Another chance to balance the SCA Board

Who should fill the surprise vacancy on the SCA Board?

Bob Burch abruptly resigned last week,

…for reasons which will not be revealed, Rex Weddle announced to owners, or at least, to the 850 owners who have opted-in to receive SCA eblasts.

Rex also said that the Board would be appointing someone to fill Bob’s seat until the next election (May 2019).

Surprisingly, Rex then invited owners to submit their names for consideration by next Friday, July 13 @ 5 PM to the GM at Sandy.Seddon@scacai.com.

If you are interested in being considered by the Board of Directors for appointment to a position on the Board, please be sure to place your written request to General Manager, Sandy Seddon, no later than end of business on Friday, July 13, 2018.  Click Sandy Seddon to submit via email.  This correspondence should include your name, phone number and a brief statement as to why you feel you should be considered to serve on the Sun City Anthem Board of Directors.

Once the Board votes on this appointment, they will also vote on the re-organization of the Board and select its officers.

Please consider volunteering to serve on the Board
SCA Board needs a better balance of perspectives

It should come as no surprise that, although the SCA governance and Board elections are structured to be completely non-partisan, there is a clear demarcation between factions in our community that might be identified as:

  1. Berman Believers
  2. Followers of Other Bloggers
  3. Everybody Else

If there is any hope in healing this community’s divide, there needs to be a shift in the representation on the Board to include voices from all three groups.

Otherwise, the currently-entrenched group-think  will continue to dominate our public discourse and distort governance so all residents are not equally well served.

I, for one, do not think this dynamic is healthy for the community. At a minimum, it has reduced my own joie de vivre, and I don’t think it is a stretch to say that I speak for others.

If you feel that you have a perspective that would assist the Board to be more effective at representing the entire community rather than just the segment whose voices are now heard, please step up.

Why was the request for owners to self nominate a surprise?

Because that’s not the way they did it last time. Jim Coleman was appointed last September by a secret process that

  • did not include notifying owners that the Board intended to fill my seat without an owner election (which was required at that time)
  • did not allow owners to submit their names for consideration
  • did not include any public deliberations by the Board of the selection criteria

The Board kept secret how Jim Coleman had been recruited and what competitive process, if any, had been employed. They were also silent as to where the Board got the authority to fill the seat of a director who had been removed when the NRS and the bylaws required a membership vote.

What’s wrong with the Board meeting in secret?

And, what’s happening now?

One has to wonder what motivated this 180-degree turn to a more open, competitive process to fill a vacated Board seat.

And, I’m sure, the more cynical among us, will question how open this current process really will be.

One might ask

  • Will the names and qualifications of the people who self-nominate be kept a secret?
  • Will the GM deem anyone”disqualified”  and not turn those names over to the Board?
  • Will they use the required candidate disclosure form from the NRED website or use the Clarkson  “I-make-up-my-own-laws” version, or will they not require disclosures from Board appointees?
  • Will the attorney usurp the authority of the Board and, at owner expense, issue an order, rather than an opinion, to block any applicant?
Let’s hope not.
I, for one, will give them one more chance.

 

No restaurant as of June 28 Board meeting

The game goes on…but now they’ve got a scapegoat.

I have been dealing with other things this past month, and had not kept up with the last month of the two-year restaurant process. I had heard that the negotiations had broken down with the one vendor left standing.

So, I went into the Board meeting thinking that the deal with G2G was off the table.

When I sat down, an irritated resident told me the Board was still negotiating a sweetheart deal with G2G.

I was further confused when I opened my computer and saw that at 1:13 PM,  literally minutes before the 1:30 PM meeting, palace-favorite, blogger Berman published a letter G2G sent to the GM saying that the deal was off, no matter how big the subsidy.

And here’s the kicker – it’s all Dick Arendt’s fault that G2G pulled out because he talked bad about them on Anthem Opinions.

How (and why) did Berman get a leg up?

It is inappropriate, from my perspective, for the GM and the Board to have a death grip on information which should be openly and immediately shared.

