FAQs: Removal election voting procedures

As you’ve no doubt noticed, the instructions on voting are confusing and the normal voting procedures have been changed. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What return address do I put on the envelope if I own multiple properties in Sun City Anthem?
Put the address where each ballot was mailed. You may also note each property address on the outside envelope that contains the ballot envelope for that property’s vote.

Should I write the property address on the ballot envelope?
No. Do not write anything on the ballot envelope.

What if I mailed my ballot in without any return address?
Contact Ovist & Howard at (702) 456-1300 for replacement ballots. Ballots without a return address that matches where a ballot was mailed will not be counted.

What is the deadline for my vote to count in the removal election?
Your ballot must be RECEIVED by 5 PM on Thursday, October 26
by Ovist & Howard, 7 Commerce Center Dr. Henderson 89014

Can I drop my ballot off at Anthem Center?
No. Your ballot must be mailed or hand delivered to Ovist & Howard 7 Commerce Center Dr. Henderson 89014 so it is received before the 5 PM, October 26 deadline.

If my ballot got coffee stains on it, can I copy my neighbor’s ballot?
No. Only original ballots will be counted.

What if I threw my ballot away by mistake?
Contact Ovist & Howard at (702) 456-1300 for a replacement ballot.

How do I complain if I think this election is unfair?
Contact the Ombudsman or the NRED Investigator or both.
Charvez Foger, Ombudsman
The Ombudsman’s Office,Nevada Real Estate Division
3300 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 325 Las Vegas, Nevada 89102
702-486-4480  Website: www.red.nv.gov
cicombudsman@red.nv.gov
https://scastrong.com/action-report-election-issues-to-the-ombudsman/  

You may also contact the investigator who is assigned to coordinate the numerous complaints currently filed against SCA Board, GM Sandy Seddon and attorney Adam Clarkson.

Christina Pitch, cpitch@red.nv.gov
HOA Investigations Section, Nevada Real Estate Division
Common-Interest Communities/Condominium Hotels
3300 W. Sahara Avenue, Ste 350, Las Vegas,NV 89102
Office (702) 486-4480 / Fax (702) 486-4520
https://scastrong.com/put-complaints-on-the-record/

Will it do any good to complain?
There are already serious complaints submitted to the Ombudsman against Sandy Seddon, Attorney Adam Clarkson, and BOD President Rex Weddle. It is important that the enforcement authorities hear from you as well if you believe the process has been made unnecessarily difficult or if you believe votes are unfairly not being counted.

 

How to vote in the recall election (video)

Help for Sun City Anthem homeowners who may not have understood that Ovist & Howard, CPAs’, letter was actually a ballot to vote to remove Rex Weddle, Aletta Waterhouse, and Tom Nissen from the SCA Board. Gives you info re Oct. 26 deadline and instructions to ensure your vote counts.

Action: Put your Complaints on the Record

Contact the HOA Investigator Christina Pitch, assigned to SCA complaints, including election interference, if you want your concerns on the record.

I have submitted several complaints to the Ombudsman, including several related to removal election interference. They have all been referred to the HOA Investigations Unit. On September 29, Section Chief Darik Ferguson instructed me to address all communications to Christina Pitch.  

Christina Pitch’s email address is cpitch@red.nv.gov.

Darik L. Ferguson Chief, Compliance/Audit Section
Nevada Real Estate Division
Common-Interest Communities/Condominium Hotels
3300 W. Sahara Avenue, Ste 350, Las Vegas,NV 89102
Office (702) 486-4480 / Fax (702) 486-4520
Darik.ferguson@red.nv.gov
Website: www.red.nv.gov

Two of my complaints are provided here as examples.

Email to Investigator forwarded an email of the GM’s refusal to put a written report updating the community about the removal election process in the Sept. 28 Board Book:

“Nona,
The Update was provided for reliance in relation to an oral summary of the status of the review of the petitions/removal election to be given at the meeting, and the update was drafted in a manner to be read aloud, not conveyed in writing.  Written documentation will not be provided as part of the board book.
-Sandy Seddon, CCAM, CMCA, AMS, PCAM | Sun City Anthem General Manager/COO”

From: Nona Tobin<nonatobin@gmail.com>
Wed, Oct 4, 2017
To: “cpitch@red.nv.gov” <cpitch@red.nv.gov>

This is an example of the many dirty tricks management is using to prevent the Sun City Anthem owners from knowing about the recall election which could remove the directors who are protecting her instead of the homeowners and who are abdicating too much policy authority.

