Our July 30th informational meeting for RVS residents attracted about 35 individuals, a good turnout considering we were competing with the Connector meeting held by the County.
I opened the meeting with introductory remarks. I stated that our group had received some criticism for being anonymous — although when you are walking up and down our streets distributing flyers, you aren’t exactly anonymous. The reason for keeping a low profile was to postpone some of the retaliation that we know will be coming our way from the RVS Board.
A resident asked me for an example of retaliatory action. I read a letter that was sent by either a Board member, a HOAMCO employee, or someone related to a Board member, to the employer of one of our Board members. It is not possible to know exactly who sent it because the letter was not signed.
The letter stated that the Board member had written and distributed the flyer, which was sent along with the letter. That is not true; a group of us, not including the Board member, wrote the flyer. The letter also attacked the Board member’s wife. The letter went on to make accusations against the Board member and asked his employer to take action against him. I think that counts as retaliation.
I also pointed out that the Community Manager stated at the July 22 Board meeting that he considered calling the sheriff because residents were so frightened by a few people walking on the streets of their own community handing out information.
The Board and the community manager have also called the Sheriff for frivolous reasons against a Board member and a resident. The Sheriff’s reports are on this blog – we also showed them to residents during the meeting. The President approved a Sheriff’s Deputy for the 2013 Annual meeting without board approval; when asked what the cost was, she told a resident that SFCC provided the service at no charge – later, it was revealed that the Association paid for the Deputy. She also invited a Sheriff’s rep to the March board meeting (without board approval) to intimidate residents into silence.
I spoke about our Board’s ever increasing legal costs that have now gone over the entire annual budget for that category. I provided reasons for the ballooning legal fees, which have increased substantially over the past 3 years. I explained that several of us have hired lawyers at our own cost to fight the Board and HOAMCO, for:
- Violating our privacy
- Denying access to records to which we are entitled
- Flagrantly ignoring the Bylaws of the Association and making policies that violate the Bylaws.
- Continuously contacting the Association Attorney without full board approval
We have to use our own money to pay our lawyers but it is the money of all of the residents of RVS that is being used by the Board to fight us.
The Board’s attorney, Lynn Krupnik, lives in Tempe Arizona, although she owns a townhome in Rancho Viejo. Some people asked for her contact information. Her website is: http://www.krupniklaw.org/Contact.html
I don’t understand why our Board can’t use the services of an attorney who actually lives in New Mexico.
Among other issues addressed:
- The RoundUp newsletter, which is supported by resident dues and advertising (and is over budget), will not run letters to the editor from residents. The Board president did not like the fact that many letters were against potential development so she prohibited all letters. She is a friend of the current developer who has written two columns for our newsletter in the past year. By charter, the Board is prohibited from taking a position against the developer, but this does not apply to individual residents, and yet we are censored.
- Abbreviated Board minutes that often do not reflect what actually occurs at Board meetings.
- Board minutes and financial records are months behind in being posted to the RVS website hosted by HOAMCO. http://www.hoamcoweb.com/ranchoviejosouth
- No audit for three years; a reserve study postponed until residents objected.
- The Board president, Carol Thompson, works for HOAMCO and has a potential conflict of interest that she was directed to disclose in writing by the Board attorney in October. Ms. Thompson has never put this in writing and has never recused herself from voting on HOAMCO contracts.
Finally, I shut up and let other people talk.
Jessica Pfeiffer spoke about how she has applied to serve on several Board committees and was rebuffed for no other reason than the Board members don’t like her. Yes, one of them actually told her that.
Jessica also shared her experience of having the Board call the Sheriff on her for constantly questioning the Board’s actions.
Madelene DeRollo spoke about her concerns about the new records policy adopted by the Board and how it actually violates the Bylaws. She pointed out that the community manager is supposed to be enforcing the Bylaws, not withholding documents from Board members who are entitled to see them, which he has done.
Madelene also addressed the issue of the Infrastructure Committee, which she served on and was disbanded by the President before it could make a report after a long period of research. Madelene stated that landscaping is an important issue and a big expense in RVS, particularly during a drought and these issues should not be put aside.
Annie McGovern expressed concern that the BOD does not trust residents to run its own elections, or to count ballots, and that the BOD spent $300 on election officials.
There is also concern that last year’s proxy votes were not handled properly.
RVS Board member Teri Buhl, who has an engineering background and served on the now disbanded infrastructure committee, gave a presentation on the irrigation system for Rancho Viejo. We use recycled water provided by Ranchland Utility but they are not obligated to sell us this water and eventually pumps and other equipment will need to be replaced. The cost of recycled water is much less than potable water so it is to our benefit to maintain the infrastructure. There has been discussion about transitioning to hardscape and having fewer trees and bushes. Last year, the BOD voted against setting up a reserve fund for irrigation infrastructure and improvements, and in July they rescinded monies for an engineering study. The President said that a new “task force” may be set up. Teri said that interested residents should pay attention to this and participate. You can see a copy of the presentation on this website: go to “Under the Curtain/College District Treated Water Study
At the end of the meeting there was a discussion about how the residents could change the situation here in RVS. Finding other individuals to run for office, not re-electing the existing Board, and recalling two of the existing officers — Carol Thompson, president and Jim Kerr, secretary are options. There will be a recall petition for a special meeting for this purpose and we will keep residents informed of future meetings and further developments on this blog.