At the July 30 community meeting, in response to a question, we discussed the retaliatory actions of some Board members against another Board member who had asked to see Board records that the Bylaws entitle him to see. Board members wrote to the individual’s employer, saying derogatory things about the Board member and asking the employer to “do something” about the individual. The letter was not signed but the information contained in it described things only Board members would know.
The Board has moved on to their next victim — me. On August 15, I received a letter stating that I was leasing my home in violation of the Bylaws, which state, “Any dwelling that is leased shall be leased only in its entirety…” In other words, residents are prohibited from having roommates or renting a room while they are still living in their homes.
I am not leasing my home. I do have overnight guests from time to time. I was informed that I should respond to the letter within 14 days or I would be fined. I did respond within the time period in writing but received a violation letter anyway stating that I had not responded. Again, nobody signed the letter, but there is a title — compliance coordinator. I had my attorney write a letter explaining that I am not leasing my home. In response I received a second letter with a larger fine. Then I received another letter saying I had not complied. I am now getting letters every day, with ever increasing fines, even though the Board has scheduled a hearing. That is harassment.
If the Board has asked for legal advice on this matter from the HOA attorney, it is residents’ dues that are paying for this.
The Board and the Community Manager have apparently enlisted one of my neighbors to watch my home. They call this “an inspection of the community.” I suppose there may be a positive side to this. I could post a sign in front of my house saying, “Burglars beware, my neighbor has this house under constant surveillance.”
The Board has taken quite an interest in who is sleeping in my home and they want me to pay a fine. But the Bylaws apply to all residents. Last October, the HOA attorney advised Board President Carol Thompson to declare in writing that she has a potential conflict of interest because she has a business relationship with HOAMCO, the company that manages RVS. (In this ethics-challenged state there is apparently no such thing as an actual conflict of interest, only a potential one.) This fact was disclosed at the October Board meeting but mysteriously never made it into the minutes. There was another special meeting, the minutes of which have not been published because Ms. Thompson does not want this fact to become known. The Association paid for legal fees but no minutes were published.
Ms. Thompson has never recused herself from voting on the HOAMCO contract and has never disclosed her business relationship with HOAMCO in writing. Nor, almost a year after the attorney’s opinion, has she been fined to my knowledge.
Section 6.4 of the Bylaws states that, “Unless otherwise approved by a majority of the other directors, no Owner Director may transact business with the Association or any Association contractor during his or her term as director or within two years after the term expires. A director shall promptly disclose in writing to the Board any actual or potential conflict of interest affecting the director relative to his or her performance as a director. A director’s failure to make such disclosure shall be grounds for removal by a a majority vote of the other Board members.”
I have read and reread the Bylaws and still can’t find any clause that says that Carol Thompson is exempt from them. She was also instrumental in passing a revised Board records policy that forbids any Board records from being taken off the premises of the Community Manager’s office. Yet this past summer, just a few weeks after the policy was passed, Ms. Thompson came to my block to help resolve a DRC dispute between two neighbors and she brought the original documents, not copies, with her. Again I looked for the clause that said that the Bylaws do not apply to her but could not find it.
So folks, what do you think? Should the Bylaws apply only to some residents? Are some people just way too important to comply with the governing documents?
I think the Bylaws apply to all residents equally. Though I do not believe that I have violated the Bylaws, I am willing to pay a fine when I see a copy of a letter from Carol Thompson disclosing her potential conflict of interest. I’m not interested in increasing the already way over-budget legal expenditures incurred by this rogue Board of Directors.
A hearing has been scheduled on my supposed violation next Tuesday evening at 6:10 p.m., just prior to the regular Board meeting at the Association offices. I invite all residents to the hearing. The Board wants it to be private. I want it to be public. And stick around for the regular Board meeting. See how your Board operates.