insurance, investments; getting rid of the Golf Course Liaison Committee, the Communications Committee, and decimating Property & Grounds, making the GM the Board liaison to Pinnacle and other groups
  • Board agendas – Refusing to put my items on the Board’s open or executive session agenda as required by law, by Board policy equal to other directors
  • Secret meetings -meeting in secret without giving me or other owners the rights guaranteed by law or confining executive sessions to the four permissible topics
  • Excessive executive compensation – Refusing to conform to the law for access to data, to evaluate according to professional standards, or to fairly consider evidence to rebut the appropriateness of those salary levels; giving Tom Nissen excessive authority in this area and blocking me totally from it despite our differences in expertise or the appropriateness of substituting the judgment of ANY one director for the judgment of the Board; spending thousands on using the attorney to hide what her actual compensation is from the owners.
  • No GM performance standards – Not holding the GM accountable for meeting measurable, publicly-adopted performance standards
  • No management agreement – Violating SCA bylaws and failing to protect SCA by having no management agreement or even any written terms & conditions of employment. Although the GM is an AT-WILL EMPLOYEE, allowing her to usurp additional privilege to the detriment of SCA.
  • Unfair complaint process – Going beyond NOT having a customer-service rating system to aggressively attacking the 800+ owners who signed petitions and refusing to answer any of their complaints on their merits
  • Evicting FAS – The process for evicting the Foundation Assisting Seniors was flawed. They ordered me out of executive sessions. They did not act in the best interests of the homeowners. The GM was not held accountable for the failure. Civil action without required owner vote.
  • Debt collection process – Failing to do proper due diligence on debt collectors; refusing to evaluate the expensive, inhumane cost of collection for a more ocst-effective solution
  • Ill-advised recusal demand – Overreaching demand for me to recuse myself on ANY collection matter because SCA’s attorney/debt collector alleges there might be an “appearance of a conflict” for me, however remote, while ignoring the current attorney/debt collector’s obvious actual financial conflict and the fact that the last debt collector filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy without telling SCA and continued doing foreclosures by morphing into another LLC.
  • Bullying -On at least three occasions in executive sessions, using bullying, shunning, intimidation, threats and other demeaning and belittling marginalization tactics to try to make me conform with nonexistent policies or legal requirements
  • Failure to investigate – When problems are brought up, they are dismissed out of hand without conducting, or allowing, investigation on the merits
  • Inaccurate official records -Causing, or allowing the official SCA records to be corrupted and/or error-prone ALWAYS against the interests of homeowners and usually to protect individual members of the Board or management
  • Concealing SCA records from me alone, i.e., giving me incomplete executive session Board books, refusing to respond to ANY records requests
  • Abdication – Allowing the GM to use the association attorney as her personal attorney in violation of NRS and SCA bylaws
  • Election interference – Allowing the Board president, the GM, the CAM, David Berman, and the association attorney to interfere with the recall election process and to UNLAWFULLY COST OWNERS $90,000 BY STRIPPING THE VOLUNTEER ELECTION COMMITTEE OF THEIR CHARTER DUTIES to pay a CPA to do the EC’s job poorly.
  • Undue influence allowed – As it served the interests of the Board majority and management, David Berman, spokesperson for OSCAR, was allowed to have greater access to recall election information than I received as a director; he was allowed undue level of influence over the Election Committee to cut me out in retaliation for my attempting to protect the rights of the petitioners, including falsely accusing me what he himself was guilty of;  misrepresenting himself as an attorney; falsely accusing me of releasing “personal director correspondence” further defaming me by creating the false impression that I had released a legally privileged documents (absolutely not!)
  • Sanctions without notice or due process -Having meetings to sanction me without notice and to enforce policies that don’t exist
  • Unlawful orders issued by the attorney against me, e.g., cease & desist from representing myself as a director, or asking questions that I was not “authorized” to ask particularly regarding personnel and GM compensation
  • GM’s frivolous litigation threats – Allowing the GM to threaten to sue SCA for damages and to threaten me with personal liability; refusing to indemnify me as a director; falsely claiming I had violated my fiduciary duty without any evidence, a hearing or a finding
  • Misinterpretation of “employer liability” – Allowing the attorney to represent the interests of the GM over those of the homeowners. Accusing me of violating my fiduciary duty because I criticized the GM’s performance and because I requested a salary verification from her prior employer.
  • Abdication to attorney acting in the GM’s or his own interest -Telling me that the attorney had the authority to declare that I, as one of the seven directors, could be excluded from the right to vote on, or even know about, matters under the Board’s decision-making authority, unless he approved it (which in most cases, he has never approved to this day).
  • Abuse of privilege -Allowing the attorney to declare ANYTHING to be “attorney-client privileged” regardless of the lack of its meeting the legal definition of privilege in NRS 49 or NRS 116.31085.
  • Falsification of litigation reports -Allowing the attorneys to publish false statements in the litigation reports to increase the appearance of a conflict or to defame me and refusing to correct after evidence was provided.

