Being accountable for being good neighbors

Is a criminal-to-excellence measuring scale hard to understand?

It seems to be hard for the people currently in power here to grasp.

But, the association (meaning the membership) faces a very high risk if the Board, GM, and attorney are not held accountable for being ethical and fair.

With so much a secret, who can be held to account?

I invite you to look again at my  blog, The Cautionary Tale of the City of Bell.

Although SCA is a non-profit corporation that privately delivers municipal services rather than a city per se, SCA has hallmarks that mirror the City of Bell’s textbook case of municipal corruption:

  • laws are bent to serve executive’s private interests
  • those in power act in concert for self-interest
  • excessive executive compensation
  • disenfranchising of unsophisticated and inattentive voters
  • election interference
  • lack of transparency

Mmm…how can I make this clearer?

I know. Let’s discuss a fun fact about bestiality.

Did you know that until AB 391 passed last year, and became effective October 1, 2017, it wasn’t against the law in Nevada to have sex with a dog?

It’s pretty weird that it wasn’t illegal until a few months ago, but, I think we can all agree that,

just because you could have, doesn’t mean you should have.

Let’s take this tale a step further.
What if…

…before Nevada’s anti-bestiality law passed, a neighbor was disturbed by the noise of a dog whining. When the neighbor realized what was happening, he complained around the neighborhood that such conduct should not be allowed.

The neighbor complained strenuously that it was cruel and abusive to the animal, and offensive to community values.

Instead of apologizing or showing any shame or remorse, the “dog lover” was rude and insulting to the neighbor, flaunting his “rights” and saying in an arrogant and condescending tone:

“Shut up. I can do to my dog whatever I want. I do not have to change my ways just because some whiner complains about having to witness how much I really love my dog. My attorney says the law is on my side. You have invaded my privacy and defamed me. I’ll tell everybody you are a horrible busybody, and they’ll hate you. I’m going to sue you, and you will have to pay all my attorney fees.”

Your Ethics 101 Exam Questions
  1. How would you rate the dog lover‘s behavior on a criminal-to-excellent-neighbor scale?
  2. How would you rate the neighbor’s behavior?
  3. Should the neighbor have to pay the attorney fees?
  4. How could this situation have been handled better?

Even if the selfish dog lover had not technically broken any Nevada law, I think we can all agree that he was wrong to abuse the dog, and that he made everything about the situation worse by unfairly stomping on the aghast neighbor.

The moral of this tale

What the Board, the GM, and the attorney did felt to me as exactly comparable to how the dog lover retaliated against his neighbor for complaining. They bullied me, shunned me, threatened me with litigation and liability for attorney fees for speaking up when I saw things that were just plain wrong – just like the dog lover treated his neighbor.

SCA leaders must be held to a higher standard.

You can help. Vote. Raise our standards.
Bob Burch and Aletta Waterhouse should not be re-elected just because they have not had sex with their dogs.

Legal fees beget more legal fees – $80,000 in two months!!!

Giving attorneys a blank check = bad idea

In the first two months of the fiscal year, SCA’s spending $79,760 for legal services. Attorneys have burned through 40% of the $195,000 budget for the whole year.

Had the 2018 budget not be more than doubled from the 2017 level, the burn rate would have been a whopping 89%.

2017 Legal services budget was $90,000, an amount that prior Boards fond to be adequate for SCA’s needs.

Was the service SCA got worth it?

  • Do you feel like paying this attorney has improved the quality of your life in Sun City Anthem?
  • Do you think, as this current Board does, that the attorney must be retained to do work that is normally performed by a Community Association Manager, like propose towing or publication policies?
  • Do you believe that the Board is incapable of making decisions unless the attorney approves them?
  • Do you think SCA owners should pay for the association attorney to represent the GM to protect her “privacy rights” against owners finding out what she is being paid in 2018?
  • My best guess is that SCA has been billed in the tens of thousands of dollars for the GM to use the  association attorney to keep her secrets. I can’t be more precise because when I requested an explanation for spending $321,000 instead of less than $90, 000 in 2017,  the response boiled down to:

“We don’t have to. You can’t make me”

2017 legal expenditures exceeded $321,000

This was a whopping 3 1/2 times the $90,000 budget! So, one would think that the correct response would be to look at ways to bring that number back in line. But, that wasn’t what the Board did. They more than doubled the 2018 budget to $195,000. 

While a strategy of carefully calculating the increases needed in the budget to cover runaway costs may be prudent in a strictly fiscal sense, it completely ignores the Board’s duty to analyze the root causes of why we are wasting so much money on attorney fees.