After I submitted my complaint about how management and the attorney and board President interfered with the collection of names for the petitions, interfered with the neutral election committee, they continued to escalate by removing the election committee from the entire process in violation of SCA Election and Voting Manual, contracted with a CPA without any public adoption of such a contract or it being approved as it was not in the budget.

Now, the attorney (also paid over $73,000 over the budget so far) put out information about the dates the ballots will be sent out, and new restrictions, e.g.,that there will be no ballot boxes, and this information in written form will be withheld. Note that they have continued to withhold from me the audio file of the last two board meetings even though I have requested them in writing multiple times. (Note – GM finally gave me the audio recording of the Aug. 24 and the Sept. 28 Board meetings on Oct. 5, the day after I wrote this complaint to Investigator Pitch)

Thank you for your consideration of this additional information. I hope you understand the urgency because the ballots will be mailed on October 9, and owners’ completed ballots must be received by mail only by 5 pm (October 26) at the address of the CPA.

Voters are being forced to jump through hoops that have never existed in prior elections and which they will not be told about until it might be too late.

It is extraordinary chutzpah to kick me off the Board by a secret vote of six board members on unproven false charges and without a removal election just two weeks after petitions calling for an election to remove four of them were filed.

Please don’t let them get away with it.

Thank you.
Nona Tobin (702) 465-2199

My notarized & filed election interference complaint was referred to the Investigations Unit on Sept. 18 after the Board refused to respond AT ALL to the complaint on its merits (given to them on Sept. 2) or take any action whatsoever.

Action: Report Election Issues to the Ombudsman

Let the Ombudsman hear from you.
Lots of people grouse to their friends or post complaints on blog sites, but it’s more effective to let the authorities know if your right to have a fair removal election process is being infringed.

Here is the contact information for the Ombudsman and a sample letter that the author encourages you to copy or adapt NOW to let your voice be heard:

Charvez Foger, Ombudsman
The Ombudsman’s Office

Nevada Real Estate Division
3300 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 325
Las Vegas, Nevada 89102
702-486-4480
cicombudsman@red.nv.gov

Dear Mr. Foger,
      I am a resident of Sun City Anthem, Henderson, Nevada. We moved here over five  years ago and spend our winters here. I have watched  the constant disregard for the Laws of Nevada by the Board of Directors and the General Manager of our Homeowners Association.  Yet, the NRED does not appear to be acting on this situation.  I do now know what to do and need your help.
I know that you have various official complaints regarding the Board, the recall election malfeasance, the illegal firing of an elected Board member, and so forth.I do not know how to file a formal complaint so my email to you is the best that I can do.   I simply want you to know that I am completely supportive of the recall, the need for oversight by the NRED on the illegality of the Boards actions, and a the need for the Ombudsman to step in and stop the continued illegal actions of the Board of Sun City Anthem.
Please get involved.  Time is fleeting. 
I beg you to help this community.
The recall ballots are now out and since the SCA board and administration does not support the recall, the process has been tainted.  Ballots have been mailed out without any identification and most people think these are just an advertisement from a CPA firm and will not be opened.      Unfair.  Please step in and help.

Allen Weintraub
SCA resident

This is Allen’s call for you to take action to protect your right to vote on removal of Board members.

Subject: We need your help
     I encourage everyone to send a similar letter to the Ombudsman’s office NOW.  If you support the recall…..the time to act is now.
     The ombudsman has the information but seems to be slow to act.  If we all put pressure on the office, they may be more encouraged to step in.
     With the bullxxxx of an envelope with the ballot that is unmarked as to content, many will just toss out as they do not know it is a ballot.
     Also if the return address is not EXACTLY as the originally is written, it will be tossed.  The board made no formal announcement of the ballot being mailed so many are unaware of it.  The past presidents and opponents of the recall have used the clubs at SCA to try to kill the recall.
     I say that everyone should just copy my email or revise and sent it to the ombudsman to encourage oversight.  It could help as there are now numerous formal complaints filed.
     Act,  copy,  now
Allen

Alert! Ballots for the Removal Elections Arrived Today!

Surprise!  Contrary to what we were told at the Board meeting that ballots would be mailed out on Oct. 9, they are already showing up in owners’ Saturday, October 7 mail delivery.

The ballots have a return address Ovist & Howard, CPAs and have arrived in many owners’ mailboxes in cognito and looking like junk mail. There is nothing on the envelope to give a hint that it’s from Sun City Anthem or that your secret ballot is inside.

The envelope looks like this:

It is not junk mail. It is your only chance to make your voice heard if you want to remove Rex Weddle, Aletta Waterhouse and/or Tom Nissen from the Board.

