Elder Abuse: Part II – SCA Agents

We have another covert systemic type of elder abuse going on right here at SCA. We have all of the problems endemic to Nevada HOAs in general, but those generic problems have been fueled here by a historically divided community and exacerbated by a poorly-executed transition to “self-management.”

Our system fails to provide sufficient competent owner oversight and internal controls necessary to prevent abuse by professional agents who are supposed to be fiduciaries acting SOLELY in the best interests of the owners,  but who are taking unfair advantage of us for their own unjust enrichment.

You are going to hear this same refrain from me repeatedly:

The biggest risk SCA owners face is being screwed over by unscrupulous agents who are supposed to be acting solely in our best interest, but who are not. They are actually unfairly acting in their own self-interest and profiting at our expense.

The reason “they” kicked me off the Board is they wanted to shut me up. They wanted to prevent me from telling owners what they are doing. They wanted me to stop publicly trying to force them to make system changes that would protect SCA owners from abuse by our own, highly-compensated, but unscrupulous, agents.

Who is “they”?

  • “They” are now (2016-now) GM Sandy Seddon and (May, 2017-now) association attorney/debt collector Adam Clarkson Law Group now.
  • Before (2009-2015), “they” were FirstService Residential (FSR)/formerly RMI, SCA’s managing agent, also licensed debt collector dba Red Rock Financial Services (RRFS).
  • In between (2015-2016), “they” were Alessi & Koenig, LLC attorney-debt collector that went into chapter 7 bankruptcy after being sued on 500 of the 800 HOA foreclosures they did between 2011-2015 and then…
  • “they” illegally morphed into HOA Lawyers Group, LLC (2016) but continued being SCA’s debt collector until replaced by Clarkson.

“They” are NOT necessarily the members of the Board, but “they” need to control the Board. “They”get their hands so far into our pockets only because the Board lets them do it. At least a majority of the Board has to negligently, maybe unwittingly, enable the attorney and management to take over the reins.

I believe the Directors are probably acting in good faith and trying to do their best, but are simply placing their faith in the wrong “experts”. However, even if the Directors are just innocently looking the other way, their ignorance is allowing SCA owners to be taken for an expensive ride.

So, what now?

Too bad for them.

“They”didn’t really get rid of me by unlawfully deeming my Board position vacant.

Now I have the time to tell you all about it. And I think I’ll start with what’s wrong with paying Sandy Seddon twice as much as we should be paying her.

 

Owner concerns should never be ignored

The biggest reason Rex, Aletta, and Tom should be voted off the Board is that they chastise owners who have concerns about GM performance and adamantly refuse to hold the GM accountable for one of the most critical aspects of her job – owner satisfaction. And, they have spent thousands of our assessment dollars misusing the attorney in an attempt to silence criticism of the GM’s management style that many perceive as autocratic, divisive and unfair.


Refusal to listen

When over 800 people complained about how the GM is performing (by signing petitions) and stated that they have no confidence in her ability to lead our organization, the correct response by both the GM and the Board would have been to look at what the customers are complaining about and find a fix. However, the Board’s solution was to silence her detractors by yelling “Enough is enough!” and then give an irrelevant litany of her deferred maintenance accomplishments. I propose that during this recall election, Rex, Aletta, and Tom need to be held accountable for refusing to listen to, or correct, ANY of the extraordinarily high number of owners’ complaints about the GM.

Refusal to accept owner oversight

Before I was elected to the Board, I campaigned on the principle that there should be owner oversight in relation to personnel issues. I ran for the Board because of my expertise in HR and employee contract negotiations and proposed performance standards that would be linked to the GM compensation as well as, customer service ratings as part of the GM’s performance evaluation.

The Board’s reaction to my proposal was not only “NO,” It was “HELL, NO.” The Board refused to design a system that allowed ANY owner input into the GM’s evaluation and compensation. Additionally, President Rex’ strategy for keeping the decision-making overly consolidated and away from owner involvement is to refuse to have owner oversight committees even on an ad hoc basis.

I personally brought several recommendations to the Board to increase owner-involvement in oversight of insurance, investments, legal services and personnel, none of which got approved. The Board is steadily moving away from effective means for using owner expertise in governance and controlling costs.   Rex simply uses his authority as President to appoint work groups of two Board members so he can exclude owners and  Directors he does not agree with or he wants to punish. This politicizing control is, in my view, a Machiavellian abuse of power, and it prevents the creation of a system that would produce (significantly) better results for the membership.

