Making owners pay to fight owners knowing how our money is spent

A point for transparent Nevada

The R-J just won a victory for transparency when the District Attorney was required to release information about how much the DA’s office was compensating witnesses in criminal trials.

Public interest
Using taxpayer cash to fight the taxpayer
Click on photo to read full editorial

 

“To sum it up, the taxpayer-funded prosecutor’s office sought to conceal from taxpayers certain payments it made with taxpayer money – and then eventually cut a deal that will cost taxpayers $55,000 (in attorney fees).”

 

“Wouldn’t it have been easier – and cheaper – for those in the DA’s office to simply have made the information available in the first place? Instead, the default setting is always to retreat into the shadows and make liberal use of other people’s money to fight against open government.”

Sound familiar, Mr. Clarkson?

It should.  Sun City Anthem Board and GM are misusing the SCA attorney to hide their sins, and he is laughing all the way to the bank.

SCA’s leaders are wasting owners’ money to hide information which should be easily accessible to us at virtually no cost on the website.

SCA’s brand of mean-spirited opacity- hiding actions and expenditures from owners and making the owners pay the attorney fees for hiding what could even be unlawful or fraudulent – has more elements of sleaziness than I saw in the government’s efforts to avoid transparency.

SCA has gone beyond the practice of merely blocking freedom of information requests as described in the R-J editorial to being outright abusive to owners who just ask for information they have a legal right to receive and distribute as they wish.

For example, the claim on the new SCA Records Request Form that SCA records that might be requested, such as employee compensation, are “private and confidential records of the private entity that is the association” is simply false.

Those records can’t be confidential by Nevada law in Sun City Anthem and not confidential by that same Nevada law in Sun City Summerlin.

Threats of litigation?

I don’t see that the Public Employees Retirement System threatened the R-J with punitive sanctions for just submitting a Freedom of Information Request like our mean-spirited leaders are doing to SCA owners, threatening litigation for even asking for information the GM or individual Board members want to be publicly known.

GM’s “privacy rights” bigger than owners’ rights?

I also don’t see that the government officials ever claim that freedom of information requests violated some imaginary and legally-unsupported “personal privacy rights” as SCA’s attorney has done on behalf of the GM.

Only withhold records from certain parties?

I don’t see that the District Attorney claimed the requested information could be withheld from the R-J, but that it could be released to the R-J’s competitor? SCA has done this very thing repeatedly by providing information to OSCAR (recall opponents) that was withheld from others who were not in that camp.

Making up laws?

I also don’t see that the District Attorney just made up some bogus legal  requirement that the R-J acknowledge that the information can’t be used in ways the DA would consider harassment or even just embarrassing. The new SCA information request form contains multiple ridiculous “acknowledgements” which have no basis in law.

The SCA attorney is lying to owners about what owners’  rights are. Fines and other sanctions are threatened against  SCA owners for requesting and disseminating information, both of which are within fully within owners’ legal rights.

For example, the claim that SCA CC&R 3.6(h) and SCA Rules & Regs 9.4 would be violated and an owner subjected to penalties for violating any of the totally fabricatedduty, restriction and/or obligation provided herein” is a double whammy of threatening an owner for violating restrictions the attorney just made up out of thin air. 

Magically creating privilege?

I also don’t see any egregious claim by Clark County that documents, actions or conversations become privileged just because the secretive official wishes that they were legally protected from public view as the Clarkson Law Group, the GM and individual members of the Board ludicrously and repeatedly do to unlawfully attack owners for exercising our legal rights.

 Ask any Discovery Commissioner

The burden of proof that documents, conversations or actions are legally privileged falls squarely on the party who is seeking protection from disclosure.

Not the other way around.