Do not throw it away! Learn why over 800 owners signed petitions calling for an owner vote to remove those Directors.

Recall Supporters

SCA BOD recall ad

Hello, my name is Nona Tobin. I have been happily retired and a Sun City Anthem homeowner for over 13 years. But, in the last year, I became concerned about the way this community was being managed, so I decided to do something about it and successfully ran for a seat on the seven-member HOA Board of Directors, garnering 2,001 votes. My campaign slogan “Owners Always Come First” has become my mission. 

As I began asking questions and requesting information about past Board actions, I was met with resistance from management and my fellow Board members. Just 116 days into my tenure on the Board, the other six members of the Board, along with the HOA Attorney and the paid management staff, held a secret meeting to illegally vote me off the Board. This action is one of many illegal and unethical actions that I, and many others, have questioned.

Over 800 homeowners signed petitions for a recall election to remove four of the Directors. Of the four petitions, three (Rex Weddle-758, Aletta Waterhouse-734, and Tom Nissen-726) had more than the needed 715 signatures to be subject to a removal vote. Bob Burch managed to skate receiving only 713 signatures, two short of the requirement.

So far on this website, you have only heard my voice. But my voice is not the only one that is speaking out. Above is an ad supporting the election recall that just ran in the current, October 2017 issue of The Vegas Voice, a monthly publication serving the 50+ community in Las Vegas. 

Here are a couple more links, and we will be updating the Resources section of this website with more periodically.

http://anthemtoday.com/ – This website is published by Rana Goodman, a SCA homeowner.

http://anthemopinions.blogspot.com/ – This website is published by Dick Arnedt, a SCA homeowner.

Get Involved

ACTION Items:

  1. Get informed: review our blog posts and resources
  2. Vote in the Recall Election – mail your ballot so that it is received by October 26th
  3. Stay involved: share this website and information & sign up for notices

Owners should ALWAYS come first!

Response to OSCAR-member Goldfried’s Anti-Recall Email

On October 3rd many of you received an email from Bob Goldfried regarding his opinion on the upcoming recall ballot. I would like to take this time to address Mr. Goldfried’s objections.

First, let me state that there is a reason that a recall election process is in place. Just as the election process allows the residents of this community to have a voice in how the community is managed, it also allows that voice to be heard if they feel it is being mismanaged.

In addition, the recall election process SHOULD also prevent the Board from arbitrarily removing another Board Member. However, as many of you know, the current Board unjustly and illegally removed me from my position without a vote of the owners that elected me.

Regardless of what happened to me, the required number of members of this community have legally filed petitions to recall three of the current Board Members and therefore, the Community has the right to vote on those petitions. My goal is to promote a fair system that will ensure that owners’ votes count, and that Sun City Anthem has a board that acts lawfully to ensure fair equitable treatment of all owners.

The following (in italics) is the letter sent out by Mr. Goldfried. I will in turn address each of his comments with my own opinion on the subject below each excerpt, and leave you to make your own decision.

“Early next week you are going to receive a ballot in the mail regarding a recall of three SCA HOA board members. During the four years that I’ve lived in Sun City Anthem, it has become apparent to me that our HOA board members are elected in free and fair elections, open to any candidate who decides to run. We have an election every year, in May, alternately for three or four of the seven board member positions. If homeowners do not support current board members, those homeowners have been, and continue to be, free to find candidates who they do support, and to vote for those candidates, in duly held regularly scheduled annual elections. For that reason alone I am opposed to the recall, quite independent of who is currently on the board.”

Why should owners not use the legal removal election process if more than 10% of the owners legally call for it?

The law governing how volunteers are annually elected to HOA boards also specifically defines the only lawful way elected directors can be removed – by an owner vote. For the reasons mentioned, the removal of a director is higher bar than getting elected in the first place.

NRS 116.31036 (1) “…any member of the executive board, other than a member appointed by the declarant, may be removed from the executive board, with or without cause, if at a removal election held pursuant to this section, the number of votes cast in favor of removal constitutes:

(a) At least 35 percent of the total number of voting members of the association; and

(b) At least a majority of all votes cast in that removal election.

The lawful method for calling for a removal election is also specifically defined:

NRS 116.31036 (2)  A removal election may be called by units’ owners constituting at least 10 percent, or any lower percentage specified in the bylaws, of the total number of voting members of the association.

Therefore, it is legally required to conduct a removal election if more than 10% of the owners call for one—whatever their reasons. Their right to do that is protected and should be respected even if their chance of success (even without active campaigning against it) is small.

