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DouglasP
(California)

Posts:6


01/11/2006 11:45 AM  
I am an owner and live in a California Town House complex for about nine years where some of the HOA Board members have presided on the Board for over 20 years. Actually the President of the Board lives a couple of units from me. I regularly attend Board meetings for the past one-year to see what really goes on here.
Some residents are screamed at and are treated like they are in prison while other is allowed to do just about whatever they wish without circumstances. Since I speak out about corruption, harassment and special favors I am definitely not in the inner circle. I have renters next door to me and they have been harassing me for years: slamming doors, sons parking in the fire lane in front of our town houses. Dropping heavy objects in their place which reverberates throughout my house and the Board has done nothing to help me for years, probably because they are trying to drive me out because I speak the truth about the Board.
After 17 years the Management Company was kicked out and the Treasurer on the Board told me about two months ago,” Celeste, the on site manager deleted all the data from all the computers." I don't know if this is true or not since I don't trust many of the Board members here. I do know since I am the Chair of the newly created Pool Committee (eight months ago) that the money being spent by the Board does not add up. On the Pool Committee I requested information on Pool equipment: warranties, motors, models,.. and received no info after giving the board three reports and requests. Pool equipment constantly breaks down as the Board states; however, much of the equipment was fairly new and should have warranties. They cover up the money spent using tactics like buying equipment when it has warranties.
Some resident are given special favors like my next door neighbor who for some reason is given an annual permit to park outside even though he has only one car parked in the garage which breaks the CC&R's and often parks some 14 to 20 feet from the curb which is a flagrant violation of the CC&R's and sometimes makes it hard for me to enter or exit my garage. This has been happening for
over one year in clear view of the president of the Board and he says nothing.
I would like to find either a state agency, legislature, lawyer who can help others and me out of this dictatorship mentality, which prevails from the Board. I look forward to information and meeting new people from this website. Thanks
SamuelB
(North Carolina)

Posts:83


01/14/2006 9:34 AM  
Douglas, I am not sure if there is a question in all of this, but I notice no one had responded to it yet. It sounds like you kind of need to "clean house" on the Board. I would try to find members who feel like you do and start your own little team to have the board replaced at the next election. I would use flyers near election time to try to sway voters to your line of thinking. Once you get some good board members on the board, you can start looking into the financial mishandling of the previous board members. Your CC&R's may indicate it's illegal to destroy HOA documents. I know ours do.

I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things . . . - Antoine de St-Exupéry
BarbaraK
(Florida)

Posts:33


01/14/2006 2:29 PM  
Here in Florida a Board may be recalled by 20% of the homeowners. First of all, I think all CC&R's say that any homeowner can have access to any official documents they want. The Board can be fined if they don't allow a homeowner to look at them. Second of all, if you think there's corruption & mismanagement of your Board, I would contact an attorney to get his advice on how to proceed unseating them. There are laws that state they must provide homeowners with financial records.It sounds like you have a very underhanded & unethical Board and probably corrupt also. I would definitely not wait any longer before doing something about this situation. Each state has it's own Statutes, check them & see what they say. Good luck to you....
SamuelB
(North Carolina)

Posts:83


01/14/2006 3:01 PM  
What Barbara said. Excellent response.

I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things . . . - Antoine de St-Exupéry
DouglasP
(California)

Posts:6


01/14/2006 6:07 PM  
Barbara,
Thank you your feedback. In the HOA complex where I live, not many residents (owners or renters) attend the monthly Board meetings and do not seem to get involved. I moved back to town house about 4 months ago after working in Monterey for over two years, mostly to escape the harassment from my next door neighbor which has been going on for over 5 years and the Board does nothing about it since I believe the Board is either behind the Harassment from the next door neighbors or is just allowing it happen to try and drive me out because I speak the truth about serious financial kickbacks, special favors for specific residents, corruption from long term board members, harassment to myself and others not in the inner circle.
Without having to pay an attorney I would like to find a way for this HOA Board to be investigated by somebody. If you have more ideas, please let me know. The previous Management for 18 years was just kicked out on Nov. 30th, 2005. Two weeks ago the Treasurer on the Board said, “(Previous Mgmt CO) left and wiped the computers data."This reinforces my previous beliefs that corruption has been going for many years

Sincerely,
Douglas
KathleenF
(Illinois)

Posts:19


01/15/2006 4:00 PM  
Douglas,

I'm having similar problems and have no great answers for you. Just a few thoughts.

