GM Dumped $73,000+ Removal Election Costs on SCA Owners

The GM is to blame for the big bill – not the SCA owners who must pay it

This huge expense is still climbing, but it was totally unnecessary, not legally authorized by the Board, and did not serve the best interests of SCA.

Both the GM and the attorney should be fired for spending our money to interfere with the integrity of the removal election.

This unauthorized expenditure is sufficiently egregious to warrant the termination of both the GM and attorney, but that won’t happen because the beneficiaries of the election interference by SCA’s agents included a majority of the Board which was apparently important enough to them to stand by and let SCA owners foot the huge and unnecessary bill.

While I was on the Board I aggressively attempted to protect the independence of the Election Committee,  but alone and constrained by ethical boundaries, I was no match for the abuse of power by the Board President and SCA’s agents who were not so constrained.

A well-documented contributing factor to my unlawful removal from the Board was that I informed the Ombudsman on July 24 of my concerns about the need to protect the independence of the Election Committee (and also to protect owners lawfully collecting petition signatures) from the significant GM/CAM/attorney/Board interference I observed.

Berman’s constant improper placement of blame

David Berman continues to perpetuate the myth that these unnecessary and unauthorized costs were caused by the petitioners who (legally) called for the removal election.

This targeting of unit owners is obviously wrong. Owners don’t have enough power to be culpable.

Think about it.

  • If 1,200 unit owners had wanted  the Election Committee to conduct the removal election, but the GM did not want it, would they have been able to make their wishes happen over her objections?
  • If any of the petitioners had come to the Board meeting and begged to have SCA fork out over $73,000 to pay an unknown CPA and the attorney to do the Election Committee’s job, would SCA have spent one dime?

Both the GM and the Board President had to want SCA money to be spent on agents of their choosing  to run the removal election (incompetently or, more likely, unethically), or OUR money  would still be safely in the bank.

The Spin Doctor at work

Yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, David Berman persists in promulgating this almost laughable propaganda that unit owners could make the GM do something that doesn’t serve her interests. Smug in this delusion, today he blogged with a melodramatic and an almost audible sigh that this big $73,000 number would still be bigger when the attorney and CPA bills all come in:

Sad. SCA deserves so much better.
But, wait, hope may be on the horizon:

CIC Commission recently held a GM accountable despite HOA attorney advice that action was OK under NRS.

If Rex and Sandy having Clarkson on speed dial is no longer as good an excuse as “the dog ate my homework”, then maybe…

AnthemOpinions blogspot reported about a case that was heard at the recent CIC Commission meeting which seemed to demonstrate the Commission’s repudiation of the “the attorney said I could” defense.

 

The Zeitgeist
Perhaps, we are reaching a tipping point.

In the whole country, the public conversation has shifted seismically around sexual harassment. Suddenly, society-at-large is not just standing silently by while men in power abuse vulnerable people with impunity.

Maybe the tide is turning here at SCA too.

Now, owners no longer seem so resigned and no longer seem willing to tolerate inexcusable behavior or poor leadership. A critical mass is forming, and this is a necessary step to creating a healthier balance of power in our community.

As formerly discouraged and disenfranchised owners are more willing to speak up and stand up to bullies, SCA’s bullies will predictably face a Come to Jesus reckoning. A tectonic power shift will occur that, in retrospect, we will be surprised at how long it took us to take our power back.

 

 

On the Advice of Counsel is No Defense

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

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

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

No one. At least not legally.

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

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

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

Whose authority is it?

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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.

 

Elder abuse: Part I – Guardianship

Many of you may not be familiar with the guardianship problem, but it’s where unscrupulous people become legal guardians and take over the finances and lives of the frail and elderly. They use a legal loophole to victimize the elderly and even take away the rights of the victim’s family. Guardianship abuse has been much worse here in Nevada because of the corruption that is rampant throughout our legal system.

Click this link https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/how-the-elderly-lose-their-rights for an in-depth article published October 9, 2017 in the New Yorker, “How the Elderly Lose Their Rights: Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens and make a profit from it” by Rachel Aviv.

For more information about guardianship abuse, visit  http://www.stopguardianabusenv.org/ This website was produced by the Nevada Association to Stop Guardian and Elder Abuse, a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping exploitation and abuse of those in need.

SCA resident, Rana Goodman, the President of the nonprofit, is mentioned in the New Yorker article. Rana deserves our profuse thanks for being such a tireless advocate for these most vulnerable among us. She has successfully gotten some legal changes to allow us to prospectively (before we are of diminished capacity) nominate who we want as our guardian so we can prevent some unscrupulous professional guardian from swooping in and taking over our lives.