“Moreover, the recall petitions do not allege any criminal conduct, fraud or other dishonesty, or gross abuse of discretion on the part of the three board members.”

This is not true. There are many recent complaints filed with the Ombudsman which are now assigned to NRED investigators. I filed four of them myself because of intolerable actions taken against me personally or that I observed being unfairly taken against other owners. (In 13 years living here, I have never before filed complaints with the state against the HOA.)

It is not surprising that you have the misconception that you do since there is active, full-on corruption of the official record to conceal what’s really going on in this community. This involves all the directors against whom petitions were signed. For example, the Board President and Secretary blocked a clear statement of my complaints from being placed on the agenda (as required by NRS 116.31087) and therefore dismissed my legal right as a unit owner. The Board Attorney also allowed six members of the Board to meet without me, the seventh (and supposedly equal), Director.

“While the law does not seem to require such culpable conduct as a prerequisite for recall, shouldn’t we, as responsible, mature people, require evidence of criminal conduct, fraud or other dishonesty, or gross abuse of discretion, before we take the extraordinary step of recalling fairly elected board members?”

This is a very well-reasoned argument and fully supports my claim that my removal from the Board on August 24 without notice or due process, and certainly not by 35% of the owners voting me off in a legally-mandated removal election was neither legal nor fair.

The six members of the Board took actions in secret against me without even hearing both sides of the issue, let alone indemnifying me or providing a defense or an open hearing, as requested and legally required. This unacceptable practice of deciding in executive session to take action against someone without giving them a chance to defend themselves is ALSO what happened when they decided to evict the Foundation Assisting Seniors. I would argue that those actions alone were “dishonest” and a “gross abuse of discretion.”

“Or are our annual elections simply a charade, a waste of time, subject to being reversed at the will of a dissatisfied minority, regardless of the merit of their claims?”

Having a removal election does not make the annual elections a charade at all. However, how I was removed certainly does.

Six members of the Board secretly voted to remove me from the Board seat that 2,001 owners had elected me to fill just 116 days earlier. Doesn’t that look like they just thumbed their noses at the 2,001 owners who voted for me?

“Shouldn’t we, as responsible, mature people, require evidence of criminal conduct, fraud or other dishonesty, or gross abuse of discretion, before we take the extraordinary step of recalling fairly elected board members?”

You are right. They should not have kicked a Director off the Board without any evidence of wrongdoing, but they did.

The allegations that I was making a profit from my board position were patently false and beyond ludicrous, but more to the point of your argument, they should have produced some evidence, filed a complaint against me, and gotten a ruling from proper authority. But, they didn’t. They secretly decided based on no evidence that I was guilty and that they had the “fiduciary duty” to declare my board seat vacant immediately upon my being handed the notice of their action.

I think this flagrant disregard for treating a duly elected member of the Board with common decency is another reason owners should vote these Directors out. They are simply not being fair and taking care of the interests of owners. They are willing to go to extreme lengths to prevent a dissident voice from being heard—even breaking the law. This simply should not be tolerated until the next election.

“Indeed, the overwhelming bulk of the allegations against the board members seem to me to be emotional in nature, phrased in vague language, with no examples given or facts cited in support.”

If you want specific examples, I’ll post my notices of intent to complain (which were used in a gross convoluted gerrymander as the basis for saying I was putting matters before the board to make a profit), and I’ll post other documentation of improper conduct on my new website www.scastrong.com. I started the website in an attempt to restore my reputation from damages caused by the atrocious lies that have been said about me in the process of kicking me off the board.

“What the allegations reveal to me is that there are some people who live in Sun City Anthem who simply disagree with decisions made by some board members, or who simply do not like some board members. I don’t agree with all of the decisions made by the board. But, in my view, that is simply an insufficient basis to overturn the results of free and fair elections, results that the supporters of recall are apparently unable to achieve through the election process.”

Again, this is a cogent argument for reversing my unlawful removal, but it is not a good argument against having a removal election called for by over 10% of owners.  

Although the law does not require that directors only be removed for cause, it does require that 10% of the owners call for a removal election. Then, it requires that 35% of owners vote in favor of removing the named Directors AND that the majority of those who actually vote must be in favor of removing them. The law provides for an alternative to the annual elections, but is designed to make it very difficult.

Doesn’t it seem incongruous that the same Board members who are protected by these very stringent legal requirements from being removed from the Board for frivolous reasons thought it was within their authority to issue an edict that remove one of the Directors without regard of this law by six of them simply voting in secret to declare it?