Your lastest post raises an interesting question. If your town house association is incorporated--and since the misbehavior seems especially flagrant--I wonder if the Secretary of State or Attorney General offices would help you? Long shot, but interesting. Especially since it's starting to look like this is a widespread social problem.

If you have suffered substantial actual harm here and there are some deep pockets around (like building insurance) you might be able to get a private lawyer to take this on a contingency fee basis. You'd need an experienced litigator, familiar with the law of corporate boards and their fiduciary duties of care and loyalty. Even if the hammer hasn't dropped on this board's financial mismanagement, it sounds like you may have a case for defamation and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress. Then, while you're at it, you could seek injuntive relief to prevent future harm, including an order banning certain people from board service. Having said that, though, I must add that this could take years and exhaust you. Or, I suppose, the board (and/or insurance company) could settle quickly when faced with a tough lawyer and a well documented case.

I'm also fascinated by __'s suggestion about contacting the insurer. Most HOA's carry both Errors and Omissions and Wrongful Acts coverage. PLEASE post an update if you do try this route.

Kathleen





PaulaC
(Nevada)

Posts:1


01/17/2006 4:25 PM  
Hello Douglas,

I too have lived in a condo here in Las Vegas for over 9 years. The Board were all controlled by one person. If you dared to speak up at the board meetings against her, she would see to it that you were punished. She turned off to the water to our grass and it died. She has done so many things that are wrong. We finally put out a flyer and letters to out of town owners and replaced the whole board. But she remained, because she had a two yr term. But now she has no vote at the meetings. We had tried everything. The Omsbudman here in Vegas was no help. But, the flyers and letters finally got rid of the rest of the board. We also replaced the management company, landscaper, and any venders while she was in control. Good luck. Start typing those letters and flyers.

PaulaC

Paula C
DouglasP
(California)

Posts:6


01/21/2006 10:55 PM  
Hello KathleenF,

So far your response to this nightmare of Board members has been the best. Cupertino code enforcement told me the same thing about the Secretary of State or Attorney General. I have emailed them twice through their website and have not had any response yet. The pres. of the Board lives a few units from me and allows neighbors right next door to him and myself to break CC&R's related to harassing me in terms of slamming of doors, neighbors parked in red zone in front of my townhouse, construction on the other side of me for over 3 years without permits. The Cupertino building inspector did not even bother with going into their townhouse to check if permits were required. Cupertino code enforcement is citing them for their bright lights, which shine into my small back yard and make it look like day time and now are wondering where they got permits for the alteration of the lights, adding an additional fixture.
You would not believe how much harassment I have had to encounter for the past 5 years since I have accused the Board of corruption, harassment of many residents at Board meeetings, intimidation, high likelihood of kickback to Board members. Some of these people should be jailed and others I know feel the same including a friend who is a property manager and realtor for a large complex in San Jose.
I wish there was an existing agency, newspaper, lawyer, anybody that can investigate this complex. The only reason I don't hire an attorney is that I am in school and not working right now. This complex needs to wake up and take action. Ther are 417 units here.

Thanks,

Douglas
SamuelB
(North Carolina)

Posts:83


01/22/2006 6:04 AM  
Douglas, How about a local TV news Action Line? They thrive on stuff like this.

I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things . . . - Antoine de St-Exupéry
KathyS
(California)

Posts:145


01/22/2006 11:19 AM  
East of Oakland here....I understand you have to write the AG on paper. The office then decides if you have a complaint. If they decide so, they write your Board a letter telling them to straighten up or else. Your name is included as the complainer. What the "or else" consists of is a good question.
LisaS
(Illinois)

Posts:341


01/23/2006 11:43 AM  
If you do write your AG and your name is listed as Complainant, be prepared to see the harrassment stepped up. Not many believe the threat of action. They only relent when they see actual consequences happening.

If you are adamant to see this through, I applaud you. Not many would. It would all make me crazy as well. But hopefully it will be worth it in the end.

Another thought....make sure you always have a camera/camcorder/tape recorder handy. You may need it.

