Paying attorneys to disappear political opponents

Lesson 3 – Create a false narrative to win

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

(Quote redacted)

Item 11 E – Quarterly Litigation Reports

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

Only one Board candidate seemed to notice problems

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

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

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

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

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

Wrong!

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

The Lipson law firm’s report is defamatory.

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

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

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

The FACTS

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

And yet, the Lipson report brands me

My request to correct false reports was not heard.

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

I stayed silent.

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

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

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

Who cares?

Good question. The issue is way bigger than me.

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

Let’s face it

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

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

If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere

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

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

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

Good-bye, democracy.

Being serviced by SCA attorneys is painful and pricey

This is the second blog in a series about lessons learned at the April 26 Board meeting.

Lesson 2-
When we don’t get what we paid for, we should send it back.

This blog is about how it is always “lose-lose” when the SCA Board abdicates to attorneys instead of being guided by:

  • common sense,
  • NRED Board training,
  • owner oversight and
  • professional management standards of practice.

This blog is about the overuse and wrong use of the SCA attorneys to protect individual Board members and the GM, and actively, purposely hurting owners – all on owners’ dime.

Special thanks go to Rex Weddle and Sandy Seddon for setting the mean-spirited and divisive tone at the top that has prevented all neighborly, amicable resolution of differences on their watch.

Highlights of legal expenditures

  • First quarter 2018 $101,300  more than double the $48,750 budget
  • 2017 quarterly budget was $22,500, so $101,300 was nearly five times what was expected to spend in a quarter last year
  • In 2015, before self-management SCA actually spent $116,292 for lawyers
  • In 2014, $52,219 was spent for the whole year.
  • In 2016,the whole year of lawyers was $118,861, but that was before buckets of money were extracted from owners’ pockets in 2017 to pay to be aggressively serviced by the Clarkson Law Group

Again, a special thanks to Rex and Sandy for their utter disregard of best practices and fair play to make owners pay attorneys to keep your dirty little secrets.

What are we getting for our money?

Can we figure it out from the budget variance “explanation”?

“NRED, FAS, Director liability, policy updates, etc.”

Pretty unsatisfactory explanation, I’d say. I’ll also say these ridiculous legal fees are not necessary expenditures. They are only necessary if the Board is duped into doing everything the hard way instead of opting for the ounce of prevention.

Some of these fees are also caused by individual Board members and the GM using the attorneys in inappropriate ways, and the attorney leading, or going along with, unfairly stripping owners’ of their legal protections. The attorney makes big bucks as a quid pro quo for the Board abandoning even the appearance of controlling budget policy.

SCA leaders refuse to be transparent about what they are doing, but I think you all should know what you are buying.

And remember, unlike blogger # 3, Mr. (name redacted), who was drummed out of the legal profession for forging a judge’s signature, I will swear under oath to the truth of what I say, and I will, willingly and openly, back my words up with evidence.

I’ll show you in Lesson 3 why attorneys’ lies about me are so serious and why doing this to one owner hurts ALL owners.

 

 

 

 

Board meeting as self-serving bully pulpit

Lesson 1 from April 26 BOD meeting

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

Blame the bloggers

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

Board beliefs vs. an alternative point of view

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

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

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

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

Election 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

 

Being accountable for being good neighbors

Is a criminal-to-excellence measuring scale hard to understand?

It seems to be hard for the people currently in power here to grasp.

But, the association (meaning the membership) faces a very high risk if the Board, GM, and attorney are not held accountable for being ethical and fair.

With so much a secret, who can be held to account?

I invite you to look again at my  blog, The Cautionary Tale of the City of Bell.

Although SCA is a non-profit corporation that privately delivers municipal services rather than a city per se, SCA has hallmarks that mirror the City of Bell’s textbook case of municipal corruption:

  • laws are bent to serve executive’s private interests
  • those in power act in concert for self-interest
  • excessive executive compensation
  • disenfranchising of unsophisticated and inattentive voters
  • election interference
  • lack of transparency

Mmm…how can I make this clearer?

I know. Let’s discuss a fun fact about bestiality.

Did you know that until AB 391 passed last year, and became effective October 1, 2017, it wasn’t against the law in Nevada to have sex with a dog?

It’s pretty weird that it wasn’t illegal until a few months ago, but, I think we can all agree that,

just because you could have, doesn’t mean you should have.

Let’s take this tale a step further.
What if…

…before Nevada’s anti-bestiality law passed, a neighbor was disturbed by the noise of a dog whining. When the neighbor realized what was happening, he complained around the neighborhood that such conduct should not be allowed.

The neighbor complained strenuously that it was cruel and abusive to the animal, and offensive to community values.

Instead of apologizing or showing any shame or remorse, the “dog lover” was rude and insulting to the neighbor, flaunting his “rights” and saying in an arrogant and condescending tone:

“Shut up. I can do to my dog whatever I want. I do not have to change my ways just because some whiner complains about having to witness how much I really love my dog. My attorney says the law is on my side. You have invaded my privacy and defamed me. I’ll tell everybody you are a horrible busybody, and they’ll hate you. I’m going to sue you, and you will have to pay all my attorney fees.”

Your Ethics 101 Exam Questions
  1. How would you rate the dog lover‘s behavior on a criminal-to-excellent-neighbor scale?
  2. How would you rate the neighbor’s behavior?
  3. Should the neighbor have to pay the attorney fees?
  4. How could this situation have been handled better?

Even if the selfish dog lover had not technically broken any Nevada law, I think we can all agree that he was wrong to abuse the dog, and that he made everything about the situation worse by unfairly stomping on the aghast neighbor.

The moral of this tale

What the Board, the GM, and the attorney did felt to me as exactly comparable to how the dog lover retaliated against his neighbor for complaining. They bullied me, shunned me, threatened me with litigation and liability for attorney fees for speaking up when I saw things that were just plain wrong – just like the dog lover treated his neighbor.

SCA leaders must be held to a higher standard.

You can help. Vote. Raise our standards.
Bob Burch and Aletta Waterhouse should not be re-elected just because they have not had sex with their dogs.

How to make your vote REALLY count!

You must vote.

No matter how disenfranchised you feel.

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

Do you want to drain the swamp?

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

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

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

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

Vote like this.

Ironic signs have been posted.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter! Time for renewal and rebirth!

HOA collection practices cost us all more than you think

What makes our property values go down?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Survey says:
Homeowners are not happy with HOAs

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

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

One of the study’s conclusions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We ALL pay

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

Why do HOA foreclosures lower property values?

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

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

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

So what?

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

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

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

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

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

Did SCA Board members profit at owners’ expense?

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

No other SCA Director profited from any of this either.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our cost when agents serve themselves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sound familiar, Mr. Clarkson?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.