I think the petitioners called for the removal election for reasons much more substantial than just disagreeing with a few Board decisions. I think the reason so many people want a removal election of Rex, Aletta, Tom and Bob is because they are not doing a good job at ensuring that all of the people here are treated equally and fairly, and they are very dismissive of community complaints without taking appropriate action.

None of these four Directors even acknowledged that that there might be a slight possibility that they personally needed to show some leadership to correct the management problems and policy deficiencies identified by the petitioners. To just blow the petitioners off as whiners and complainers and do nothing about the issues they raised is not treating owners fairly. Then, to berate them for NOT wanting to wait until the next election to get new Board members (that will be more responsive to the owners’ needs) just exacerbates the problem.

Over 800 owners signed petitions to remove four directors who, in the view of at least those 800 people, have a very strong bias against listening to people and against meaningful owner involvement in governance. But the biggest issue which has been glossed over is that many people want these directors out because they have a big blind spot when it comes to the General Manager, Sandy Seddon. Nobody is complaining about how well she handled the deferred maintenance, but many, many people are dissatisfied with the way they are being treated and the Association is being managed.

At the last Board meeting while the budget was being discussed, the board spent most of their discussion congratulating themselves and absolutely gushing over how pleased they were that Sandy answered all their questions—unlike the former management company that kept proprietary secrets. I would love her too, and so would all the petition signers, if she treated all of us homeowners like she treats the board members she likes.

“But, in my view, that is simply an insufficient basis to overturn the results of free and fair elections, results that the supporters of recall are apparently unable to achieve through the election process.”

In this case, there is cause to justify removal of these directors without waiting for the next regular election. The causes cited in those petitions are really big problems to the 800+ people who signed them and those people’s concerns have been ignored, marginalized or insulted by the Directors they want removed.

“A successful recall election could be expected to chill the willingness of qualified residents to serve on committees and boards. Why would anyone want to do so, knowing that they will be subject to personal attacks and vilification? Would you want to serve under such conditions? People who serve on the board and on SCA committees are our neighbors, and in some cases our friends. They are all volunteers. They freely devote substantial amounts of their time to our community.”

On the other hand, I worry a great deal about the problems that are perpetuated because this Board has a strong culture against utilizing the expertise of owners and for attacking people who try to bring forward suggestions for improvements or better management or governance practices. These are the things that I think chill the willingness of qualified residents to serve.

The way I was treated as a Board member was horrible, but it was covered up and glossed over so you and the community don’t know a fraction of what happened behind the scenes. Even still, there are people who have told me that they would never go on the Board because it is so dysfunctional and abusive to anyone who tries to stick up for the little guy.

“I believe that they act in what they honestly believe are the best interests of the SCA community, as a whole.”

Don’t you think if hundreds of people started collecting signatures to remove you, that you would try to find out what their problems were and work with them to try to solve them? That’s not what these directors did. They did not treat the petitioners as having any value. They did not treat the problems the petitioners defined as even being worth their notice or any response. They attacked the messengers and called them “CAVE people,” never once responding to a single issue raised on its merits. The Board never answered, but they had a full defense mounted by blogger David Berman whose campaign against the removal election has been to discredit the people who raised the concerns and to reject the need for the Directors facing recall to take any personal responsibility for corrective action.

“I have seen no evidence to suggest otherwise. Are they perfect human beings, incapable of making a mistake on an issue? No more or less than any of us. Why then are they being portrayed in such an abusive manner?”

You want specifics. Here are a few. These Board members have taken multiple illegal and unfair actions. For example,

  • They unlawfully over-delegated to management control over Board functions such as the budget and banking (By-laws 3.20; 3.18 a, b, e, f, g, i)
  • Making decisions in secret meetings, (NRS 116.31085; By-Laws 3.15A)
  • Refusing to create an adequate policy framework to protect SCA as a first-time employer;
  • Failing to ensure the official record was complete and uncorrupted,
  • Allowing the restaurant to be closed indefinitely (CC&Rs 7.2 (b) and 7.9)
  • They violated By-Laws 6.4(c) to prevent my access to ANY association records because they did not want me to make inquiries into the GM’s compensation.

They also refused to treat me like an equal director during my entire term of office primarily because I expressed strong opposition to the practices mentioned above and unlawfully excluded me from board meetings wherein they took action against me and the Foundation Assisting Seniors.

The ruse used to “deem my position vacant” was that I had put matters before the Board for personal gain. I will post a list of the matters I put before the Board on my website, and you will see for yourself that there is no way their pretext for removing me has any merit whatsoever.

