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Subject: Homeowner being sued by NC HOA
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Author Messages
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/15/2015 9:43 AM  
Howard,
Do keep in mind that some posters have loads of experience living in condos, some on the same board, same property for decades. Some have no experience serving or living in a HOA comprised of single family homes on large lots (like the one you describe living in). IMO there are big differences.
JonD1


Posts:0


03/15/2015 3:12 PM  
Posted By AmandaR2 on 03/15/2015 9:43 AM
Howard,
Do keep in mind that some posters have loads of experience living in condos, some on the same board, same property for decades. Some have no experience serving or living in a HOA comprised of single family homes on large lots (like the one you describe living in). IMO there are big differences.





Amanda please remind us all about your experience.

Do you currently serve on the board on your property?
Have you served on a board?
If so for how long?
In what role or office?
What role do you play in your HOA?
How long have you resided in any HOA?
How many HOAs have you lived in?
Do you attend monthly meetings?
How many HOA related legal matters have you played a role in?
How many legal issues did you have the authority to control?
How many HOA lawsuits were you part of?
How many civil lawsuits?
Criminal matters?
How many times have you been deposed in HOA lawsuits?
How about appearing as a witness?
How many hours have you spent in court?
Before how many different judges?
And if so in those lawsuits you have played an active role in what was the outcome? Did you prevail?
Have you studied law?
How about psychology?
How about HOA legal seminars? Ever been to one?

It seems Amanda you favor quantity versus quality.
You have lots of opinions. You feel the need to place your stamp of approval on the opinions of others as if that matters.
It does not.
Just wondering what experience you base all your judgements on. If any.

And trying to figure out what row in the peanut gallery you belong in. First or last.

So please offer us your background.

I am sure Howard would like to know from where you gathered all you legal/HOA expertise.

Might indicate to him just what it is worth.....

AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/15/2015 4:10 PM  
Posted By JonD1 on 03/14/2015 6:28 PM
Posted By HowardC2 on 03/14/2015 4:38 PM

Again, if you are unable to consider the pitfalls of this strategy then proceed on and deal with the consequences
after the fact.

To be blunt Howard you come across as being very naive. YOu and you crew will now FORCE the board to answer YOUR questions. Really?

I have my doubts.


Some people just can't help digging a deeper hole.







Jon, I don't believe you answered any of Howard's questions. Such as him asking you to identify what any pitfalls would be?

This is Howards thread.

If you are interested in me, read my posts. I feel no need to defend myself to you. This is not about egos it's about offering Howard differing viewpoints. It all so should be done IMO without personally attacking his character.
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/15/2015 4:20 PM  
OOPS I messed up on quotes, inside box/JON (not Howard), outside box/ME, which I'm sure y'all could figure out anyway
HowardC2
(North Carolina)

Posts:80


03/15/2015 4:37 PM  
Yes I am very interested in knowing what the potential pitfalls are.

I am not interested in what JonD1 has to offer however.

If anyone else care to provide insight on the reason(s) I should not go forward with showing up at the nest meeting with some supportive neighbors I would love to hear them. Any constructive replies are much appreciated.

I know this is a long and tiring thread and if others are getting bored with it I can understand completely. Why those in this group continue to post makes no sense to me. These posts and those with no relevance to the discussion are frustrating and even more tiresome than the thread as a whole but I guess I'll take the good with the bad. I have no idea why I get flamed (or others for that matter) but I can weed through these posts and hopefully gain from the posts that help enlighten me and keep/put me on the best road to convincing the BOD that they should drop this case.
Thanks
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/15/2015 4:57 PM  
Hopefully, NPS and Janet will pop back in soon to give you some fresh and different viewpoints on your ongoing saga. They are often very helpful, realistic and balanced.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17830


03/15/2015 5:27 PM  
Amanda (and Howard),

Jon is identifying the pitfalls. He is doing it in his own style (which he has used for years).

Go back and read his posts again. I know that the style Jon uses can place some individuals into a defensive posture. Try and get over that (by the way, putting you in a defensive posture is exactly what any good attorney will do to you in a courtroom or deposition) and read his posts with an openness to learn from them. They can be very helpful.


Amanda, as for reading your posts (as you suggested Jon does), I have. In fact, I went back and reread them because I also have wondered on your experience with HOAs (I just never asked you directly). Your posts appear to be silent in that area. In fact, your first posting was on this thread back in December 22 of 2014.

It does help to know an individuals experience level when deciding on what advice to listen to. Personally, as you know, I like to provide links whenever possible so others can read what I have read and make their own determination if my interpretation was correct or not. I know that Jon and Larry have dealt with the courts and have personal experience in that area. Everyone has their own experiences and perspectives that they bring to the forum and have shared what they are. As I said, your posts appear to be silent in that area. Therefore, for Jon to reread your 348 posts, they would not find the answers to the questions he asked.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8707


03/15/2015 5:41 PM  
I actually only have looked at this thread episodically and have no opinion about your case, Howard.

I do not think it wise to assign too much weight to poster's views just because they are supportive of your quest.

AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/15/2015 6:25 PM  
Respectfully Tim, Jon did NOT identify the pitfalls of Howard attending the meeting a specific question asked by Him, he only addressed it by insulting him. (maybe you could quote where in Jons last post?)

I feel no need whatsoever to provide you with qualifications or Jon nor anyone else for that matter. My opinions and advice is offered, no one is forced to read it or take it. I'm sure Howard is not basing his actions on a this forum, I'm sure he's maybe bouncing off of our ideas and possibly some will help. I am only offering my viewpoint just as you, are I believe that is allowed? I have mentioned before my personal experiences living in and serving in HOAs past and present. I'm certainly not going to pull look through and pull up those for anyone.

I am a little surprise at you Tim jumping on the bandwagon, and contributing by adding questions that are not related to Howards problem.

Howard I apologize for this and will NOT be responding to anymore of this IMO nonsense. Good Luck, and I hope you still post the outcome of your meeting whatever you decide to do at it.
JonD1


Posts:0


03/15/2015 6:27 PM  
Posted By AmandaR2 on 03/15/2015 4:10 PM
Posted By JonD1 on 03/14/2015 6:28 PM
Posted By HowardC2 on 03/14/2015 4:38 PM

Again, if you are unable to consider the pitfalls of this strategy then proceed on and deal with the consequences
after the fact.

To be blunt Howard you come across as being very naive. YOu and you crew will now FORCE the board to answer YOUR questions. Really?

I have my doubts.


Some people just can't help digging a deeper hole.







Jon, I don't believe you answered any of Howard's questions. Such as him asking you to identify what any pitfalls would be?

This is Howards thread.

If you are interested in me, read my posts. I feel no need to defend myself to you. This is not about egos it's about offering Howard differing viewpoints. It all so should be done IMO without personally attacking his character.




Amanda I believe in professional circles they refer to what you are doing as deflection.
Put the light on someone or something else. And hide.
I have offered my assistance to Howard he seems to be determined on pursuing his own course. Judging from past results I would have my concerns.

I have read many of your posts none of which provide personal details about YOUR experience.
As to my questions about you. Your defensive posture answers them for me.

With time people show you who they are. I have a pretty good idea of who and what you are.

Must give Howard a warm and fuzzy feeling understanding your views and advice to him are based on little real experience.
Your opinions have not seen the light of day. And your role in any related matters is at very best very limited.

Now I understand your comment about those of us who belong in the peanut gallery. Best to know your own place in life.

And Howard is a big boy hardly in need of you defending him.




AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/15/2015 6:39 PM  
Thank you for your knowledge and insight Jon.
JonD1


Posts:0


03/15/2015 6:50 PM  
I joined this site 9 years ago.
According to the records I have posted on average 200+ posts per YEAR.

I have 28 YEARS of experience serving on our board.
Along the way and with a 30+ year career I may have picked up a few things.
I've been around the block a time or two.

Amanda arrived here as Amanda in late December.
In less than 3 months she has made 348 posts.

Seems like she thinks she has a lot to offer.
Speaking for myself I don't share that view.

And I resent when someone attempts to point out their perceived shortcomings and limitations of others but refuses to provide the source
of their own burning bush knowledge. Because in fact none exists. That to be blunt that you can shove where the sun don't shine.

Hopefully, Amanda's period of abundant free time will dry up soon and she can return to whatever it is she does best.











TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17830


03/16/2015 6:06 AM  
Posted By AmandaR2 on 03/15/2015 6:25 PM

I am a little surprise at you Tim jumping on the bandwagon, and contributing by adding questions that are not related to Howards problem.




Amanda,

You are the one who implied that Jon's experience with condominiums didn't really translate to good advice for single family homes. That comment is the one that prompted Jon to ask you for your experience (since you feel that his experience doesn't bring anything to the issue). You are the one who implied that your experience with Associations would be in your past postings. Knowing that your past postings didn't provide that answer, I called you on it. I would have called anyone on such a comment that I believed wasn't true. You, instead of admitting that fact, chose to ignore answering the question posed and attack others.