Lisa
JeanneK
(Maryland)

Posts:12


01/23/2006 4:35 PM  
In Maryland you can file a complaint with the AG on line but the complaints are handled by volunteers who choose to work on some and ignore others. There is a Maryland Task Force looking at HOA problems in Maryland now. Hopefully legislative solutions will result. Until then, Maryland has the Maryland Homeowners Association, www.marylandhomeownersassociation.info, to help homeowners deal with rougue Boards.
DouglasP
(California)

Posts:6


01/23/2006 9:38 PM  
Lisa,

I completely understand what you mean when you say,” If you do write your AG and your name is listed as Complainant, be prepared to see the harassment stepped up." For the past 5 years I have dealt with the harassment for the President of the Board who lives three town homes away.
I complained to the Board Pres. for two years about the loud booms late at night, many children jumping onto the floor as their exercise and entertainment for hours on end. I told the Pres. who I thought was a decent person and he just laughed and said, "Just leave your house until the father comes home each day". I don't see how my neighbor's harassment could get worse. My friend who owns a townhouse in another area of the complex described "the children jumping similar to a pile driver", which is very close to the truth. These neighbors kept this behavior up for three years until I moved to Monterey away from my house to escape the noise since the Board; specifically the Pres. either did nothing about it or was behind it in an attempt to drive me out. I am sure it was the latter. The current renters in that same town house slam doors, park their cars in front of the fire lane in front of my town house and are given a annual permit and do not meet the criteria for having an annual permit and the Pres. Is in clear view of the breaking of parking rules and CC& R’s and does nothing about it.
This Pres., which has presided for about 20 years, should be jailed and others not in his favor agree completely. If I had a law degree I would sue them and have a few of the Board members put in jail.
The idea about going to the Newspapers about this which a hoatalk member replied is probably the direction I hope to take. I am just consumed with spending so much time for these issues. As far as I'm concerend these are criminal events and feel the police should investigate, however, they say it's private property. We definitely need new bills to control these out of control Boards and HOA's in California.

Douglas
Jasmine
(California)

Posts:2


01/29/2006 10:58 AM  
I am a friend of Doug's and also an realtor. I have witnessed first hand at the monthly Board meetings how the President of the Board controls the whole meeting, he dictates to everyone how he wants things done, "his way or no way", the other Board members are afraid to speak, if they do, he yells and screams at them and belittles them. I was shocked to how matters are dealt with in this Board.

I am surprised that there are issues in the complex that should be taken care of by the HOA and Board, which are clearly written in the CC&R's as being the responsibility of the HOA, but, instead they are passed on to the residents to take care of on their own expense, e.g., downspout, sewerage, termites and permits. It makes me wonder where the homeowner's dues are going towards.

I know alot of the homeowners are aware of these problems, but a few if any are afraid to make changes, Doug cannot do this on his own he needs their support. We are trying to figure out how to get their attention without them being afraid to speak up for their rights as homeowners. We know there is corruption and favorism going on here. There has to be a way to educate these homeowners? A lot of them have been here since the complex was built some 40 or 50 yrs ago.

So, if any of you can recommend or sugguest how we can deal with this saga without much cost to us, we would appreciate your feedback.

Thank you for reading this post,
Jasmine
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


01/29/2006 4:38 PM  
Jasmine and Douglas, reread the very first response by Samuel for how you a can correct the problem without much cost. IMHO your first choice is to organize and replace the bad Board members with Directors who will do a good job. I have outlined the procedures on other threads. Read your bylaws which should provide the proper procedures.

RogerB
MercedesB
(Texas)

Posts:7


01/30/2006 9:30 AM  
I concur with RogerB. Owners have the power to make the changes on their Board -- just review your Declaration and bylaws -- but they must be willing to take the time and effort to organize. Owners get the Board members they deserve.

With all due respect, it's time to quit the bellyaching and get down to work. I speak from experience when I offer this strong dose of medicine. Presuming others have the same complaints you do, take the first step to invite a few like-minded folks to your home and start organizing. Look at this as a great opportunity to make some much needed changes in the community and meet more of your neighbors.

A word of advice: be very careful about disseminating misinformation or making allegations and character misrepresentations in any statements your group puts out unless you can absolutely, positively prove them. Keep remarks civil in tone. Be reasonable in your approach. If the group comes across as a bunch of chronic complainers, malcontents and professional dissidents, your message will not be heard and you will fail to pesuade the community to make the necessary changes.


DouglasP
(California)

Posts:6


02/03/2006 12:13 AM  
Roger,

A friend of mine who is a real estate agent and property manager of a large commercial property in San Jose spoke with you the other day and her name is Jasmine. I have tried to talk with residents of my town house complex about issues such as corruption, kickbacks, favoritism, vicious harassment which I am experiencing from adjacent neighbors. Many I have spoke with seem to know what I am talking about, however, do not want to get involved. A man told me this morning in our gym he knows of illegal activities, although when I ask him to back me up, he acts scared. He said, " I like it here and do not want to have problems like you are encountering because you are out spoken. I live a couple of townhouses from the Board President, who has been on the Board for at least 16 years. I told him for years that I thought things were fishy here and that eventually I would bring the Board to court, not knowing he was on the Board. After 4 years of talking with him about these issues< i came to find that he was President of the Board. Well, ever since then I have been harassed by my neighbors on both sides in terms of long ongoing construction on the left side and 3 extremely loud, loud renters who are allowed to park in the red zone, annual parking permits without meeting the parking rules criteria, slamming of doors, harassing sons and I seem to be fighting a war alone against a bunch vicious criminals and I am frankly getting very tired of this intentional harassment.