It’s pretty obvious why I had to go

SCA Board election choices are narrowed by design

My granddaughter is six now, but a while ago, she loved knock-knock jokes. Her favorite one was apropos of the SCA Board race.

  • Knock-knock.
  • Who’s there?
  • Broken pencil.
  • Broken pencil who?
  • Never mind. It’s pointless.

And yet, here I am. In Hawaii, but still knocking my head against the wall, trying to keep the SCA Board composition from being so blatantly manipulated.

I know no one will listen. I know that the sides have already been chosen. Lines have been drawn in the sand. Positions are entrenched.

It’s pointless. But I am still just OCD enough to need to put these points on the record – where they are out of reach of those who are distorting or concealing the official record for their own purposes.

Board candidates are disappeared

  • What happened to the two that applied but whose names were not released, but were just gone at the same time I was declared ineligible?
  • Why did Vickie Lisotto drop out?
  • Why didn’t more people apply who have voiced concerns about how self-management is being implemented without owners’ coming first?

Why won’t owners run for the Board:
Fear of facing a recall petition?

Apparently not.

Candidates Bob Burch and Aletta Waterhouse were themselves both subjects of the petitions signed by over 800 owners to remove them from the Board, but they decided to run again for another two-year term.

Amazing that over 800 owners signed petitions over a few Summer weeks to call for an election to remove Aletta Waterhouse and Bob Burch from the Board, but that did not deter them from running again.

Even more amazing. They were seemingly so untouched by the list of grievances in the petitions that they did not even deem those 800 owners’ complaints were worthy of being investigated or, if verified, addressed on their merits.

Not so amazing since they were completely secure in the fully-funded support of the GM and the attorney, they did not see any irony in how six directors voted in secret to remove me from my Board seat when ZERO owners signed a petition to call for my removal.

Did owners decide not to run because they saw what happened to a director that spoke her own mind?

From my perspective, the answer is obvious.

All the stops will be pulled out to protect a director who has closed ranks to march lockstep with the other Stepford directors to parrot the party line.

Step out of line, and you will be threatened. Privately berated and shunned. Publicly humiliated. Then you will be disappeared. No amount of owners’ money is too much to spend to force compliance to the party line. No rule of law. Total hard ball.

Would anyone bet a homeowner advocate could be effective on the SCA Board?

It is not a safe bet.

Not when six of the seven directors apparently can just secretly vote a dissident voice off the island. No trial. No finding. No process. No owner vote. Just goodbye. Can’t run again. Disappeared.

Not when Sun City Anthem has a blogger in Hedda Hopper’s McCarthy-era role to maintain a Black List.

…(to) actively oppose the election of any candidate who was tied to, or supported, the removal campaign.

Ask yourself…who’s spending owners’ money to control who sits on the Board?

Would Sandy Seddon have sicced attorney Adam Clarkson on a director who supported her getting paid double the market and wasn’t questioning her paying the CFO and Facilities Manager salaries that were also double the market rate?

Would President Rex Weddle have turned a blind eye to the GM using the attorney to authorize the expenditure of $90,000 to ensure that the recall election would fail and $40,000 – a combined $130,000 — to ensure that my removal by secret vote would succeed if our positions had been reversed?

