$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?

 

 

 

FAQs: Removal election voting procedures

As you’ve no doubt noticed, the instructions on voting are confusing and the normal voting procedures have been changed. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What return address do I put on the envelope if I own multiple properties in Sun City Anthem?
Put the address where each ballot was mailed. You may also note each property address on the outside envelope that contains the ballot envelope for that property’s vote.

Should I write the property address on the ballot envelope?
No. Do not write anything on the ballot envelope.

What if I mailed my ballot in without any return address?
Contact Ovist & Howard at (702) 456-1300 for replacement ballots. Ballots without a return address that matches where a ballot was mailed will not be counted.

What is the deadline for my vote to count in the removal election?
Your ballot must be RECEIVED by 5 PM on Thursday, October 26
by Ovist & Howard, 7 Commerce Center Dr. Henderson 89014

Can I drop my ballot off at Anthem Center?
No. Your ballot must be mailed or hand delivered to Ovist & Howard 7 Commerce Center Dr. Henderson 89014 so it is received before the 5 PM, October 26 deadline.

If my ballot got coffee stains on it, can I copy my neighbor’s ballot?
No. Only original ballots will be counted.

What if I threw my ballot away by mistake?
Contact Ovist & Howard at (702) 456-1300 for a replacement ballot.

How do I complain if I think this election is unfair?
Contact the Ombudsman or the NRED Investigator or both.
Charvez Foger, Ombudsman
The Ombudsman’s Office,Nevada Real Estate Division
3300 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 325 Las Vegas, Nevada 89102
702-486-4480  Website: www.red.nv.gov
cicombudsman@red.nv.gov
https://scastrong.com/action-report-election-issues-to-the-ombudsman/  

You may also contact the investigator who is assigned to coordinate the numerous complaints currently filed against SCA Board, GM Sandy Seddon and attorney Adam Clarkson.

Christina Pitch, cpitch@red.nv.gov
HOA Investigations 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
https://scastrong.com/put-complaints-on-the-record/

Will it do any good to complain?
There are already serious complaints submitted to the Ombudsman against Sandy Seddon, Attorney Adam Clarkson, and BOD President Rex Weddle. It is important that the enforcement authorities hear from you as well if you believe the process has been made unnecessarily difficult or if you believe votes are unfairly not being counted.

 

How to vote in the recall election (video)

Help for Sun City Anthem homeowners who may not have understood that Ovist & Howard, CPAs’, letter was actually a ballot to vote to remove Rex Weddle, Aletta Waterhouse, and Tom Nissen from the SCA Board. Gives you info re Oct. 26 deadline and instructions to ensure your vote counts.

SCA Board & GM cause substantial decrease in happiness factor

This open letter is republished with permission from Favil West, President of the Foundation Assisting Seniors, who formerly served as a SCA Board member for six years as well as for three years on the Commission for Common Interest Communities. Favil describes his view of how much the SCA Board, GM and over-used attorney are causing our community to suffer under their system of mis-management.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Fake news abounds in our community. I’ve seen it produced by this SCA Board, a committee chair, a vice chair, a club president, a blogger and on down the line. Good grief even one of our board members has sent out a plea for you to vote no so she can stay on the board. A move without precedent

Let’s look at the Berman blog. He unabashedly states that the 3 board members, currently to be recalled, have committed “no crimes or malfeasance.” That just is not true. I personally know of 8 infractions of Statute. For starters, the 3 board members to be removed are accused of having violated the following statutes:

  1. NRS 116.31035
  2. NRS 116.31036
  3. NRS 116.31088
  4. NRS 116.31085
  5. NRS 116.3108
  6. NRS 116.31184
  7. NRS 116.31183
  8. NRS 116.31175

At least one of these violations is a misdemeanor and even though it is in the NRS 116 ACT, it falls under other jurisdictions.

Ron Johnson produces an editorial page, usually well documented, the most recent of which has factually debunked most if not all of the claims made by the OSCAR group. Dick Arendt lends his passion to the fray stimulating research and thought while Rana gives us a more even- handed treatment of the facts. Nona Tobin just started a blog. We won’t know its character for a while but I personally look forward to seeing it as I know it will contain significant detail. To top it off, through personal conversations with the Ombudsman, I know that NRED is concerned with what is taking place here at Sun City Anthem.

Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of financial figures knows full well that numbers can be manipulated to show anything you want them to show. I believe all of us have heard the old saw, figures lie and liars figure. I fear that is true in the instant case.  Why doesn’t the board lay out the true cost of management in dollars and cents for all the unit owners to see? How much has this self- management debacle truly cost? What was our annual cost of management before self- management and what is it now? They should show consulting fees, the trips, parties, meals, salaries, separation payments, if any, the current salaries of the top 5 highest paid staff, their bonuses, their allowances, and their benefits, as well as the total salary costs including that of Lori, who has since left SCA. Then add in the legal fees which according to the budget are approximately $90,000 over budget, and all the outside contracted work such as IT, and all accounting services. Once all of that is together, we, the unit owners, can actually compare costs. Until this information is released to the unit owners, well, the old saw is still sawing away.