Last year’s waste blew my mind, and this year is starting out even worse.

What I told the Board at the 3/22/18 meeting

The Board and the GM are using attorneys excessively, inappropriately and in a manner which is not serving owners well.

The Board is not following the business judgment rule if you:

  • Use attorneys to conceal from owners how our money is being spent when you are required by law to tell us.
  • Allow the GM to use the association attorney to serve her own purposes in violation of SCA’s bylaws and the Board policy manual, e.g., relieving the Election Committee of their duties in the recall election ($90,000 spent on her order), and at least $50,000 to conceal records from me as a director, and threaten frivolous litigation, and unfairly remove me
  • Accept without question demands for payment for unbudgeted services which others who are not being paid tell you, are not necessary or cost-effective if done by attorneys.
  • Ignore warnings of inappropriate expenditures
  • Refuse to allow any investigation by owners to determine the veracity of the complaints that these fees are out of line.
  • Refuse to have a Legal Services Committee to provide owner oversight to protect the Association.

The Board silently noted and (round)filed.

I predict no action will be taken to control the costs of control.

And another thing

Why did owners have to pay $43,022 to write-off bad debts last month?

When this amount was written off, Forrest said that it had largely been due to foreclosures by banks.

  • What properties were affected?
  • Why so much write off?
  • Was litigation involved?

My questions  could be answered if the Board would require the GM/attorney/debt collector to publish the quarterly delinquency report mandated by our bylaws and keep them posted on the website.

Refusing to manage the attorney instead of letting him run amuck is costing owners money unnecessarily. It is not a good example of sound business judgment.

Bylaws 3.21 (f) (5) Quarterly reporting requirement

…(quarterly) commencing at the end of the quarter in which the first Lot is sold and closed,…(v) a delinquency report listing all Owners who are delinquent in paying any assessments at the time of the report and describing the status of any action to collect such assessments which remain delinquent…

Publishing the required report would improve the cost-effectiveness of collection efforts significantly, reducing attorney/debt collector fees and uncollectible debts.

But this isn’t something you will hear from the attorney.

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

How SCA agents need to be exposed like Harvey Weinstein was

And not how he exposed himself…

Last night during the Oscars, the comment,

If you can’t trust your agents, who can you trust?”

got a big laugh. Everyone knew that powerful Harvey Weinstein was brought down after decades of abusing his power broker position, as in:

You’ll never work in this town again!

Such threats, spoken or not, had long been sufficient to keep his “casting couch” an open secret.

And to keep those who were being hurt from being heard.

Same agent, different result

But uncomfortable laughter also came from many who knew that agents abuse clients in other subtler ways, such as by not protecting all their clients equally well thereby enabling a discriminatory system to endure and making big bucks while doing it.

Kevin Spacey was disappeared from the shooting of “All the money in the World” after being accused of sexual assault by some young men he was supposed to be mentoring. Scenes were reshot to put Christopher Plummer in to replace Spacey as the lead actor. Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams went back to work to do their parts again, but they were far from treated equally. A vast difference in compensation was negotiated by the same agency both of the two actors:

Mark Wahlberg paid $1.5M for film reshoot that earned Michelle Williams $1,000.

Wow. That seems so obviously not okay now, but it the not-too-distant past, it might have passed by unnoticed.  At least, for now, #MeToo and #TimesUp have created a cultural shift. The pendulum has swung to a point where such a disparity is worthy of comment.

Let’s hope SCA is able to move to such an awakening in my lifetime, and homeowners don’t have to face abuse at the hands of SCA’s agents.

Am I saying that some of SCA’s agents have been abusive?

Yes, actually I am saying that. And I’m saying it needs to stop now. Time’s up.

And I’m also saying that the current SCA Board, the current SCA legal counsel/debt collector and the current General Manager need to stop protecting themselves and each other.

Their job is to protect us. Homeowners should not have to spend one thin dime to be protected from them.

Why I am speaking up

Many Hollywood women came forward to expose Harvey Weinstein after one spoke up. I hope my story will resonate with homeowners, not just in Sun City Anthem, but also with homeowners in HOAs throughout Nevada and will inspire others to not be silent.

Bottom line:
SCA agents have had their hands in our pockets.

SCA’s former agents, without any of the prior Boards feeling a thing,  slipped a house or two that didn’t belong to them into their pants pocket, and one of them was mine.
Note: I’m not saying anything bad about prior SCA Board members. Not a single one ever took a dime. I’m sure of it.  And I don’t think they were negligent. There was so much chaos after the real estate market collapsed in 2008, no one knew the difference. I certainly wouldn’t have known or cared had not one of those stolen houses been directly under my care. 

