Why SCA now pays so much in unnecessary legal fees

Adam Clarkson trained the Board,

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

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

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

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

NRED complaint still pending

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

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

What was wrong with the way Clarkson trained the Board?

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

Reward for complicity

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

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

What does “fiduciary duty” mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The attorney made me do it.”

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

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

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

Give me a break. That’s idiotic.

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

Guilty until proven innocent

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

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

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

Quid pro quo = “something for something”

Quid

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

Quo

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

“Prima facie” = “presumed guilty”

Here’s what NRS 116.3103 actually says

Clarkson is wrong

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

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

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

is acting in the best interests of the association.

SCA Board officer selection orchestrated again

Officer elections over in a flash

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

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

Why was last year’s officer election so bitter?

Simple answer. I committed the ultimate sin.

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

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

OMG! Shut up!! You did not!

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

How low will they go?

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

And yet, here we are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, horrible as it was, I also said

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

You said what!!?

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

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

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

Snitches get stitches.

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

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

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

Seriously. They said that.

No decent Board member should have to work with you.

Well, that hurts.

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

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

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

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

Exhausting.

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

Will Bob write patronizing, insulting President’s reports?

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

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

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

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

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

So, President this year,

Way to take one for the team, Bob.

New SCA Board – New chance to get it right

Congratulations to the newly-elected members of the Board:

  • Candace Karrow,

  • Jim Coleman,

  • Gary Lee.

Check below for why no congrats for Bob Burch

A message from Gary Lee

Nona …. I want to take this opportunity to thank any of your readers who voted for me in this election.

I recognize the fact that I do not have any “direct” experience on any of SCA’s committees or volunteer programs but … I do bring to the board an extensive background in the management of facilities, construction, budgeting, finance and human resources – all of which are basic to the operations of the SCA.

I promise to bring an element of “common sense” to the board and a diligent effort in exploring facts and conditions prior to voting on any subject.

I would welcome the thoughts and opinions of any of your readers. I will be open to receiving any input and I will certainly consider them in my decision making.                       -Gary Lee

All directors get an equal vote

I personally have great hope that Gary’s significant management experience will be treated with respect  as mine was not.

The restaurant negotiation

Will Gary’s substantial restaurant experience be used for the benefit of the membership to protect SCA from giving away the store in negotiating with the probably pre-selected vendor?

Or is Rex’s death grip on consolidating power so strong that his expertise will be rejected in favor of Tom Nissen and Forrest Quinn who have no restaurant or negotiation experience that is specifically on point as Gary’s is?

SCA experience is required only for some

Rex Weddle and Bob Burch, in particular, proffered the pretext that my not having been on SCA committees was sufficient justification to refuse to treat as an equal member of the Board.

Keep your eyes open, new directors!

The new Board members need to guard against the incumbents claiming to possess special authority over them. Or that the Board is allowed to have secret meetings on topics other than the four permissible topics in NRS 116.31085 and SCA bylaws 3.15A.

Abdicating and usurping must stop

There is a surprising willingness for the GM and the attorney to play favorites and play fast and loose with the rules so that decisions that are supposed to be made by the Board in open session, informed by professional managerial and legal advice, somehow get made by who know who and who knows when.

Be careful, it is very easy to get sucked in.

Which brings me to why no congrats to Bob Burch

I am having trouble congratulating the fourth person elected, Bob Burch, because ongoing NRED complaints against him have not been adjudicated since being filed over eight months ago. These complaints include serious charges:

  • interference with the recall election
  • harassment and retaliation
  • abuse of authority
  • concealing SCA documents from members, including a director
  • taking action by secret votes against owners without cause or due process
  • acting for reasons of self-interest or revenge
  • failing to disclose a potential conflict of interest and then repeatedly voting on the issue
  • and more violations of owners’ legally protected rights

Never heard about these charges?

Voters probably didn’t hear about these open complaints because they were concealed.

Unfairly, “on the advice of counsel” and on owners’ dime, the Board and the GM purposefully concealed  complaints against them, and the attorney from the membership.

They refused to place the complaints on an open Board meeting agenda as required by NRS 116.31187.

Board Policy Manual 6.1 was disregarded when they would not allow me, as an elected director, to discuss these violations in any open Board meeting.

They would not fairly even allow the complaints to be investigated or be fairly debated executive session.

When I tried to get the Board act lawfully, the Board’s official response was to kick me off the Board without notice or appeal.

Good luck to the new people.

Paying attorneys to disappear political opponents

Lesson 3 – Create a false narrative to win

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

(Quote redacted)

Item 11 E – Quarterly Litigation Reports

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

Only one Board candidate seemed to notice problems

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

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

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

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

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

Wrong!