Refusal to treat owners as customers

That, my fellow neighbors and homeowners, is the way your current HOA Board of Directors is refusing to utilize much-needed owner expertise while simultaneously dismissing your right to complain about the performance of staff that you pay to manage this community responsibly. Pay more. Get less.

 

How to avoid unnecessary election costs

Some people have told me they are voting no on the removal election because they are under the impression that it will cost between $50,000 and $100,000 to hold another election for replacement Board members.

Cost to replace

This cost estimate is both wrong, and a poor reason for keeping the current ineffective Directors that are costing the community even more money.

First, let’s address the cost. The GM removed the “volunteer” SCA Election Committee (chartered to handle all SCA elections) from the removal election process. Instead, a CPA was hired without any official Board action to take over the EC’s duties at an unbudgeted cost of $10,000. As I have stated before, the CPA’s contract was not approved at any open Board meeting, and therefore the unnecessary cost of his services skews the actual cost of the removal election.

As far as the election for replacement board members; the established “volunteer” Election Committee is experienced and fully capable of handling the same fair election process as we have had in the past, with very little overhead. Our 2017 annual election cost $11,900, and the budget for the 2018 election is $17,500.

Reporting a falsely-inflated cost is a scare tactic and is being used to make owners mad at the petitioners for exercising their legal rights to call for an election to remove Directors that are not serving us well. I read in Dan Folgeron’s message re-posted on AnthemToday.com that the Solera removal election cost $8,000.

Cost to keep

More importantly, the cost of an election is no reason to keep Directors in office who are not protecting the membership. The cost of an election pales in comparison to the cost of abdicating control of the Association policies, owner oversight and budget to the GM and attorney. These Directors have given a blank check to the attorney and are allowing the GM to disregard the budget when she unilaterally decides to make expenditures.

Cost of cheating

Rex, Aletta, and Tom should be removed from office because they didn’t let owners vote and didn’t follow our bylaws 3.6 when they appointed someone to fill my seat one month after they unlawfully removed me:

“Upon removal of a director, a successor shall be elected by the Owners entitled to elect the director so removed to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of such director.” – SCA bylaws 3.6 (page 11)

Rex, Aletta, and Tom should be removed from office because they doubled down and compounded problems created by my removal. They shouldn’t have filled my board seat without waiting for my appeal to be adjudicated, and they shouldn’t have filled my seat without letting any owners compete for the position. No one knew they were recruiting so no owner could compete equally for a chance to be appointed to the board. Instead, they just picked a guy (Jim Coleman), decided to appoint him in secret and appointed him to my seat at the very next properly noticed Board meeting. It’s not Jim Coleman’s fault the Board acted unlawfully, both to remove me and to replace me without an owner vote. Why can’t the Board make decisions that fast and decisive when it comes to doing something good for the membership, like opening the restaurant?

Cost avoidance and karma
I have a suggestion that I think would treat everybody fairly. I don’t want to displace Jim if I am reinstated because, in my opinion, Jim will be much better than Rex as a board member, at least he will listen to and respect owners. However, a fair way to avoid the expense of another election would be to put Jim in Rex’ seat when I am reinstated by the Commission and Rex is either voted off during the recall election or removed by the Commission.

Cost of dirty tricks

Note that I was elected to serve until May 2019 for the same two-year term as Rex. Rex got his role as President by using dirty tricks, and he is doing a terrible job for the people. As such, I believe that Rex is the most important one to remove from the Board, and if he were the only director voted off, no election would be needed. Aletta’s and Tom’s terms end in May, 2018, and if they were voted off in the removal election, their seats could remain vacant until the normal election.

By the way, when Jim Coleman was appointed, I told the Board that they made a mistake by appointing him only until 2018 since my term expires in 2019, and the bylaws 3.6 say that the replacement of a director that is removed shall “… fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of such director”. Rex insisted that appointing Jim only until May 2018 was intentional, but there is no legal authority for the Board to decide that the new director’s term will be a year less than the term of the director being replaced.

Cost of cherry-picking rules and karma

Rex should be removed for cherry-picking which governing documents he choses to comply with. He led the Board in the violation of SCA Bylaws 3.6 by usurping owners exclusive right to vote to determine whether a Director is removed from the Board. He is responsible of Bylaws 3.6 being being violated a second time by not giving owners the right to vote on the replacement of a Director who was removed. Rex insisted on violating SCA bylaws a third time by shortening Jim Coleman’s term again since the new Director is required by our governing documents to fill the remainder of the removed Director’s term. Appointing Jim only until 2018 unfairly gives Rex the benefit of not having to run against Jim (by Rex making their terms not end at the same time. Rex’ act is to the detriment of Jim Coleman who is an innocent owner/volunteer who should have been appointed, if at all, to the end of my term. This act exemplifies Rex’s pattern of cherry-picking which rules he chooses to follow. Rex acts  benefit himself by consolidating political power and do not treat all owners, particularly political opponents, equitably. We deserve leadership that is better than that, not self-serving and that acts solely in the best interest of the membership by the consistent enforcement of the rules of the game.

