Is our Board of directors responsible for keeping our roads beautiful? The board asks us to be responsible for our common grounds what about their responsibility to their common grounds in our community? It's like lets not cut the grass and let it grow. We know the grass would look ugly like our roads. Lets ask the board to seal our roads and not have our community looking run down. The money to seal the roads is already in the general fund. Is it about not spending the money or not putting the time in to run the project?
It sure would be a perfect time to reseal our roads. The Board should address it now. I guess they are planning on waiting till the snow birds are back and the cars are back on our roads. Such a shame.
The money for resealing is in the general funds. I checked with Jeff Green. No assessment for the road resealing. It's been nine years since we resealed. Most communities do it every five years. We all know that the roads are good by our Engineering Dept. It just have to make the roads pretty again like our community. We presently have ugly roads. We look run down. Very run down.
Editor’s response: Also see our dedicated page on Road Resealing. The Editor thanks Phil Kennedy for keeping this issue at the forefront and suggests that he contact the Chairpersons of the following committees: Engineering, Facilities, Long Range Planning.
June 11, 2020:
Vicki Roberts, Editor, and Arthur Andelson, Roving Reporter, wrote:
IS THE PICKLEBALL CLUB IN JEOPARDY OF LOSING ITS CHARTER AND ITS COURTS?
Clubs exist at the discretion of the Board, and their charters may be revoked at the Board’s discretion. One of the most valuable and potent HOA community resources is the official HOA website’s access portal, to which club officers are given access, for the purpose of sending mass emails to club members and to those residents who have checked off their desire to receive emails on a specific club’s club-related matter.
Diane Green, president of the pickleball club, who was never nominated or seconded at the election meeting last December and mysteriously showed up on the ballot, and Sue Leonard, communications officer, have used and abused the portal for their own agenda. Are these pickleball club officers putting the club’s charter and the temporary pickleball courts at risk by abusing the privilege of using this HOA community resource, the official HOA website access portal, for purposes to promote their own agenda?
Their agenda included disseminating a threatening letter to the Board which was done on May 7, 2020 because they did not get their desired board vote on their issue at the board meeting the day before, and where the vote was expected in a certain way because the writers claimed that the clubs “helped the board out of a bind...when we furnished funds for a botched tennis canopy purchase.” The expected quid pro quo never came, and rage ensued. This also necessarily proves that these officers did not consider the funds given by the clubs for the canopies to be a “donation,” contrary to what the Board claimed and perhaps believed. Also, with respect to the threatening letter to the Board, these officers under the guise of a “leadership team” accused the Board of dishonesty without offering any evidence to support that claim.
Their agenda also included abusing their privileges of access to the portal to build up support on a non-pickleball issue, to wit, the reopening of the pool, said abuse having occurred on May 25, 2020, where they claimed to set up a separate faux (i.e., fake) organization for their own purposes and then used the portal to rally support for this non-pickleball issue. With respect to the mass email to the pickleball club concerning the pool on that date, the HOA website access portal was abused by the dissemination to all club members and others, through that portal, an email blast about the pool and about these officers’ displeasure with the rate and manner of reopening of the pool. We take no position on the issue of whether or not the pool reopening protocol instituted by the Board was reasonable or not. That is not the issue. The issue is using and abusing the privilege of the HOA website portal which was provided to the officers for the exclusive purpose of promoting club business, and instead using it to push an agenda on a non-club matter.
These two officers at the time were Chairpersons of the Entertainment and Long-Term Planning Committees respectively, and as such, already had special access to the Board and had power and influence in those positions. These Chairperson positions were also subject to Board discretion because Committees are in fact Board adjuncts. Recommendations by Chairpersons are taken seriously by the Board, as they should be. As the below post of June 9, 2020 reports, they are no longer Committee Chairpersons. You decide whether they resigned or were given an ultimatum to resign or be terminated forthwith.
In conclusion, the pickleball club ought to seriously think about calling an emergency meeting for the purpose of recalling these officers to avoid the potential loss of the club’s charter and the attendant temporary pickleball courts: i.e., no club, no courts.
June 9, 2020:
Vicki Roberts, Editor, and Arthur Andelson, Roving Reporter, wrote:
Chairpersons of Three Committees "Resign:"
The following people have “resigned” from their respective Committee Chairpersonships: Diane Green, Entertainment; Jeff Green, Budget; and Sue Leonard, Long-Term Planning. We note that two of these “resignations” (Diane Green and Sue Leonard) come directly after these individuals publicly attacked the integrity of the Board in a May 7, 2020 letter to the Board which was blasted to the pickleball club, and after one of them, Diane Green, posted publicly on Facebook her desire to essentially stage a coup to overthrow the Board prior to the next elections in March 2021. Facebook is a forum that boasts 2.4 billion members.