Election Recommendations

 

Election Recommendations
The SCA View Newsletter by Ron Johnson

Vote for Coleman, Karrow, Lee and Wigen

It’s that time of year again and your vote is needed to determine who will best represent the interests of our community. On the heels of the results of a very divisive recall petition, where a substantial number of members voted to throw Bob Burch and Aletta Waterhouse off of the board, your vote is more important than ever. While that petition failed to meet the very high threshold needed for a director’s removal from the board, this election campaign has provided voters with another opportunity to demonstrate their concern.

It’s my position that the community would be far better served by electing three new members to the board rather than returning any of the old directors who had been previously elected. Let’s say goodbye to Bob Burch and Aleta Waterhouse and vote for JAMES COLEMAN, CANDACE KARROW, GARY LEE AND CLIFF WIGEN. Director James Coleman was not elected but was appointed to the board last year.

My concerns about Burch and Waterhouse stem from the board’s questionable and potentially illegal actions in approving if not directing management to adopt certain accounting gimmicks. Those accounting gimmicks have resulted in the deferral of almost a million dollars annually in scheduled repairs to the following year(s).

Such unreported deferrals amount to self-serving efforts by the board to avoid increasing assessments, thereby helping those directors who are running for reelection.

While one prominent blogger has been eager to pass along management’s assessment that the Association’s finances are in “excellent” shape, that assessment is grossly misleading. That assessment failed to reflect what’s been really going on behind the scenes in what I view as an unorthodox effort to provide millions of dollars over time for unanticipated and unfunded repair projects at Liberty and Anthem Centers.

One method management adopted was to defer almost a million dollars in previously scheduled repairs from one year to the next year. Such deferrals have a cumulative effect on subsequent scheduled repairs in the following years, which is exacerbated when there are recurring unplanned events in the following years, like the Anthem Locker Rooms, forcing management to annually push scheduled repairs forward year after year. As reserve funds are expended for such unplanned repairs, the reserve fund keeps going down by that amount. At some unknown future date, that reserve deficit will have to be replenished.

Meanwhile, the board will continue to rely on members not paying close attention to what’s going on behind the scenes in the accounting room as your money get “created” and spent for unbudgeted purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Rumors
Did the board or management influence G2G (Denny’s) to drop gaming in order to assure their likely selection as a tenant?

Club Rumors
Some residents are looking forward to the possible creation of the NEW YORK CLUB.

Administrative matters
My new Email address is: rljohnson32@coxÆnet
My new phone number is: 702-413-6026

Copyright © 2018 The SCA View-Journal, Inc., All rights reserved. The SCA View Newsletter

Published by Ron Johnson, Email: rljohnson32@coxÆnet, Phone: (702) 413-6026

 

How to make your vote REALLY count!

You must vote.

No matter how disenfranchised you feel.

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

Do you want to drain the swamp?

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

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

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

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

Vote like this.

Ironic signs have been posted.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter! Time for renewal and rebirth!

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

Giving attorneys a blank check = bad idea

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

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

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

Was the service SCA got worth it?

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

“We don’t have to. You can’t make me”

2017 legal expenditures exceeded $321,000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Board silently noted and (round)filed.

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

And another thing

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

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

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

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

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

Bylaws 3.21 (f) (5) Quarterly reporting requirement

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

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

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

SCA Board inched closer to restaurant decision

Volunteer Tom Nissen led the Board’s latest decision-making process on the restaurant space study. Once again, the highly-compensated GM sat coyly by and let the man who hired her hold center stage.

Remember where we left it. The GM was charged with having a decision by the end of 2017, but instead she chose to hand off leadership to two Board members, Tom Nissen and Forrest Quinn. The three of them had workshops, gave regular retrospectives about what their little triad had done, listened to owners patiently, and then handpicked 10 potential bidders. Coming in to today’s meeting, only two remained in the race – the Village Pub and G2G, the preferred candidate with a leg up.

Now, instead of before the RFP was put out, they decide to define parameters. It is all but guaranteed that the vendor that Tom had met with for a year before nine other vendors were invited to apply is all but a shoe-in.