 

A House Divided – the spin doctor at work.

 

On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln, while running as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, made his famous statement, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Of course, here we are, 159 years later and we as a country are perhaps as much divided now as we were then, but still standing.

I point this out because Sun City Anthem, our little community, a microcosm in the scheme of things, is at this time, greatly divided. At the root of this division is the performance of the current HOA Board of Directors, the General Manager, and the HOA Attorney.

There are those in this community that believe the Board, GM, and Attorney are doing a wonderful job. However, there are over 800 residents who feel that “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

First let me address the fact that the NRS and the Sun City Anthem HOA By-Laws addresses in detail, the process by which the homeowners of this community can file a complaint against management and the Board, including the allowance for a petition to be filed for the recall of Board Members. These 800+ homeowners of Sun City Anthem have followed the rules and filed their legal petition. However, the Board, the General Manager, and the Attorney, in an effort to preserve their gravy train have done everything possible to prevent a fair recall election. I have pointed out one example of many in my blog article “How to Lose Control of Who Represents You on the SCA Board.”

One way that the Board is fighting the recall is through the use of a Spin Doctor in the form of longtime blogger David Berman. Mr. Berman has characterized this removal election as an ‘evil and traumatic injury to the body politic that is tearing the community apart.’ To that end, Mr. Berman formed an organization called OSCAR (Opposition to Sun City Anthem Recall) and has been publishing slanted half-truths to his readership on behalf of the Board and management. While the Board is certainly not paying Mr. Berman for his service, they are feeding his ego by making him an insider and feeding (or leaking if you prefer), key management and Board information for his nearly daily blog posts. Information, I might add, that is not posted in the Board Books or available to others in the community.

In fact, Mr. Berman uses this inside information to form hyperbole supposition and theories of doom and destruction as scare tactics to con his sheeple into believing that everything he states is gospel. But Mr. Berman’s rants don’t stop there; he personally calls out the names of people he feels are against his puppet board to ostracize them and calls for them to be banished from his kingdom.

In a piece published on October 9th, Mr. Berman used a thread posted by homeowner Bobbi Senneke on the NextDoor social app to prove that he is not the only person supporting the current Board, GM, and attorney. Apparently, there has been a growing conversation about the performance of the Board, GM, and the current state of the community that has frustrated Mrs. Senneke to the point of writing to Mr. Berman:

“I have finally had enough. The comments appearing on NextDoor from SCA residents, (names omittedby Berman) tipped me over the edge.  What follows is my posted response, with my husband’s blessing. I cannot muster the most meager kind thought for this gang.”

“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” stated Senneke. Then, in fear that she may also become the target of those displeased with the current administration, Senneke continued by admonishing everyone to,

“…bring it on, or you can do a kindness for yourselves and for those of us who appreciate and cherish what we are blessed with here in Anthem, and JUST MOVE!”

Instead of accepting each individual’s right to their opinion and to publicly state their concerns over what they feel is an injustice to the community, as well as their right to a recall vote; Mrs. Senneke and, through his publication, Mr. Berman,  are encouraging a degree of hate talk and separatist thinking that is dividing the community.

With this one post, Mr. Berman causes further division in the community. He deflects attention from his hand by blaming the community unrest, not on the precipitating problems, but on the petitioners for exercising their legal right to call for a vote. Mr. Berman uses the quote to continue the fantasy that there are no issues of mismanagement and malfeasance and to legitimizes the false claim that the directors facing recall are innocent of any wrongdoing. He does not acknowledge that the concerns the petitioners raised could have been avoided, or at least, that some attempt at solution or mitigation would have been appropriate. Mr. Berman simply discredits the unhappy owners who are exercising their legal right to call for an owner vote to remove Directors for mismanagement and malfeasance.

If you read the entirety of Ms. Senneke post online, the extent of Mr. Berman’s spin doctor mind-controlling influence becomes clear, as most of her comments are merely a regurgitation of his past posts.

In all actuality, recall elections must overcome huge hurdles and are rarely successful. You can read about the challenges faced in this article that addresses a number of state recall elections. Nonetheless, as I stated above, the ability of the homeowners of this community to ask for a recall is well within their right.

