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

 

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.

Big surprise: G2G was picked to run the “closed only 2+years” restaurant

Lesson 4 – Process determines product

If you set up a process to be the same as the process that failed in the past, you can expect to fail again. As Edward Deming, world-renowned statistician and management expert, said,

Quick re-cap

  1. Sandy Seddon and Tom Nissen had a cozy relationship with one of the vendors, G2G, before putting out an RFP.
  2. They picked G2G.
Operating parameters –
decided after only two vendors had submitted proposals
  1. can’t have smoking,
  2. ok to have a subsidy of free rent
  3. can’t operate 24/7
  4. vendor can decide not to have gaming (who needs it if owners pay your rent?)
  5. coffee window is closed while restaurant open
  6. 100% catering is restricted to G2G in all three centers

Now, let’s make a deal.

Negotiating team is also a big surprise

Tom Nissen, Sandy Seddon and Forrest Quinn will now negotiate. Isn’t Tom going off the Board?

No problem.

A special exemption from the Rex only-buddy-director- work group philosophy was made to keep Tom Nissen, who is leaving the Board in two days, on the team with a death grip on the controls.

No other owners are included on the negotiating team. Board candidate Gary Lee who has negotiated many (I think I heard him say 500) restaurant leases, was not deemed worthy of participating.

But, good news! Rex did say that he was considering accepting help from Jean Capillupo, whose expertise is solely derived from her hand in the last failed restaurant lease.

Being a control freak sometimes backfires, Rex

Polly Anna, signing off.

 

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.

Election Committee was inhospitable, angry even. Nevertheless, I persisted

Today’s SCA Election Committee meeting was an important part of the SCA Board election process because it was the official start of the election process where candidates drew lots for their ballot position.
What could it hurt if I drew a lot until the proper authority rules on my eligibility to serve?

Instead of considering the rejection of my candidacy for the Board as final, why not just treat me like any other neighborhood volunteer  – at least until there was one iota of proof that I really was worthy of such vilification?

What happened went I went looking for justice?

I gave the Board and management notice that I was appealing the 2/9/18 Notice of Ineligibility that the Clarkson Law Group had whipped up on SCA owners’ dime to make sure that someone who had the support of at least 2,000 owners was blocked from even being a candidate.

In the prior notice, I asked for them not to use the attorney or security to threaten or humiliate me. They accommodated me only insofar as owners didn’t  pay for an outside agent to ensure that I was relegated to pariah status. But then, they knew full well, they didn’t need to bring in the heavy-weights, the Election Committee – dutifully, sternly, and totally predictably stepped up to take on the enforcer role.

The Officials act official, or was it officious?

Before the meeting, I went to the EC chair, Carol Steibel, and told her that I was appealing the attorney’s decision to deem me ineligible and that I wanted to draw for a ballot number so I could stay on equal footing in the election process until a determination on my eligibility was made by proper authority (NRED).

When I handed her my 2-page appeal, she tossed it aside testily, and said,

“I’ve already read that.”

“How could you have? I just wrote it this morning.” said I.

“Well, I read something else, then. The attorney said you can’t be a candidate, and we have to listen to the attorney.”

When I sat at the table, two members of the committee told me sternly to get away from the table. Only candidates could sit there.

Carol somberly started the meeting by saying that the meeting would not be recorded and that no one was allowed to record it as it was against the law.

The thing about this edict that totally chaps my hide is a major owner protection to allow recordings so, to be ornery I guess, I said I was going to record it. Their reaction was intense. Forrest Quinn joined in saying that he did not authorize recording him.

Bob Burch said he wanted my assurance that I wasn’t going to record it. I said I wasn’t recording it, and he announced to the crowd,

“We’ve had this trouble before”

further solidifying the ‘Us vs. Them Her’ dynamic permeating the room.

Carol very formally read a notice from the attorney about my situation. She would brook no argument. It was FINAL!

  • The Board deemed Nona Tobin’s Board position vacant by law making her ineligible to be on the Board.
  • Nona herself made the charges public.
  • No circumstances have changed that would make her eligible.
  • Clarkson law office was merely asked to inform Nona since the Board’s decision that  was ineligible has not changed.