The Board passed seven of Tom’s eight motions to decide operational restrictions that will be placed on the one of the two providers left standing.

  1. Approved having a restaurant vs. attempting to re-purpose the space.
  2. General public can be customers of the restaurant. It won’t be only for members and accompanied guests.
  3. No smoking will be allowed in any SCA facility, but there will be designated outdoor smoking areas as exist now.
  4. The provider will get exclusive rights to catering in ALL SCA facilities – Anthem Center, Independence, and Liberty. However, the good news is that  potlucks will not be prohibited. There might even be an opportunity for pizza or some other type of delivery, said the GM, based on her experience at other Sun Cities. She also said that G2G didn’t really mean it when they said in their proposal that they wanted clubs to be restricted from having events off site.
  5. Approved having a subsidy. This was an odd way to put the thumb on the scales considering only one of the two bidders is going for the free ride approach. The Village Pub offered to invest $750,000 to $1 million of their own capital to set up and then to pay $3,000/month. The one they have nurtured through the process, G & G, proposed getting free rent and free utilities.
  6. Coffee window to be closed while restaurant is open.
  7. No 24/7. Restaurant hours will be limited to the hours the Anthem Center is open unless there is a special event.
  8. The motion to prohibit gaming failed so it was left to the discretion of the Tom/Forrest Board work group and the GM to work it out with the last vendor standing. No substitute motion was forwarded.

Financial vetting must be rock solid

Several people have over time raised the question of how the financial stability of the chosen one will be vetted. The answer has been vague so there are rumors out there that G2G has been in bankruptcy four times.

So, I checked. The chapter 7 bankruptcy is some other G2G, LLC. –  not our guy, who is G2G Management Group, LLC

I don’t know anything about this vendor. My objection is to any process that gives one competitor an edge. While I was on the Board, I wasn’t “authorized” to work on the Restaurant Space study, but in response to concerns that the bidder might have dark secrets, I checked. A quick glance tonight at the NV Secretary of State’s website and bankruptcy court public record was sufficient to show that our bidder is none of these problem entities that raised red flags to some owners.

Problem entities

Bidder for SCA’s space

 

Have you no sense of decency, David Berman?

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

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

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

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

Apparently, David also lacks a sense of irony

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

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

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

David Berman lies = false narrative. Who benefits?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Projection, vilification & no limits to dirty tricks

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

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

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

Character assassination by one lacking in character is galling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bravado, just like Gary Hart 

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

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

Times up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Telling lies, ruining lives

“As I understand it, Ms. Tobin was prevented from running for the Board not because she has opinions that are critical of the Board and SCA management, but ONLY because she is involved in litigation against SCA from which she might stand to gain a financial benefit.” -David Berman

Poppycock.

My unlawful removal from the Board was completely 100% done in retaliation for my complaints of harassment and retaliation.

I presented the issues formally to the Board, the attorney, the GM, and the former CAM and to blogger David Berman as statements of intent less than two weeks before they acted in concert, without cause, without authority and without due process to strip me of my legal rights and my Board seat and to disenfranchise the 2,001 voters who had put me in office.

While I was on the Board those interminable 116 days (5/1/17-8/24/17), the GM, the former CAM, the attorney, David Berman and 5 of the 7 directors acted in concert to marginalize me from day 1. (Art Lindberg should get a pass since he was the only one who asked the right questions. The attorney lied to him too., and the pressure to conform was very, very strong.)

They made my life miserable, shunning, lying, berating me, denigrating my contributions, making false accusations, publishing false and defamatory statements, and making it impossible for me to be an effective homeowner advocate as a member of the Board.

They only came up with the convoluted ruse that I had put matters before the Board from which I could make a profit because, even relying on Adam Clarkson’s tortured reading of the law, they couldn’t say they were getting rid of me because I was an outspoken pain in the ass.