Who cares now? 

When SCA replaced Red Rock in mid-2015, SCA went from the frying pan into the fire by hiring attorneys, Alessi & Koenig, to be our debt collectors. Then when I showed the Board and GM how bad these guys were, they did the unthinkable and made it worse by hiring a new debt collector to also be SCA’s corporate counsel instead of re-thinking the whole process.

OMG! David Alessi wasn’t licensed as an attorney in Nevada, was named in litigation by 500 of the 800 HOA foreclosures A&K did from 2011 to 2015 when SCA hired them. By 2016, they had morphed into another sham corporation, HOA Lawyers Group, before SCA finally let them go.

And still, SCA managed to get strapped into even a worse deal by contracting with the Clarkson Law Group to be both the debt collectors and corporate counsel.

In a stunning opening act of abusive overreach, Clarkson protected his business interests as well as those of SCA’s former agents by ordering me to recuse myself as a new Board member from ALL SCA collection matters.

Then, to protect the GM, he restricted my access to any SCA records and continues blocking access to GM compensation data to this day. He protected the Board majority from recall and caused the members to pay $85,000 for a CPA to bungle it.

Next, he used his corporate counsel magic powers to create a technical sleight of hand to knock me off the Board on false charges without a trial.

I’m the only attorney in this room. We’re in charge here. Shut up and get out.

How HOA foreclosures take money from all our pockets will be the next topic

A recent study showed that every home in that HOA loses an average of 1.7% of its value when there is a foreclosure by that HOA.

Next time I’ll break it down for you. I think you’ll see why Adam Clarkson, SCA’s current debt collector/legal counsel, is going to such extremes to try to silence me.

 

 

 

 

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.

Bernie Madoff and how NRED risks being like the SEC

What’s up with the Ombudsman?

Several people have told me that their NRED complaints of GM election interference were summarily rejected without satisfactory investigation or explanation. They feel the rejections were unfair as the complaints were rejected for reasons unrelated to the substance of the issue raised.

For example, they reported that NRED did not independently verify the accuracy of the allegation that two pages of valid petition signatures were not counted  which caused Bob Burch to be wrongly left off the recall ballot. I was told that NRED’s rationale for the rejection was the unrelated reason that the Ombudsman had validated the vote counting process for the other three directors who were on the ballot. 

Limitations of enforcement agencies

We have to educate the NRED investigators on the specifics of the violations alleged in SCA owners’ complaints so investigators can understand the complaints within the context of needed homeowner protections.

We must not get overly discouraged even if it appears there is “zero enforcement” rather than “zero tolerance”. As we’ve seen nationally with response to sexual harassment complaints, that can change in a heartbeat.

NRED has all the problems faced by other enforcement agencies, like you’ll see below were exhibited by the SEC, – an inability to see the forest for the trees. Even if there is no corruption in NRED, they have  limited authority, limited funding, and have to balance competing interests between monied stakeholders (attorneys, management companies, debt collectors, etc.) and the people who are supposed to be served (homeowners). NRED’s problems are compounded in Nevada by historic complicity in HOA corruption by attorneys and judges and the fear people have to speak up and be whistleblowers.

But, just as Rana Goodman helped to expose how guardianship abuses depended on complicity between attorneys and judges and unscrupulous public guardians, we have to shine a light on what is happening at SCA because Board/GM misconduct too requires lack of transparency and complicity by legal authorities to be sustained.

 

Why I am publishing my complaints in full

While I haven’t seen the other owner  complaints or the rejection notices they received, this action by NRED raises a red flag for me. So far, I have received no word from NRED about the status of my complaints, but I am not willing to leave NRED’s investigative thoroughness to chance.

In light of this disappointing development, I am going to emphasize the way I use this website to expose evidence substantiating my claims. I am doing this primarily so the allegations and supporting evidence are in a usable format to assist the investigators. I believe that will reduce the chance that my complaints will be dismissed without a full investigation and a fair hearing. 

As far as the chance of influencing the beliefs of the readers of this blog, I have low expectations. I don’t believe people who think I deserved what happened to me will easily change their minds, and when you read below about cognitive dissonance, I think you’ll see why. 

What happened to me sets a bad precedent for ALL Nevada HOAs.

Kicking me off the Board was based on false and defamatory accusations and was simply a continuation of their retaliation against me for speaking out.

Such flagrant disregard of homeowners’ right to vote and choose who represents them on the Board absolutely cannot be tolerated or ignored.