But it’s worse when they blatantly give David Berman “scoops” because they can count on him to consistently write favorably about the GM and the Board – NO MATTER WHAT – and unfavorably about other bloggers who won’t give the Board or the GM a free pass when they screw something up or screw someone over.

Shouldn’t everybody have easy access to the same information at the same time?

If it is confidential, it is confidential from everybody. If it is not confidential, it should be made readily available for the easiest possible access. The GM and the Board are creating a huge amount of unnecessary conflict by the way they mis-handle communications.

The GM and the Board play favorites and do not uniformly enforce the rules of confidentiality. They use information as power, and block access from their detractors. When criticized for this failure, they go crazy, and threaten the owners, particularly bloggers, who out them.

Why couldn’t G2G make it?

Apparently, free rent, free utilities, and ZERO profit-sharing with SCA until the obviously-unattainable $1.4 million revenue number was reached was not a sufficient subsidy to overcome the damage done by the bad-mouthing of the non-Berman blogger.

How did the GM characterize what happened?

The GM did not quote the entire G2G “we’re outta here” letter with those attending the Board meeting that she unfairly shared with David Berman before the meeting.

I say “unfairly” because it allowed her to use a willing tool to illegitimately stoke the fires of animosity AGAIN against  their common nemesis, and his reviled, competing blogger, without her having to dirty her hands.

Anyone else who requested such a document would have been threatened with sanctions for even asking for it, and then had to swear on the head of her newborn grandchild that it would not be disclosed before it would have been handed over.

She did, however, in making her report, focus on the phrase in the letter that most effectively, albeit unfairly, shifted the blame away from her, and her own gargantuan part, in designing an RFP/negotiation process ensured to fail.

She said that the SCA-G2G negotiations had reached impasse over “drop and go’s”, alcohol and pot lucks,

The Board wanted to talk some more, and SCA’s team thought they could get a deal, but G2G wrote her today that it is no longer interested. She paraphrased this part of the pull-out letter.

“… the blogging of Dick Arendt and his call to boycott the restaurant even before we opened.

So, …(we’re withdrawing due to)… the poisonous atmosphere illegitimately manufactured by a blogger.”  G2G

What’s the bottom line?
The Board approved a motion to direct management to continue to look for a restaurant tenant.

The GM asked the Board to approve two Board members to work with her. Tom Nissen is now fully retired from the Board and not willing to serve as a non-Director member of the work group. No matter how many times this method has failed (using a couple of Board members with the GM instead of an independent, specialized expert), hope springs eternal.

The good news is Gary Lee, the Director I think has the most experience negotiating restaurant contracts, was appointed to the team.

The bad news is that, to get a successful restaurant, Gary Lee will probably have to do a lot of the GMs job. The GM has not demonstrated herself capable of getting a successful restaurant tenant in place since she got here in November 2015 – even through that expectation was the one specific criterion the Board adopted – and probably ignored – for her 2017 bonus.

Public comments

One owner had specific suggestions about how to economically poll owners about whether they want a restaurant at all, and encouraged the Board to look at the possibility of just a bar and appetizers. There were suggestions for the Board to take a broader view of what would work in that space, including a food court or the high quality of places he had seen in Asia.

The old guard continued to promote the idea that only people who show up at meetings should get a voice, but I got the sense there was a small crack opening in Board acceptance of the idea that other people need to be heard.

What were some of the Board comments?

Several Directors said they were disappointed to be back at square one, but had an interest in getting more owner input. They saw the need for improving the RFP process to more clearly spell out the parameters in advance and to be open to wider competition.

Several Directors unfairly blamed bloggers, particularly Dick Arendt, for G2G pulling out, just as other Directors have voiced this same unfortunate refrain to deflect criticism of previous Board decisions that weren’t particularly owner-friendly.

“Shut up. We’re in charge here.”

They again asserted that the Board should take legal action to stop the criticisms of the Board and management that they think are totally unwarranted.