Would he had let a dime of owners’ money be spent on the recall election if I, and not he, had been the subject of a recall petition?

How much would he have authorized expending of owners’ money  to pay the attorney to remove him if it were he, and not I, being falsely accused of making a profit from sitting on the Board?

Would attorney Adam Clarkson have assisted the GM to make a bogus threat of litigation against SCA, and a director individually, if they weren’t trying to silence that director who was questioning the legitimacy of both their actions while requesting information needed to make fully informed decisions?

Wouldn’t attorney Adam Clarkson also have profited from disappearing a demanding director to escape accounting for SCA owners’ being forced to expend

  • $300,000+ in 2017 legal fees, triple the budget
  • $38,000 in January 2018 legal fees alone to block 2018 changes to GM compensation
  • $90,000 to conduct the removal election which was solely caused by his and the GM’s decision to disempower the volunteer Election Committee?

 

 

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”

 

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.

 

.

Surprise! SCA attorney makes SCA membership pay to lose their voice!

What happened?

As I told you last week, I timely filed my application to be a candidate for the Board. Although I meet the legal requirements to be a candidate, two hours after the closing bell for applications, I received a 43-page document entitled Notice of Ineligibility, generated by the Clarkson Law Group @$325/hour to be fully paid for by SCA homeowners, that said I was disqualified to be a Board member.

Don’t I meet the legal requirements to be on the Board?

Absolutely. The law requires that I disclose that I am a member in good standing.

I am, and I did.

And the law and our bylaws require that I

“[m]ake a good faith effort to disclose any financial, business, professional or personal relationship or interest that would result or would appear to a reasonable person to result in a potential conflict of interest for the candidate if the candidate were to be elected”

I did. In fact, I disclosed everything twice.

First, using the official NRED form 850, I made my candidate disclosures in good faith on time, and, by law, SCA SHALL distribute the disclosures on my behalf because they include nothing defamatory, libelous or profane.

And, just to be safe, I voluntarily did a second set of disclosures, although the NRED Form 850 form I signed above clearly states:

“Any additional information provided by the candidate to the executive board is voluntary and is not a requirement under NRS 116.31034.”

I submitted the SCA candidate disclosure form (rev.2 by Clarkson Law Group, but not approved by the SCA Board) since Clarkson’s crafty, creative corruption of the candidate disclosure requirements had obviously been tailored to exclude little, old me from eligibility:

Clarkson’s creative editing tailors SCA’s disclosure form to create the appearance of a conflict of interest where no financial risk to SCA existed when I served on the SCA Board before nor would exist if I were elected again.
Why did the letter say I was ineligible to run for the Board?

These self-serving rationalizations to keep me off the Board aren’t true, of course, and they are more than a little infuriating to have to deal with.

I consider this action to block my candidacy, and to disenfranchise at least the 2,000 voters who elected me to the Board last May, further unlawful, defamatory, politically-motivated retaliation for my outspoken advocacy for homeowners’ rights and my progressively more strident demands that the Board, Adam Clarkson, and the GM hold themselves accountable to the homeowners and not to their own power trips or financial self-interest.

In fact, much bigger potential conflicts have not been disclosed by Adam Clarkson and Sandy Seddon, and they are the ones who are financially benefiting from making these false statements (that I’m making a profit off being on the Board or that I’m failing to disclose that I could hypothetically make a profit) to keep me off the Board and to keep me from disclosing how much money they are actually making off the homeowners.

Anyway, here’s the gist of what the attorney’s letter says about why letting me run for the Board would pose a massive threat to SCA:

  • You are ineligible because you stand to make a profit from matters before the Board:
  1. Your outstanding August 10, 2017 demand to the Association that included the following demand for monetary damages: SCA to pay damages for the GM’s, CAM’s, SCA attorney Adam Clarkson’s and the Board’s misconduct and intentional infliction of emotional distress, attorney fees and other costs associated with my defense against the unlawful abuse of process, defamation, libel and false claims that I committed illegal acts, violated my fiduciary duty or created employer liability.
  2. You have a pending quiet title claim against the Association and additional claims that may be asserted against the Association.
  • Failure to Disclose Potential Conflicts of Interest and False Statement of Fact

The candidate form you submitted failed to identify the potential conflicts of interest associated with your candidacy including, but not limited to, the following: 1) failure to disclose that on August 10, 2017 you made monetary demands upon the Association that remain outstanding. See Attachment 3; and 2) in relation to your litigation against the Association, the failure to indicate that your claims against the Association that were dismissed without prejudice may be reasserted against the Association subsequent to your completion of the Nevada Real Estate Division (“NRED”) alternative dispute resolution procedures under NRS 38.310 et seq. See the Notice of Entry of Order attached as Attachment 4.