Execution was a complete non sequitur

The 8/24/17 letter which constituted my walking papers, signed by Adam Clarkson, was the totally unlawful and unethical response to my notice of intent to file a Form 530 Intervention Affidavit alleging harassment and retaliation.

Before that letter came out of the blue, there were many disputes between me and five of the other Directors, the attorney, the GM and former CAM, most of which you will recognize. I was transparent and vocal as possible as I sounded the alarm on deferred attention to owners’ concerns.

It’s pretty obvious why I had to go

And it was not because I did, or even could, profit from being on the Board.
My profit = ZERO

Did I mention I never made a dime off SCA before, during or after my Board service?

How much did the attorney make for creating the ruse that I did?

Attorneys’ profit for 2017 = $300,000+

2017 legal fees for “Director Issues”  = $40,000
January 2018 legal fees = $38,000

but they won’t admit how much of that was to unlawfully block owners knowing how much the GM’s salary was bumped up in 2018

Deny. Deny. Deny.

Accept no responsibility for ANY problems.
Then attack your accuser.
And kill her.
Sample of the problems I publicly said needed correction
  • No restaurant -Failing to comply with the CC&Rs and good business practices about the restaurant space study, letting only a couple of directors work on it, refusing to use an independent expert, too cozy with one bidder
  • Owner oversight committees – Refusing to allow appropriate owner oversight in areas where going to self-managed and changing legal counsel and debt collectors caused a high level of risk – personnel, compensation, legal services, insurance, investments; getting rid of the Golf Course Liaison Committee, the Communications Committee, and decimating Property & Grounds, making the GM the Board liaison to Pinnacle and other groups
  • Board agendas – Refusing to put my items on the Board’s open or executive session agenda as required by law, by Board policy equal to other directors
  • Secret meetings -meeting in secret without giving me or other owners the rights guaranteed by law or confining executive sessions to the four permissible topics
  • Excessive executive compensation – Refusing to conform to the law for access to data, to evaluate according to professional standards, or to fairly consider evidence to rebut the appropriateness of those salary levels; giving Tom Nissen excessive authority in this area and blocking me totally from it despite our differences in expertise or the appropriateness of substituting the judgment of ANY one director for the judgment of the Board; spending thousands on using the attorney to hide what her actual compensation is from the owners.
  • No GM performance standards – Not holding the GM accountable for meeting measurable, publicly-adopted performance standards
  • No management agreement – Violating SCA bylaws and failing to protect SCA by having no management agreement or even any written terms & conditions of employment. Although the GM is an AT-WILL EMPLOYEE, allowing her to usurp additional privilege to the detriment of SCA.
  • Unfair complaint process – Going beyond NOT having a customer-service rating system to aggressively attacking the 800+ owners who signed petitions and refusing to answer any of their complaints on their merits
  • Evicting FAS – The process for evicting the Foundation Assisting Seniors was flawed. They ordered me out of executive sessions. They did not act in the best interests of the homeowners. The GM was not held accountable for the failure. Civil action without required owner vote.
  • Debt collection process – Failing to do proper due diligence on debt collectors; refusing to evaluate the expensive, inhumane cost of collection for a more ocst-effective solution