To be honest, those actions actually have me wonder if Amanda is an alias for a previous poster. Of course, that really isn't an issue in this discussion. As you said, this thread is about Howards issue and, in the spirit of bringing it back on course:

As I said in the beginning, I believe that Howard has a winning case. Of course, that is providing he has the minutes, or a letter, or a witness, or best all three, to prove that the Board considered the matter closed once he returned the pond to the way it was before his changes. If he can't prove this, then that issue is still open and the Board could possibly win their argument.

I, along with Jon and others, have advised Howard that fighting for principal can be more expensive then settling. Sometimes, fighting for principal is often the only reason to fight and I believe many of us understand that.

You asked that I go back and show where Jon answered Howards question. To be honest, I don't recall Howard asking a direct question of Jon (and I was unable to find it in my quick review of the thread). If you would be good enough to located that for me, I'd be willing to go back and find Jon's answer. What I can restate is that Jon has provided many good points from his experience and a Boards perspective:

1) The fact that Howard initially made changes to the pond without approval will likely be brought up. Howard will have to defend that action. He may think it's resolved but the Board will probably use it as the initial reason why the work to fill in the pond had to be done. Howard, will likely, have to prove otherwise.

2) The fact that the case may not be about facts but about perception of the issue based on the facts and the arguments.

3) The fact that in the end, the membership will lose. This is because they will be paying initial legal fees. This tends to divide a community and everyone (Howard and the Board) will likely make friends and enemies.

4) The fact that it's highly likely the Board sent that newsletter with their attorney's blessing. No amount of confrontation (be it in a rebuttal letter, bringing an attorney to the meeting or making a statement at the meeting) will likely be enough to sway the Board to drop the case or slip up and give out information that they have refused to give out in the past. The goal of the letter was to get Howard to slip up and provide more ammunition and facts to sway perception to their side of the argument.


JohnB26


Posts:0


03/16/2015 6:22 AM  
to be repetitive:


blah blah blah

albeit entertaining


Howard,

Best of luck in court - you will need some.

John S. Bernabeu

ex Treasurer

ex Director at large

ex Grounds Committee chair

ex Project Manager

ex Construction Manager

retired plumber (official trade)
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/16/2015 6:24 AM  
Posted By HowardC2 on 03/14/2015 4:38 PM
If you are sceptical about my honesty and have any doubt at all that I am in the wrong then move along. You are not helping me and/or my case. I am not looking to discuss this. I don't want to make enemies here and I don't want to have to make a bunch of posts defending my integrity and my honesty. I have enough problems without being called a liar. I am a man of principle. If I were not I would have already made them an offer and tried to get away with whatever I could. I stated very clearly in this forum that I admitted to being wrong in the first issue and I made the wrong right with the BOD. There is no way they would have told me the issue was over and they would not have stated so in a BOD meeting.
If the BOD thought the way to fix the pond was to fill it in with dirt then why didn't they fill in the pond at the opposite corner of my lot? I have the same exact situation in the opposite corner of my lot. I have a "pond" there as well however it is about 1/4-1/3 of the size than the one they filled in was. It is over 3' deep and a person could drown in it as easily as someone could drown in the one that was filled in. That is assuming this is the reason the BOD filled in the one I tried to beautify.
I think I mentioned that the BOD announced this issue would be open for discussion at the upcoming meeting. I don't understand how getting a few people to come to the meeting and forcing the BOD to answer questions could back fire on me. I'm not arguing, I sincerely don't understand the potential pitfalls so if someone could explain this to me I would genuinely appreciate this.Realistically I could arrange it, with the folks that have volunteered to help me, so that my name is not mentioned by them. I could also participate in the questions and answers as an just another homeowner with an interest in the issue. Is the BOD trying to trap me by announcing this will be part of the meeting agenda? Do they think I will do something that will hurt my case/cause? If so please tell me what trap they are setting.
Again, I don't expect everyone, or maybe even anyone, to assume that I am 100% correct in my position. If folks feel that I may be manipulating some of the details regarding the $13,000.00 the BOD says I owe then please don't participate in this thread. I don't want to waste time looking at why you feel I am wrong or how you know I can't be 100% in the right here. I have no interest in boosting my ego by having people get on an internet band wagon with me and my side. I believe right is right and wrong is wrong. I don't believe in the worn out "gray area". I also believe people should be held accountable for their mistakes and we ALL make some. I'll repeat for the hundredth time that I am getting completely screwed by my BOD. If I somehow contributed in any way toward the BODs decision to fill in the pond then I'd have not started this thread.
Thanks


Tim this was the recent post by Howard I was referring to about him asking that question.
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/16/2015 6:26 AM  
Posted By JonD1 on 03/14/2015 6:28 PM
Posted By HowardC2 on 03/14/2015 4:38 PM
If you are sceptical about my honesty and have any doubt at all that I am in the wrong then move along. You are not helping me and/or my case. I am not looking to discuss this. I don't want to make enemies here and I don't want to have to make a bunch of posts defending my integrity and my honesty. I have enough problems without being called a liar. I am a man of principle. If I were not I would have already made them an offer and tried to get away with whatever I could. I stated very clearly in this forum that I admitted to being wrong in the first issue and I made the wrong right with the BOD. There is no way they would have told me the issue was over and they would not have stated so in a BOD meeting.
If the BOD thought the way to fix the pond was to fill it in with dirt then why didn't they fill in the pond at the opposite corner of my lot? I have the same exact situation in the opposite corner of my lot. I have a "pond" there as well however it is about 1/4-1/3 of the size than the one they filled in was. It is over 3' deep and a person could drown in it as easily as someone could drown in the one that was filled in. That is assuming this is the reason the BOD filled in the one I tried to beautify.
I think I mentioned that the BOD announced this issue would be open for discussion at the upcoming meeting. I don't understand how getting a few people to come to the meeting and forcing the BOD to answer questions could back fire on me. I'm not arguing, I sincerely don't understand the potential pitfalls so if someone could explain this to me I would genuinely appreciate this.Realistically I could arrange it, with the folks that have volunteered to help me, so that my name is not mentioned by them. I could also participate in the questions and answers as an just another homeowner with an interest in the issue. Is the BOD trying to trap me by announcing this will be part of the meeting agenda? Do they think I will do something that will hurt my case/cause? If so please tell me what trap they are setting.
Again, I don't expect everyone, or maybe even anyone, to assume that I am 100% correct in my position. If folks feel that I may be manipulating some of the details regarding the $13,000.00 the BOD says I owe then please don't participate in this thread. I don't want to waste time looking at why you feel I am wrong or how you know I can't be 100% in the right here. I have no interest in boosting my ego by having people get on an internet band wagon with me and my side. I believe right is right and wrong is wrong. I don't believe in the worn out "gray area". I also believe people should be held accountable for their mistakes and we ALL make some. I'll repeat for the hundredth time that I am getting completely screwed by my BOD. If I somehow contributed in any way toward the BODs decision to fill in the pond then I'd have not started this thread.
Thanks





Howard you yourself admitted to working on this pond without board permission. You admit altering common property without any authority to do so.
So your view you are now 100% in the right is difficult to follow.

This is not about honesty and truth this is about perception. I have been through several lawsuits filed by property owners. Each thought going in they were 100% in the right. All but one lost their cases outright.

Unlike some others here I have been through the process. I have participated in litigation. I have testified. I have been deposed. I have dealt with HOA lawyers, criminal defense lawyers, DAs, NYS Attorney General, local courts, county courts, federal courts. Perhaps maybe I could offer you something to consider should you give up your need to defend your honesty.

So forgive me if you are unable to consider the possibility your views on this matter might be tainted by your
own position. Just why Howard has this board decided you are in need of a screwing? Do you have any idea?
If not than how does anything make sense.

And I for one have told you it will not serve you to play word games at the meeting or have others do so.
Again, if you are unable to consider the pitfalls of this strategy then proceed on and deal with the consequences
after the fact.

To be blunt Howard you come across as being very naive. YOu and you crew will now FORCE the board to answer YOUR questions. Really?

I have my doubts.

And your notion that right is right and wrong is wrong fails to even consider the reality it is YOUR version of right and wrong that you seem fixated on.
My guess the board might think they are in the right.

As you suggest I will move along. Leaving you with your cheerleaders who I guess have no real experience serving on an HOA board, who have never been to court, are no familiar with legal principles involving HOAs but seem to suggest this can only end well for you. Because based on nothing other than your version of the facts you simply can't lose.

Some people just can't help digging a deeper hole.






This was the response.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17830


03/16/2015 6:48 AM  
Amanda,

Howard became defensive by previous posts about honesty. Jon's response would be very similar to any good attorney's response to Howards defensiveness. His questions in that posting were simply:

Is the BOD trying to trap me by announcing this will be part of the meeting agenda? Do they think I will do something that will hurt my case/cause?

