Jim Mayfield re annual budget mailer

Jim Mayfield writes:

We received the annual mandatory budget mailer in today’s mailer.  I have reviewed the budget in detail as well as the materials sent with the budget mailer.
1.  The “Summary Budget” does not contain any information that compares the 2018 draft budget to the adopted 2017 budget.  Furthermore, a comparison is not provided of the 2018 draft budget to the projected actual financial statements for 2017.  Without these comparisons, unit owners have no way access the expected actual to budget performance for 2017 OR to see how spending priorities are budgeted to change between 2017 and 2018.
2.  The Budget mailer does not include a proxy form or return envelope for unit owners to use to vote for or against the budget.  This is a change from prior years.  Instead, the cover letter states that if a unit owner desires to vote for or against the budget, the unit owner should see NRS 116.311.  (So much for transparency and encouraging unit owner participation in the governance of SCA.)  The strategy is obvious:  Don’t raise the dues and hope the unit owners don’t care how their money is spent and find it too hard to find out to bother.
3.  The capital budget includes an authorization of $45k for “chairs, outlets, storage shed, BBQ tables and benches for the Pickleball court area.

Notes from Nona on saving some bucks

I haven’t received my budget mailer, but I want to address easier voting  described in NRS 116.311  as they can be used as an example of how SCA could avoid most of our huge legal bills. The Board and the GM are not competent in preventing owner problems using the attorney as their sole guide. They should shift from paying for secret attorney opinions defining the legal minimum to asking owners to help develop popular “best practices”.
The NRS 116.311 code section is entitled,
“Voting by units’ owners; use of absentee ballots and proxies; voting by lessees of leased units; association prohibited from voting as owner of unit; voting without a meeting.”
This section offers ways in some situations that voting could be made easier on owners – like absentee ballots, proxies and voting electronically.  Even though simpler, more convenient methods are available, doing things in the most “user-friendly” way doesn’t seem to be much of a priority for the Board or the GM even if not doing it the easy way is more costly.
The default seems to be just knee-jerk asking the attorney for an opinion. The attorney’s opinion generally veers toward advising the Board or GM what is the minimum that can be legally done. Conceptualizing a problem in terms of improving customer service is simply outside of the attorney’s paradigm, training and expertise – and yet he is their top-dollar “Go-To Guy”.
The GM does not seem to be inclined to focus on improving owner relations or utilizing owners’ expertise to research and recommend “best practices”. Instead, just handing over $325/hour for the attorney to rule on what the Board and GM can probably get away with is her counterproductive modus operandi. The Board has a total blind spot to this failing.
A better way of doing business would be to evaluate EVERY Board or management decision by asking owners BEFORE taking action,
“Is this action in the best interests of the membership?”
Then, if there are lots of owners who disagree, listen to them and remedy the problems. This could be done easily and systematically by utilizing the expertise of owners in a re-invigorated committee system. It certainly would be more cost-effective.
I believe that, had the Board and GM in 2017 followed the simple principle of acting SOLELY in the best interests of the membership, at least 90% of the $200,000 SCA is projected to spend this year for attorney’s fees could have been avoided, and there would have been a lot less community turmoil. 

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.

 

Life is short.

Life is short. Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake.

Today’s hiking club meeting made me realize acutely how much of the fun of living here I gave up when I made a two-year commitment to serving on the Board.

I’ve been beating myself up for taking so long to get the word out about the SCA Board brutally ejecting me from my elected seat.  They beat me bad and kicked the fire out of my belly.

Problem is they’re still spending lots of owners’ money to keep that fire out.

Right now, the fun life is calling me so I can’t see much value in fighting to get back on such a dysfunctional Board, but I can’t quit just yet.  

Wild Ride

First, I need to show owners that we are being taken for an expensive ride, and how those in the driver’s seat are spending lots of our money to keep in control and to run over and crush the spirit out of anyone who gets in the way.

Thursday, Sept. 28, 5:30 PM Board will adopt the 2018 budget – that’s at 5:30 PM, not at the usual 1:30 PM.