  • Ill-advised recusal demand – Overreaching demand for me to recuse myself on ANY collection matter because SCA’s attorney/debt collector alleges there might be an “appearance of a conflict” for me, however remote, while ignoring the current attorney/debt collector’s obvious actual financial conflict and the fact that the last debt collector filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy without telling SCA and continued doing foreclosures by morphing into another LLC.
  • Bullying -On at least three occasions in executive sessions, using bullying, shunning, intimidation, threats and other demeaning and belittling marginalization tactics to try to make me conform with nonexistent policies or legal requirements
  • Failure to investigate – When problems are brought up, they are dismissed out of hand without conducting, or allowing, investigation on the merits
  • Inaccurate official records -Causing, or allowing the official SCA records to be corrupted and/or error-prone ALWAYS against the interests of homeowners and usually to protect individual members of the Board or management
  • Concealing SCA records from me alone, i.e., giving me incomplete executive session Board books, refusing to respond to ANY records requests
  • Abdication – Allowing the GM to use the association attorney as her personal attorney in violation of NRS and SCA bylaws
  • Election interference – Allowing the Board president, the GM, the CAM, David Berman, and the association attorney to interfere with the recall election process and to UNLAWFULLY COST OWNERS $90,000 BY STRIPPING THE VOLUNTEER ELECTION COMMITTEE OF THEIR CHARTER DUTIES to pay a CPA to do the EC’s job poorly.
  • Undue influence allowed – As it served the interests of the Board majority and management, David Berman, spokesperson for OSCAR, was allowed to have greater access to recall election information than I received as a director; he was allowed undue level of influence over the Election Committee to cut me out in retaliation for my attempting to protect the rights of the petitioners, including falsely accusing me what he himself was guilty of;  misrepresenting himself as an attorney; falsely accusing me of releasing “personal director correspondence” further defaming me by creating the false impression that I had released a legally privileged documents (absolutely not!)
  • Sanctions without notice or due process -Having meetings to sanction me without notice and to enforce policies that don’t exist
  • Unlawful orders issued by the attorney against me, e.g., cease & desist from representing myself as a director, or asking questions that I was not “authorized” to ask particularly regarding personnel and GM compensation
  • GM’s frivolous litigation threats – Allowing the GM to threaten to sue SCA for damages and to threaten me with personal liability; refusing to indemnify me as a director; falsely claiming I had violated my fiduciary duty without any evidence, a hearing or a finding
  • Misinterpretation of “employer liability” – Allowing the attorney to represent the interests of the GM over those of the homeowners. Accusing me of violating my fiduciary duty because I criticized the GM’s performance and because I requested a salary verification from her prior employer.
  • Abdication to attorney acting in the GM’s or his own interest -Telling me that the attorney had the authority to declare that I, as one of the seven directors, could be excluded from the right to vote on, or even know about, matters under the Board’s decision-making authority, unless he approved it (which in most cases, he has never approved to this day).
  • Abuse of privilege -Allowing the attorney to declare ANYTHING to be “attorney-client privileged” regardless of the lack of its meeting the legal definition of privilege in NRS 49 or NRS 116.31085.
  • Falsification of litigation reports -Allowing the attorneys to publish false statements in the litigation reports to increase the appearance of a conflict or to defame me and refusing to correct after evidence was provided.