Jon, in his style, plainly stated that Howard's previous act (of changing the pond without approval) was wrong and Howard could not claim to be in the right 100%. This fact alone could hurt the perception (also pointed out by Jon) others have toward the issue.

Jon plainly stated that "it will not serve you to play word games at the meeting or have others do so."

He chose not to explain all the pitfalls of attending the meeting (perhaps because others have already done so). Instead, Jon chose to answer by saying it appears that Howard was naive (which means "showing a lack of experience or knowledge") That is not an insult (at least not the way I take it from Jon). It's simply a wake up call that Howards perspective may be having him see the issue with blinders on and (especially in a legal battle) the issue needs to be seen from all perspectives.


Jon has taken the position that Howard is to blame (at least partially). This is obviously the position his Board has taken. If Howard chooses to utilize Jon's perception of the issue, it could be of great value to him in planning his strategy. If Howard (as you encourage) chooses to dismiss Jon's perception of the issue it may leave him unprepared for what he is getting into and, as Jon said, that would give the impression of being a bit naive about the issue.
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/16/2015 7:04 AM  
I do feel that when someone lives in one place and serves on the same Board for decades that they certainly have gained much experience and knowledge in many areas. I felt Jon's harsh words went to far and were uncalled for. That was and still is MY opinion. It also is my opinion that condos and HOAs differ greatly in management and issues that arise and people should acknowledge that fact. They are two different animals in many ways. I have experience serving on one Board, serving on committees and living in HOAs (always attending meetings and being involved) over the last 15 years or so (I am not old enough to have the time in that some of you have). I have had court experience. My profession has helped me gain life experience in many unique ways that may be helpful to some posting here. However, I have had zero experience in condo living, don't claim to, therefore if I comment on a condo thread it would only be concerning something that requires an ethical opinion or simple common sense (or to ask a question in case I ever purchase property of that type and gain knowledge of what to look for.)

As for your comments Tim about "calling me out" and me "ignoring you question", I have skimmed through my past posts and found several referring to my personal profile. I do not know how to upload those old posts to "prove" it to you, nor do I feel the need to. Y'all can make of it what you want. Honestly I post here to help bring a different perspective in for people with problems, not for approval or recognition of long time posters.

I do not post here to argue or compete. I post to help people any way I can. I have learned much valuable info from many long time posters including yourself and Jon. I also have learned JUST AS MUCH valuable information from posters that have only a few postings. IMO it does not make a difference one way or the other how many posts are under your belt. I see well known posters here doing nothing but harassing people on posts it seems just for the fun of it, that I think is sad. Also I do not keep track or even glance at the number of postings a person has (it's funny that Jon did math on my numbers, but didn't do the math of your 11,000 post Tim .)

Well hopefully this gets back to the OP because IMO he deserves it.

And hopefully in some twisted way he can benefit from it all
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/16/2015 7:12 AM  
Tim I do not understand why you are insinuating that Howard is relying on my advice. I don't know why me posting my opinion to Howard bothers you and Jon so much. Other posters believe and support Howard not just myself.

For goodness sakes, I'm sure Howard is not naive and has a MIND of his own!

It's a lovely day outside here in SC, so I'm going to enjoy it, take care Tim.
JohnB26


Posts:0


03/16/2015 10:22 AM  
Enjoy the day for a long long time !

RobertL21
(California)

Posts:17


03/16/2015 11:54 AM  
Howard,

I will move stuff to this tread as I there is talk that the other thread is bing hijacked with your issue.

If you have not been served then that is good. The question is when will they do it? It is sure that they will do it in dramatic fashion. Perhaps at the ambush, aka meeting? I once got served at a meeting, they like to catch you off guard and make you look like a boob as you frantically page thru the 30+ pages of the complaint.

If you bring your attorney to the meeting they will attempt to bounce them out. Does your property management company attend the meetings? If so they should also be asked to leave as well as the HOA attorney if present. Your issue is HOA Member business plain and simple. They are not association members are they? Can you find a state statute or CC&R that says otherwise? I have a feeling that your BOD is being egged on by someone. It is very doubtful that they have hatched this plan to screw you on their own. They have support and you do not, remember that.

Again, mediation is a trap. In most cases you will have to pay for it, and pay dearly. Could be thousands! You will get to present your case to them before it goes to court. Why would you want to do that? It just gives them a leg up so their attorneys can better prepare your demise. If you must entertain mediation do so in a limited way that protects yourself. Mediation is NOT court, so rules of evidence do not apply. Additionally, confidentiality should be a huge concern, you and your BOD may be bound by it, but the property manager who might be in of it as a "quasi-witness" might not. It is my opinion that mediation will result in at best a half baked outcome. You will most likely be given the gracious option to pay $6,500, get to sign away your rights, admit that you are wrong, and just maybe this will go away. Don't do it unless this is what you want.

Ask the BOD why they are so hell bent on making you pay? They will most likely say something to the effect that "we as the Board can not let you get away with this because we are accountable to our constituencies, the members." Well who are their constituencies, their cronies, the management company, or the hand full of people that bother to come to meetings and nod their heads in ignorant agreement? You need to find your community and supporters and make the BOD realize that folks might not agree with the path that they are suggesting, the lawsuit. I am sure that your people can easily out number the cronies.

In most HOAs people just want to be left alone. That is why participation is what it is. So your job is going to be to organize people that want to be left alone. Yes, this is counter intuitive but that is the way it is. You need to make it clear that this is Howard's problem this year, next year it might be one of them.

It is typical that the "community adjudicatory committee" no longer exists. In my HOA whenever there was an architectural dispute that got escalated to a law suit, or threat of, the architectural committee was magically disbanded. Why is that? Seems funny? Oldest evil HOA trick in the book

I understand the cut and run it not an option for you.

Since you have not been served you need to go to the community and make the members educated about your situation. You need to get a recall rolling. A recall is political action, it is political participation, it is direct democracy, and if that BOD goes after you for such a strategy you need to ask your attorney about a SLAPP suit.

Also, do not send EMAIL to the Board or management company. This will all be used against you in court to make you look like the bad guy or worse yet a kook. When you send email it just gives them the opportunity to spin whatever you say. Deal only in certified mail and likewise I would refuse any they send to you. Reason being is another evil HOA trick, that the old "empty certified mail trick." While they sent an empty envelope via certified mail to you, it becomes your word against theirs to the contents (the contents are not certified). It becomes the kook versus the "professionals" and "poor volunteers", and who do your thin the judge will side with?

You have more time than you think if have not been served. Do you even know if they filed a suit with the courts? You can find this out because it is public record, sometimes via an online court docket. I found out way before I got served before they "dramatic serving at the ambush" aka meeting.

Again, this not about a pond or dirt, it is about power and you not capitulating. You need to gain community support and do a recall. If they sue you this will go on for years. Do your neighbors really want this to happen on their dime? If so your community meetings are going to be hideous affairs for years.









JohnB26


Posts:0


03/16/2015 2:05 PM  
EXCELLENT POST AND ADVICE
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17830


03/16/2015 3:59 PM  
Posted By JohnB26 on 03/16/2015 2:05 PM
EXCELLENT POST AND ADVICE




Agree
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/16/2015 4:43 PM  
I also agree
HowardC2
(North Carolina)

Posts:80


03/16/2015 4:58 PM  
Posted By RobertL21 on 03/16/2015 11:54 AM
Howard,

I will move stuff to this tread as I there is talk that the other thread is bing hijacked with your issue.

If you have not been served then that is good. The question is when will they do it? It is sure that they will do it in dramatic fashion. Perhaps at the ambush, aka meeting? I once got served at a meeting, they like to catch you off guard and make you look like a boob as you frantically page thru the 30+ pages of the complaint.

If you bring your attorney to the meeting they will attempt to bounce them out. Does your property management company attend the meetings? If so they should also be asked to leave as well as the HOA attorney if present. Your issue is HOA Member business plain and simple. They are not association members are they? Can you find a state statute or CC&R that says otherwise? I have a feeling that your BOD is being egged on by someone. It is very doubtful that they have hatched this plan to screw you on their own. They have support and you do not, remember that.

Again, mediation is a trap. In most cases you will have to pay for it, and pay dearly. Could be thousands! You will get to present your case to them before it goes to court. Why would you want to do that? It just gives them a leg up so their attorneys can better prepare your demise. If you must entertain mediation do so in a limited way that protects yourself. Mediation is NOT court, so rules of evidence do not apply. Additionally, confidentiality should be a huge concern, you and your BOD may be bound by it, but the property manager who might be in of it as a "quasi-witness" might not. It is my opinion that mediation will result in at best a half baked outcome. You will most likely be given the gracious option to pay $6,500, get to sign away your rights, admit that you are wrong, and just maybe this will go away. Don't do it unless this is what you want.