Forgive me if I am not sympathetic to how unfairly they think they are being treated by people who are calling for a legal removal election.

“A successful recall would also likely have a negative effect on all of our property values, since potential buyers who research SCA on the internet will become aware of the turmoil and instability that a successful recall would no doubt generate. Would you want to buy a house in such a community? I wouldn’t.”

The real question is—do you want to live in a community where the Board takes the law into their own hands and disregards the legitimate vote of the homeowners as this Board did when they removed me?

This letter and the on-line postings against the recall election is part of a huge effort to defend a Board that does not hold itself accountable for obeying the law?

I ask you—why aren’t those that oppose the recall on principle, making an equally strong objection to the arbitrary removal of a duly-elected Director without any petition or removal election or owner vote whatsoever?

“If you believe, as I do, that the recall should be defeated, I urge you to cast your vote promptly, by carefully following the instructions you will receive along with the ballot.”

Mr. Goldfried has every right to send out his letter in opposition to the election recall. However, the Board and management’s interference in the process is another matter. I have submitted several complaints regarding interference with the removal election process which are currently being investigated by Christina Pitch of the NRED HOA Investigations Unit. The most recent issue has been the General Manager’s refusal to post in the online Board Book the Update on the Removal Election because (according to her) it was only supposed to be an oral report.

“We cannot take the chance that the recall might succeed. I view it as vital to the continuing well being of SCA to defeat the recall, and to do so resoundingly. A successful recall would set a dangerous precedent for our community.”

Don’t you think that the actions six directors as outlined above and the secret voting to remove a director they don’t like, is a much more dangerous precedent?

“We would then be likely to see recall elections after every board election, because no one candidate is going to satisfy everyone all of the time. Chaos would result. That doesn’t make for a community that I, for one, would want to continue to live in. Would you?”

That last paragraph is riddled with hyperbole. We currently have a blatantly egregious Board of Directors that has stirred up 800+ community residents to the point that recall petitions were circulated against four of the seven members. You might call this, “The Perfect Storm” and something that has never before happened in this community. I would hope not to see the need for another recall election in the near future and certainly not four members at once. To move people to “chaos” takes more than the simple fact of not having their favorite candidate win an election. And with a seven-member board, one bad actor on the Board would not likely cause an uproar because that person would likely be out voted by the good members of the board on most issues..

The fact that there is a recall method specified in NRS 116 and the By-Laws and that the owners do take an active role in maintaining the community is a very positive selling point for future residents.

“If you are unsure how you are going to vote, or if you support the recall effort, and there are any questions that you have about it, please do not hesitate to contact me. I may be able to provide you with facts that you don’t already have. I would welcome the opportunity to at least discuss the issues with you.”

Please look at both sides of this issue and be sure to look at www.SCAstrong.com where I will post the actual documents and evidence to support what I have outlined above and more. To get updates in your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter

Thank you for your attention.

Nona Tobin

 

 

 

Fact Checking and Financial Hanky Panky

The following was originally written and distributed by Ron Johnson and is republished here with his permission for you to see what others are saying about the current HOA Board and happenings.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fact Checking Some of OSCAR’s Claims

In a letter to residents, OSCAR’s leadership team of former board members and others have attempted to support their opposition to the Board Directors removal petition by making a number of claims about SCA’s self-management, financial condition and other issues. Unfortunately for the intended readers, the OSCAR letter makes a number of gratuitous and false claims, which I have commented on below.

Opinion and commentary by Ron Johnson

Self-management is working.
OSCAR’s Claims What are the Facts
Our facilities are in better condition than they ever were with the management company. False. It’s blatantly misleading to attribute the poor condition of Liberty (and now Anthem) Centers to FSR when successive Boards deliberately ignored and refused to timely address needed repairs.
We no longer have to pay $36,000 per month to a management company. True. However, SCA is compensating key management staff a similar amount per month.
Current payroll expenses are less than we formerly paid the management company to manage our Association. Inconclusive. There’s an array of issues that affect payroll expenses, including startup vs. FSR wage scales and employee turnover, which happens to plague custodial jobs here.
Communication with and understanding of members’ issues has improved. False. The Board eliminated members’ primary venue to voice their individual and collective input when it transferred the project management mission from the Property & Grounds Committee to the General Manager. With the loss of that venue, there is no longer any effective means
Sun City Anthem is in excellent financial condition.
OSCAR’s Claims What are the Facts
Expenses are under control. False. With management deferring over half a million dollars in originally scheduled repairs for 2017 to 2018, that’s a picture of expenses out of control, not of expenses under control.
Revenues exceed expenses by nearly $450,000 through August. False. Indeed, management simply manipulated the books to reflect that revenues exceeded expenses. How did they do that? They did so by moving $550,000 in reserve expenses that was originally scheduled for 2017 to 2018. In doing so, SCA’s revenues for 2017 could only then reflect an excess over expenses. Some might refer to that as hocus-pocus accounting.