So what is it that the members of the community are complaining about? I have put “11 Reasons Why We Need To Recall The Board Members” on this blog site. In addition to the 11 reasons, the over 800 homeowners also submitted a petition to call for a vote of no confidence to the Board complaining about the performance of Sandy Seddon as the General Manager. The petitioners requested that the issues be addressed and that the document be placed in her personnel file. However, rather than addressing any of homeowner complaints, the Board chose to File 13 the petition against the GM for the next garbage pickup. Mr. Berman published a blog about how worthless it was so he obviously had access to it, but the document was never made available to the membership or even to all of the members of the Board who requested it.

We are not going to convince the sheeple that are under Mr. Berman’s hypnotic trance that anything is rotten in Denmark. However, there are still those independent thinkers out there who might not live in the community full time or simply have not kept up with all of the facts. It will be a tough battle these next few days, and I urge everyone to have civility. But if someone that you know is on the fence and looking for answers, lead them to this document and the other documents on SCA Strong, where I firmly believe that Owners should ALWAYS come first!

 

11 Reasons Why We Need To Recall The Board Members

  1. Tale of two faces – The Board members subject to recall should be removed because they refuse to tolerate any criticism (from the homeowners) of Sandy Seddon, the General Manager (GM) and berate those who dare to speak in less than glowing terms about her performance. The board is thrilled with Sandy Seddon. Their experience with her is that she quickly handled the deferred maintenance issue, quickly transitioned away from the prior management company, responds fully to their requests, and is just an all-around great gal. However, the Sandy Seddon that the Board members see and experience is quite the opposite of what many homeowners experience and which was described to the Board in a petition signed by 836 homeowners and residents. The Board has refused to hold her accountable to address the problems identified in the petition against her or to take any action to improve homeowner relations and customer satisfaction. During the September Board meeting, Bob Burch yelled out, “Enough is enough!” and two pages of his diatribe about why no one should criticize the GM is in the Board Book. They should be removed as directors because they are protecting the Sandy Seddon more than they are protecting the homeowners paying the assessments.
  2. Not fair to owners. The Board takes actions without hearing both sides, does not uniformly enforce the CC&Rs and By-Laws if it is outside issues like the color a house can be painted or how many trees must be planted. They fail to prevent problems and resist solving them, so the homeowners end up paying for the pound of cure. Look at all the bureaucratic hassles the Board has created for the clubs by requiring bizarre business license requirements and vendor insurance. They allow the GM to create bureaucratic hassles for owners and clubs and to set paid staff up as competitors to the clubs for booking dates.
  3. Usurp authority of the owners to initiate lawsuits. Owners voted against SCA filing litigation on Liberty Center construction defects, but the Board ignored that and filed a lawsuit anyway. NRS 16.31088 requires an owner majority vote before SCA can initiate a lawsuit, but they did not ask owners to vote before they acted to evict the Foundation Assisting Seniors or to sue the Foundation for $40,000.
  4. Transition to self-management is flawed. No adequate policy framework is in place to protect SCA, particularly as a first-time employer, and there are no written plans or timetables to complete the transition. Despite my areas of expertise in HR and municipal management, the Board unfairly excluded me from participation in any personnel policy discussions and claimed I was “not authorized” to see records relating to prior decisions of the Board or to examine such questions as:
    1. Why is the GM paid  $100,000+ over the appropriate salary for that job?
    2. Why does the compensation for four managers eat up about 10% of the 2017 operating budget?
    3. Why don’t we have performance standards and customer service ratings linked to GM compensation?
  5. Board does not act lawfully. They have tolerated the restaurant being closed for nearly two years in violation of CC&Rs 7.2(b).They have issued several unlawful cease & desist letters against me to stop me from inspecting ANY association records, but there are numerous other examples included in the documents filed with the state enforcement officials.
  6. Lack of method for requiring GM accountability. These board members should be removed because they have abdicated too much authority to the GM with no system for accountability. It is unlawful to hire a GM without a management agreement, but no agreement is currently in place. Without a management agreement, the GM is an at-will employee covered only by the personnel handbook. Poor business judgment to employ her without the specification of the required provision of NRS 116A.620. These directors should be removed, not just because they have failed to hold the GM accountable in areas beyond facilities maintenance, but because they have allowed her to threaten frivolous litigation against SCA and to falsely accuse me as a Director of defamation because I criticized her performance. She has also falsely accused me of violating her privacy rights and creating “employer liability” for asking about her compensation with her former employer.
  7. Abuse by attorney. Why do we even need a Board if the attorney calls all the shots? The HOA attorney (Clarkson) makes quite a profit by getting the Board to believe that the budget does not have to be amended to spend, spend, spend. The Board refused to have board training conducted by the Ombudsman, and Clarkson conducted the training in a closed workshop, deemed it attorney-client privilege, was abusive to me and gave biased instructions, e.g., that the Board MUST get attorney approval before making any major decision, and it is an unauthorized practice of law (for me) to tell them they don’t need to go to an attorney for so much but to use their common sense.
  8. Loss of control over the budget. The Board should be removed because they are allowing the attorney to represent the GM and not the association membership as a whole. For example, this attorney advised the Board (in violation of NRS 116.3106 and By-Laws 3.18 a and 3.20), that the GM can expend SCA funds for purposes other than what they were budgeted for without board approval. Clarkson’s legal fees for the first four months have amounted to $103,000, and much of that was expended for legal actions that never should have been taken. This does not account for how much the Board has spent to have him take over the Removal Election Process and strip the SCA Election Committee of their duties defined in the adopted Election & Voting Manual.
  9. Lack of transparency. The Board allows the GM to refuse to give access to information in an easy, user-friendly way. They take the attitude that they are only required to provide the legal minimum, and you have to jump through hoops to get that if you are not considered an ally or if you are being punished because they think you MIGHT misuse the information.
  10. Owner involvement in governance is diminished. The Board refused to adopt the proposed owner-oversight committees for Legal Services, Personnel, Insurance, or Investments even though these are areas where the expertise of community members is greatly needed and could be cost-effectively employed. They abolished the Fitness Committee, the Property & Grounds Committee, and the Golf Course Liaison Committee. Meanwhile, the Communication Committee is in limbo. There is a plan (only discussed in private so far) to have Pinnacle, Villas, and the service groups report to the GM instead of having a Board liaison. No attempt is being made to promote customer satisfaction or to institute “best practices” to improve residents’ quality of life or build a sense of belonging in the community. These Board members do not respect owners and abdicate to the GM.
  11. Abuse of privilege. NRS 116.31085 (3) and SCA By-Laws 3.15A define the only permissible topics that an HOA Board can discuss in executive session. These directors should be removed because they circumvent this by making decisions in closed “workshops,” by using email for deliberations (despite having been issued a letter of instruction prohibiting it), and, at times, by unlawfully excluding a director from the deliberation and action (myself and Jim Mayfield before me). Rex and Sandy make excessive claims for confidentiality on ALL their SCA business emails even when the discussion is just about leaking pipes.