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

The Lipson law firm’s report is defamatory.

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

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

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

The FACTS

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

And yet, the Lipson report brands me

My request to correct false reports was not heard.

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

I stayed silent.

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

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

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

Who cares?

Good question. The issue is way bigger than me.

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

Let’s face it

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

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

If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere

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

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

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

Good-bye, democracy.

Board meeting as self-serving bully pulpit

Lesson 1 from April 26 BOD meeting

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

Blame the bloggers

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

Board beliefs vs. an alternative point of view

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

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

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

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

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.

How to make your vote REALLY count!

You must vote.

No matter how disenfranchised you feel.

This envelope will be in your mailbox today or Monday.
No problem recognizing your ballot this time.

Do you want to drain the swamp?

Well, your vote will ONLY help clean up this place  if you

DO NOT vote for Aletta Waterhouse or Bob Burch, the two tone-deaf incumbents,

who wiggled out of the recall by allowing the GM to use our money

  • to pay $85,000 to a CPA to takeover the job of the volunteer election committee, and
  • to use the association attorney at $300,000++ in 2017 for reasons unknown, including LOTS of $$$ to screw over owners who weren’t in her corner and  $15,000+ to make sure your vote didn’t count in the removal election process

Vote like this.

Ironic signs have been posted.

(I don’t have time right now to expand on the irony. My grandson’s here for the holiday, and we’re going to see a different magic show tonight.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter! Time for renewal and rebirth!

HOA collection practices cost us all more than you think

What makes our property values go down?

There has been a lot of concern expressed about how having – or not having – a restaurant lowers property values.

There have also been concerns expressed that owners calling for a removal election or complaining about how they were being treated would make this community unattractive to purchasers.

I think those issues, as serious as they are, pale in comparison to the impact HOA collection practices, including SCA’s, have had in suppressing the property values in HOAs statewide.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reported last July that an  academic study provides evidence for this claim.

Click here for the  7/7/17 Reno Gazette-Journal news article that ran under the headline:

HOA foreclosures tied to more than $1B in lost Reno, Vegas home values

In my blog The house that took over a life“, I wrote about how my late fiance Bruce’s house was snatched by SCA’s former agents and sold for pennies on the dollar.

You might have felt bad for me, but you probably didn’t think that foreclosure, and the other foreclosures that have occurred, lowered your property value as well.

The recent study by UNLV LIED Institute for Real Estate and Nevada Association of Realtors claims it did.

In fact, the study supports the claim that the entire system is flawed, and ALL homeowners pay a price every time their HOA’s debt collector kicks an owner out of their home and then (on the owners’ dime) tries to beat the bank out of their security interest in court.

Survey says:
Homeowners are not happy with HOAs

Part of the research included surveys of Clark and Washoe County residents that I’ll report in another blog, but generally, those surveyed were not pleased with HOAs.

In particular, those academics’ research (Click here for executive summary of report) showed that many Nevada residents (81%) are unhappy with HOAs’ having “super-priority” status to foreclose for delinquent assessments because it hurts them (all the other owners in the HOAs).

One of the study’s conclusions:

“The LIED Institute found that every HOA foreclosure reduces the sale price of every property in the HOA by 1.7%. Thus, LIED inferred that every property, even the ones that have not sold, has suffered this same value reduction. “

           –Analysis of HOA foreclosures in Clark and Washoe counties from 1/1/13-6/30/16 

At least $1 Billion Loss in Clark & Washoe Counties alone

What happened to my late fiance’s house as well as my analysis of public records of multiple foreclosed properties has led me to conclude that this finding,

…every HOA foreclosure reduces the sale price of every property in the HOA by 1.7%“,

underestimates the impact on ALL homeowners’ property values by a large margin.

But, I’ll share that analysis with you in another blog.

We ALL pay

Those personally victimized by unfair HOA foreclosures are not the only ones damaged financially by them. My detailed review of the study shows there were even more significant financial impacts on ALL HOA homeowners statewide, and from more causes, than those identified in the UNLV/NAR study.

Why do HOA foreclosures lower property values?

The study identifies a few major reasons why HOA foreclosures bring down the values of ALL properties in the HOAs:

  1. Depressed sales price – Properties are sold at HOA sales for a  small fraction of the property’s fair market value (FMV). Since the buyer pays pennies on the dollar of what it is worth, ALL community property values go down.
    Study says: Every home in an HOA loses 1.7% when the HOA forecloses.
  2. Banks charge more for loans in HOAs to cover the risk of loss if the HOA forecloses. HOAs’ super-priority extinguishes the bank’s security interest (mortgage) and the study estimated how much banks have lost after  the banks’ loans were cancelled.
    Study says: Banks lose 100% of the loan balance on every property sold at an HOA sale, and Federal and Nevada courts disagree about how to handle this.
  3. Corruption within HOAs, particularly when management agents have a financial connection with the debt collection agent as was happening at SCA until 2015 when FSR, our managing agent, was financially intertwined with, and was the license-holder for SCA debt collector, Red Rock Financial Services
    Study says:

“…80% of respondents would support a law prohibiting HOA management companies from also owning and operating their own HOA collection agencies.” 

