Sunday, April 19, 2015
Receivership anyone? Tom's Take on the Membership Meeting
No, I'm not proposing a receivership--but some one is--AGAIN. We'll get to him later.
These are simply my thoughts on the Hideaway Valley annual membership meeting, events not necessarily in the proper order, just the highlights of the meeting and a few thanks to those who stood up for our membership.
As members arrived, it did not appear that the board intended to stay for long. There were no snacks, water, a pop to drink. There were no tally sheets for the vote counters, as if no real meeting were planned...although Bryan Cook was taking ballots.
I asked if he was going to take my ballot since at the last board meeting, they informed me that I was no longer a member of the association. That was news to me as I had purchased my lot in 2003, served as a Trustee and even was Hideaway's corporate agent for a few years. Bryan said, "Well, uh, you just are not on the county records."
"Really Bryan?" I asked him. "When you were collecting funds for the Concerned property owners, I took you cash for the legal fund and you gave me a receipt that I still have. My name was on the association membership list for years and I paid my dues as Tom LeFevre until Roy Walker took my name off that list. I marched to Roys house and showed him my bill of sale..."
Bryan told me to put my ballot in the pile.
Before the meeting was called, discussions ensued around the room. Erik Peterson noticed a man sitting at the board's table he did not recognize--"Who are you?" The stranger answered that he was the association's attorney. Erik told him he was not a board member and he didn't want him sitting at the board table.
First big thanks goes to Erik Peterson.
The attorney went and sat at another table when someone wanted to know who he represented--the Association or the Board--he said the Association and he was here for us because some issues of voting had come up. I asked if he was telling us the responsibilities of the board were to legislate or to administer. He did not answer.
Members began quoting the documents of Hideaway when a question was posed about which Bylaws the members were quoting and Becky Peterson said they were using the ones legally voted in by the members in 2010. The attorney said they were not legal because they were not recorded and Becky pointed out that the law that required bylaws to be recorded was not enacted until 2011. Even so, she explained, nothing in the law invalidated the bylaws if they were not recorded, "And you know that." she told him, "These are our legal bylaws. And we have written to you about this issue signed by many members and your law firm just ignored us. I thought you were supposed to be working for us."
Becky Peterson gets a huge thanks for standing up to the attorney.
Vivian Kuntz commented, "You're not being forthright with us. He's not here for you", she turned to the members, "he is here to protect and support the board with your money. She turned to him and asked, "I worked for an attorney and I know about this. You can't even tell us what the board discusses with you, can you?" he affirmed that he works for the board and Vivian said "and he uses our money to do do it."
Next big thanks to Vivian.
Someone asked why an attorney needed to be there anyway and Roy Walker stated there had been a letter from an attorney who said if there were any improprieties in the election there would be legal action. Roy said they would postpone until some issues were resolved. The attorney said he dealt with many HOAs and resolving conflicts--and said at some point this was going to go before a judge and maybe now is a good time.
Fred Smith, one of the original developers stood up, and said, "I wrote those documents and if you need clarification I can give it to you. I know what they mean and so you don't have to hire attorneys and go to court. I know who is allowed to vote and who is not. Ask me. The attorney who wrote the documents isn't practicing but he's alive and I'll get him to write a clarification for the association records if that is what you need and it won't entail huge legal fees." He went on to explain the hierarchy of documents--Federal law, State law, county, then the plat map, covenants and bylaws. We are already governed by these and we don't need clarification. I know what I meant by these documents."
Thank you Fred Smith.
After 45 minutes of discussion, the attorney got up and left. Someone motioned for the members to conduct their own meeting since the board didn't seem to want one. Finally a member noted that the president really was supposed to chair, so Roy reluctantly agreed to chair the meeting and follow the agenda.
5 volunteers went to count the ballots. They were a bit handicapped as the board had not come prepared to count ballots with tally sheets and pens and a roster of members from the records. Fred Smith was one of the volunteers and officiated for the counters so it would be done properly.
During the meeting our acting president once again suggested that the only solution for Hideaway is a receivership--ra ra ra for the acting president. Every time it looks like he is not going to be in charge--like when Roy quit in 2009, like when he sued the association in 2011, and like when he was voted off the board by the members in 2012, he wants us to go into receivership. Same old same old.
I was asked to fill in with the counting when one of the counters had to leave so there's a bit of a gap here.
We came out with 3 clear winners, Becky Peterson with 82 votes, and Kurtis Zobell and Vicki Hill both with 73 votes. After the counts were announced, once again, our receivership advocate stated that 2 of the winners were not really winners because they did not get 51% of the votes represented at the meeting--the quorum was 150 and 73 was not 51% . Fred Smith put a stop to that nonsense. He stated that "majority" when voting for Trustees meant the ones with the most votes. Period. When Roy ran out of wiggle room to invalidate the outcome, Vivian again stepped up and asked the room, "Do we agree that the candidates with the highest number of votes are the winners? Everyone nodded in agreement. Does anyone disagree? No one disagreed, not even Roy. It was unanimous, Becky, Kurtis, and Vicki were declared the winners.
Then out of some child's fairy tale book, a new rule appeared. Poof. The new rules says that trustees are not to be seated until May1 for untold reasons. The acting president just shut the meeting down and said the next board meeting was to be May 1. For 33 years the new board members have been elected and seated at the annual board meeting--not with the fiscal year.
In fact when I drove to the meeting I saw the postings on the association bulletin board. It said, "HVPOA Annual member meeting at the Senior center in Fairview followed by the board meeting."
Roy has been seated a number of times and it is always immediately after he wins. It looks like if they don't get what they want, they make up rules to suit themselves. But that couldn't possibly be, could it? Their behavior in having an unauthorized, unnoticed board meeting on Friday and hiring an attorney without a legal board action had nothing to do with them wanting to stay in power, did it? Their attempt to take away membership in the association had nothing to do with trying to manipulate the election outcome did it? Or trying to rewrite the bylaws and covenants to give more power to the board and not the members who pay. Or getting the attorney to stop the vote count by hook or crook and invalidate the election and the bylaws that give members strong protection... they wouldn’t do anything like that, would they? Nah...
Maybe the new board will have regular meetings not in private homes and not during working hours so that members might attend. Lets hope.
Basic opinion and perspective from one member: Tom LeFevre