Recall Supporters

SCA BOD recall ad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Involved

ACTION Items:

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

Owners should ALWAYS come first!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your attention.

Nona Tobin

 

 

 

Fact Checking and Financial Hanky Panky

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

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fact Checking Some of OSCAR’s Claims

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

Opinion and commentary by Ron Johnson

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

 

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

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

 

 


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Financial hanky-panky or something else?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other news

More on the Ham Radio Club under attack.

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

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

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


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

E-mail: rljohnson32@lvcoxmail.com

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

Board Meeting Wrap-up – 9/28/17

What they did and what you need to know and do…

Jim Coleman was appointed to fill my Board seatI think the Board exceeded its legal authority by both, removing me from my Board position without a trial and proving legal cause, and appointing Jim Coleman to the Board without allowing others to compete for the position or the owners to vote. However, despite all that, Jim appears to be a man of integrity and principles and completely not complicit with the bad acts of the Board. I think that he deserves everyone’s support.

The 2018 budget of $10.6 million was adopted, doubling the attorney fees to $180,000 and projecting $53,000 in expenses for the restaurant (which is currently closed). The budget also maintains the current association assessments at $1,210. I think the Board’s discussion was over-weighted by the gushing over Sandy Seddon, the GM, and how her management performance has been better than the prior management agent we fired. Massive gratitude to Seddon for the way she answered questions, it was quite telling. Her reply of “Whatever you want, Forrest.” is diametrically different when compared to her refusing all my requests by saying, “Talk to the attorney, Nona.”

Note: A Tale of Two Faces is a coming blog article about the face of Sandy Seddon that the Board knows and loves, and the face she turns toward the large segment of the community. The face that produced 836 signatures testifying to their polar-opposite experience. Our community has been divided into Have’s and Have Nots, and we need to examine why.