Are there matters before the Board that I could make a profit from?

No.
What about the August 10, 2017 “demand for monetary damages?

On August 10, I sent a NOTICE OF INTENT TO FILE AN INTERVENTION AFFIDAVIT against the Board, the GM and Adam Clarkson for harassment and retaliation, for withholding  SCA records, excluding me from Board meetings, and other violations of their fiduciary duty.

Look at the date – 2 weeks before they kicked me off the Board as I walked into the August 24 Board meeting  – without any notice, due process, cause, or legal authority.  Kicking me off the Board was the Board’s only response to my complaint that I was being bullied and retaliated against, and now Clarkson is saying my requesting reimbursement of attorney fees is a demand for monetary damages that makes me ineligible to be on the Board.

That’s like beating someone up and throwing her out in the street, then beating her up again if she came back and wanted her hospital bills to be paid.

Look at what is actually being done here.
It could apply to any owner who speaks up.

I have no demand for monetary damages against SCA. Period.

Quiet title litigation is not disqualifying per se.
NRS 116.31084 says what to do if a Director might make a profit from being on the Board:
1) Disclose it, and 2) Don’t vote on it.

Done and done.

Here’s why the quiet title litigation is not a disqualifying conflict except in Clarkson’s mind.

  • SCA has no skin in the game. SCA was paid in full in 2014.
  • Nothing the Board has to decide will affect the outcome of the title decision that will be made by the court.
  • Judge Kishner is being asked to void a foreclosure sale defective because SCA’s former agents violated the statutory requirements for a valid sale.
  • SCA will lose nothing in the title dispute, It does not matter to SCA financially whether the judge quiets title to me, trustee of the Gordon B. Hansen Trust that owned it, to the bank, or to the guy who got the property on a fraudulent quit claim deed.
  • SCA will be out attorney fees which will be substantial because they are foolishly defending the former debt collectors who stole money from me on this one house, but stole from the Association on lots of houses.
What potential conflict of interest did I fail to disclose?

Nothing.
Accusing me of it is just wrong. The attorney’s logic is specious and speculative. All claims against SCA were dismissed at a hearing on May 25, 2017, except quiet title that SCA has no financial interest in, but SCA attorneys didn’t file the order until September 19, 2017, a month after they kicked me off the Board.  Why?

The attorneys have filed false litigation reports for the past year claiming that the current status of the case was back in February 1, 2017. Why?

The most recent litigation report defamed me by falsely stating that I had been removed from the Board for cause. Why?

When the Clarkson Law Group was hired, Adam Clarkson failed to disclose prior employment that would appear to a reasonable person to be a potential conflict of interest requiring disclosure. Why?

The blog, “Who gets to decide who is eligible to serve on the Board?“, discusses why the SCA membership has more to fear from over-compensated, power-grabbing attorneys than from me, a homeowner advocate who also is also trying to get title back to a house that was essentially stolen by SCA’s former debt collector.

January 25 BOD meeting wrapup

Nothing that I think is really important to tell residents about what happened at the January Board meeting is included in the meeting summary on SCA’s official website www.sca-hoa.org:

Here’s what I think owners might want to know:

Restaurant space decision delayed again

Here’s what appeared in the Board book:

There was a 17-minute verbal report explaining why the GM won’t have until April the recommendation (due last December) on whether to have a restaurant or not. She did not mention that it’s been closed during her entire tenure despite the fact that SCA CC&Rs require:

The GM, working with two Board members, analyzed past failures, legal issues and input from two workshops.