Ask the BOD why they are so hell bent on making you pay? They will most likely say something to the effect that "we as the Board can not let you get away with this because we are accountable to our constituencies, the members." Well who are their constituencies, their cronies, the management company, or the hand full of people that bother to come to meetings and nod their heads in ignorant agreement? You need to find your community and supporters and make the BOD realize that folks might not agree with the path that they are suggesting, the lawsuit. I am sure that your people can easily out number the cronies.

In most HOAs people just want to be left alone. That is why participation is what it is. So your job is going to be to organize people that want to be left alone. Yes, this is counter intuitive but that is the way it is. You need to make it clear that this is Howard's problem this year, next year it might be one of them.

It is typical that the "community adjudicatory committee" no longer exists. In my HOA whenever there was an architectural dispute that got escalated to a law suit, or threat of, the architectural committee was magically disbanded. Why is that? Seems funny? Oldest evil HOA trick in the book

I understand the cut and run it not an option for you.

Since you have not been served you need to go to the community and make the members educated about your situation. You need to get a recall rolling. A recall is political action, it is political participation, it is direct democracy, and if that BOD goes after you for such a strategy you need to ask your attorney about a SLAPP suit.

Also, do not send EMAIL to the Board or management company. This will all be used against you in court to make you look like the bad guy or worse yet a kook. When you send email it just gives them the opportunity to spin whatever you say. Deal only in certified mail and likewise I would refuse any they send to you. Reason being is another evil HOA trick, that the old "empty certified mail trick." While they sent an empty envelope via certified mail to you, it becomes your word against theirs to the contents (the contents are not certified). It becomes the kook versus the "professionals" and "poor volunteers", and who do your thin the judge will side with?

You have more time than you think if have not been served. Do you even know if they filed a suit with the courts? You can find this out because it is public record, sometimes via an online court docket. I found out way before I got served before they "dramatic serving at the ambush" aka meeting.

Again, this not about a pond or dirt, it is about power and you not capitulating. You need to gain community support and do a recall. If they sue you this will go on for years. Do your neighbors really want this to happen on their dime? If so your community meetings are going to be hideous affairs for years.







Robert - I will have to read your post a few times to understand it all. This may take a bit of time but I wanted to thank you for your reply. You offer a lot of information that makes sense. I'll need to digest it all so, again, I want to say thanks and I'll get back here when I fully understand what you were kind enough to share.

To answer some of your questions:
I have not been served yet. I believe my lawyer would be the one to get served at this point. He has contacted the HOA attorney.

A representative from the management company sometimes attends the meetings. Does this affect anything from my standpoint?

I have two letters from people that will testify that the pond was not made larger as is claimed by the BOD. These people will also testify that no dirt was hauled off my property as is also claimed by the BOD.

As for being served at the meeting is this possibility a reason I should avoid the meeting?

As far as I am aware, if they have filed suit, I would be served with papers within a day or two. Again I am fairly certain that my attorney is the party that would get served. That is how it was posed to me by the HOA attorney at the meeting we had with the BOD and him. At the end of the meeting he said that if I didn't request mediation that I would be served. He went on to ask me if I should be served or if my attorney should be served???

I don't understand the implications of the "confidentiality" that keeps being brought up. I am not at all familiar with what the potential perils are in regard to confidentiality or what I should make sure I DO NOT DO in order to not put myself into a position that would be considered a breach of confidentiality. I'd bet that members of the BOD have gossiped with other homeowners about who the person is in the recent letter. If I could find out who they have spoken with I'd probably do well to see if these folks would side with me and be available to be witness to the fact that the BOD identified me as the person in the letter no?


I am still undecided about attending the meeting and/or if I will "participate". If I do attend and participate I am thinking it would be best to do so without announcing that I am the person in the letter. I am confident that I can ask questions about the content of the letter
For certain my lawyer will not be there.
I appreciate your input.
Howard
JonD1


Posts:0


03/16/2015 6:51 PM  
Posted By RobertL21 on 03/16/2015 11:54 AM
Howard,

I will move stuff to this tread as I there is talk that the other thread is bing hijacked with your issue.

If you have not been served then that is good. The question is when will they do it? It is sure that they will do it in dramatic fashion. Perhaps at the ambush, aka meeting? I once got served at a meeting, they like to catch you off guard and make you look like a boob as you frantically page thru the 30+ pages of the complaint.

If you bring your attorney to the meeting they will attempt to bounce them out. Does your property management company attend the meetings? If so they should also be asked to leave as well as the HOA attorney if present. Your issue is HOA Member business plain and simple. They are not association members are they? Can you find a state statute or CC&R that says otherwise? I have a feeling that your BOD is being egged on by someone. It is very doubtful that they have hatched this plan to screw you on their own. They have support and you do not, remember that.

Again, mediation is a trap. In most cases you will have to pay for it, and pay dearly. Could be thousands! You will get to present your case to them before it goes to court. Why would you want to do that? It just gives them a leg up so their attorneys can better prepare your demise. If you must entertain mediation do so in a limited way that protects yourself. Mediation is NOT court, so rules of evidence do not apply. Additionally, confidentiality should be a huge concern, you and your BOD may be bound by it, but the property manager who might be in of it as a "quasi-witness" might not. It is my opinion that mediation will result in at best a half baked outcome. You will most likely be given the gracious option to pay $6,500, get to sign away your rights, admit that you are wrong, and just maybe this will go away. Don't do it unless this is what you want.

Ask the BOD why they are so hell bent on making you pay? They will most likely say something to the effect that "we as the Board can not let you get away with this because we are accountable to our constituencies, the members." Well who are their constituencies, their cronies, the management company, or the hand full of people that bother to come to meetings and nod their heads in ignorant agreement? You need to find your community and supporters and make the BOD realize that folks might not agree with the path that they are suggesting, the lawsuit. I am sure that your people can easily out number the cronies.

In most HOAs people just want to be left alone. That is why participation is what it is. So your job is going to be to organize people that want to be left alone. Yes, this is counter intuitive but that is the way it is. You need to make it clear that this is Howard's problem this year, next year it might be one of them.

It is typical that the "community adjudicatory committee" no longer exists. In my HOA whenever there was an architectural dispute that got escalated to a law suit, or threat of, the architectural committee was magically disbanded. Why is that? Seems funny? Oldest evil HOA trick in the book

I understand the cut and run it not an option for you.

Since you have not been served you need to go to the community and make the members educated about your situation. You need to get a recall rolling. A recall is political action, it is political participation, it is direct democracy, and if that BOD goes after you for such a strategy you need to ask your attorney about a SLAPP suit.

Also, do not send EMAIL to the Board or management company. This will all be used against you in court to make you look like the bad guy or worse yet a kook. When you send email it just gives them the opportunity to spin whatever you say. Deal only in certified mail and likewise I would refuse any they send to you. Reason being is another evil HOA trick, that the old "empty certified mail trick." While they sent an empty envelope via certified mail to you, it becomes your word against theirs to the contents (the contents are not certified). It becomes the kook versus the "professionals" and "poor volunteers", and who do your thin the judge will side with?
I
You have more time than you think if have not been served. Do you even know if they filed a suit with the courts? You can find this out because it is public record, sometimes via an online court docket. I found out way before I got served before they "dramatic serving at the ambush" aka meeting.

Again, this not about a pond or dirt, it is about power and you not capitulating. You need to gain community support and do a recall. If they sue you this will go on for years. Do your neighbors really want this to happen on their dime? If so your community meetings are going to be hideous affairs for years.






Simply amazing . All thumbs up to the content and advice offered here huh??????

Who allows themselves to get "frantic" while being served. Should one hide under their bed to avoid such treatment?

And if you bring your lawyer and they send him on his way because there is no legal proceeding taking place YOU who is hiding the fact it is not you they are referring to, demand the MC and the HOA be removed as they too are not members. WTF?????? This is a board meeting the board runs the meeting not some sodden nickel lawyer who is in no position to make demands period. And let's not forget the OP's lawyer doesn't plan to be present anyway!

And not sure about NC or California but here mediation costs nothing. It is used to try and settle the matters that can be settled without court involvement.
And perhaps it MIGHT be best to find out from the lawyer not versed in NC state law what cost would be imposed if any before you decide to avoid mediation based on the advice from a resident of California. mediation might be the last exit ramp before you get on the expressway to court. That road is expensive.

"I am sure your people will out number their cronies." Based on what? The fact the board was somehow elected and the OP hasn't gotten one vote.
"Sure" is a bold word from someone located on the other side of the country with no real knowledge of the local math.

The other residents won't ever be faced with the OP's issues as long as they don't alter common property without authorization.

Just maybe the committee was no longer in existence due to lack of volunteers. Does the OP know If in fact it ever existed. Or is he assuming this was a grand conspiracy like not placing enough chairs in the room for his meeting with the board.