 

If all of that originally scheduled work had been performed in 2017, expenses would have exceeded revenues by $100,000, just the opposite of the surplus that was claimed. It’s reasonable to assume that the Board and management, possibly for political reasons, wanted the financials to report a “surplus” rather than a “deficit.”

No dues increase is expected for 2018. True, but. Only on the basis of questionable financial statements does the “no dues” decision make any sense.  In reality, though, the Board is keenly aware of the extent of SCA’s financial problems. It’s evident that SCA did not have the funds needed to do all of the work that had been scheduled for 2017. And faced with the recall effort and despite incurring excessive costs for unbudgeted work at AC, the Board was unwilling to confront the downside of requesting members to authorize a supplemental assessment, let alone an increase in our annual dues. Further, the Board was privy to a legal opinion that will require homeowners to significantly increase their contribution to SCA’s reserve fund, further aggravating SCA’s financial picture going forward.
The 2017 dues increase was to replenish the Reserve Fund after costly repairs to Liberty Center. Assuming that to be true, that increase should have been returned to the homeowners in the 2018 budget. That return is not scheduled to happen, especially given SCA’s current funding problem.
The number of NRS complaints filed is an invalid metric.
OSCAR’s Claims What are the Facts
The Ombudsman and the Nevada Real Estate Division (NRED) have agreed that our Board has handled each situation correctly in all cases for as long as these directors have been on the Board. False. Regrettably, OSCAR’s former directors are either grossly misinformed or are intent on misrepresenting SCA’s history with the Ombudsman. First, I am personally aware that over the years, the Ombudsman has issued letters of correction notifying the association of the need to take specific corrective action to comply with this or that section of the statutes. Second, I am personally aware of at least one case in which the Division found that SCA had violated the law and recommended its prosecution before the Commission on Common Interest Communities. And third, I am aware of a number of Ombudsman cases where the Division has concluded that the case was not suitable for prosecution before the Commission, meaning that contrary to OSCAR’s claim, NRED had not agreed with SCA “that our Board has handled . . . [the] situation correctly.”
There are ZERO open complaints in the Ombudsman’s office. False. I am aware of roughly a dozen mostly recent complaints that have been submitted to the Ombudsman’s office, which includes a recent case that I had filed and was assigned to an investigator of their Enforcement Section.

 

 


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Financial hanky-panky or something else?

Contrary to what others may have led you to believe, the 2018 Budget portrayed a not so rosy picture for our association’s condition. While SCA’s financial condition has the appearance of being good, even “excellent” according to those OSCAR advocates, appearances can be deceiving. There is no doubt that homeowners will be reassured in learning that our assessments will not increase in 2018, but in view of what’s going on behind the scene, such reassurances appear to be merely hype and misplaced.

So, what’s going on behind the scene? The association has a number of financial problems, problems the board and management have been reluctant to adequately explain, address or even disclose. I suspect that more than a few ears were raised when Treasurer Forrest Quinn recently alluded to SCA’s “funding problem.” As I see it, those problems include the following:

  • Funding repairs for damage to “hidden assets.” “Hidden assets” are typically underground or in the walls and in addition to the equipment needing repair may involve water damage, mold remediation and related construction work. When such damage occurs, it can be very costly, as at Liberty Center and the Locker Room project at Anthem Center, which together may exceed one million dollars.

Traditionally, hidden or invisible assets are not included in reserve studies, perhaps because they are not visible or due to the mistaken belief that such assets have a life expectancy of more than 30 years and, therefore, are not required to be reserved. As a result, there are no reserve funds set aside when such assets fail, thereby creating a funding problem.

That funding problem can be resolved in one of three ways: 1) a one-time only special assessment to fund the needed repair; 2) an increase in annual assessments, which was done in SCA for 2017 and subsequent years; or 3) utilizing existing reserve funds, which has the practical effect of robbing funds intended for Peter to pay for the work that Paul needs.

Note that the second option is effectively permanent unless the funds are subsequently returned to the homeowners after the initial need was satisfied. And note that the third option might create a shortfall in needed reserves.