Restaurant update
  • No temporary use of the restaurant space for clubs or member use will be allowed.
  • A new attorney opinion rules that temporary use is prohibited without a vote of the members
  • No plan, no timeline, and no hope of getting the restaurant back anytime
  • Despite the fact that there is no funding in current (or next year’s) budget, the Board is looking to hire a Restaurant Consultant, for an unknown cost, to tell us what we already know.
  • The GM has sent out a Request For Proposal (RFP) to an unknown list of consultants.
  • The parameters of the proposed contract are unknown because the RFP was not in the Board book

It is a violation of our CC&Rs 7.2b to keep the restaurant closed this long, and because the Board treats this issue as trivial, no attorney opinion has been sought. I believe that the Board is cherry picking which rules to follow and this violation is one of the complaints I submitted to the Ombudsman. The restaurant is a major amenity which can’t legally be left closed except for maintenance and repairs. What if the GM just drained the pool and left it empty for two years? Even if you never used the pool, wouldn’t you worry that an empty pool would hurt our property values?

Other announcements

CAM Lori Martin’s resignation was announced a month after staff knew she was leaving. – It should be noted that I have consistently questioned (and been harassed and retaliated against for asking too many questions) the need for employing two high salary people with CAM licenses when only one license is required. I advocated that we employ a single CAM at the appropriate compensation level with a management agreement per NRS 116A.620. My complaint is now moot unless the Board decides to replace Martin. 

 Stay tuned for a future blog that will discuss why it is important to examine the structure of the organization before replacing Lori Martin with another CAM doing the same job.

Board action:

Jim Coleman was appointed to the Board (to fill my Board seat that had been deemed vacant on August 24).

Musical Chairs: Why stop the music now?

  • The Board said they could declare a (my) seat vacant just because they said so. I say kicking me off the board without a trial or members voting me off is not legal.
  • The Board says they don’t have to wait for judgment on the legality; they can just pick whoever as a replacement.
  • Rana Goodman asked the Board to wait a couple of months until the legality of the (my) vacancy is confirmed, or there are other vacancies because of the removal election.
  • Rex Weddle said the Board was way too busy to leave a (my) spot vacant.
  • Rana asked what they plan on doing when they are ordered to reinstate (me) the Board Member.
  • Rex said not their problem.
Public humiliation – brought to you by your Board’s secret and illegal acts 

In his self-introduction, Jim Coleman quoted parts of an email from an owner asking him not to agree to fill my seat until my appeal was done to avoid being embarrassed or tainted by illegitimacy.

Jim rightly rejected the request to step aside but for the wrong reason. He thought it was a veiled threat. I don’t think it was.

I took it more like the writer didn’t want the Board to get away with pretending they had to power to illegally dump a disagreeing director on the strength of their six votes.

I don’t think the six voters on the Board should get away with usurping control of the seat from the owners who voted me in, and who next week may be voting some of them out, just by shifting the focus onto a non-existent fight between Jim Coleman and Nona Tobin over who gets to sit in the seat. 

A question of values: Who is Jim Coleman?

Rex read a bio of Jim’s accomplishments, status as a top athlete, Founding President of the African American Heritage Club, and more.

But Jim eloquently told the crowd that we needed to know his character: He will listen. He will not rush to judgment. He will be fair. He stated that at 75-years-old, born in Mississippi, nothing in this place scares him and he will not be intimidated.

Owners Need a Big Voice

And we got one in Jim Coleman. When I was first elected, I took a strong stand claiming that neither the Board nor the community would be as good as it could be unless we reversed the direction Rex Weddle was taking us as President. Not being one for ambiguity, I declared, “Take an about face or walk off the cliff.”

 My stance was a disaster, and I was branded an uppity naysayer who didn’t know her place. On day one, the tone for my tenure was locked and loaded.

 However, that did not (or has not yet) happen to Jim Coleman.

The six directors dumped me without a vote of the membership, and they filled my spot without any notice, any recruitment or competition or any vote to fill the seat. These things are wrong, unfair and illegal, but Jim Coleman still needed to take that spot to protect all of us. If he didn’t take my spot, the board would just have appointed someone else in secret, without competition, and probably somebody in Rex’s image who owners would like a whole lot less.

 Jim Coleman is a man who speaks of character, integrity, and principles. He deserves our support, and we must do whatever we can to ensure that he gets a different board seat should I be reinstated.

 My personal preference is for Jim to take Rex’s seat on November 1st, after more than 2,501 owners vote Rex out in the upcoming removal election October 9-26.

 Board Action: Received oral update of removal election to be held by mail only. No ballot boxes. No walk-ins.

Ballots will be sent out on October 9th and must be returned by mail and received by October 26 5 PM in the pre-addressed envelope to the CPA’s Office.

Art Lindberg read the update from (our very expensive) attorney about the removal election. However, no copies of the letter were distributed, and won’t be in the Board Book, thus continuing the pattern of making access to information as difficult as possible. Remember, over 800 people signed each of four petitions to call for a vote to remove from the SCA Board President Rex Weddle, Secretary Aletta Waterhouse, and Directors Tom Nissen, and Bob Burch.