And as we have all jumped up in support of this information filled post I have to ask do any of you know what a SLAAP lawsuit is?
No one has even suggested this board has tried to prevent the OP from expressing his views by filing legal action. California has an anti- SLAAP law but how this applies to NC or this situation is a mystery to me. But why not run up the billable hours finding out, because cost is not an issue.

And now here's a new flash the OP should not be sending out ANYTHING to the MC or the Board they have legal representation.
So e-mail, mail, certified mail or via carrier pigeon what does this advice offer? And by all means use only certified mail but don't accept any certified mail because the board will probably be sending you EMPTY envelopes! Yeah, now that's real world advice. We send out empty envelopes all the time but then the recipients don't accept the letter so we send out another. Very common in most HOAs.

And in the event a lawsuit IS filed my concern if I were the OP can I afford years of litigation, growing legal costs,
and running the risk of losing which might then add the HOAs legal costs to my tab?

Yes, excellent advice, very useful, the OP needs time to digest all of this. Just how can he put this all to work for him?

So now the plan attend the meeting lawyerless . Demand answers about a topic concerning an unnamed property owner. Gee do you think your peaked interest in this matter might suggest to those present with 1/2 a brain it is YOU the board is dealing with? Hard to figure out! Then go home and wait to see if they file an action.

That has success written all over it........... Lots of time, effort, and wasted motion with little accomplished or settled.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4216


03/17/2015 8:13 AM  
Posted By JohnB26 on 03/15/2015 7:29 AM
blah blah blah

this has degenerated into a pile of Toric Ka-Ka




I agree with John to the extent that we are regurgitating generalizations.

At this point in this thread, further comment should relate to the specific context.

The history is simple enough to summarize:
1. Howard did stuff which he subsequently corrected and got a clean bill of health from the HOA.
2. The HOA then made changes. Howard cooperated. Then the HOA sent Howard a bill for these changes.
3. Howard's attempts to be heard were shut down. Legal action against Howard was threatened but not yet acted on.
4. HOA sent out a letter stating its position and subsequently announced a meeting. Howard sees these as personal attacks - but we have no basis for agreeing or disagreeing with Howard because we haven't seen the letter.

Howard offered to share the contents of the letter, which I do think could be the basis for providing him with additional input. I am surprised that no one has responded to Howard's question about how to share the contents of the letter.


Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4216


03/17/2015 8:26 AM  
Posted By RobertL21 on 03/16/2015 11:54 AM
Again, mediation is a trap. In most cases you will have to pay for it, and pay dearly. Could be thousands! You will get to present your case to them before it goes to court. Why would you want to do that? It just gives them a leg up so their attorneys can better prepare your demise. If you must entertain mediation do so in a limited way that protects yourself. Mediation is NOT court, so rules of evidence do not apply. Additionally, confidentiality should be a huge concern, you and your BOD may be bound by it, but the property manager who might be in of it as a "quasi-witness" might not. It is my opinion that mediation will result in at best a half baked outcome. You will most likely be given the gracious option to pay $6,500, get to sign away your rights, admit that you are wrong, and just maybe this will go away. Don't do it unless this is what you want.


Strongly disagree. Not saying that this doesn't happen. Saying that it doesn't have to happen if approached with the right frame of mind.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4216


03/17/2015 8:34 AM  
Howard

If I were you, I would not bring my lawyer to the meeting. The fact that you brought a lawyer will become the focus of the meeting - which is not what you want to happen - because the meeting isn't about what you do or don't do.

I have watched you develop from someone who was timid and unsure of your rights to someone who is confident enough to stand up and fight for your rights. And put your money where your mouth is. I also know that you are outspoken and articulate. But you should remember, the meeting isn't about defending your actions. The meeting is about the BOD's explanation or lack of explanation for its actions.

Rather than preparing to defend yourself - Spend your time developing the questions you want to ask your BOD about their actions - There are many questions you could ask. I would say more but first I would really like to see what they are actually saying to the community.


Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
HowardC2
(North Carolina)

Posts:80


03/17/2015 5:49 PM  
Posted By NpS on 03/17/2015 8:34 AM
Howard

If I were you, I would not bring my lawyer to the meeting. The fact that you brought a lawyer will become the focus of the meeting - which is not what you want to happen - because the meeting isn't about what you do or don't do.

I have watched you develop from someone who was timid and unsure of your rights to someone who is confident enough to stand up and fight for your rights. And put your money where your mouth is. I also know that you are outspoken and articulate. But you should remember, the meeting isn't about defending your actions. The meeting is about the BOD's explanation or lack of explanation for its actions.

Rather than preparing to defend yourself - Spend your time developing the questions you want to ask your BOD about their actions - There are many questions you could ask. I would say more but first I would really like to see what they are actually saying to the community.





Mediation in NC costs money. The mediator gets $450.00 and the lawyers get whatever their hourly rate is.

NC does not have anti-SLAPP laws. This is just an FYI as I have no intention to use SLAPP or similar type(s) of litigation.

I will not bring my attorney to the meeting.

At this point I plan on attending the meeting however I don't plan on speaking about the item on the agenda labelled, "letter regarding pond issue-questions/answers" I plan on asking different questions such as why did is the BOD hiring a, "pool monitor" again this year for $10,000.00. I'll probably as more quesstions about other items that I feel the BOD is wasting our money on. There are many of these items BTW.

Anyone asking questions about the pond issue has been informed that my name is not to be used when asking questions. "The homeowner" is how people will frame their questions. There are several folks that are coming to air their opinion about the situation and several have taken great exception with the way the BOD is behaving. The way the BOD used my answer to the question a BOD member asked, "Howard, how deep do you think the pond is at that end" as an estimate for the amount of fill dirt required to fill the pond in is getting some people wondering. Others want to know why was I never given any notice or chance to address their "need" to fill the pond in with dirt. Some want to know why this pond was filled in with dirt while there is another one in the opposite corner of my lot that's full of water, muck and mosquito larvae. The question,"why was there no engineer consulted in looking into filling the pond with dirt". The BOD told me that they were very concerned about me lining the pond and told me they would be getting an engineer to look at it to see if I was breaking any, "local, state and/or federal laws". This took place during the previous, and now closed, dispute. One person wants to ask the BOD what made them decide the pond needed to be filled in with dirt when it was functioning perfectly well for 7+ years prior. One other question people are wondering about is exactly how did the BOD go about making arrangements to have a "meeting with the homeowner" for, "the best interest of the community" and how was the,"dialogue" between the BOD and the homeowner during this meeting that they were so kind to have arranged. Of course this meeting was forced on the BOD by me and my previous attorney and the BOD had nothing to do with arranging it nor did they participate in any dialogue during this "meeting". They sat in the room with the HOA atty with their mouths taped shut. This is their idea of what is, "in the best interest of the community".

Needless to say there will not be a lack of participation due to lack of questions.

Some of the above may change depending on when/if my lawyer gets back to me with his recommendation on how to best handle this upcoming meeting.

I am still a bit concerned that the BOD is, in some way, setting me up. This is the reason I am not going to participate in the q&a part of the meeting. I could play it all off as if I were just another homeowner asking the BOD questions and never imply that I am the subject of the letter they sent out but I feel better about just avoiding the topic when it comes around.

I am not worried about being served at the meeting. If A sheriff deputy shows up at the meeting and serves me papers I'll be floored. I really doubt the BOD has the power to demand that the sheriff department serve me papers at a HOA meeting at night. It would make for some great entertainment were this to happen. Certainly I am not afraid of a sheriff deputy coming up to me and handing me papers. It would seem more like something that would happen at a bachelorette party, not an HOA meeting. If one shows up starts toward me as stripper music starts playing I'll be concerned for sure
Thanks
RobertL21
(California)

Posts:17


03/18/2015 8:57 AM  
Howard,

Sounds like you have a good plan.

Glad that you looked into Meditation and found that it is in fact not a free ride in NC. Sounds rather costly as attorney fees are a very open ended variable.

You asked "A representative from the management company sometimes attends the meetings. Does this affect anything from my standpoint?"

I don't care for PM's being a meetings because fundamentally they are vendors. Do you have your gardeners or pool guy come to the meetings? Also, sometimes, as in my case the Board would not talk, they let the PM do it all. This could be construed (spelling?) as the PM is running the Association. Not good, and I don't need to explain why that is.

Concerns of confidentiality are exactly what your concerns are, they are the potential for gossip. It is always good to keep a tight hold on who can gossip about the matter at hand. Again, do you want the vendors to gossip about you? Frankly, it is none of their business. They need to collect the money and do the books.

Let us know how the meeting goes and continue to build social capital with your neighbors.






AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/18/2015 10:21 AM  
Howard, I think you are getting a lot of advice from different perspectives. I think it while it would be a little overwhelming and confusing to anyone it can be a good thing. There is no one size fits all in cases like yours.

I agree with others that you seem to have a good plan and grasp on things. I am glad.

I'm also glad you have a couple of different strategies in your back pocket to consider if things get worse (don't rule anything out).

