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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your attention.

Nona Tobin

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Response to OSCAR-member Goldfried’s Anti-Recall Email”

  1. Having retired as a senior executive of a organization selling over $8B annually then working as a senior person with the Dept of the Army, I find the arguments provided by Ms Tobin to be on the mark. Had that happened within my region, and found to be justified, those responsible would have been disciplined to include termination of employment. My experience tells me that if board members are not paid (motivator) and held accountable by an ethical CEO type position, issues which I view as criminal negligence (RE: Liberty fiasco) will continue where complacent incompetents will continue to lead other complacent incompetents. I would add that the boards lack of transparancy has resulted in out of control dissention (pissing contests) throughout the HOA which mirrors out political environment.

  2. Oh my goodness! an incredible article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing difficulty with ur rss . Don know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting equivalent rss drawback? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

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