It’s pretty obvious why I had to go

Let them eat cake: learning how to be fair

When I was 12, my mother was killed in an United Airlines plane crash, leaving by father bereft with six kids ages 5 – 16 to raise alone. At 52, he had just retired a Colonel from the Air Force and was starting a private practice as a physician. He needed to have a way that we kids could get along and learn to treat each other fairly without him always having to resolve disputes.

I remember one system we used that taught us all to be more fair than we would have been if our dad had let the big kids rip the little kids off and hog up a pig’s share of a cake:

Whoever cuts the cake, gets the last piece.

This is a lesson that those in power at SCA need to learn if self-management is to succeed.

What’s wrong with the SCA system of “self-management”?

First and foremost, SCA is not fair. The big kids (the Board, the GM, and the attorney) are bullying the little kids (owners, residents and dissenting directors) to hog up all the cake that rightly belongs to owners.

  • The Board President is running amuck, consolidating power by controlling who can participate in decision-making by creating Board work groups and blocking owner-oversight committees.
  • The Board President is also misusing his power to disenfranchise political opponents and to silence opposition to the “party line”.
  • By disempowering appropriate owner oversight, executive limitations are poorly defined and internal controls are inadequate to ensure fair and equitable treatment of ALL owners.
  • The Board majority is just going along with the bullying and hogging up the cake “on the advice of counsel”.
  • The GM has been allowed to use the association attorney as her personal attorney (at owners’ expense), and is stealing the Owners’ cake and beating the crap out of the little kids who cry, i.e., owners /residents /board members who complain about non-owners grabbing their cake.
  • The association attorney has shoved a very big piece of the SCA Owners’ cake into his own mouth and grabbed another big piece for the GM while waving the knife threateningly at owners who even look at the cake, let alone try to get their fair share.
Owners pay dearly for having no control over their own cake

Here are some examples of problems with the implementation of self-management caused by the Board’s enabling the GM’s resistance to appropriate owner oversight.

  1. Owners pay for everything, but can be blocked from even knowing what they are paying for or how much they are paying.
  2. There is no way to control excessive executive compensation.
  3. The Board can act in ways that create liability or don’t protect SCA against manageable risks and the owners just have to shut up and pay for it.
  4. There is no way to hold the Board, the GM, and the attorney accountable as fiduciaries or to prevent them from abusing their positions for their own profit or personal or political power.
  5. Owners can be unfairly treated without being afforded the due process required by law.

The SYSTEM must build in controls so it is fair no matter who is in charge.

SCA does not have a system in place that protects owners from the very people who are supposed to be acting only for us.

If the interests of owners are adverse to those the GM or the Board President, then there is NOTHING built into SCA’s version of self-management to ensure that the owners’ interests will prevail.

In fact, with Adam Clarkson and Sandy Seddon calling the shots, there is no owner-protection system in place at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCA deserves better. Lord knows we’re paying for it

Self-management is right.
Implementation is wrong.

Mr. Fox, Esq., has been hired to watch the chickens.
The family dog has been left alone with the owners’ cake.

The problems with the implementation of self-management will continue unless the system is changed. Changing Board members won’t make the difference.

The system has to be changed to include owner oversight, checks and balances, and guarantees that owner protections are firmly in place.

Tom Nissen frequently describes the implementation of self-management as “setting up a whole new company”.  In my view, that misunderstanding of SCA as an entity is a crucial part of the problem.

The things that are missing or are being done wrong (anything which is not done 100% for the benefit of the SCA homeowners is WRONG) are being done because the Board members erroneously think SCA should be set up like a company.

SCA is not a company.

  • It is a non-profit corporation incorporated under NRS chapter 82.
  • It is now an employer by virtue of becoming “self-managed”.
  • It is a mutual-benefit corporation that exists solely for the benefit of the owners.
  • It is fully funded by the owners.
  • It is a monopoly and membership is a requirement of ownership.

Why these distinctions are important to owners

Owners who own specified parcels of land (listed in SCA’s CC&Rs) must be in SCA. No owner can withdraw or pick a different competitor HOA. Every lot has the responsibility of paying an equal share of the cost of maintaining the common elements. When a lot is purchased, it carries with it deed restrictions which cannot be escaped. In exchange for agreeing to relinquish certain individual freedoms of choice as to how  owners can use their lots and the common areas, the CC&Rs and state law guarantee certain protections for owners and prospective purchasers to prevent their being sanctioned unfairly, lied to, or treated differently from other owners.

It is the Board’s job to make sure ALL owners comply with the deed restrictions and that ALL owners are protected from unfair enforcement actions.

The Board creates problems when:

  • it doesn’t provide ALL owners equal protection from its actions or the actions of its agents;
  • when it sanctions an individual owner without providing guaranteed due process protections;
  • when it tries to enforce policies or restrictions against a unit owner that don’t exist or are not applied equally to other owners;
  • when it usurps the enforcement authority of the Nevada Commission for Common-Interest Communities by sanctioning a unit owner for an alleged violation of NRS 116.

What is the Board’s enforcement job?