My, my, my…what an awful person that Nona is! An existential threat.  Carol’s tone made it totally clear that questioning the veracity or authority of the attorney would be considered treason, the concept of “Innocent until proven guilty” totally shrouded by her blind spot.
P.S. None of the above statements from the attorney that Carol reported are true. I’ll be handing the documents over to NRED to prove it as soon as I can.

Carol was so busy genuflecting before Clarkson’s awesomeness that she might have forgotten for the teensyist second that as the Election Committee Chairperson, her primary job is to protect the integrity of the election process, to ensure the election is free from undue interference and to protect ANY owner from being disenfranchised.

Maybe a little training? I suggest training should come from NRED or any competent, independent professional, but absolutely not conducted by Adam Clarkson.

Gary Lee, Board candidate new to the scene, innocently asked for a better explanation why I was dumped, but Carol was adamant that she had said all that needed to be said on the subject, and that he was holding up the very, very important business of the committee.

Tobin appeal to being disqualified as a candidate

Quick note about # 4 above, it should read that in addition to the NRED form 850, I also submitted the disclosure form as edited by the attorneys even though it was not legally-mandated for me to do so.

Tobin Appeal Page 2

Ask Yourself:
Would my actions make sense if I were on the Board to make a profit?

What does my being on the Board have to do with what the court does about the house? The Board doesn’t have anything to say about it.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s say the Board could vote on something related to the outcome of the title fight. If my ulterior motive was to get the Board to vote to quiet title to me instead of the bank, wouldn’t I have tried a different approach?

If I were trying to get a Board vote on litigation I could profit from, wouldn’t I have been smarter to ingratiate myself and “go along to get along”.
  • Wouldn’t I have been foolish to risk the ire of the Board to protect the right of owners to legally sign petitions to call for a vote to remove directors from the Board?
  • Would I have pursued formal complaints to enforcement authorities saying that the attorney and the GM should be fired for causing the Board to act unlawfully?

Ask yourself:
Isn’t it more likely that the same over-compensated GM and attorney, after protecting compliant directors in power from a removal election, just created a convenient ruse to bypass owners’ votes and remove the thorn in their side and block me from coming back?

 

 

Election Committee TOMORROW 9 AM – pick order of names on ballot

Concord Room Anthem Center
9 AM Tuesday, Feb. 13
Election Committee
Board Candidate Orientation
Candidates draw for ballot order

I’ll be there despite Clarkson’s challenge to my eligibility. I have requested that I be treated as a candidate unless a State of Nevada official with proper legal authority rules that I am not eligible to be a candidate.

As you can see in the email below (which I sent to the SCA Board, the GM, the Ombudsman, the NRED investigator and others), I have requested, in respect for my advanced age and frail heart, that I not be treated unfairly or be subjected to a hostile surprise attack, be escorted from the room or face any other bullying or humiliation because I have the temerity to insist on my right to volunteer to serve as a member of the Board.

I encourage you to come if you are interested in ensuring that SCA is not the kind of place where a homeowner in good standing, acting in good faith, can be treated shabbily for simply trying to be of service.

Remember, this is not about me. 

This is about having a system of governance that is fair, open and protects ALL homeowners equally – no matter who is in charge.

January 25 BOD meeting wrapup

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

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

Restaurant space decision delayed again

Here’s what appeared in the Board book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My concerns were stated (and ignored) earlier:

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

I hope they prove me wrong.

Director’s Comments

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

Important, but not agendized: Future of Revere

Revere is safe from residential development in perpetuity!

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

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

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

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

Board-Work Group report on Communications

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

They reported that they will hold two workshops:

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

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

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

GM’s Report

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

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

Proposed Tow Policy was a big surprise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

President’s Report

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

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

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

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

 

Proposed Publication Policy

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

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

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

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

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

December 7 Board meeting items of interest

The last SCA Board meeting of the year is tomorrow at 1:30 PM. I’d like to point out a few things that you might not notice immediately, but which are important to for owners to know the full story.