Continue to use your lawyer wisely to keep costs down. (Lawyers can be frustrating to say the least and even more so when your not a huge case for them).

Food for thought NOT advise, I have been in court on several occasions and witnessed where one party has represented themselves and been successful. I would not say that HOA attorneys have a very good reputation around the courthouse. I have witnessed judges who have displayed a very obvious dislike to tactics used by some HOA attorneys. RobertL had success without an attorney and also mentioned some ways he had cut costs down. But every case is different and one would have to feel comfortable with a decision to do that themselves. (I had an attorney represent me once and I basically did ALL the leg-work for him, basically paid him to put his stamp on it (but I did win). That attorney made copies of all of my research on applicable law, then sifted through it, saved him time and me money, his cost was very reasonable because of that. I think his presence was worth the cost, I don't regret hiring him. I have also dug up research for friends and family with upcoming cases to handover to their lawyers. Print out everything you feel may be useful, attorneys I have used were appreciative of this. I hope you have found an attorney that is willing to work with you.

Good luck at "THE MEETING"

NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4216


03/18/2015 11:51 AM  
Re the meeting:

This is their meeting. They called it. They want to present what they want to present. You and your neighbors have every right to ask questions. This is your opportunity to gather information.

Personally, I don't think it makes any difference if your name is mentioned or not.

Also, prepare yourself for the possibility that the HOA lawyer might be there. Don't let him stress you out. Keep to your plan.

At the meeting, there is nothing wrong in saying: "My lawyer has advised me not to speak on my own behalf because the HOA attorney has threatened to sue me." And like you said, if you are served papers at the meeting, let the music play - You can sit back and enjoy the circus.

As always, good luck.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/18/2015 12:05 PM  
I'm with NPS that I do not feel it makes any difference if your name is mentioned or not. I was hoping someone else would point that out.
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/18/2015 12:11 PM  
NPS, Do you think they have the right to have the HOA lawyer at the meeting? someone mentioned that he could be asked to leave and didn't have the right to attend?? because he is not an HO??? I don't know the law/rule on that if or if it would be different in different States or associations??
BanksS


Posts:0


03/18/2015 12:31 PM  
Posted By NpS on 03/18/2015 11:51 AM
Re the meeting:

This is their meeting. They called it. They want to present what they want to present. You and your neighbors have every right to ask questions. This is your opportunity to gather information.

Personally, I don't think it makes any difference if your name is mentioned or not.

Also, prepare yourself for the possibility that the HOA lawyer might be there. Don't let him stress you out. Keep to your plan.

At the meeting, there is nothing wrong in saying: "My lawyer has advised me not to speak on my own behalf because the HOA attorney has threatened to sue me." And like you said, if you are served papers at the meeting, let the music play - You can sit back and enjoy the circus.

As always, good luck.




This makes really good sense to me.

I have been served twice by my HOA. Once the Sherriff made a personal phone call and asked me if I would be in town because I could stop over to the law center and pick up my lawsuit. He was so friendly like he was inviting me over for coffee and a chat. I did find that rather humorous.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4216


03/18/2015 1:01 PM  
Posted By AmandaR2 on 03/18/2015 12:11 PM
NPS, Do you think they have the right to have the HOA lawyer at the meeting? someone mentioned that he could be asked to leave and didn't have the right to attend?? because he is not an HO??? I don't know the law/rule on that if or if it would be different in different States or associations??


The point is - this is their show - they will run it the way they want - and I doesn't make sense to create a ruckus about a side issue. The HOA lawyer is a side issue and nothing more.

IMO, they are stupid for calling such a meeting - but that's their worry, not Howard's. Howard should take advantage of the opportunity to ask as many questions as he can and to dig for answers if they start getting vague on him.




Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11638


03/18/2015 1:03 PM  
Posted By AmandaR2 on 03/18/2015 12:11 PM
NPS, Do you think they have the right to have the HOA lawyer at the meeting? someone mentioned that he could be asked to leave and didn't have the right to attend?? because he is not an HO??? I don't know the law/rule on that if or if it would be different in different States or associations??




Typically a non-owner can be invited by the BOD to attend.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8707


03/18/2015 1:33 PM  
Right, JohnC ; that's my understanding too. certainly is true in CA and I guessing everywhere else too. The Board may invite whomever it wishes to its meetings. Even though a side issue, what was the reasoning for why the HOA attorney should not be permitted to attend?? I actually missed that statement here, but read quickly.

If it were our Board, the PM would attend too, Robert. Our contract specifies that she attends board meetings and takes meeting notes too.
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/18/2015 1:57 PM  
Posted By NpS on 03/18/2015 1:01 PM
Posted By AmandaR2 on 03/18/2015 12:11 PM
NPS, Do you think they have the right to have the HOA lawyer at the meeting? someone mentioned that he could be asked to leave and didn't have the right to attend?? because he is not an HO??? I don't know the law/rule on that if or if it would be different in different States or associations??


The point is - this is their show - they will run it the way they want - and I doesn't make sense to create a ruckus about a side issue. The HOA lawyer is a side issue and nothing more.

IMO, they are stupid for calling such a meeting - but that's their worry, not Howard's. Howard should take advantage of the opportunity to ask as many questions as he can and to dig for answers if they start getting vague on him.





Your logic makes sense to me
JonD1


Posts:0


03/18/2015 2:43 PM  
Posted By NpS on 03/18/2015 1:01 PM
Posted By AmandaR2 on 03/18/2015 12:11 PM
NPS, Do you think they have the right to have the HOA lawyer at the meeting? someone mentioned that he could be asked to leave and didn't have the right to attend?? because he is not an HO??? I don't know the law/rule on that if or if it would be different in different States or associations??


The point is - this is their show - they will run it the way they want - and I doesn't make sense to create a ruckus about a side issue. The HOA lawyer is a side issue and nothing more.

IMO, they are stupid for calling such a meeting - but that's their worry, not Howard's. Howard should take advantage of the opportunity to ask as many questions as he can and to dig for answers if they start getting vague on him.






I believe this is their monthly meeting and resident X's issue has been added to the agenda.
JonD1


Posts:0


03/18/2015 2:56 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 03/18/2015 1:33 PM
Right, JohnC ; that's my understanding too. certainly is true in CA and I guessing everywhere else too. The Board may invite whomever it wishes to its meetings. Even though a side issue, what was the reasoning for why the HOA attorney should not be permitted to attend?? I actually missed that statement here, but read quickly.

If it were our Board, the PM would attend too, Robert. Our contract specifies that she attends board meetings and takes meeting notes too.





Well Kerry I would have to agree with both points. This is a board meeting hence the board decides what takes place and who might attend.
Having the HOA lawyer there would be up to them. The notion as a non- owner they can be required to leave is tit for tat nonsense.

As to the idea we can now decide whether the MC should be there, that TOO would be the board's decision. My guess the majority of properties with MCs
as you state have the MC attend as part of their contract.

Since they are managing the affairs of your property, working with the board, collecting dues, maintaining records, handling violations and all sorts of other day to day tasks wouldn't having them in the room make sense?

Maybe it makes sense to pay someone to manage your affairs and then exclude them from the meetings in which your affairs are being discussed!
Yeah that makes perfect sense.

Property Manager-Board of Managers should they really be working together?????

Hmmmmmm..............
JonD1


Posts:0


03/18/2015 3:04 PM  
Someone mentioned that in some states no one is allowed to attend meeting but that probably varies from state to state.

I don't remember.......
HowardC2
(North Carolina)

Posts:80


03/19/2015 5:12 AM  
My lawyer suggested I go to the meeting and record it. NC is is a, "one party consent" state in regard to recording conversations.
He said I can ask questions and participate without any concerns so long as I am truthful. I didn't plan on saying anything but maybe something will come up where I feel the need to chime in.
I'm not at all worried about this meeting. I'll let them do their thing and we will have a chance to respond and maybe get some answers.
I'll post the results.
Thanks
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/19/2015 5:32 AM  
Excellent (that recording could be very useful to you). You have a great attitude, I'm impressed & wish you well.
HowardC2
(North Carolina)

Posts:80


03/19/2015 2:48 PM  
I got a call today from my attorney. He said the HOA attorney called him to tell him he would be at the meeting. I suppose the Q & A session regarding the letter the BOD sent to the community is going to be orchestrated by the HOA attorney. My attorney is not going to attend as I mentioned earlier in a post.
He also told me the HOA attorney was inquiring about any settlement considerations I may have made my attorney aware of. He again stated that they would be filing a claim if no offer(s) were made.
The HOA attorney told my atty that the BOD has witnesses that will testify that they saw me removing dirt from the pond in order to make it larger. I can't imagine where he is getting this information. Maybe the BOD is telling him this or maybe he is making it up but it would not be possible for a neighbor to state, without lying, that I removed dirt from my property for a couple of reasons.
I didn't remove dirt from my property.
There is no way to get a truck near the pond without going through two empty lots which I honestly would never consider doing even if I were inclined to have dirt hauled out of the pond. This is how the contractor
gained access to the pond when he filled in in with dirt as I mentioned countless times here already.
There were no homes built until I was in my house for a couple of years. By then there were many houses within the sight of the pond and if I was trucking dirt out of the pond/off my property there would have been many many calls about it made. Also the ARC would have been at my house with sirens blaring and fingers pointing before any truck received a shovel full of dirt.
The HOA attorney also told my attorney that he the builder of my home would testify that I removed dirt. This is a funny thing because:
The builder I hired is a good friend of mine.
I took over the project early in the building process so I was the builder for 80% of the project.
I don't recall talking to the HOA attorney about testifying against myself.
The original builder and I have talked at many times about what the BOD is doing to me and he has offered to compose a letter stating that he will testify that there was no dirt removed. I kind of doubt my friend would double cross me. The HOA attorney is a huge liar and he could have done a little homework. I know this is not any kind of, "win" for me hearing the HOA attorney lie his way into a corner but it is sort of entertaining.

