On the Advice of Counsel is No Defense

After a relaxing couple of weeks in Cabo, I have been immediately hit by how badly SCA homeowners are being treated by our highly compensated and highly self-serving agents.

This first example from the November Spirit demonstrates how our well-meaning volunteers on the Election Committee have been duped into allowing the GM and attorney to violate the integrity of the removal election process at great expense to the membership.

Who gives the association attorney the power to make such decisions?

No one. At least not legally.

NRS 116 does not give an attorney who is advising the Board ANY authority to decide any policy issue.

NRS 116 does not give the attorney ANY authority to advise the Board to violate any provision of Federal, state, or local law or of our governing documents or policies.

NRS 116 does not give the attorney ANY authority to require the Board or the GM or a committee to take it not take any particular action.

Whose authority is it?

The buck stops with the Board, and they can only legally delegate some of their duties, but can’t delegate ANY of the ultimate accountability. The GM is a licensed manager, and she can’t get out of being accountable for the standards of practice listed in the law by getting the attorney to say its okay to break or bend the law.

NRS 116 and SCA governing documents and policies define clear requirements for:

  • contracts must be authorized by the Board in open session,
  • the Board SHALL NOT delegate policy authority over the budget
  • getting bids for contracts
  • how elections are conducted
  • under what circumstances attorney’s opinions are sought BY THE BOARD and for what purpose

None of the legal requirements were followed in this case, just as they are frequently ignored in other cases, for self-serving purposes and not for the benefit of the membership of the association.

I would like to point out that the issue of the Board President Rex Weddle, the GM Sandy Seddon, and the former-CAM Lori Martin taking actions in excess of their legal authority to interfere with the removal election process is the subject of numerous complaints and is currently under investigation by NRED. If their defense is simply that “the lawyer said we could do it”, they better be ready to take their wallets out. I would expect that feeble excuse to fall on deaf ears.




2 thoughts on “On the Advice of Counsel is No Defense”

    1. NRED is the Nevada Real Estate Division which includes an enforcement group of investigators for problems in HOAs. They can issue letters of instruction in minor cases that don’t warrant disciplining the manager or board member. They can refer the matter to the attorney general, if it is serious or criminal, and the State of Nevada is the prosecutor. They can refer it to the Commission for Common Interest Communities who can take disciplinary action or other actions like remedial training. All of our problems here are common issues faced in many HOAs, but here, these problems are on steroids. They are not going to get better under this attorney, GM, and Board President. They are marching lockstep against the homeowners, and they need to be booted out. I don’t see anything NRED would do that would be sufficient to turn this place around as long as they are calling the shots. NRED doesn’t seem to have jurisdiction at all over the attorney, and the bar here is very protective of their own. Here’s the NRED website entering through the Office of the Ombudsman http://red.nv.gov/Content/CIC/Office_of_the_Ombudsman/ where you can read FAQs, how to file a complaint and what NRED does.

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