Since I am currently taking computer courses and not working, I am desperately seeking legal help to investigate this nightmare. Somebody needs to put this madman president and Board in jail for what they are doing. Cupertino code enforcement tries to help, although, they end up saying "It's a civil matter." New bills have begun to pass in California, however, there still is not an outside government agency that oversees these type of problems to my knowledge. Since the residents here are to afraid of the madman, I am suffering and pursuing alone. I do know another woman who owns a town house that will back me up 100% in a court of law, that she has been severely harasses by the Board because she does not have to work, family is rich, and has been bad mouthed by the Board for over 10 years. The problem is that she is so overly obsessed with her dying father, for over 5 years now, she spends no time helping with the Board. I look forward to hearing from you.


LuciusD


Posts:0


02/03/2006 10:28 AM  
I just stumbled across a reference to California law regarding HOA elections. It's quite complicated, but it might be a useful tool in gaining control of the board if the president has been accustomed to ignoring statutory election procedures. The reference is http://www.hoalegislate.com/archives/05193594.pdf

It seems to me your strategy needs to be to use the letter of your governing documents to "de-throne" the tyrant and install reasonable people.
KathyS
(California)

Posts:145


02/05/2006 7:40 AM  
If everything is as bad as you say and the other homeowners agree, get 10% of the association members to sign a petition to recall the Board of Directors. The Board then has to call a special meeting for the recall and a election of the new officers (if the old Board is recalled). Your governing documents should cover all of this.
Jasmine
(California)

Posts:2


02/06/2006 10:24 AM  
Thank you KathyS for your advice much appreciated.

Do you have a draft copy of such a petition we can use for this property?

Jasmine



If everything is as bad as you say and the other homeowners agree, get 10% of the association members to sign a petition to recall the Board of Directors. The Board then has to call a special meeting for the recall and a election of the new officers (if the old Board is recalled). Your governing documents should cover all of this.
KathyS
(California)

Posts:145


02/09/2006 8:41 AM  
RECALL OF BOARD
Q.
What are the most common reasons that Boards of Directors of homeowner associations are recalled?
A.
The most common reasons for recalls are:

OUR REASONS FOR RECALL
(1) The Board is party to an illegal election lawsuit (defendants)
(2) The Board has failed to operate within the Business Judgment Rule (See Corp. Code Section 7231 CODE OF CONDUCT);
(3) Financial mismanagement and misappropriation of Association funds.
a)Failing to plan ahead / deferred maintenance practices increasing the potential for large special assessments. See definition of special assessment
b)Willfully disregarding and/or refusing to seek professional / technical assistance and advice or attempt to research all other pertinent information necessary to render educated and informed decisions PRIOR TO authorizing large capital outlays and awarding or amending service contracts or funding special projects
c)Not following the competitive bid process as mandated in the Corp. Code for non-profit assoc.’s
d)Failure to form Committees as mandated in the Governing Documents.
(4) Board members act in an autocratic, arrogant, and secretive manner and conduct meetings and make decisions in direct conflict the requirements and statutes of the ‘Open Meeting Act’ by:
a) Refusing to permit members of the association to adequately address issues of common interest.
b) Conduct meetings without Association membership present
c) Declaring illegal ‘Executive Sessions’ to conduct business contrary to and in direct violation with the Governing Documents and the Calif. Civil Code
d) Continual cancellation of regularly scheduled Board meetings without prior notification
e) Not rescheduling cancelled meetings in violation of the procedures and protocols outlined in the Governing Documents, the Calif. Corp. Code, and Calif. Government Code
f) Conducting “secret and illegal” meetings by allowing a non-board member to attend and to participate in and influence decisions concerning CC&R violations and member discipline, willfully disregarding the fiduciary responsibilities of the office, violating the privacy rights and trust of the entire membership. This could be of major significance and highly detrimental if pursued through the judicial process.
g) Violations of meeting disclosure requirements as required in the Governing Documents and the Calif. Civil Code, Corporations Code and Government Code
See California Code Notifications of Cancellation of Meetings:
(5) Alteration of landscape amenities without seeking proper and professional guidance and advice causing:
a) Destruction of common areas
b) Lower property values and increasing the potential for unaffordable special assessments
c) Safety hazards and increased risk of injury
(6) Inconsistent and discriminatory enforcement of the Governing Documents
(7) Allowing a single resident illegal access to and influence in policy decisions and member discipline
(8) The Board’s fine policy was not included in the yearly budget packet or a fine schedule.
a) The Board failed to disclose their new “payment plan policy” for lien assessment collection and the impact upon foreclosures
(9) Failure to act in an educated, well-informed, consistent and professional matter.