Click here for full agenda.          Click here for draft Board Book.

Financial Report for October

Two things mar an otherwise brilliant job of bean counting:

  1. How much are we paying for who to do what?     SCA is now an employer with 80 employees costing $3.5 million -over 40% of operating budget, there should be a clearer accounting of cost of staffing by budget objective. The Board cannot hold the GM properly accountable nor can the owners be protected from such failures as excessive management compensation or featherbedding, if the accounting obfuscates these facts. And, more importantly, the Board is not holding itself properly accountable to the owners by letting the GM hide what SCA employees (particularly managers) are being paid and what they are being paid for.
  2. Since Adam Clarkson became SCA Legal Counsel on May 1, there have been $185,010 expended for legal fees which was 411% 0f the $45,000 budgeted for legal fees over half a year. This is the same attorney
    • who told the Board the GM did not need its authorization to expend SCA funds for unbudgeted purposes.
    • who does SCA’s debt collection function in the least cost-effective and most draconian way available.
    • who, along with the GM, is responsible for additional unnecessary expenses of at least $73,000 for the recall election which were STRONGLY objected to by the proponents of the recall.
    • who is being paid $325/hour to cause or allow the Board to take unlawful actions against political opponents of the GM and certain members of the Board.

 

Election and Voting Manual Revisions

Reviewing policies on voting may be really boring, but it is important to protect homeowner control over who represents us on the Board. There has to be a sound, uniformly administered system in place to prevent ANY election interference from tampering with ballots, abuse of power, or even unfair communications.

The largest HOA board election rigging scandal in Southern Nevada involved primarily attorneys who were supposed to be neutral outsiders who stacked HOA Boards to channel construction defects litigation.  This Election and Voting Manual is intended to ensure that the SCA homeowners actually control who sits on the Board and that those Board members actually work SOLELY for the benefit of the homeowners.

Yet, it doesn’t matter what is in this or any other SCA policy manual if the Board doesn’t follow SCA’s own rules or if it allows the GM and/or the attorney to manipulate the process in favor or against certain owners.

Cherry-picking which laws to follow is a slippery slope

There are several areas where our election process is not in conformity with NRS or the SCA Bylaws. For example, SCA Board does not have a nominating committee as required by SCA bylaws 3.4a below. While there may be good reasons to not want to have such a committee, this is an example of how problematic it is to simply disregard a provision. The bylaws must be uniformly enforced and not simply disregarded. The narrow exception is when the bylaws explicitly conflict with a mandate in a Federal or state law.

Filling Board vacancies after a director is removed.

The final clause of SCA bylaws 3.6. requires a vote by the unit owner to fill a Board vacancy caused by a Board member being removed.

“Upon removal of a director, a successor shall be elected by the Owners entitled to elect the director so removed to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of such director.”

The proposed change to the Election Manual, below in green, apparently attempts to justify retroactively how Jim Coleman was appointed, but even the new provision doesn’t allow for an appointment to be made without any notice to owners, any candidate nominations, or the required vote of owners.

Note that there is nothing in either the existing nor the proposed versions of the Election Manual that gives the Board legal cover for what they actually did to remove me nor what they did to replace me nor what they might be contemplating to do in the next election (keep me off the ballot).

  • How they removed me from the Board by simply declaring my position vacant is not authorized in NRS 116, NRS 82, SCA governing documents or any existing or proposed Board policy.
  • By extension, that also means that there is no legal means by which the GM, the Board or the attorney could refuse to allow me to be a candidate for, or to serve on, the Board should I choose to run again.
  • Also, note that this manual includes the NRS provisions which the Board President and GM violated by using the Spirit to publish their one-sided argument regarding the recall without permitting equal time and access to the opposition. Complaints of these violations are currently being investigated by NRED.

These proposed changes don’t describe what the Board actually did nor do they conform to the bylaws. The Board is simply pretending they have the authority to act against laws and policies “upon the advice of Counsel”. We’ll see.