This decision will be virtually 100% final even though there is a November 16th member “ratification” meeting in which 90% of all owners would have to vote it down. No big deal. The attorney says the GM doesn’t have to follow it anyway.

September 28th Board Meeting Agenda and Board Book (pdf)

Other Irritating Agenda Items Worthy of Note

Buying the Hand that Beats You

We have paid $103,000 in attorney fees in the four months attorney Adam Clarkson has literally been running the show. These giant legal fees just blew by the $30,000 budget for those four months without so much as a “fare thee well.”  How much of that high-cost legal work was necessary and how much was used vindictively to punish a homeowner that was getting in the way, or to evict the Foundation Assisting Seniors, or to interfere with the recall election of Rex, Aletta, Tom & Bob?

Last Among Equals

I’m a little touchy about this attorney because he is a bully who cares more about the General Manager (GM) and Community Association Manager than he cares about homeowners. He’s bullied the board into not using their common sense, and lots of those dollars went to writing nasty letters telling me to stop questioning why the GM is paid $100,000 over market value or why four managers compensation eats up 10% of the operating budget.

It has cost the homeowners many thousands to use the attorney to threaten me, to carve me out from the Board, and to not only treat me less than the other Directors, but less than a human.

Embarrassing Loss of Budget Control

The attorney self-servingly advises that the GM doesn’t have to get Board approval or even notify members that money is being taken from Peter to pay Paul.  Remember the consultant the GM needed to tell us why the restaurant is closed? It wasn’t budgeted in 2017, and I didn’t see it in 2018 either.

The 2018 budget will deal with it by doubling the amount budgeted for attorneys rather than asking why SCA needs to pay attorneys 100 times what Anthem Community Council pays in legal fees.

So, I guess the GM can take money from whatever purpose is favored by people she doesn’t like to pay the attorney. The Board sure won’t stop her. They didn’t stop her from paying a CPA to kick the Election Committee off the job for the October removal election.

Wait, what removal election?

I’m not surprised you didn’t hear that on August 11, 825 people turned in petitions to recall Rex Weddle, Aletta Waterhouse, Tom Nissen & Bob Burch for just cause – such as secret meetings and lying.

No official information has gone out about the HUGE event that the majority of the board was facing a recall vote. They didn’t even give me a notice that four of them were facing recall while six of them were secretly plotting to surprise attack me and dump me from the Board on just their say so.

When is Vote to Remove Rex, Aletta, Tom & Bob?

Who knows? They’ve done a good job keeping the word quiet. At Thursday’s Board meeting a verbal report will be made, and supposedly the ballots for their removal will go out on October 2 with the caveat that they must be back for counting by October 20.  I guess people who are gone are just SOL and can’t vote.

Why didn’t owners get to vote when I was kicked off?

Who knows? Owners voted me in. I sure don’t want to pay the attorney $325 to write another letter saying why the law requiring 2,501 owners here vote for the removal of a Director doesn’t apply to me.

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)

Get involved: Questions To Ask

I’ve been asked how a homeowner can get involved and be heard…

Here are some questions to ask at the next HOA meeting, or, if you can’t make it, login to the SCA HOA website and use the management request form.

  1. Ask why they made it so hard for people to find anything out about the removal election of four directors who are ga-ga over the GM.
  2. Ask why didn’t they post the petitions so people could know what the complaints against the four directors were.
  3. Ask why there was no official response to the petitioners’ concerns was ever given to 825+ owners signed petitions for removing Rex, Aletta, Tom and Bob.
  4. Ask why no attempts to correct any of the listed problems were ever made.
  5. Ask why no provision for notifying voters who might have their mail on hold the entire voting period how to get their ballot.
  6. Ask why, when the petitions came in, management only notified David Berman.
  7. Ask why only six of the seven members of the Board were notified.
  8. Ask why the GM did not notify me, the seventh elected member of the Board, that four petitions with 825+ signers were submitted on August 11 citing a long list of complaints justifying a call for a removal election of four members of the seven-member board.
  9. Ask why no petition of 10% of the owners or removal election was required when I kicked off the board on August 24 without just cause.