I'll get back with meeting results.
Thanks
Howard
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/19/2015 3:00 PM  
Should be quite a show! Too bad you can't post it on youtube for us all to witness the performance, I know I'd tune in.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4216


03/19/2015 4:21 PM  
Posted By HowardC2 on 03/19/2015 2:48 PM
I got a call today from my attorney. He said the HOA attorney called him to tell him he would be at the meeting. I suppose the Q & A session regarding the letter the BOD sent to the community is going to be orchestrated by the HOA attorney. My attorney is not going to attend as I mentioned earlier in a post.
He also told me the HOA attorney was inquiring about any settlement considerations I may have made my attorney aware of. He again stated that they would be filing a claim if no offer(s) were made.
The HOA attorney told my atty that the BOD has witnesses that will testify that they saw me removing dirt from the pond in order to make it larger. I can't imagine where he is getting this information. Maybe the BOD is telling him this or maybe he is making it up but it would not be possible for a neighbor to state, without lying, that I removed dirt from my property for a couple of reasons.
I didn't remove dirt from my property.
There is no way to get a truck near the pond without going through two empty lots which I honestly would never consider doing even if I were inclined to have dirt hauled out of the pond. This is how the contractor
gained access to the pond when he filled in in with dirt as I mentioned countless times here already.
There were no homes built until I was in my house for a couple of years. By then there were many houses within the sight of the pond and if I was trucking dirt out of the pond/off my property there would have been many many calls about it made. Also the ARC would have been at my house with sirens blaring and fingers pointing before any truck received a shovel full of dirt.
The HOA attorney also told my attorney that he the builder of my home would testify that I removed dirt. This is a funny thing because:
The builder I hired is a good friend of mine.
I took over the project early in the building process so I was the builder for 80% of the project.
I don't recall talking to the HOA attorney about testifying against myself.
The original builder and I have talked at many times about what the BOD is doing to me and he has offered to compose a letter stating that he will testify that there was no dirt removed. I kind of doubt my friend would double cross me. The HOA attorney is a huge liar and he could have done a little homework. I know this is not any kind of, "win" for me hearing the HOA attorney lie his way into a corner but it is sort of entertaining.


Hi Howard

It sounds like you are going to be put on trial by the BOD in front of the community and the HOA lawyer is going to run the show.

And it sounds like you are getting prepared to defend yourself. The HOA lawyer knows how to keep you on the defensive. That's his business.

Where's the neutral person whose job it is to make sure that the event isn't one-sided? Is the HOA lawyer going to call as many witnesses as he wants, quiz them for as long as he wants, and then tell you that you have 5 minutes to rebut? Or 10 minutes? Or that you can't do this or that? Are you an expert at cross-examining witnesses like he is?

In any courtroom setting, a lawyer would have to give advance notice of the actual names of witnesses and what they would testify about - IN ADVANCE - not at the event.

If this was court, there would be a judge. If this was an arbitration, there would be an arbitrator. if this was a mediation, there would be a mediator. Any one of these is supposed to be a neutral third-party who controls the show. I do not see any neutrality here.

Recommendations:

Bring a video recorder and have someone (not you) tape this portion of the event in its entirety. Don't back down when they say you can't. Stand your ground. Videotape over their objections.

Don't get sucked into defending yourself. You are not on trial. Yet from what you wrote previously, I can see that your natural tendency IS to defend yourself. BUT there is no independent person who is going to make sure that the event is run fairly. You have already been to an event where the HOA lawyer manipulated you and controlled the event while the BOD remained silent. You are at risk of this happening again. Again, this is the HOA lawyer's business, not yours. You WILL be outgunned.

Questions to ask the lawyer:

"What is your hourly rate? Are you on a retainer? How much are you being paid to be here tonight? How many hours of your billable time have you already put into this issue? How much did it cost us?"

And if he says that's not on the agenda or that's not the issue - then let him know that this IS the issue. Stand up, turn to your neighbors, and ask them if they think it's the issue. It's their money being spent. Make sure they know it. And make sure that they see what is going on FINANCIALLY. It's easy to get distracted by the circus - BUT no one wants to see their own money being pissed away.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8707


03/19/2015 5:18 PM  
Really like your practical advice, NpS: Questions to ask the lawyer:
""What is your hourly rate? Are you on a retainer? How much are you being paid to be here tonight? How many hours of your billable time have you already put into this issue? How much did it cost us?""

And if he says that's not on the agenda or that's not the issue - then let him know that this IS the issue. Stand up, turn to your neighbors, and ask them if they think it's the issue. It's their money being spent. Make sure they know it. And make sure that they see what is going on FINANCIALLY. It's easy to get distracted by the circus - BUT no one wants to see their own money being pissed away."

Since I haven't really followed this, Howard, will this all occur in an open meeting? Not in an ex. sess.? Will the person who "saw" you moving dirt have pics?
JonD1


Posts:0


03/19/2015 6:09 PM  
Posted By HowardC2 on 02/19/2015 10:22 AM
The meeting yesterday was much worse than I expected. We arrived about 10 minutes early and the entire bod was at a table. There were not enough chairs for me, my wife and my BIL, whom I decided to ask to attend as an extra set of ears. They had to bring in 4 additional chairs so even if it was just me there would have been a need for them to make room. I feel this was a tactic used to make it uncomfortable for me right off the bat.
The attorney came in and said to me, "ok, so you have asked for this meeting, what is it you would like to say". I said that the first thing I'd like to ask is how is the BOD justified in billing me for work that they ordered to have done". Before I was even done asking the question he interrupted me and said, "hold on, you requested a meeting with the BOD. This is not a place for you to ask questions and the BOD will not be answering any questions". I said I asked for a meeting and was told that this was a meeting and not a hearing. A meeting is where people discuss issues and there is dialogue etc. We are here in an effort to resolve a conflict and if I cannot ask questions of the board then how is it possible to go forward and work toward a resolution. "

It pretty much went Don Hill from there. He said I was already given ample time by the BOD to argue my case with them.
The hoa attorney and and I, as well as my wife and BIL, went back and forth with the attorney basically beating a dead horse about how the BOD released me from the prior dispute and we talked about other things as well. Mainly things that I tried to explore lain as evidence that I was in full compliance with the BOD as as far as the previous dispute goes. At one point my BIL tried to argue on my behalf and the attorney was extremely rude to him and said that he was not invited and that he has no right to make any statements.
The attorney, and and the BOD, maintain that I did not satisfy their requirements. I presented minutes of bod meetings that clearly stated that the the hard was happy to have resolved the issue with me and that they were sending a thank you letter. The battery board member that said to me, "Howard, aren't you glad this pond issue is going to be behind you" during my final meeting with the BOD in November of 2013 was seated right next to me and at a couple of different times during the meeting I asked him did he not remember asking me this rhetorical question. He said he may have asked me this but didn't remember specifically.

I tried to be as compelling as I could be and I offered many other facts and historical data that showed that the BOD was over the pond issue but it was to no avail. I said asked them if I was not in compliance with their demands regarding the items set forth by them to correct my errors then why would they ask me to help the contractor that they hired? Why would they ask me to use my personal pump to keep the ground water out of the hole while he fixed it by fill ng it N? Why was I never given any indication that I would be held responsible for a single dime regarding the central ed work that they decided to get done.

It was clear the hoa atty had instructed the BOD to keep silent. On the rare occasions where they spoke they first looked at him for approval to do so.