Complaints to the Election Committee are not fairly handled

The Election Committee complaint process is to informal and allows for problems at both ends of the spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, informal complaints may be submitted without evidence or substance which could just waste the committee’s time .

On the other end, there is substantial risk of unequal treatment occurring, or even being merely perceived, if there isn’t a good enough procedure defining accountability, investigation, documentation and notice requirements. It’s sloppy management, and it reduces the community’s trust of the election process. It also allows interference in the independence and neutrality of the Election Committee.

In the proposed draft, there is still no standard format for resolving complaints, no required documentation to be maintained in the official SCA record, and no notice of the disposition formally given to the complainant.

I recommend the process defined in the SCA CC&Rs and utilized by the Covenants Committee would be a good model for the Election Committee to employ to fairly investigate and document complaints regarding Board elections.


Board Communications Task Force

In June, I proposed a resolution to improve Board-owner communications , but couldn’t even get a second to the motion. Now, five months later, nothing has been done to increase transparency or meaningful utilization of owner expertise in governance.

Rex appointed a couple of Directors to be a Board Communications “task force” (with no owner involvement)  and here are their recommendations:

Here’s what should be done immediately:
  1.  Either use SCA-TV to video broadcast Board meetings live or use some service like GoToMeeting.com to make the Board meetings accessible online in real time and interactive.
  2. Take the password off the website.
  3. Make the eblast mailing list opt-out instead of opt-in
  4. Follow the lead of Sun City Summerlin’s new GM in attitude.
  5. Stop using Board work groups that withhold information from owners.
  6. Expand the committee structure to utilize expertise of residents and have meaningful owner oversight and influence in governance.

Item 15B “Self-Management” is listed as New Business to be presented by Tom Nissen rather than the GM. The paragraph above the total back-up in the Board book to let owners know what the Self-Management item is about.

This raises a lot of questions about the Board’s failure to protect homeowners by hiring a GM without ANY of the defined terms and conditions of employment required in a management agreement.

  • Why is a Board member making a presentation on the transition?
  • Why doesn’t the GM whose compensation is $100,000 greater than other GMs at comparable Sun Cities like Summerlin make the presentation?
  • Why hasn’t the GM been held accountable for the development of the complete policy framework needed to protect SCA from legitimate risks and potential liability associated with becoming an employer or
  • Why hasn’t the GM held accountable for AT LEAST having written plans and timetables for getting the job done?
  • How will the Board – let alone the owners  – even know if the job is done right and on time?
  • Why did the Board let the GM unlawfully conceal SCA records on the transition to self-management from one Board member in violation of our bylaws 6.4c when this information should have been easily available to any unit owner?

After the Board meeting, I’ll let you know if any of these questions have been answered. Or if there are just new ones.

October 26 SCA Board meeting wrap-up

Here are a few highlights from the October 26 SCA Board meeting that will give you a perspective that the Board tries to suppress.

GM Compensation is a really big concern
Rex made the almost off-hand comment during the President’s report that the BOD discussed “GM performance” in executive session, but gave no further details. My next post will be about GM compensation since my trying to get the board to handle GM compensation correctly is one of the main reasons they kicked me off the Board.  The issue of GM compensation is really important because seeing how the Board mis-handled it will show you that the real threat to SCA owners is the GM and the attorney duping the Board into handing over our wallets – not that my service on the Board was going to change the outcome of quiet title litigation.

Foundation Assisting Seniors
Rex noted the Foundation Assisting Seniors was being ordered evicted as the court agreed that no SCA Board in the past would have had the authority to transfer that space to FAS in perpetuity. (I thought it had been transferred to FAS by Del Webb before the entire property was taken over by the Association, but I could be wrong.) Rex said that Sandy would make a recommendation about the use of the space.

Restaurant Consultant RFP is Out
Sandy will be hiring a consultant according to some unknown RFP for some unknown amount of unbudgeted money to give us the answer to the question “Just what’s it gonna take to have a successful restaurant”. You already know how I feel about her spending unbudgeted funds to pay a consultant to answer the wrong question after she’s left a major amenity out of service the entire time she’s been on the job.