So what?

This series of blogs is intended to put SCA’s collection practices within a much larger context so you can see how we are all affected.

  • SCA is just one of over 2,500 HOAs in Nevada in the LIED database.
  • Nevada is just one of 22 states that have huge problems with HOA agents, using the HOA’s power to foreclose, such that

1) both the homeowner and the bank lose 100% of their property, 2) the HOA gets very little they are owed, and
3) the debt collector gets very, very rich, frequently by taking more money under the table than the law allows them to charge.

  • My late fiance’s house is just one little house, but it is a stark example of what happened many thousands of times in the wake of the 2008 economic collapse.
The foreclosure system is broken and needs to be fixed

Whenever you have economic turmoil and large reversals of fortune, you have a breeding ground for corruption. I want to show you how the limitations in the legal and judicial system have allowed some unscrupulous individuals (and institutions) to wildly profit at your expense and mine.

Did SCA Board members profit at owners’ expense?

No. Certainly not me.
I did not, and will not, profit from exposing any of this.

No other SCA Director profited from any of this either.

As you peruse these next few blogs about how SCA collection practices affect your personal bottom line, please note:

  1. I did not ever place a matter before the SCA Board from which I made, or could have made, any profit. No matter what action the SCA Board takes, or doesn’t take, related to collections or foreclosures has any impact on the quiet title decision of Judge Kishner, Nevada 8th district Court.
  2. I don’t believe any current or former SCA Board member personally profited from the foreclosure of any SCA property.
  3. I believe SCA Board members have simply trusted and followed the advice of SCA’s agents without suspecting that the agents had set the process up to unjustly enrich themselves.
  4. I don’t believe anyone on the current SCA Board understands that the SCA Board has legal alternatives for handling collections that could prevent many of the downsides using self-serving debt collectors who unfairly profit from foreclosures and the huge volume of litigation that ensues.
  5. However, I believe the current SCA Board is culpable for REFUSING to even examine flaws in SCA’s collection system or to consider more humane options which would benefit ALL SCA homeowners financially more than SCA’s agents benefit.

HOA Boards and homeowners have frequently been victimized by their agents (managers, debt collectors and attorneys) who can take advantage of their ignorance or inattention.

The HOA Board must ensure all assessments are collected. That’s a given.

But, in general, volunteer boards do not have the expertise to select the most cost-effective and humane method for doing so.

Our SCA Board has been duped by all three (or four or five) debt collectors SCA has used. They have all unjustly profited by conducting foreclosures without following the statutes, by retaining proceeds from the sales that they were not legally entitled to, and/or by tricking the Board into believing that their costly methods were the only legal option.

Our cost when agents serve themselves

It’s tragic how easy it is for HOA agents who play fast and loose with the law to unjustly enrich themselves. Lax enforcement of the laws on the books, such as they are, is ineffective to stop their fingers from reaching into our pockets.

Statewide, a much stronger regulatory system is needed to prevent such institutionalized corruption from getting a stronghold, and to protect HOAs and homeowners from getting ripped off.

Why would a debt-collecting agent derail his gravy train?

Telling the SCA Board that there are more cost-effective options to successfully collect assessments than using the SCA association legal counsel as the debt collector would drastic reduce The Clarkson Law Group’s big, fat bottom line.

Agents are supposed to act solely and exclusively for the benefit of association membership, but the temptations for a quick buck are just too great!

It’s much more lucrative to keep the Board in the dark about how much the costs of collection exceed the amounts collected.

Or better yet, the attorney/debt collector can bully the HOA Board into believing he is the final authority and that the lucrative (for attorneys) litigious process is only legal option available.

Sound familiar, Mr. Clarkson?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you no sense of decency, David Berman?

Click on photo for 15 second video. “Have you no sense of decency, Sir?”

The frustrated sentiments of the Army Chief Counsel, Joseph Welch, speaking to Senator McCarthy in 1954  (15-second video above) resonate with me as they speak of a man who has simply gone too far.

I want to express these same feelings to David Berman. I want him to stop his unwarranted and unprovoked attacks against me, and against any other SCA owners, whose only sin has been having the temerity to tell him that he is wrong and that his vitriol is damaging more than to his targeted victims. It is  detrimental to the health and peace of mind of the entire community.