 The Recall Petitions were received by management on 8/10/17 and were given to the CPA to verify the petition signatures. Again, it should be noted that Management, upon the advice of counsel, took away all the normal duties of the volunteer Election Committee to pay a CPA that was selected by the attorney, at a fee of least $10,000 to verify, distribute, collect and count ballots.

Of the four petitions, three (Rex-758, Aletta-734, and Tom-726) had more than the needed 715 signatures to be subject to a removal vote. Bob skated as he received 713 signatures. What they didn’t mention was that there were over 65 signatures submitted after the petitions were submitted, and even though the state law says there is no deadline, those signatures will not be considered.

The law makes removing a director much harder than the election to get on the board in the first place. The law (NRS 116.31036) says that the only way a Director can be removed from the Board is by a secret ballot in a removal election which is called by petition of at least 10% of the voters (715 of the 7,144 in the community) in which at least 35% of the possible voters (2,501 of 7,144 Lots in SCA) vote to remove each director and at least half of those voting in favor of removing that director.

Clearly, the Board’s claim that six of them voting to remove me is equally powerful to the 2,501 votes from owners that it takes to legally remove one of them is ludicrous, and the attorney who authorized it should be fired.

 I have a complaint to the Ombudsman, which has been referred to the HOA Investigations division, about the GM, attorney and Board president Rex Weddle interfering in the removal election process. The Election Committee was taken out of the process, and the Election and Voting Manual is being violated willy-nilly. This shows a continuing pattern of making the removal process even more difficult and further diminishes the value of each owner’s vote. 

  • Specific instructions will be sent out with the ballot and must be followed exactly, or the vote will not count.
  • Ballots will be mailed on Oct 9
  • All ballots must be received in the mail by 5 PM at the CPA’s office on October 26. No ballot boxes. No walk-ins.
  • Vote will be counted by the CPA without the Election Committee on Wed Nov 1st at 9 AM
  • Volunteer voting monitors welcome to monitor ballots

Just so that each homeowner is aware, the SCA By-laws specifically addresses the process by which a Recall Election must be organized.

3.6. Removal of Directors and Vacancies.

(a) Any member of the Board of Directors, other than a member appointed by the Declarant, may be removed from the Board of Directors, with or without cause, if at a removal election the number of votes cast in favor of removal constitutes:

(i) At least thirty-five percent (35%) of the total number of voting members of the association; and

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

(b) The removal of any member of the Board of Directors must be conducted by secret written ballot. If the removal of a member of the board of Directors is conducted by secret written ballot:

(i) The Secretary of other Officer specified in the By-Laws shall cause a secret ballot and a return envelope to be sent prepaid, by United States mail, to the mailing address of each Lot or to any other mailing address designated in writing by the Owner;

(ii) Each Member must be provided with at least fifteen (15) days after the date the secret ballot is mailed to return the secret written ballot to the Association;

(iii) Only the written ballots that are returned to the Association may be counted to determine the outcome;

(iv) The secret written ballots must be opened and counted at a meeting of the Association. A quorum is not required to be present when the secret written ballots are opened and counted at the meeting; and

(v) The incumbent members of the Board of Directors, including, without limitation, the member who is subject to removal, may not possess, be given access to or participate in the opening or counting of the secret written ballots that are returned to the Association before those secret written ballots have been opened and counted at the meeting of the Association.

Upon removal of a director, a successor shall be elected by the Owners entitled to elect the director so removed to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of such Director. 

Look for more information on my blog, coming soon, as to what you can do to help remove Rex Weddle, Aletta Waterhouse, and Tom Nissen in this election.

For now, if you know you will be gone or your neighbor will be gone, let the front office know at (702) 614-5800 to get the ballot sent somewhere else. We want to make sure all owners get a ballot and get a chance to vote. Ballots will be mailed out Monday, October 9 and must be received back by mail by 5 PM, October 26.

 

By the Numbers – Part 2

Who Controls the Budget?

Sun City Anthem (SCA) homeowners are being taken for a very expensive ride. Six of the seven elected members of the SCA Board are allowing SCA’s new attorney, Adam Clarkson, along with Sandy Seddon, General Manager and Lori Martin, Community Association Manager, to have an unlawful level of control over Sun City Anthem.

These highly compensated employees and attorney are unjustly profiting from their power grab. Six of the seven members of the Board are just letting them do it. Owners are expected to ‘just take it and pay for it.’