It is the Board’s responsibility to ensure that ALL owners comply with the deed restrictions as listed in SCA governing documents, i.e., CC&Rs, bylaws, and any rules and regulations formally adopted by the Board. The Board can only perform this enforcement function if it does so by giving an accused owner the due process protections guaranteed by law, i.e., notice, a hearing, a chance to correct, etc.

Limits on the power of the Board to sanction an Owner

Here are the governing provisions of the law and SCA governing documents that are intended to ensure that the Board protects owners and does not ever allow an owner to be sanctioned without these guaranteed protections having been provided.

  • Click here for NRS 116.31031:Power of executive board to impose fines and other sanctions for violations of governing documents; limitations; procedural requirements
  • Click here for NRS 116.31085.limitations on power of executive board to meet in executive session; procedure governing hearings on alleged violations; requirements concerning minutes of certain meetings.
  • Click here for SCA CC&Rs 7.4, Compliance and Enforcement on page 35.
  • Click here for SCA bylaws 3.26, Enforcement Procedures on page 20.
  • Click here for SCA bylaws 5.2, Deed Restriction Enforcement Committee on page 23.
  • Click here for SCA Board Resolution Establishing the Governing Documents Enforcement Policy and Process
There are more laws to protect owners, but you get the idea.

At SCA, the Board is supposed to serve as the appellate level when there is a charge that an owner has violated the governing documents. The Board is not supposed to initiate actions against owners directly.

First, the issue is handled by the Covenants (aka Deed Restrictions Enforcement) Committee that formally provides the first steps of the due process guaranteed to owners to protect them from being unfairly sanctioned for an alleged failure to comply with the CC&Rs.

If an owner is going to be sanctioned or fined for not following some rule after the Covenants Committee has investigated and heard the case, the owner can still appeal to the Board and can have an open hearing if requested. This system works great except when the Board of the GM decides to bypass it.

SCA governance must be the best fit to protect the owners’ interests, and under self-management, it is not.

SCA CC&Rs and bylaws are not optional.  The Board can’t legally cherry-pick which rules to enforce or make up rules that apply only to certain people. Yet, “on the advice of counsel”, it does.

If the Board claims that taking away an owner’s rights  was justified because it  was done “on the advice of counsel”, it is wrong.

A wrong opinion by the association attorney does not excuse the Board of culpability. It just shows that the Board  used owners’ money to pay a hired gun to mow an owner down.

Owner Oversight is essential, but lacking now

Rex Weddle’s chronic use of Board work groups is ill advised. It guarantees that the Board will not be as well-informed as it could be prior to making decisions affecting all SCA owners’ pocketbooks and lives.

It actually builds conflicts of interest into the system because it differentiates between individual directors access to information and authority. It does not use the best expertise that is freely available. It gives inappropriate power to the President to silence and punish political opponents. It sets does not permit the Board to be fully informed before making decisions. This causes unnecessary liability and risk to SCA and excessive cost to owners because appropriate executive controls are deficient or absent.

A committee structure is needed (NOT Board work groups) that utilizes resident expertise to prevent fraud, mistake and errors by management.

a.     Employment, organizational performance and compensation
b.     Communications and owner relations
c.     Records management and access to governance information
d.     Insurance, safety and risk management
e.     Legal Services
f.      Collections

Why didn’t SCA Board charter owner committees when self-managed Sun City Summerlin offers a successful model?

Apparently because the majority of the board thinks they know what’s best for owners without involving them. Rex Weddle thinks that as President he is the “decider” of who is “authorized” to work on a problem by appointing “Board work groups” and that directors with a different perspective can be excluded just on his say so.

I think differently.
Owners must speak for themselves.

I stand for owners’ rights.
That’s what got me kicked off the Board.
Not the load of crap they are shoveling about me making a profit.

How SCA agents need to be exposed like Harvey Weinstein was

And not how he exposed himself…

Last night during the Oscars, the comment,

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

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

You’ll never work in this town again!

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

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

Same agent, different result

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I am speaking up

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

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

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

Who cares now? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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