1/8/18 Issued an RFP to 9 potential bidders for restaurant

  • It is unknown who the potential bidders were or how they were selected
  • Gaming is still under consideration to subsidize a restaurant.
  • She held a bidders’ conference to see what were “operator expectations”
  • The RFP is not available for review by owners, but is promised for the February meeting
  • Bidders had until February 2 to put in a proposal.
Alternative use of space is being studied simultaneously

“If it can’t be restaurant, what can it be, given there is almost an insurmountable vote. If the board repurposes, then if 10% object then 50%+1 has to vote to make change.”

Forrest Quinn is focusing on construction and engineering and met with an architect, and he commented that the kitchen is disproportionately large:

  • The kitchen is 4300 square feet and the restaurant is 3300 square feet
  • With only 162 seats, probably a 700-square-foot kitchen is needed

The GM repeated several times how difficult it is because it is so emotional and important not to make a mistake. No matter what decision is made, there will be costs.

Tom Nissen, who is working on the restaurant part of the analysis, commented–

“What we’re trying to do is take a disciplined approach of the pros and cons to having a restaurant. Maybe there will be a subsidy, it’ll depend on what the responders say.”

My concerns were stated (and ignored) earlier:

“Our past failures have been due in substantial part by the the inability of Board members and management to allow an equitable arms-length selection and leasing process to be conducted by an experienced, independent broker who specializes in restaurants, bars, and gaming. Neither the GM, the Board or any individual Board member, regardless of their expertise and experience,  would be as effective in handling the selection process as a neutral expert would be. It would simply be a poor business decision to insist otherwise.”

I hope they prove me wrong.

Director’s Comments

Art Lundberg highlighted the successful fundraising of the Women’s Club for charities equaling $43,400 in 2017 and $400,000 since 2000.

Important, but not agendized: Future of Revere

Revere is safe from residential development in perpetuity!

Tom Nissen reported that because golf courses around the country have been converted to other uses, such as residential development, three directors visited City of Henderson officials and Revere management to determine if Revere was at risk of being plowed under for alternative use. The news from both fronts is good.

  • Revere has no plans to close as their business is good.
  • Zoning is currently PS (Public and Semi-public), and the City would make a zoning change difficult.
  • The best news is that a document, “Operating & Maintenance Instructions”, is on file with the City of Henderson, that limits future use and has a permanent restriction: “Residential development on the property of any type is prohibited.”

As an owner who lives on the golf course, I am thrilled that these directors took the initiative to research this concern. When Legacy Golf Club was threatened with permanent closure for residential development, an owner there told me her property value dropped $60,000 overnight.

My only concern is that this was done on their own initiative, and it was not handled by the SCA-Revere Golf Course Liaison Committee which  was abolished when we went to self-management. The GM felt that the only golf course issues were management-related and so the GM herself would be a more effective liaison than homeowners. I think that decision should be re-visited.

Board-Work Group report on Communications

Board Work Group (Aletta Waterhouse and Jim Coleman) are totally committed to the project of improving Board-owners communications,  and yet, they do not seem to see the irony that their little committee does not include any owners.

They reported that they will hold two workshops:

February 6 @ 11 AM to discuss their plans for improving communications and getting owner feedback

February 23 @ 1-2:30 PM to discuss:

  • The role of NRED and the Office of the Ombudsman
  • How the Community service Group plans to deal with durable medical equipment
  • Tom Nissen will give his presentation on self-management

GM’s Report

In another mis-step when it comes to truly effective communications, the GM’s report mentioned that a new website will be online by March. It is unknown if any owners had any input into the design. Probably not as I think the Owner Communication Committee was disbanded as not being needed under self-management.

Disappointingly, and contrary to the lip service being paid to transparency, the website will still require a password. Too bad when Tom Nissan was looking at self-management, he didn’t look at Sun City Summerlin’s website which does not require a password, and it has been self-managed since 1997.

Proposed Tow Policy was a big surprise

Continuing on the theory that telling owners what is being done to them after the fact is a form of transparency, the Board sprung on owners a surprise, fully-developed set of proposed parking prohibitions.