Near the end of the meeting I could see they were there to do nothing other than consider any monetary offer I may put out. At this point is asked about being heard by an adjudicator panel as is set forth in our hoa documents. These documents are on the hoa website. The adjudicator panel mechanism is not part of our hoa ccr or bylaws BTW. It is a separate document, actually two of them with different dates and revisions exist. There was some uncomfortable glances exchanged and the attorney asked us for a copy of these documents. He looked at them briefly and said he wasn't aware of this panel however I had already had many chances to be heard. A few minutes later he asked if he could speak with the BOD in private. We stepped out and we're retrieved about 15-20 minutes later. He reiterated that there no longer was an adjudicator panel. This panel/committee, he was j St informed by th bod, was disbanded because there were not any residents interested in being members of the the committee. I said this is bull shit and you are not going to listen to a Damn word I say anyway. He then suggested I think about using a mediator to settle the dispute. I told him I would reserve the right to do so however I am adamant that an adjudicator committee hearing is something I deserve AND something the BOD is obligated to allow. I said it isn't my responsibility to make sure that committees that are clearly stated as being available are manned, unmanned, disbanded, dissolved or whatever the state of the committee is. It is a committee that is said to exist on the hoa Web site along with the document defining the design and purpose of it. He said this isn't going to happen because, again, I had my chances and there no longer is such a committee.
It looks at this point that Iwill soon bbe putting my story out to the community. I planned on doing this if needed and it looks like I need to take this step. I'm also very interested in doing so quickly because the attorney alluded to the fact that I had threatened to do so in the past and th the the BOD will be making the community aware of the expense regarding the pond, the legal fees associated with this dispute and the details in regards to how and why this expense was incurred. I want to be proactive and get my short blurb about a possible bod message and how it relates to me. I am not going to go into details. I just feel like I need to get my email out to the neighborhood asap. If the residence read somewhere ng the BOD puts out before I do it may paint a poor and inaccurate picture of me and how this entire situation is represented. Thanks for the ongoing support. If there are any new tip bits I'll be here letting you know.
Please excuse the Grammer and lack of paragraph use. I am using my phone to make this entry.





ROUND 1

Resident X decides it is in their best interest to meet with the HOA attorney lawyerless. Real bad move.

Above it the description of how that encounter went. Sounds like the HOA guy ate his lunch.

ROUND 2

Resident X decides it is best again to appear at a meeting they know will be attended by the same HOA lawyer. Resident X's New Lawyer no where in sight.

Why would your lawyer allow you to do this?

Are you represented by counsel or not? Not important I guess.


Life lesson #66

Doing the same thing over and over again the same way and then expecting direct results. That's called insanity.

But why not plead your case, allow the HOA lawyer to make you look the fool! and then wonder how it all went so wrong.

Re-read resident X's post about their last meeting and that was from viewpoint most favorable to resident X.

Do you really want some more of that?

Going up against a lawyer, even a bad lawyer without your own lawyer is like going to a gun fight without a gun.

Resident X's biggest problem is resident X.

Can't wait for round 2.


Slam dunk can't lose certainty...............
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:636


03/19/2015 6:30 PM  
The lawyer will be there so the board does not have to answer any questions, just like last time.

The most important thing that your friends can do at the board meeting is to voice opposition to the board spending money on a lawsuit.

Political pressure is far more important than trying to get answers.

The board should come away knowing that you have support, that your friends agree with you (not them), that a lawsuit will be very unpopular and controversial in the HOA, that the board will lose votes in the next election, that your friends are angry with the board for pursuing you, and that the board should leave you alone and stop harassing owners with threats of lawsuits.
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/19/2015 6:31 PM  
Stay calm, play the game smarter than them. (I like NPSs idea of the video recording too, along with some other good points)

One good thing is you have already experienced face to face experience with this HOA attorney and now know what to expect from him (his antics are already familiar to you). You don't seem afraid. Trust your instinct on when you feel it's necessary to interject and defend yourself. I'ts also good that some of your friends/neighbors have been giving you the heads up, about some stunts he may pull and lies he'll tell, at least you'll be able to prepare for that.

AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/19/2015 6:36 PM  
Posted By JeffT2 on 03/19/2015 6:30 PM
The lawyer will be there so the board does not have to answer any questions, just like last time.

The most important thing that your friends can do at the board meeting is to voice opposition to the board spending money on a lawsuit.

Political pressure is far more important than trying to get answers.

The board should come away knowing that you have support, that your friends agree with you (not them), that a lawsuit will be very unpopular and controversial in the HOA, that the board will lose votes in the next election, that your friends are angry with the board for pursuing you, and that the board should leave you alone and stop harassing owners with threats of lawsuits.


I like how you summed it up perfectly!
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17830


03/19/2015 6:56 PM  
Posted By HowardC2 on 03/19/2015 2:48 PM

The HOA attorney is a huge liar and he could have done a little homework.




I believe in the legal field is like poker and lawyers bluff vs. telling a lie

Don't think he hasn't done his homework (as that could be underestimating your opponent).
More than likely, the attorney is hoping you haven't done your homework and will offer a settlement based on the bluff of what they say they have.

My advice, since the Builder offered to give you a letter, have your lawyer get a signed affidavit from him. This way, you have better proof than just a letter and, if I understand your posting correctly, you currently do not even have that.

You need to start knocking on doors and get your own witnesses in order. At some point, the attorney may actually file the papers and you need to have your ducks in a row when that happens.
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/19/2015 7:39 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 03/19/2015 6:56 PM
Posted By HowardC2 on 03/19/2015 2:48 PM

The HOA attorney is a huge liar and he could have done a little homework.




I believe in the legal field is like poker and lawyers bluff vs. telling a lie It IS a game of poker, except the lawyer is the only one with nothing at stake.

Don't think he hasn't done his homework (as that could be underestimating your opponent).
More than likely, the attorney is hoping you haven't done your homework and will offer a settlement based on the bluff of what they say they have.

My advice, since the Builder offered to give you a letter, have your lawyer get a signed affidavit from him. This way, you have better proof than just a letter and, if I understand your posting correctly, you currently do not even have that.

You need to start knocking on doors and get your own witnesses in order. At some point, the attorney may actually file the papers and you need to have your ducks in a row when that happens.



JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11638


03/19/2015 7:41 PM  
Howard

You said:

"He also told me the HOA attorney was inquiring about any settlement considerations I may have made my attorney aware of. He again stated that they would be filing a claim if no offer(s) were made."

They have thrown the ball back in your court as in make an offer.

Were it me, I would throw the ball back with an offer. The offer would be much less then they want and much less then I am willing to pay but it keeps the "dealing" going.

They want $13K. I offer $1,300 or 10% of what they want. The negotiations begin.

If you have not come up with a figure in your own mind (known only to you) to make this go away then you are reveling in it and do not want it to go away.

Let the dancing begin.



AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/19/2015 7:42 PM  
Posted By AmandaR2 on 03/19/2015 7:39 PM
Posted By TimB4 on 03/19/2015 6:56 PM
Posted By HowardC2 on 03/19/2015 2:48 PM

The HOA attorney is a huge liar and he could have done a little homework.




I believe in the legal field is like poker and lawyers bluff vs. telling a lie





It IS a game of of poker, but the only one with nothing at stake is the lawyer.
AmandaR2
(South Carolina)

Posts:566


03/19/2015 7:43 PM  
Sorry, Tim the first one was a mistake, had to redo
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4216


03/20/2015 12:54 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 03/19/2015 7:41 PM
Howard

You said:

"He also told me the HOA attorney was inquiring about any settlement considerations I may have made my attorney aware of. He again stated that they would be filing a claim if no offer(s) were made."

They have thrown the ball back in your court as in make an offer.

Were it me, I would throw the ball back with an offer. The offer would be much less then they want and much less then I am willing to pay but it keeps the "dealing" going.

They want $13K. I offer $1,300 or 10% of what they want. The negotiations begin.

If you have not come up with a figure in your own mind (known only to you) to make this go away then you are reveling in it and do not want it to go away.

Let the dancing begin.


IMO, wrong timing John.

Before the HOA sent a letter saying to the community that Howard was in the wrong, maybe. But that letter was IMO a game changer.

And the upcoming meeting is another game changer.

These are intimidation tactics that the HOA is using against one of it's own.

This is a kangaroo court intended to hang Howard out to dry in front of his community.

If they can do this to Howard, they can do it to any other member of the community. And that is the point that Howard needs to get across at the meeting to the rest of the community. There is no process to protect Howard - And there is no process to protect anyone else the BOD doesn't like - That's the message that Howard needs to get across. This board is dangerous.

IMO, this is not negotiation. It is leverage that the HOA is using against its own. No one is safe. Howard, does your community understand this? Your mission at the meeting is to make sure they do.


Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17830


03/20/2015 3:16 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 03/19/2015 7:41 PM

"He also told me the HOA attorney was inquiring about any settlement considerations I may have made my attorney aware of. He again stated that they would be filing a claim if no offer(s) were made."

They have thrown the ball back in your court as in make an offer.

Were it me, I would throw the ball back with an offer. The offer would be much less then they want and much less then I am willing to pay but it keeps the "dealing" going.




However, submitting an offer, if worded incorrectly , could be an admission of wrong doing.
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