PROCEDURE FOR RECALL

The California Corporations Code sets forth the procedure for recalling a board of directors. It involves calling for a special meeting, sending out proxies and then voting. An association attorney can assist you with the details.( or not. we didn't use an attorney)



You need to get members who want the special meeting to sign the following petition and then turn it over to the Board or management company.

PETITION FOR RECALL OF THE (Name of Association) BOARD OF DIRECTORS

In accordance with the Bylaws of the _(Name of Association) HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION and Section 7510 and 7511 of the California Corporations Code, the following members of the Association demand a Special Meeting to recall the entire Board of Directors:

Address: Member Name:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.


Then the Board or Management company has to send the following out within 20 days of receipt of the petitiion:

NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING TO RECALL
THE ENTIRE [*Name of HOA*] BOARD OF DIRECTORS
[Date]
Pursuant to Sections 7510 and 7511 of the California Corporations Code, a petition demanding a Special Meeting to recall the entire Board of Directors of [*Name of HOA*] has been presented to the [*Name of HOA*] Board.
Pursuant thereto, a Special Meeting has been called as follows:
Date: _________________
Time: _________ Sign in begins
_________ Meeting starts
Place: ________________________________________
________________________________________
________________________________________
Owners of record as of ________________will be entitled to vote.
Sincerely,












PROXY FOR RECALL MEETING
________________________________ ASSOCIATION
MEETING OF MEMBERS
________________, _______________, 2001
The undersigned homeowner of the____________________________________ Association (“Association”) hereby nominates and appoints _______________________________, the attorney, agent, and proxy of the undersigned with full powers of substitution, to cast all votes which the undersigned is entitled to vote at the Meeting of Members to be held at the_________________________________ Association, ___________________________________, ____________, CA ______, on __________, ____ at _____ p.m., and at any and all adjournments thereof, and at any Annual or Special Meeting of Members to be held within the 36-month period from the date of this Proxy, as fully and with the same force and effects as the undersigned might or could do if personally present as follows:
1. Removal of the Entire Board of Directors. To approve the removal of the entire Board of Directors, to be effective upon the election and qualification of the successors to the directors:
AGAINST RECALL [ ] FOR RECALL [ ] ABSTAIN [ ]
2. Election of Directors to Fill Vacancies Created by the Removal of the Board. Please vote for any of the nominees below, or fill in the names of any person you wish to nominate and elect for the Board to serve until the _____ Annual Meeting and until their successors are elected and have qualified. This vote is effective only if the recall above is approved. Multiply the number of votes you are otherwise entitled to cast by _______. I hereby vote and allocate my votes as follows
Names of Nominees Votes Names of Nominees Votes
________________________ ______ ________________________ ______
________________________ ______ ________________________ ______
________________________ ______ ________________________ ______
________________________ ______ ________________________ ______
________________________ ______ ________________________ ______
________________________ ______ ________________________ ______
PLEASE SIGN AND DATE BELOW
THIS PROXY CONFERS AUTHORITY AND SHALL BE VOTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE PROXY HOLDER UNLESS A CONTRARY INSTRUCTION IS INDICATED, IN WHICH CASE THE PROXY SHALL BE VOTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUCH INSTRUCTION.
____________________________(Unit Number) Dated: __________, 2006
____________________________(Signature of Homeowner) ___________________________________(Please Print Name)
THIS PROXY MAY BE REVOKED BY THE HOMEOWNER DELIVERING IT PRIOR TO ITS EXERCISE BY FILING WITH THE SECRETARY OF THE ASSOCIATION AN INSTRUMENT REVOKING THIS PROXY OR A DULY EXECUTED PROXY BEARING A LATER DATE OR BY APPEARING AND VOTING IN PERSON AT THE MEETING



If this is too confusing, I will find the website from which I got the information.
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