It’s a weird perspective to me – this being America and all. Utterly lacking in a sense of what gives legitimacy to their power

“Governments are instituted …deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
-the Declaration of independence

I am particularly saddened when I hear Art and Jim rant about the need to silence dissent. I like them both, on a personal level, and think they are good people.

I think they just are not getting how they are unwittingly contributing to the polarization of the community by representing only some of the people, and by not tolerating  diversity of opinion about the way we want to be self-governed.

To self-righteous and aggressively defend themselves and those who agree with them against perceived injustices only becomes dysfunctional when that outrage is used as justification for intolerance and threatening to use legal force to stop the free expression of dissent.

I never wanted to be a blogger, but now, I will defend my right of free expression to my last breath.

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

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

Justice delayed is justice denied

Three Hawaiian Princesses – Tara Noalani, Ella Nahiena’ena welcome Issa Anale’a to the world. I fight to ensure “liberty and justice for all” is a core value in the world we pass on to them.

Justice delayed is justice denied

The length of time NRED has taken to address the complaints I submitted last September without response has unfairly diminished their credibility or, in some cases, rendered them moot.

This is unacceptable, particularly since these issues (election interference, concealing association documents, retaliation, harassment, unlawful removal from the Board for essentially political purposes are all issues of great import to protect homeowners in all Nevada HOAs.

Denial without prejudice? Hardly.

Denial “without prejudice” in one election interference case was nonsensical. A 10/20/17 complaint that Bob Burch was wrongly left off the removal election ballot because two pages with a combined total of 22 signatures mysteriously disappeared so allegedly, he was two signatures short of being placed on the ballot. On 12/11/17 the complainant (not me) was notified by Christina Pitch that the case was closed stating:Say, what?

Claiming that the Ombudsman’s attendance at the vote count of the ballots (ballots that did not include Bob Burch) was sufficient justification to deny the complaint that Bob Burch’s name was wrongly excluded from the ballot (due to 22 missing signatures) is a complete non sequitur.

NRED might as well have denied the complaint because Kilauea volcano erupted.

Further, Bob Burch was treated as a non-conflicted Board member at the November 1 recall vote count despite the complaint about his not being included on the ballot was still open until NRED’s December 11 rejection.

To say that this was not prejudicial to the claimant (meaning that he could file the complaint again after the point was moot) adds insult to injury.

Inappropriate use of association attorney

NRED appears to condone SCA GM and Board giving an inappropriate level of deference to association attorney Clarkson.

Those same 11/1/17 recall vote count owner meeting minutes show the tip of the iceberg of the completely inappropriate role Adam Clarkson took in the recall election process.
Not only was there no Board approval:

  1. to amend the adopted SCA Election and Voting manual,
  2. to dump the volunteer Election Committee and
  3. no Board approval to hire a CPA and
  4. no Board approval to pay the CPA firm and the Clarkson firm over $100,000 in unbudgeted funds to take over (and bungle) the recall election,
No law gives an HOA attorney decision-making authority

There is substantial additional evidence that Clarkson unlawfully acts as a decision-maker, or as the GM’s attorney, rather than solely as a legal advisor to the full Board.

What more does NRED need?

In what form can I submit this evidence where I can be assured that it will be weighed by an independent trier of fact?

Freedom of information is non-existent at SCA

GM’s concealing association records and using the attorney to threaten owners for even asking appears to be condoned by NRED.

NRED gave two different responses to the draconian records request form revised by the Clarkson law group 2/28/18 to suit the GM regardless of the law or best interests of the homeowners.

NRED response 1 was pro-homeowner.

The first was an email response to a homeowner in March correctly stated the owner protections in the law,

“The “mandatory acknowledgement” form…is contrary to NRS 116, as such a document is not required by law.”

NRED response 2, as reported by Bob Burch, was pro-management.

The second NRED response was only reported verbally.