  • Rob Peter to pay Paul? SCA’s management team has been very busy last year and this year in moving large sums of reserve funding around for reasons that I do not understand. I happen to get a little curious when association reserve projects do not get done as planned. How can that happen? Yes, a repair project here that there might be deferred a year for one reason or another.

Let’s take a look at the 2014 Reserve Study. That study, as all HOA studies do, sets forth a yearly plan of which equipment or projects will be repaired or replaced, presumably in advance of their estimated life expectancy. For example, the 2014 RS called for an estimated $225,000 in fence painting for 17 Villages in 2017. That didn’t happen, although some disappointed homeowners may have expected to have their fences painted in 2017. Such is life.

What did happen was that in 2016 in connection with the “mathematical” 2016 update performed by Criterium, management decided to eliminate that requirement for 2017 and changed the RS schedule for fence painting to read “2018” for each of those 17 Villages. Why did they do that? I do not know. I suspect that they might have done that because that money was needed for a different project for which there was no funding authority in the budget. Were similar deferrals made in 2016? I don’t know but I do know that the reported total dollar value of all changes made in reserve spending for 2017 and deferred to 2018 (based on the 2014 RS) was at least $550,000.

Now, this year our management team has been busy making similar changes to the 2018 RS plan, reportedly deferring in reserve spending in 2018 “as much as $800,000.” What’s going on? Management has claimed and would have us believe that they are merely saving the homeowners money that did not have to be spent on the projects that they decided to defer to the next year.

If management is going to make such changes to the estimated life expectancy of association assets, I would hope that they are adequately documenting the basis for those changes since they are deviating from nationally recognized standards that are employed by all HOAs.

  • Reserve for invisible assets. A decision to reserve for invisible assets would likely have a significant impact on future assessments.
  • Association’s liability for walls and fences. Rumor has it that a legal opinion has been received advising that the association is legally responsible for 100% of the walls and fences, i.e., both sides. Furthermore, based on Criterium’s recent study, the amount of lineal feet of coverage of walls and fences is far greater than originally plotted.

If true, that would mean that the amount of reserves needed to fund walls and fences is far greater than initially projected and will have a significant impact on needed reserves. 

Other news

More on the Ham Radio Club under attack.

 I had intended to report that the Management of the Amateur Radio Club was out to destroy the club.  Follow-up investigations shines more light on this matter.  On the top of Independence Center, one can obverse multiple antennas on the roof.  This construction has occurred over the last few years.  The SCA Board has procured amateur radios and supporting equipment expending tens of thousands of dollars of SCA funds.  This equipment was intended for outfitting the Sun City Anthem Emergency Prep Service Group (EPSG).  The EPSG has a room in back of Channel 99 in the Independent Center.  This room is where the amateur radios are located.

It is left for another article to answer the question what is the SCA BOD doing buying amateur radio equipment.  The question for today is who are the FCC licensees using this SCA funded amateur radio equipment. To operate Amateur Radio equipment an FCC test must be passed and FCC license granted.

Amateur Radio Licenses are public records.  Are SCA’s volunteers properly licensed?


The SCA View-Journal, Inc. is an educational and news service designed to support the information interests of Sun City Anthem homeowners and is not affiliated with the Sun City Anthem Community Association, Inc., Del Webb Corp., or Pulte Homes, Inc.

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Publisher/webmaster, Ron Johnson      Telephone:  702-617-8172

Get involved: Questions To Ask

I’ve been asked how a homeowner can get involved and be heard…

Here are some questions to ask at the next HOA meeting, or, if you can’t make it, login to the SCA HOA website and use the management request form.

  1. Ask why they made it so hard for people to find anything out about the removal election of four directors who are ga-ga over the GM.
  2. Ask why didn’t they post the petitions so people could know what the complaints against the four directors were.
  3. Ask why there was no official response to the petitioners’ concerns was ever given to 825+ owners signed petitions for removing Rex, Aletta, Tom and Bob.
  4. Ask why no attempts to correct any of the listed problems were ever made.
  5. Ask why no provision for notifying voters who might have their mail on hold the entire voting period how to get their ballot.
  6. Ask why, when the petitions came in, management only notified David Berman.
  7. Ask why only six of the seven members of the Board were notified.
  8. Ask why the GM did not notify me, the seventh elected member of the Board, that four petitions with 825+ signers were submitted on August 11 citing a long list of complaints justifying a call for a removal election of four members of the seven-member board.
  9. Ask why no petition of 10% of the owners or removal election was required when I kicked off the board on August 24 without just cause.