While unit owner’s angst cannot be measured in terms of dollars and cents, there has been a substantial decrease in the happiness factor because of board, GM, and legal actions. In my nearly 18 years living here in Sun City Anthem, six years of which I served on the SCA Board, I have never seen anything that compares with what is now happening on our hill.

This removal election has already turned into a debacle. Words such as voter suppression, stupidity, mismanagement, failure of the board and its gm to do its fiduciary duty, and probably a few I cannot repeat are being bantered around while board members are pleading for you to vote no so they can continue this sordid behavior. Even those who do not support the recall agree that the ballot mailing and instructions show a high degree of incompetence.

In my opinion, these ballots should be thrown out and new ones issued. These new ballots should be color coded to eliminate confusion, a simple explanation included, and, finally, the outside envelope should say ballot enclosed. That’s not too hard is it. It’s what we done in the previous 17 elections. That is really not too hard if you know what you are doing.

Notwithstanding the impact this will have on the reputation of our Sun City, win, lose, or draw this removal election and the reasons for it remain  an everlasting stigma on the 3 to be recalled, the rest of the board and its GM. Frankly, in my opinion, Weddle, Burch, Nissen, and Waterhouse should all resign as they will have no respect in the future.

Folks, at the hands of this board board we are no longer the class active living community we once were. Our reputation has been sullied by incompetence, prevarication, and dereliction . How sad.

Favil

 

Voter Suppression Tactics

The following essay was written by Jim Mayfield, former member and Vice-President of the Sun City Anthem Board, and is republished here with his permission. Jim retired after six years service last May at the same time I was elected to replace Carl Weinstein.

On Saturday, we received our ballot for the recall election in the mail. At first, I almost discarded it in the recycle bin without even opening it.  I though it was another piece of solicitation junk mail.  (Subsequently, I was told that I was not the only one who thought this way.)  However, I opened the letter and found out that it was the ballot for the recall election and the instructions for how to mail in the ballot.

The purpose of this email is not to reiterate the obvious flaws (already noted by others) in the ballot process that should and could have been avoided by the CPAs retained to perform the voting process if they had studied and incorporated the time-tested SCA election processes.  Instead, the purpose of this email is to raise the ominous issues regarding 1> the motivation for the use of voter suppression tactics, and 2> the ethics behind obvious voter suppression tactics.

Preface
During my six years of service on an SCA committee and board of directors, I observed a steady decline in the willingness of SCA homeowners to volunteer their time to serve as club officers, SCA committee members and to seek election to the SCA board of directors.  This trend is indeed regrettable because of the large number of intelligent, talented residents who live within SCA and whose talents could be used to insure efficient operations at SCA and continuous improvement of the quality of life within SCA.  I also observed that fewer than half of the SCA homeowners vote in the annual board of directors election.  Even more significant, less than .75% of the SCA homeowners attend public board and committee meetings.

On one level, I empathize with why SCA homeowners do not chose to participate in the governance of their homeowners association.  Most people retired to enjoy pursuing life-long retirement objectives.  Annual assessments appear low compared to the benefits received.  However, as consequence of the lack of involvement by a broad group of homeowners in the governance of SCA, a small group of self-serving homeowners and management control and manipulate the operations of SCA. Their personal agendas frequently do not represent the best interest or service expectations of the homeowners.

Motivation for Use of Voter Suppression Tactics
The threshold to remove a director is just over 2,500 votes of the 7,144 SCA homeowners.  Anyone who doesn’t vote or whose ballot is disqualified is an automatic “no” vote. Obtaining the “yes” vote from 2,500+ homeowners is an almost impenetrable barrier to the removal of a director.  This reality begs the question of why management, members of the current board, and individuals wanting to maintain the status quo feel compelled to

  • use voter suppression tactics,
  • disseminate false and misleading information,
  • spend over $4,500 to get out their fake fact message, and
  • conduct possible violations of state law and SCA governing documents

to defeat the removal election.

The obvious answer is that they want to send the message that any attempts to dislodge them will be unsuccessful;` so, don’t waste your time.  They also fear that even an unsuccessful attempt at removal in which a majority of the votes cast are for removal will send the communication that a majority of the active members of the community are not supportive of the performance of current management or board of directors.  When faced with dissent, they rely on brutal, frequently illegal, tactics to suppress homeowner involvement and the dissent of any elected director who doesn’t “go along to get along”.

Ethics Behind Obvious Voter Suppression Tactics
The question we, the homeowners, need to answer in this recall election is the message we want to send regarding the ethics and culture of the SCA community. My experience since moving to SCA is that it is a community of fine, diverse people who share an incredible moral compass.  I do not believe that the actions of the current board or management reflect the moral values of the residents of SCA.

Personally, I never believed the recall election stood a chance of being successful. However, I believe that every “yes” vote sends a message to the corrupt, self-serving insiders who currently control the governance of SCA that their morals and actions do not represent the community.

I urge you to spend the 50 cents to send in you ballot and to vote “yes” in the recall election.

Thanks for reading a best wishes to all of you.

Jim Mayfield