I haven’t seen any written response from the Ombudsman to the SCA Board, but the Board President has reported that NRED approved the unlawful “acknowledgements” on the document request form that restrict the homeowner from sharing legally accessed material with third parties.
Could this really be true?

According to the Board, NRED has approved the SCA threatening homeowners that, if the information (released per NRS 116.31175) is disclosed to third parties, the owners may be subject to fines and penalties up to foreclosure.

These Clarkson-crafted “acknowledgements” are allegedly (according to Clarkson) binding even if the owner does not sign or agree. According to SCA, NRED says this is okay, just so long as the owner is not required to sign the acknowledgement.

Does NRED have a double standard?
Note that the document request form’s revision was not approved by an official Board action despite the requirement of SCA bylaws 6.4(a)(b) p. 24.)

The Board abdicated its duty to make records accessible to owners contrary to NRS 116.31175, and the GM never signed a management agreement acknowledgement per NRS 116A.620(1)(a)and (m) that the HOA records do not belong to the manager.
Yet, NRED apparently issued a verbal ruling giving the SCA Board and management carte blanche to carry on.

Could this really be true?

And one last thing

Lack of transparency allows SCA homeowners to be put at risk due to

  • management errors,
  • bad decisions,
  • inappropriate use of the attorney at triple the adopted budget, and
  • resistance to implementing sufficient checks and balances.

My insistence in attempting to address these problems led to the harassment and retaliation that was the true impetus of my removal from the Board.

Note that NRED has not responded to my 7/21/17 Form 781 complaint other than to refer it to the investigations division. The problems of withholding and concealing records have been exacerbated over the past year, and I have submitted additional documentation to the complaints in September,  November and January evidencing this unacceptable pattern.

What is NRED going to do to address these issues?

Part 2: Secret meetings in general

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

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

Why has NRED needed more than nine months?

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

Part 2: Secret meetings in general

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

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

NRED previously instructed SCA on this point

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

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

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

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

As Bob Burch said,

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

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

Is that NRED’s intent? 

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

Whose call is it anyway?

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

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

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

What else does NRED need to stop this?

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

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

Coming up:

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

Why so quiet?

Sorry for the big break in my updates about SCA shenanigans.

I’m in California for some family events,

Nathaniel graduated

and a new granddaughter due any minute

But, while we’re waiting for the next big thing, I’ll tell you

The real cause for pause

After a fun-filled trip to Mexico, I dragged myself to the May 24 Board meeting. I was immediately stunned by the President’s report that NRED had stopped investigating two complaints that impacted me.

I wondered if NRED’s practice was to rely on management or agents rather than get the whole story. I hoped not. But, I had a sinking feeling…

Ordinarily, I would have posted something right away, but I decided to talk to NRED’s new chief investigator, Terry Wheaton, first. Multiple attempts to set up a meeting were unsuccessful so I documented my concerns in writing.

It is even longer than my usual missives, so I’ll break it up for you. It was full of hyperlinks to the actual evidentiary documents. I will break the links in this public distribution, just in case, my transparency forces the SCA Board and GM to claim it is their fiduciary duty to pay the attorney $10,000+ to threaten to sue me to kingdom come.

Part 1 of email to NRED

Fwd: Issues related to dismissed and open investigations; NRED Letters of Instruction to SCA

I am writing you now to document my concerns and request that you evaluate these documents before there is a final determination on my form 514a, 781, and three form 530 complaints  (harassment/retaliation, recall election interference, and for removing me from the Board without complying with NRS 116.31036 on false and unproven charges that I had placed matters before the Board from which I stood to make a profit.

1. NRED investigations are closed without notice or reason

In March, I raised this concern to Christina Pitch in the email I am forwarding here. You can see her response. However, the pattern of NRED closing complaints without a clear, legally defensible, equitable resolution seems to be continuing.

At the last Sun City Anthem Board meeting on 5/24/18, the new President Bob Burch made the following claims in his President’s report which were extremely disheartening because I have received no communication from NRED about these issues which intimately affect me and about which I have formally filed affidavits and declarations.