It’s tragic to think that this type of abuse can even happen. Legal guardians are supposed to be fiduciaries. They are supposed to protect people who can’t take care of themselves. They are supposed to act solely in the best interest of the client. They are supposed to use the powers they “legally” get over their wards only for the good of the person under their charge, but sadly, and with the support of lawyers and judges, many helpless people have been victimized.

Whenever there is a lot of money involved, there will be those who will scam the system and rip innocent people off, and with unfortunate frequency here in Nevada, there will be judges and attorneys who help them get away with it.

As time goes by, I will show you in my blogs how a similar type of systemic corruption is pervasive within Nevada HOAs, and I’ll show you how it can work unfairly to the advantage of HOA agents, like managers, debt collectors, and attorneys, to rip off HOA owners. I’ll show you how SCA’s former agents essentially stole my late fiance’s house, and I’ll show you how SCA’s current agents are getting the Board’s unwitting blessing to rip SCA owners off in a lot of different ways.

$50,000 for the removal election and still counting

Last June I did not think passing around recall petitions was a good idea. I thought it was a fool’s errand – disruptive and doomed to fail.

However, I am a strong, some say overly-aggressive, defender of owners’ rights. I just hate it when people with power abuse ANY owner’s rights, but especially if they use dirty tricks or create an uneven playing field and make the little guy pay the price. 

That’s what’s happening here now. The opponents of the removal election are making owners pay way more than we should, and they are trying to get us to blame the wrong people.

All the tens of thousands we will be paying for this removal election (above the less than $10,000 cost of an annual election) could have been avoided if the GM hadn’t blown me off by not even acknowledging my July 20 email:

Sandy Seddon didn’t answer me. Why should she? She knew that there was no one on the Board except me that cared one whit about maintaining the independence and neutrality of the Election Committee. Quite the opposite, she knew that she had the votes to approve anything she wanted to do make the removal election process difficult.

Who decided that these actions were in the best interest of owners?

Now, SCA owners are obligated to pay a bungling CPA firm $20,000 for the work done through September 30 no matter how poorly it was done. We will be on the hook for maybe triple that amount because their errors or omissions are significant enough that a second recall ballot may need to go out with Bob Burch’s name added to it.

Who made the decision to take away the Election Committee’s job?

Who decided that it was in the owners’ best interest to use an attorney and a CPA for the removal election when the attorney in five months is already billed $150,000 – FOUR times the $37,500 budget (In just September the attorney billed $43,873 and the CPA who replaced the volunteer Election Committee billed $20,000)?

Did I mention that there was:

  • no RFP for a CPA,
  • no approved CPA contract,
  • no Board approval to change the Election and Voting Manual,
  • no budget authorization for the CPA, and
  • the CPA has made so many mistakes that there might have to be a second removal ballot?

 

 

 

Defending the GM and her excessive compensation is a slippery slope

I have heard many SCA homeowners talk about the recall election and their main focus of concern seems to be the cost of removing Rex, Aletta, and Tom from office.

However, the real issue of this recall election should be the unnecessary costs these Directors have created, and insist homeowners continue to pay, rather than admit they are wrong. Their visceral hostility to my professional assessment of how to address excessive executive compensation is what got me excluded from meetings and decisions and is the real reason they kicked me off the board.

Refusal to utilize professional compensation standards for GM is unacceptable.

Excessive executive compensation may be justified in the eyes of the board members who approved it when the GM was hired in November, 2015, but they erred significantly in the compensation for the GM going forward which is easily $100,000/year too high.

The problem needs to be corrected by using expertise within our community, but instead, it was exacerbated by Rex appointing Tom Nissen and Bob Burch, a Board work group, and excluding me with threats of legal action regardless of my expertise. There are professional standards and practices governing compensation in the public and/or non-profit sectors that cannot be legitimately dismissed, but have been. Compensation for a job class is based on a number of factors normally determined by a classification and compensation survey of comparable agencies within the geographic job market conducted by trained and independent persons. SCA lacks a needed professional protocol for this.

 As delineated in our Articles of Incorporation, SCA was incorporated in 1998 as “a non-profit corporation organized under Chapter 82, Nevada Revised Statutes”. As such, the Board, contrary to what they believe, must operate under the good governance principles of a non-profit even though we are not a non-profit in the sense of a charity under IRC 501c3.

An easy-to-read article, WHAT IS “REASONABLE” COMPENSATION FOR A NON-PROFIT EXECUTIVE? describes one professional method for addressing GM compensation issues:
“Establish a Good Governance Framework
As a preliminary matter, non-profit Boards must establish good governance processes and procedures.  As suggested by the Treasury Department, good non-profit governance in the area of executive compensation starts with the following basic framework:

  1.  Set and follow established procedures for determining compensation;
  2.  Use responsible effort to determine appropriate or reasonable levels of executive compensation; and
  3.  Maintain appropriate oversight of executive compensation levels.

Owner complaints of GM compensation should not be treated as beneath the Board’s notice.