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. … Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, Sir. At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Apparently, David also lacks a sense of irony

“When certain folks in our community decide to turn someone they don’t like into a villain, it appears there is no limit to the tactics they will employ to denigrate their targets, even when the “documentation” they disseminate to make their points is demonstrably and provably false.” – David Berman

Projection: Clinical term for “Pot calling the kettle black”

David Berman may be utterly lacking in self-awareness. Or he may believe his own press so much that he doesn’t see anything wrong with the way he treated me over months of totally undeserved attacks he made against me as a Board member which led up to my 8/12/17 notice of intent to take formal action to try to get him to stop.

David Berman lies = false narrative. Who benefits?

The conclusion of my complaint below shows my frustration at being one more in a long line of owners who have been cruelly victimized by David Berman instead of simply being thanked for volunteering to share my expertise.

As this was written two weeks before I was kicked off the Board, I still thought I could accomplish my three stated goals in a two-year term.

Click on photo for 12-page 8/12/17 notice of intent, written 2 weeks before my complaints of their inexcusable harassment and defamation got me kicked off the Board in retaliation of my calling in the authorities.

Please, in the name of all that is holy, just stop

Apparently, just asking David Berman to stop maligning my character was too much to ask.

So, why didn’t I go forward with this complaint?

  • My goal, as you can see in the proposed remedy section, was to get him to stop badgering me and let me be an effective homeowner advocate on the Board. I just wanted him to acknowledge what he was doing was destructive, and then, just not do it.
  • I also wanted to protect the rights of the owners to lawfully collect signatures or sign petitions; and I wanted him to stop his backdoor tricks as OSCAR spokesperson that was interfering with the neutrality of the Election Committee and the recall election.
  • Two-weeks later, I was dumped off the Board, and gratuitously, at the same meeting, formally removed as Election Committee liaison thanks to David Berman’s reframing me into his image. You can see in the email (below) he wrote on 7/22/17 defamed me and empowered the Board to take unjustified and unlawful actions against me. Obviously, since then, I’ve had  had other fish to fry since then.
  • The Ombudsman does not have jurisdiction over complaints of harassment or defamation. These would have to become civil actions for a court to rule on. Just what I need – more attorneys fees to rectify the damages done to me for volunteering. What a fine thank you for my service.

Projection, vilification & no limits to dirty tricks

David Berman sent the defamatory email below to the Board, but this email is the basis for the Election Committee developing the false belief that I had not only released confidential information, but that meant I was a bad person who could not be trusted. David Berman makes false statements about me, maligns my character, but gets away with it. He has quite a hold on the people in power to a level that I consider to be undue influence.

This horrible, hateful email very effectively painted me as an evil person who deserves bad treatment. David Berman has manipulated those in power to encourage them to gang up on me as he has done to others, and in this email he also continues his decade-long use of Bob Frank as an object lesson.

David Berman stirred up the trouble by conjuring up a new evil persona for me out of whole cloth, and then gave the Board and the Election Committee the permission to shun me and treat me like a pariah.

Character assassination by one lacking in character is galling

This is a very big deal to me to have my character maligned in this cruel, insulting and totally abusive manner. I spent a career in public and non-profit service, including administering a civil service system and controlling  personnel, discipline, medical and disability records for the workforce of the 10th largest city in the country.

I was NEVER accused of mishandling confidential information or of violating my fiduciary duty. My trustworthiness and ethics were NEVER questioned.

On the other hand, David Berman has been disciplined for violating his fiduciary duty to his client and forged a judge’s signature to cover it up. If a client had done that, the client would probably have been criminally charged and jailed, but attorneys tend to be reluctant to mete out strong discipline to one of their own.

David Berman’s law license was suspended for a year in 1991, and then he surrendered it. He cannot legally portray himself as an attorney. Yet, many people treat him with deference believing that he is one.

With a disingenuous sleight of hand, he is still able to manipulate people into believing that they should respect his word despite his history of unethical conduct.

It’s even more galling that, at the same time, he uses his considerable skills at palace intrigue to persuade a good chunk of people that they should not trust the word of a woman with a life-long, spotless record of competent and ethical community service.

David Berman got other people to stone an innocent woman while he egged them on.

And then he cries like a baby when the woman starts throwing stones back.

Bravado, just like Gary Hart 

David Berman bizarrely just challenged me to produce evidence of his interference in the recall election in exactly the same manner as Gary Hart self-destructed his Presidential bid by challenging the New York Times to “put a tail on him” before he spent the weekend on his boat, Monkey Business, with a woman not his wife.

Wow, David, if you insist. I have a novella worth.

Times up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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