President’s report

Next, I would like to report that we have been advised by the Nevada Real Estate Division that two complaints filed against the Association have been closed. In one case, it was alleged that the Executive Board held an emergency meeting on July 18, 2017 to discuss employer liability and that the meeting did not meet the requirements for an ‘emergency’ under NRS116. In the second case, it was alleged that the Executive Board held secret meetings beginning in March or April 2017 in which appointments to committees were agreed upon and Association business was decided upon. Both complaints were closed without any action being taken against the Association when the division determined that there was no good cause to continue with the investigation. In other words, we prevailed.  – Bob Burch, 5/24/18

What does “no good cause to continue the investigation” mean?

Does NRED condone or just not care?

Dismissed complaint 1: July 13 “emergency” executive session

In my view, having a Board meeting without notifying me for the other six directors to approve a cease & desist order against me was an unlawful abuse of authority and certainly not an emergency.

What does NRED think?

Does NRED’s closing the complaint investigation without disciplinary action against SCA mean:

  • That NRED says it’s okay for the GM to fail to give me, an elected Board member, ANY verbal or written notice that the Board I was elected to was being called into an “emergency” executive session two hours after I was standing in her office being denied access to ANY SCA records despite NRS 116.31175 and SCA bylaws 6.4(c)?
  • That NRED says it’s okay for a GM, an at-will employee, to use the association attorney at SCA owner expense to threaten litigation against SCA (her employer) and me, a Board member, personally for creating “employer liability” for asking for justification for her being paid double the market rate and criticizing her performance and judgment despite NAC 116A.345(5)?
  • That NRED says it’s okay for six Board members to meet without and issue orders against me, the seventh EQUAL, ELECTED Board member, to limit authority as a Board member, restrict my duties, TOTALLY restrict my access to information needed to make decisions as a Board member, and restrict my right to vote on an equal basis with the other directors despite the prohibitions in NRS 116.3103(2)(d)?
  • That NRED says it actually was an emergency as defined by NRS 116.31183(12) affecting the health, safety and welfare of the community for 6/7 of the SCA Board to meet to order me, the seventh, to stop asking for a verification of the GM’s former salary and to reprimand me, without legal authority, for asking the GM to reconsider a ruling she made to prevent equal time in SCA official publications for a proponent of the recall election?
  • That NRED says that six members of the Board constitutes a quorum, and they (6 of 7) can meet in executive session to make decisions for the Board as a whole or to take action against the seventh Board member even if the six directors prevent the seventh Board member, despite the limitations defined in NRS 116.31185 or NRS 116.3103(2)(d),
    • from attending their secret session,
    • from voting, or even
    • from knowing their secret meeting is going to occur ?
  • That NRED doesn’t care that the SCA Board failed to comply with multiple provisions of state law and SCA governing documents?
Or is NRED saying
these owner complaints are frivolous and aren’t serious matters worthy of at least a complete investigation?

That meeting, actually held on 7/13/17, had numerous flaws which I spelled out to NRED in form 514a on pages 4-5 and claims are  supported by written evidence.

I now have a meeting scheduled for June 18.

Next time

Part 2: Secret meetings in general

 

If they had only known… Part 3

Owners pay a high price for Board ignorance

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

How can NRED training help the Board do right?

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

The process determines the result

Poor process = poor results

Board failures of the “duty of care”

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

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

Board must learn the rules

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


Lessons the Board has yet to learn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Restaurant RFP mistakes

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

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

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

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

Who cares about debt collection?

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

Remember, abdicating debt collection is:

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

 

 

 

If only they had known…Part 1

New Director training

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

Learning from these free resources will reduce unhealthy over-dependence on attorneys.

Click here to link to blog:
Why SCA now pays so much in legal fees

Click here for NRED presentation:
Welcome to the Board 

If the 2017 Board had taken this class from NRED instead of being trained by attorney Adam Clarkson, would directors still have acted outside authority granted by NRS and the SCA governing documents?

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.