The hot-button GM compensation issues listed below involve major deviations from standard compensation principles. I wanted the Board to take back policy control and be accountable to the homeowners. The other Board members wanted to pay the GM whatever they decided without having to listen to me ‘bitch’ about it or to my insisting that they explain their rationale to owners.

  1. The GM was hired at $250,000 which was $100,000 more than Sun City Summerlin paid to hire their Executive Director in 2015, and both SCA and SCS recruitments occurred at about the same time.
  2. We also pay for $100,000 for a CAM Lori Martin (recently replaced), so in essence, we are paying two people $400,000 (including increases, bonuses and benefits) for the work that other HOAs pay a single person under $200,000 on contract to accomplish. I have found that other larger and more complex HOAs pay for a top executive to operate the HOA under their own CAM license.
  3. In addition, Rex and the rest of the Board Members, gave the GM a $20,000 bonus, six months after she took over duties from FSR, the management company. However, to date, Rex has not been able to give a good justification for the bonus. The Board has refused to publicly adopt any GM performance standards.
  4. They cannot explain why there was a need for a 10% increase in owner assessments when we were moving to self-management as a more cost-effective form of operations.
  5. They claim that the GM’s big compensation was justified by the saving she accomplished when taking over early from FSR (a savings which was not known or predicted when she was hired in 2015 at such an exorbitant salary.)
  6. Why didn’t the $30,000/month for nine months that was supposedly saved by her early transition show up in the bottom line in the 2016 audit?
  7. The GM hired a CFO at $190,000 + benefits to handle our comparatively small $10 million budget. This compensation is also way out of line with the proper pay for that job class, maybe as much as double what others pay in this market for comparable work.
  8. The same problem of compensation rates based on a total disconnect with the local market rates for comparable jobs occurred again with the Facilities Manager compensation at $154,000, again double what other Sun City HOAs are paying in our region.

The combined compensation of four executives unreasonably takes up about 10% of the operating budget. However, but before I could finish my analysis, they ordered me to cease & desist asking questions. After prohibiting me from researching this subject further, they illegally removed me from my position on the Board on completely unrelated, bogus charges.  This is the Board’s fatal step off the cliff, and SCA is still tumbling down the slippery slope of an unfair, overly-politicized system.

Transparency and accountability to owners is essential, but inadequate at SCA.

As fiduciaries, the Board should be much more transparent and accountable to the homeowners as they fund all employee salaries. Compensation practices in organizations that are funded by taxpayers, donors, or assessment payers are necessarily different than compensation practices permitted in the private for-profit sector. The extreme resistance to this notion of transparency, accountability and homeowner oversight of GM compensation and performance standards has been a major source of contention between me and the other Board members who are overly protective of the GM to the detriment of the effective governance of the association as a whole

Sound personnel and salary administration requires formal policies which should NOT be delegated to the GM without competent owner oversight.

Coming from for-profit and military backgrounds, the current Board members don’t see a problem operating without strict policy control of positions, classification, and compensation. Nor do they see that this oversight can be provided more effectively and consistently by owners with relevant professional skills BETTER than the function can be performed by the Board which may or may not have members with the proper expertise. They don’t see the problem they create by abdicating complete control over position control, performance expectations, and compensation, a third of the budget, to the GM without an adequate system of accountability.

Just as there is a Finance Committee, SCA should be a Personnel Committee which includes owners, and at least one Board member,  as required by NRS 82.206(3) to utilize the expertise of owners with backgrounds in HR, with an emphasis in the public and non-profit sectors, to oversee the development of personnel policies appropriate to a self-managed Sun City. I submitted a proposal for such a committee to the SCA Board at the January 26, 2017 Board meeting, but it was given zero consideration and, despite my request to have my written comments included in the Board Book, it’s as if it never happened.

Once the salary is set for the job classification, performance standards, and measurements must be publicly adopted to determine any bonus. Absent customer-service ratings and other performance measured against publicly-adopted standards, any compensation increase by the board is irresponsible.

Contrary to what I believe is in the best interests of the membership and my literal interpretation of NRS 116.31085, Rex has aggressively blocked the PUBLIC adoption of GM performance standards to a ludicrous level. He claims that the law does not require members to know what factors or measurements control GM compensation. Further, unit owners haven’t been informed how many of your assessment dollars have gone to the attorney to prevent me as a Director from seeing documents showing what performance expectations the Board had adopted in executive session (if any). In my view, this skewed interpretation of the law benefits no one except the GM, attorney, and Rex, the man who would be king.

 

Refusal to use my expertise to address owner concerns about GM compensation was only the beginning. SCA’s system of accountability has been seriously damaged by how the Board mis-handled the GM’s frivolous threats of litigation.