Throughout my days on the Board, I was harassed, defamed and retaliated against for my having:

  • recommended that the attorney be terminated,
  • warned them about the theft and fraud of SCA’s former agents,
  • requested information about excessive management compensation and for
  • complained about violations of NRS and SCA governing documents, particularly in the areas of GM/CAM threatening frivolous litigation, abuse of privilege, misuse of attorney, concealing information and recall election interference.

 


If my removal from the Board is upheld, it will set the unhealthy precedent in Nevada that ANY majority of ANY Nevada HOA Board can remove any HOA Board member whose views they don’t like simply by falsely accusing her and then deeming her position vacant.
  • Good-bye, due process.
  • Good-bye, owner control of Nevada HOA.
  • Hello, unjust enrichment by attorneys and other HOA agents.
  • Hello, corruption.

 

Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) let Bernie Madoff’s fake hedge fund grow to over $50 billion over decades despite repeated credible complaints.

Let’s hope NRED is more responsive than the SEC was to warnings and does not allow SCA Board, GM and attorney to act unlawfully in ways which allow SCA agents to be unjustly enriched or which allow a majority of a HOA Board to act unfairly for personal political advantage.

Remember Bernie Madoff?

Probably everyone does. Bernie was the former chairman of the NASDAC securities exchange. He had an impeccable reputation that allowed him to operate a hedge fund that grew over decades to $50 billion by 2008. Although it was a just a low-tech Ponzi scheme, it was successful as an affinity scam among wealthy Jewish communities, Madoff remained untouched by the regulatory Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) for decades.

But you probably haven’t heard of Harry Markopolos, the financial analyst who figured out Bernie Madoff’s fraudulent hedge fund at least a decade before Bernie turned himself in. Marcopolis submitted at least five formal written complaints to the SEC which the enforcement agency failed to investigate.

SEC’s enforcement failure cost victims $50 Billion

Had SEC done its job in 2000 when Markopolos told them Madoff  was a fraud, less than $7 Billion would have been lost, and many fewer people would have been victimized. SEC still didn’t listen in 2001 when the fund had doubled. SEC still didn’t listen in 2005 when Markopolos documented 29 red flags on the then-$25 Billion fund. In 2008 as the global economy was in meltdown, and the Madoff fund had ballooned to $50 Billion or more, Bernie turned himself in to spare his family, never having been investigated, much less found guilty, by the SEC.

Markopolos’ book is aptly entitled, “Nobody Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller” as the true story of how the regulatory agency SEC was over-lawyered and using lawyers in areas outside their expertise. SEC, therefore, did not have adequately trained investigators who knew diddly squat about financial markets.

The SEC failed to act repeatedly on Markopolos’ extremely precise directions on what sources to check or what single phone call to make and what question to ask to verify the accuracy of Markopolos’ analysis. 

Why didn’t SEC investigate thoroughly? Congressman Gary Ackerman grilled SEC attorneys after Bernie turned himself in to find out why SEC blew off credible complaints for a decade in this interesting CNN clip of the Madoff Congressional hearings.

Ackerman Scolds SEC for Not Stopping Bernie Madoff Scheme Despite Being Warned for 10 yrs

What were they thinking?

  • Maybe lawyers were the wrong people were doing the job.
  • Maybe it’s was the financial conflicts of interest regulators had with the industry they were regulating.
  • Maybe the theory of cognitive dissonance explains why nobody could believe that Bernie Madoff was anything other than he appeared to be.
  • Maybe Madoff’s reputation was so stellar and everybody was making money, no one wanted to question how he alone could get such stellar returns year after year.
  • But, whatever the reason, SEC investigators couldn’t see what was right in front of their face.
How does all this about Bernie Madoff and the SEC relate to SCA owner complaints being given short shrift by NRED?

Remember SEC’s failures and expect to find similar problems with NRED investigations.

Remember the SEC’s failure to listen to Harry Markopolos for a decade cost victims $50 Billion, and the SEC attorney still tried to weasel out of it, claiming “executive branch privilege“.

Remember nobody believed Bernie Madoff was running a scam. If you find yourself not believing what I tell you is happening at SCA is true, it might be simply because it is unimaginable, or it might be because it creates a lot of cognitive dissonance to think I might be right.

Remember that, while there are limits on what we can expect enforcement agencies to accomplish, a lot can change if a critical mass of people speak up.

We’ve just seen nationally how the pendulum swings when a tipping point is reached. The way sexual harassment complaints are now addressed has gone from zero enforcement to zero tolerance seemingly overnight.

A critical mass of SCA homeowners must insist that at SCA, there will be zero tolerance of misconduct by SCA Board members or SCA Agents, and zero tolerance of their harassment of, or retaliation against, whistleblowers.