Fortunately, the Board tabled the whole proposed towing policy after many owners objected to being surprised by the proposal to prohibit ALL on-street parking in Pinnacle without consulting those most impacted and without offering an alternative solution.

ALL on-street parking in Pinnacle Village to be prohibited?

The proposed towing policy section 5 uniquely impacts Pinnacle Village because it is gated and so the streets are Association property and not controlled by the City of Henderson:

On-Street Parking Is Prohibited Within the Gated Neighborhood of the Association Commonly Referred to as “Pinnacle” or “Pinnacle Village”[NRS 116.31031, 116.3102, NRS 116.31065; CC&Rs §§ 3.3(a), 3.6(m), 7.4; Bylaws § § 3 .1 7, 3 .18( f)]: Unless otherwise excepted by the express written authorization of the Association’s Board of Directors, on-street parking is prohibited within the gated neighborhood of the Association commonly referred to as “Pinnacle” or “Pinnacle Village”.

The Board tried to soft peddle it by saying that enforcement was not going to be “proactive”.  Rex even asked, after an hour of complaints, if it would be enough if the Board rendered the policy “inoperable”. It wasn’t.

Here’s the gist of what the speakers complained about:

  • No notice – just found out a few days before.
  • Shocked, thought it was fake news.
  • Taking away something that was a benefit when we bought in is awful, but even worse, there is no parking alternative proposed.
  • Why would anyone move into Pinnacle if there is no parking?
  • Why wasn’t the Pinnacle Neighborhood Advisory Committee involved, or preferably given the lead, to come up with a solution to the problem, if a problem even actually exists?
  • This is a lawyer’s dream. If you have a written policy you don’t enforce, then it is litigation for differential treatment the first time you do.

The proposed parking prohibition in Pinnacle dominated the discussion, but also mentioned was the negative impact on people with RVs. There is also a proposed prohibition of parking in ANY center’s parking lot – Anthem, Independence, and Liberty Centers – ANY night from midnight to 5 AM, but it not really discussed. It wasn’t clear what “not proactive” enforcement would mean.

President’s Report

Per usual, Rex Weddle reported out of the morning’s executive session multiple discussions and actions that had no relationship whatsoever to the agenda published for that meeting:

Here is Rex’s version of telling owners what they need to know about what the Board privately discussed:

  • The Board heard an architectural appeal.
  • The Board discussed its proposed response to an unspecified NRED complaint.
  • There was a legal update, and they discussed taking action on some unnamed cases.
  • A legal opinion was provided on something also without a name.
  • The GM’s performance objectives were discussed again, and again no mention was made of whether or not she received a bonus, and if so, for what.
  • A pending legal settlement was discussed.
  • An ADA accommodation request was heard.
  • An unspecified NRED complaint related to the Foundation Assisting Seniors was “dismissed as baseless”.

Rex didn’t mention the collection status report which was actually on the agenda nor did he explain why that report is not made in open session as required by our bylaws:

 

Proposed Publication Policy

This policy was not discussed, but it bears looking at before it comes up at the next Board meeting on February 22 @ 5:30 PM.

To me, it is ghastly, and a stunning example of why the over-reliance on attorneys is detrimental to our happy lives.

I bet this proposal is an over-reaction to the complaints filed when the GM refused to provide equal time to proponents of the recall. The proposed policy gives tons of power to the GM to refuse equal time to opposing viewpoints and to prevent a dissenting opinion from being published without providing “clear and convincing” evidence that their opinion is not defamatory.

Then, to add insult to injury, after official publications are inaccessible to the requester, merely asking to be heard is considered a violation of the CC&Rs worthy of a penalty.

How much money we waste on attorneys to come up with this crap is a topic for another day.

Rating Rex’s Self-Management Report Card

Demonstrating all the transparency and humility we have come to expect from our supreme leader, Rex Weddle once again used SCA’s official house organ, the Spirit, to stroke the ego of the Board and GM by giving a glowing Self-management Report  Card. Although Rex didn’t give any letter grades, let’s fact-check his assertions of outstanding performance, and I’ll offer the letter grade I think is warranted:

SCA made the right decision to be self managed.