This dispute is the real impetus for my being unfairly kicked me off the Board. Rex has allowed the GM to use the attorney to block ANY audit of the GM’s compensation and performance by me as an individual Director. This politically-motivated act could only be  accomplished by paying the association attorney literally thousands of dollars to conceal SCA documents from me and bless violating SCA Bylaws 6.4c:

Bylaws 6.4 ( c) Inspection by Directors. Every director shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect all books, records, and documents of the Association and the physical properties owned or controlled by the Association. The right of inspection by a director includes the right to make a copy of relevant documents at the Association’s expense.

Concealing records and unequal treatment of independent Board members are two of SCA’s BIG unacceptable governance practices.

Whether the GM’s salary is correct or too high is not the critical issue. The huge problem is the kind of system that’s created when when the Board tolerates the GM throwing a hissy-fit because I did a salary verification with her former employer, and then claims I am not authorized to identify myself as an SCA Director or ask questions about GM compensation, and then orders SCA’s official records be sealed from my view. I was threatened with litigation, accused of violating my fiduciary duty, and many other humiliations, including shunning, for refusing to just shut-up.

In what world is it justifiable to treat a volunteer Director in such a horrific manner?

In what world is there any possible way I could have used GM compensation information to make a profit in unrelated quiet title litigation as they claimed?

SCA’s system of accountability and responsible governance has been seriously damaged by how the Board mis-handled the GM’s frivolous threats of litigation.

The GM’s actions, to prevent me from interfering with her gravy train, and to shut me up about demanding higher performance and responsiveness to homeowners to qualify for her high level of compensation were acts so egregious that, in my book, she should have been fired for her vindictive and retaliatory acts alone.

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.

 

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!

 

Action: Put your Complaints on the Record

Contact the HOA Investigator Christina Pitch, assigned to SCA complaints, including election interference, if you want your concerns on the record.

I have submitted several complaints to the Ombudsman, including several related to removal election interference. They have all been referred to the HOA Investigations Unit. On September 29, Section Chief Darik Ferguson instructed me to address all communications to Christina Pitch.  

Christina Pitch’s email address is cpitch@red.nv.gov.

Darik L. Ferguson Chief, Compliance/Audit Section
Nevada Real Estate Division
Common-Interest Communities/Condominium Hotels
3300 W. Sahara Avenue, Ste 350, Las Vegas,NV 89102
Office (702) 486-4480 / Fax (702) 486-4520
Darik.ferguson@red.nv.gov
Website: www.red.nv.gov

Two of my complaints are provided here as examples.

Email to Investigator forwarded an email of the GM’s refusal to put a written report updating the community about the removal election process in the Sept. 28 Board Book:

“Nona,
The Update was provided for reliance in relation to an oral summary of the status of the review of the petitions/removal election to be given at the meeting, and the update was drafted in a manner to be read aloud, not conveyed in writing.  Written documentation will not be provided as part of the board book.
-Sandy Seddon, CCAM, CMCA, AMS, PCAM | Sun City Anthem General Manager/COO”

From: Nona Tobin<nonatobin@gmail.com>
Wed, Oct 4, 2017
To: “cpitch@red.nv.gov” <cpitch@red.nv.gov>

This is an example of the many dirty tricks management is using to prevent the Sun City Anthem owners from knowing about the recall election which could remove the directors who are protecting her instead of the homeowners and who are abdicating too much policy authority.

After I submitted my complaint about how management and the attorney and board President interfered with the collection of names for the petitions, interfered with the neutral election committee, they continued to escalate by removing the election committee from the entire process in violation of SCA Election and Voting Manual, contracted with a CPA without any public adoption of such a contract or it being approved as it was not in the budget.

Now, the attorney (also paid over $73,000 over the budget so far) put out information about the dates the ballots will be sent out, and new restrictions, e.g.,that there will be no ballot boxes, and this information in written form will be withheld. Note that they have continued to withhold from me the audio file of the last two board meetings even though I have requested them in writing multiple times. (Note – GM finally gave me the audio recording of the Aug. 24 and the Sept. 28 Board meetings on Oct. 5, the day after I wrote this complaint to Investigator Pitch)

Thank you for your consideration of this additional information. I hope you understand the urgency because the ballots will be mailed on October 9, and owners’ completed ballots must be received by mail only by 5 pm (October 26) at the address of the CPA.

Voters are being forced to jump through hoops that have never existed in prior elections and which they will not be told about until it might be too late.

It is extraordinary chutzpah to kick me off the Board by a secret vote of six board members on unproven false charges and without a removal election just two weeks after petitions calling for an election to remove four of them were filed.

Please don’t let them get away with it.

Thank you.
Nona Tobin (702) 465-2199

My notarized & filed election interference complaint was referred to the Investigations Unit on Sept. 18 after the Board refused to respond AT ALL to the complaint on its merits (given to them on Sept. 2) or take any action whatsoever.

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.