 

Elder Abuse: Part II – SCA Agents

We have another covert systemic type of elder abuse going on right here at SCA. We have all of the problems endemic to Nevada HOAs in general, but those generic problems have been fueled here by a historically divided community and exacerbated by a poorly-executed transition to “self-management.”

Our system fails to provide sufficient competent owner oversight and internal controls necessary to prevent abuse by professional agents who are supposed to be fiduciaries acting SOLELY in the best interests of the owners,  but who are taking unfair advantage of us for their own unjust enrichment.

You are going to hear this same refrain from me repeatedly:

The biggest risk SCA owners face is being screwed over by unscrupulous agents who are supposed to be acting solely in our best interest, but who are not. They are actually unfairly acting in their own self-interest and profiting at our expense.

The reason “they” kicked me off the Board is they wanted to shut me up. They wanted to prevent me from telling owners what they are doing. They wanted me to stop publicly trying to force them to make system changes that would protect SCA owners from abuse by our own, highly-compensated, but unscrupulous, agents.

Who is “they”?

  • “They” are now (2016-now) GM Sandy Seddon and (May, 2017-now) association attorney/debt collector Adam Clarkson Law Group now.
  • Before (2009-2015), “they” were FirstService Residential (FSR)/formerly RMI, SCA’s managing agent, also licensed debt collector dba Red Rock Financial Services (RRFS).
  • In between (2015-2016), “they” were Alessi & Koenig, LLC attorney-debt collector that went into chapter 7 bankruptcy after being sued on 500 of the 800 HOA foreclosures they did between 2011-2015 and then…
  • “they” illegally morphed into HOA Lawyers Group, LLC (2016) but continued being SCA’s debt collector until replaced by Clarkson.

“They” are NOT necessarily the members of the Board, but “they” need to control the Board. “They”get their hands so far into our pockets only because the Board lets them do it. At least a majority of the Board has to negligently, maybe unwittingly, enable the attorney and management to take over the reins.

I believe the Directors are probably acting in good faith and trying to do their best, but are simply placing their faith in the wrong “experts”. However, even if the Directors are just innocently looking the other way, their ignorance is allowing SCA owners to be taken for an expensive ride.

So, what now?

Too bad for them.

“They”didn’t really get rid of me by unlawfully deeming my Board position vacant.

Now I have the time to tell you all about it. And I think I’ll start with what’s wrong with paying Sandy Seddon twice as much as we should be paying her.

 

Elder abuse: Part I – Guardianship

Many of you may not be familiar with the guardianship problem, but it’s where unscrupulous people become legal guardians and take over the finances and lives of the frail and elderly. They use a legal loophole to victimize the elderly and even take away the rights of the victim’s family. Guardianship abuse has been much worse here in Nevada because of the corruption that is rampant throughout our legal system.

Click this link https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/how-the-elderly-lose-their-rights for an in-depth article published October 9, 2017 in the New Yorker, “How the Elderly Lose Their Rights: Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens and make a profit from it” by Rachel Aviv.

For more information about guardianship abuse, visit  http://www.stopguardianabusenv.org/ This website was produced by the Nevada Association to Stop Guardian and Elder Abuse, a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping exploitation and abuse of those in need.

SCA resident, Rana Goodman, the President of the nonprofit, is mentioned in the New Yorker article. Rana deserves our profuse thanks for being such a tireless advocate for these most vulnerable among us. She has successfully gotten some legal changes to allow us to prospectively (before we are of diminished capacity) nominate who we want as our guardian so we can prevent some unscrupulous professional guardian from swooping in and taking over our lives.

It’s tragic to think that this type of abuse can even happen. Legal guardians are supposed to be fiduciaries. They are supposed to protect people who can’t take care of themselves. They are supposed to act solely in the best interest of the client. They are supposed to use the powers they “legally” get over their wards only for the good of the person under their charge, but sadly, and with the support of lawyers and judges, many helpless people have been victimized.

Whenever there is a lot of money involved, there will be those who will scam the system and rip innocent people off, and with unfortunate frequency here in Nevada, there will be judges and attorneys who help them get away with it.

As time goes by, I will show you in my blogs how a similar type of systemic corruption is pervasive within Nevada HOAs, and I’ll show you how it can work unfairly to the advantage of HOA agents, like managers, debt collectors, and attorneys, to rip off HOA owners. I’ll show you how SCA’s former agents essentially stole my late fiance’s house, and I’ll show you how SCA’s current agents are getting the Board’s unwitting blessing to rip SCA owners off in a lot of different ways.