Opinions about the recall proponents destroying our property values
Rex broke his silence about the recall in the paternalistic tone I find so grating, reprimanding the small cadre of negative proponents of the recall who have defined SCA’s character over the years with their history of unwarranted vitriolic attacks. These “people” will force a death knell to volunteerism, and these malcontents are responsible for SCA’s negative reputation and the destruction of our property values. The attorney says their rhetoric is actionable defamation even if the most horrible attacks have been “scrubbed” from their online posts.

In my view, Rex should be more introspective. Rex seems blind to his own personal contribution to the community schism and to sustaining the unhealthy divide. But then, there were more comments on the subject at different points on the agenda.

Apparently some helpful soul decided that it would be good for the community cohesiveness to incite Art with 54 pages of diatribe from some unnamed blog. Art was predictably upset by it, stunned by the negativity and unfairness of it. Art has developed a total respect for the other board members who he sees as competent and blameless. (He didn’t mention me because I have become invisible. It’s as if they feel so utterly justified in taking the law into their own hands to erase me and 2000 owners’ votes, it’s as if I never happened.) Art blamed instead that unknown blogger’s disinformation, errors and false charges to be the prime contributor to a major loss of our reputation and property values.

I am irritated with the “helpful” individual who baited Art. If it was who I think it was, he’s been helpful like that in the past, and I believe he too should be more self-aware in terms of the impact he has on perpetuating a toxic culture and on enabling the Board’s unlawful actions against me.

It’s hard to say whether our property values have actually taken a hit by virtue of SCA’s negative reputation (which all seem to agree exists now as well as in the past), and if they have gone down, who is to blame. In the Financial Report, revenue of $103,000 over budget from asset enhancement fees was described as being caused by an unexpectedly high number of home sales. Although no information about home price was given, the fact that the number of sales is up which would lead one to the opposite conclusion about the impact of our reputation on prospective purchasers.

Three more spoke in this echo chamber, not surprisingly all representing the same point of view.
I didn’t catch the name of the man who demanded that the owners be given the names of the originators of the petition and that the names of those who signed the petition should be posted on the association’s website. Sandy helpfully said that anyone could have the names of those who signed the petitions by filling out the proper form.

Yes, this is the same Sandy who authorized expenditure of thousands of your assessment dollars for the attorney to conceal SCA records from me, a sitting board member. She threatened SCA and me personally with litigation saying “employer liability”would be created if I could see SCA records related to her compensation and the transition to self-management.

Is it fair for the GM to gleefully release information that could be used to harass and intimidate petitioners who oppose her management style at the same time she spends large chunks of unbudgeted SCA funds to prevent my review of her compensation with the ludicrous claim that I was violating her privacy rights?

It is my prediction that SCA will have no peace as long as the Board forces the community into two camps. The definitions of the camps may have been different in the past, but now, they seem to be camps of Sandy’s friends vs. Sandy’s foes.  I imagine you can see why I have a little bit of trouble being silent watching the two faces of our leading lady as she inconsistently enforces the rules, bestowing blessings on the one camp and curses on the other.

Next speaker to chastise the petitioners was Jean Capilupo who stated that she had made a commitment to come to each board meeting to say something positive to help the unfairly maligned directors buck up under the strain. Clearly, she identifies completely with the directors in a “there but for” sense and so her sentiments are myopic, but understandable.

Where I get off the train is having to listen every month to the criticism of the people who don’t come to the Board meetings. I am amazed at the current and former directors’ self-righteous disdain for a large chunk of the community and their utter lack of comprehension about why those people would find the constant self-congratulation vs denigration, us vs. them, patter to be quite alienating.

The grand finale was brought home by none other than David Berman who claimed he only decided to speak after being inspired by Jean’s profound remarks. He expressed confidence that the recall will fail (no surprise, recalls usually fail at the petition stage even without overt interference), and foretold ominously, “When this is over, the originators will find they have awoken a sleeping tiger!”  Catchy turn of phrase, but I’m not sure what it meant.