Cost of Control

Every expenditure for one purpose is an opportunity lost for something else you wanted to buy. Why do we have a budget (which is a spending plan defining the priorities and use of money that is assessed from the homeowners for the benefit and betterment of the community) if the GM can change it at will?

Why even have a Board if the attorney in concert with management is really calling all the shots?

Who said that the 2017 adopted budget, which has NO allocation for any of these expenses, could just be ignored so the unit owners would have to pay?

Who said it was okay to over-expend the $30,000 (May-August) Legal Services budget by $73,000 to pay Adam Clarkson $103,000 for his first four months of service as SCA’s attorney?

Who said the attorney Clarkson was authorized to take over the removal election process at a cost of $325/hour?

Who said that the GM had the authority to execute a contract with an unknown CPA to pay for an unknown, and unlimited, amount to work with Clarkson Law Group to certify petitions and mail out ballots for the removal election?

By the Numbers

Based on their current compensation, Sandy Seddon, Lori Martin, and Adam Clarkson will continue to financially benefit if they can help keep the four directors currently facing a recall vote, from being removed from power. These four the directors helped to hire them and fiercely protect them during any discussions from the residents. However, they illegally removed without a recall election the one director, me, who challenged their salaries and actions.

Here’s the profit they are making for working for the Board:

  • The GM was paid $100,000+ over market when hired and was given a bonus of $20,000 six months after FSR left.
  • The 2017 budget also includes another $20,000 bonus but is not tied to any publicly-adopted performance standards or measures.
  • Compensation for four management employees eats up 10% of SCA’s total 2017 operating budget.
  • The legal services provided by Clarkson during his first four months as association attorney have cost owners $103,000, primarily spent on writing “legal letters” to stop me from questioning or to take legal action to evict the Foundation.

The Finance Committee stated that the legal services budget should double to $180,000 in 2018 proposed budget by extrapolating the trend of payments. How does SCA benefit from this expenditure?

My Removal from the Board

The reason given for removing me from the Board is that I was trying to profit. Here’s the profit I was making for being on the Board…Zero dollars.

My cost so far has amounted to $3,000 in attorney fees for my defense against the other six members of the Board’s illegal actions against me. However, by law, these attorney fees should be paid by SCA.

According to Article 3.4 (f) of the SCA by-laws – Indemnity. If a member of the Board of Directors is named as a respondent or sued for liability for actions undertaken in his role as a member of the Board, the Association shall indemnify him for his losses or claims and undertake all costs of defense, unless it is proven that he acted with willful or wanton misfeasance or with gross negligence.

Clarkson has refused to let SCA pay my attorney fees, stating that I am personally liable (even though I am innocent of any charges). SCA paid Clarkson ten times that $3,000 amount to illegally attack me, while objecting to my rights, under the above-stated By-Laws, to attorney representation.

Clarkson also redefined my demand for attorney fees as a ‘demand for monetary damages as putting matters before the Board from which I could make a profit.’

I’m saying that because of their obvious conflicts of interest, Sandy Seddon, Lori Martin, the majority of the Board, and attorney Adam Clarkson should have been excluded from making any expenditures or making any decisions related to the recall election. I don’t believe that they are performing in a neutral or fair manner, especially after their secret meeting to expel me from the Board.

I’m saying that the attorney and the GM, having convinced the other six members of the Board that the GM has the authority to spend money for unbudgeted purposes, make a pretty big profit and have an extraordinary level of power. For instance:  

  • Hiring a consultant about the shuttered restaurant,       
  • Hiring a CPA to do the Election Committee’s job for the removal election  
    • According to Article 3.5(b)(i), The secretary or other officer specified in the By-Laws shall cause a secret ballot and a return envelope to the sent prepaid, by United States mail to the mailing addresses of each Lot or to any other mailing addresses designated in writing by the Owner.         
  • Paying the attorney $73,000 over the $30,000 budgeted for his first four months.

Did you get that?

I’m saying that the other six members of the Board have abdicated that much power even though it is flat out against the law. Right now, the GM is able to rob Peter to pay Paul. She has been allowed to expend SCA funds as she sees fit without legal Board action to amend the budget, without any financial limits, and without any notice to members regarding where the money would come. So much for our spending plan.

I’m saying, these highly compensated individuals certainly have a motive to do just about anything to protect their gravy train, and we have seen how they have taken illegal actions to run me over for getting in the way of that train.

I’m saying that Adam Clarkson should not have been given a blank check to collect $325/hour for whatever he says SCA needs. Why do we need a Board if an attorney has to bless every decision?

Resources:

GM compensation comparison chart (pdf)