True. The former Boards’ grade should be a B for taking action based on specific plans and goals to correct deficiencies.
The current Board should get an F for failing to follow through on good work done by prior Boards.

SCA’s management company FSR needed to be replaced, but for more reasons than either Board acknowledges. FSR was double dealing by being both the managing agent and the debt collector following the collapse of the real estate market.

Even with a solid management agreement, previous Boards did not keep FSR from grabbing profits from abusive collection practices. Prior Boards were unaware of the negative impact these abuses had on owners’ property values. Their attention was overly focused on deterioration of property values caused by excessive deferred maintenance of the common areas.

The current Board has also over-emphasized catching up on deferred maintenance, and has not held itself or the GM accountable for other critical areas (customer service, owner relations, transparent communications, fair and open culture, strategic planning, protection of individual property values, and maintenance of high quality amenities and other lifestyle options). Ultimately, this Board has a failing grade because their lack of accountability to owners is supported by paying an attorney to say that the rules don’t apply to them.

According to Rex, a Human Resources model was included as part of the transition.

False. This Board scores an unequivocal F.

Adequate human resource systems are not in place needed to protect SCA from “employer liability”. It is a disgrace that since 2015, the GM has not presented ANY plans or timetables for developing these internal controls or for incorporating essential expert owner oversight. The most important feature of transitioning to self-management is that SCA is now an employer. This failure has already resulted in:

  • excessive management compensation (the GM gets $100,000+ more than the market requires and three other managers annually take in more than a quarter million dollars more than SCA should be paying);
  • lack of performance standards (GM bonuses provided without justification despite massive owner dissatisfaction with her performance);
  • lack of contractual service level expectations (they remain undefined and unmeasured);
  • lack of written terms and conditions controlling GM employment (no management agreement makes her an “at-will employee” who is subject to the SCA Personnel Handbook. Unfortunately for SCA owners, SCA’s attorney has fabricated imaginary“rights” for her that she has asserted against SCA in threats of frivolous litigation and that allow her to act like a “super Board member” rather than as staff).

No 2018 assessment increase.

True, but the grade is still D.

Assessments were increased without clear justification in 2017, and those excess funds have been repeatedly used as validation of the quality of self-management. But, many questions remain unanswered:

  • Why were rates increased in 2017 if $300,000 in budgeted transition costs were saved by reducing the 9 of the 12-month budgeted overlap of the GM and FSR?
  • Why was a 12-month overlap of the GM and FSR budgeted anyway?
  • Why was the entire 2017 rate increase transferred to reserves? If the assessment increase was intended to reserve for walls & fences, what happened to the construction defects settlement for the walls if there was no remediation of the defects?
  • Was the 2017 increase intended to bring up the reserves funding level? If so, that has nothing to do with the difference in operating costs between using a management company and being self managed.
  • Was it for the Liberty Center? If so, why was it not a one-time assessment?

Whatever the reason the 2017 assessments were increased by over 10%, it can’t be ignored while the Board congratulates itself and the GM for not having another assessment increase in 2018.

Per Rex, Tom Nissen’s December Board report comparing SCA to other self-managed HOAs, shows the transition is going well.

False. The grade is D.

Tom should be given credit for researching other HOAs, but should be given no credit for answering the wrong question and deserves no credit for  timeliness and no credit for owner participation.

Tom’s report simply reaffirms that going to self-management was the correct thing to do. It might also support the idea that it was good that the Board adopted a policy to increase the reserves by increasing assessments in 2017. Regardless, neither of these have anything to do with whether the Board and the GM are doing a good job in the transition to self-management.

Showing that SCA’s assessments are relatively low says nothing about cost-effectiveness or about any differences between using a management agent and being self managed. Further, comparing assessments with other HOAs is not really informative unless you eliminate all gated communities from the comparison.

“The Board has made it clear that the complete transition would take a minimum of three years. There is still much to do and more culture change to undergo.” -Rex

True, and yet, the grade is still a big, fat F.

If there is another 1 ½ years to complete the transition, what specifically is planned?

  • Why are there no written plans and timetables?
  • Why is there no transparency and no standards for GM accountability?
  • Why is this Board resisting the necessary culture change by treating owners who are even mildly critical of the Board or GM with such disdain?
  • Why has the Board strenuously rejected developing the committee structure needed to provide expert owner oversight over HR, legal services, insurance and other amenities that has been successful in other self-managed HOAs?
  • What steps has the Board or GM taken to change SCA’s culture to be more inclusive, fair and transparent?
  • What steps has the Board taken to ensure that SCA owners won’t be taken advantage of by unscrupulous agents?

The transition to self-management is very successful in handling deferred maintenance.

True. The grade could be an A, but since there is no transparency, no way of measuring cost effectiveness, and no standard for defining priorities, I can’t be that generous. But remember, no matter how well this portion of property management is done, the grade for it should count only as about 25% of an overall grade for a successful transition to self management, not be given the nearly 100% weight the Board has given it. 

What kind of HOA do we want SCA to be?

And what owners can do to make it that way

Taking a cue from Jim Mayfield’s article “Distinctions between Governance and Management” re-published below, here are a few action items.
In italics: how I see things are currently being done around here.

  1. Encourage owners to run for the Board who are willing to contribute to creating more transparent, competent and accountable governance, or volunteer to serve yourself.
    There is a battle for control of the Board between those who want a fair and open system created that’s good for all owners vs. those in power who want to keep centralized control by excluding anyone who has complained about this GM or who signed a recall petition. 
  2. Utilize the expertise of residents on a Personnel Committee to protect SCA against employer liability, to propose GM performance standards using customer ratings and  objective measures to prevent excessive executive compensation.
    These functions currently are done, if at all, by 1-2 Board members who don’t have the requisite skills, and the Board and GM have acted unlawfully to block necessary owner oversight.
  3. Require the GM to utilize an inclusive process and resident expertise to recommend goals and strategic plans to bring SCA back to be #1 Active Adult Community in USA.
    SCA had this #1 rating in 2011, but has slipped, and we currently have no adopted goals or shared vision about how to get SCA back on top.  Instead, the Board abdicates to a GM who has not evidenced any strategic approach to lessening owner dissatisfactions or community divisions.
  4. Demand that governance be completely transparent to owners.
    Right now, the Board pays lip service to improving owner communications, but allows the GM to use the attorney to conceal SCA records for reasons other than serving the best interests of the association. This secrecy allows SCA owners to be put at risk of being bilked by SCA agents, and it inhibits the SCA Board from being held fully accountable for its duty of care to owners.
  5. Get control of the budget out of the hands of the GM. Although the law prohibits the Board from delegating policy decisions about the budget and prohibits the GM from expending funds for unbudgeted purposes, the blurring of the lines of authority regularly occurs, and owners just have to pay the bill.
Former Director thinks SCA Board chose wrong path
Jim Mayfield served six years as an independent voice on the SCA Board. His experience with fractured governance in the last couple of years had some interesting parallels to what I  suffered during my short tenure:
  • President, GM, and attorney exerting excessive self-interested power;
  • Board rejecting any owner oversight and
  • punishing owners or individual Board members who complained.

Jim’s comments in his article, published in the November issue of the Community Association Institute magazine is re-published here with his permission.   – Nona

“Two and a half years ago, the Board was offered a clear choice between two forms of governance.
One form was the legal model embedded in NRS 116 and approved by CAI.  This form is based upon a model in which all elected Board members are considered equals and participate in a transparent, collaborative relationship, and the President (CEO) is directed by the Board and speaks only for the Board.  It also establishes the major responsibility is to protect homeowner rights and to establish processes for oversight of management.  This is the model described in the above article that was published in November.
The second form is a dictatorship that empowers the President (CEO) to exercise dictatorial powers, makes decisions, imposes his/her decisions on the Board (the Board reports to the President).  This model sees its primary responsibility to represent and protect management from the homeowners.  The model also expands the ability of the President, Board, and GM to operate in secret meetings and to empower its attorneys to use legal process to accomplish its objectives and those of the GM.
SCA is now reaping the fruits of this decision.  I hope all persons thinking about running for the Board in 2018 will read the article and commit to the principles outline therein.” -Jim Mayfield (see Page 10 in link below.)