While we are all for free speech, it is also true that Committees are in fact adjuncts to the Board, and Chairpersons serve at the Board’s discretion. Plotting a coup against the Board by an adjunct Chairperson and criticizing the Board’s actions constitute direct conflicts between those individuals and the Board. These adjunct Chairpersons are responsible for recommending entertainment contracts, budget expenditures, and long-term planning for the community. Their recommendations are often adopted by the Board, which rightly relies on them to be non-biased and supportive of, and complementary to, the Board.
Insurrections by adjunct Board members should therefore rightly not be tolerated by the Board. These individuals are now free to continue to criticize the Board at their pleasure because they are no longer officially tethered to the Board. Those who hear their criticisms (and their additional gossip) are likewise free to accept those criticisms (and additional gossip) on their face, challenge and ask questions about those criticisms (and additional gossip), or to reject them out of hand.
We leave it to our readers to decide whether these were true “resignations.” We note that often in politics individuals who are about to be canned are given the opportunity to resign in lieu of being terminated.
May 18, 2020:
Ratification Abuse/Board Private Meeting and Voting Flagrantly Contrary To Law and To Your Rights posted by Vicki Roberts, Editor:
The Board is prohibited from meeting and voting in a closed session. The false argument that all rules can be suspended under the so-called emergency powers is just that: false. Also, this is not a license to abuse what the emergency statute, Florida Statute 720.316, actually allows. The emergency rule states in pertinent part that the Board:
…may exercise the following powers:
(a) Conduct board or membership meetings after notice of the meetings and board decisions is provided in as practicable a manner as possible, including via publication, radio, United States mail, the Internet, public service announcements, conspicuous posting on the association property, or any other means the board deems appropriate under the circumstances…
There is no reasonable interpretation that would permit a secret, closed board meeting with later ratification at a future board meeting when all that is needed is 48 hours’ notice to the community.
The Cascade Lakes website, under the heading HOA, under “Board of Directors, Board Minutes & Video,” lists the next intended Board meeting as May 20, 2020. This makes sense, since normally the Board meetings occur on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Your Editor emailed the property manager and her assistant inquiring as to when the next Board meeting was (since no notice of any meeting was received within 48 hours of May 20, 2020 at 9:30am); the responsive email stated that “The next board meeting is undetermined at this time due to the pandemic.”
We beg to differ. The last several Board meetings have occurred without a glitch using the Zoom system. It worked perfectly and there is no “emergency” that would justify suspending the 48-hour rule; even the statute frowns upon it in no uncertain terms.
Marion Weil, the HOA president, has repeatedly stated that the Board can vote privately as part of their emergency powers which they can then ratify at a later date: this is a gross abuse of the limited powers granted for emergencies. An emergency potentially would be shutting down the facilities for health and safety, but certainly not opening them up. All that is required is 48-hour notice for an open board meeting. With the Zoom capabilities mastered by all Board members, who were seen comfortably using the system at the last several Board meetings, Marion’s claims are clearly and easily refuted. This is nothing less than a sheer power grab to conduct business behind closed doors and in flagrant violation of the open meeting laws [Florida Statute 720.303(2)(a) and (b)] and your right to participate under the law.
This abuse of power is consistent and unending. Please remember it at election time next March. We will also remind you.
May 14, 2020:
On April 26, 2020, we posted a report stating that the taking of club monies to subsidize the HOA's purchase of awnings for the sports center constituted a taxable event. We received a letter to the editor challenging our position and we engaged in a friendly correspondence about the issue. We reprint our original post and then we post the interesting email exchanges concerning the issue, which occurred on May 7, 2020.
April 26, 2020:
Acceptance of Club Funds to Subsidize the HOA is a Taxable Event:
Per IRS rules, an HOA’s quarterly dues and special assessments, which constitute revenue to the HOA, are nevertheless not subject to the 30% tax rate otherwise applicable to other monies received by the HOA. Those specific revenue sources are specifically exempted from the federal tax otherwise due on other revenue sources received by an HOA per 26 U.S. Code Section 528(d)(3).
Any monies expended on HOA matters, which includes HOA common area improvements, must be made on a proportionate basis to all members, i.e., derive from quarterly dues or special assessments, to avoid tax consequences on moneys received and ultimately used for any HOA purpose. In other words, all incoming funds used for HOA matters, which necessarily includes common area improvements, must be paid for proportionately by the membership in order to avoid tax liability at the HOA rate of 30%, and the only way that that is accomplished is via quarterly dues and special assessments. To be clear, these revenue sources, i.e., quarterly dues and special assessments, are proportionate and equally shared and contributed to by owner/members. The acceptance of quarterly dues and special assessments are specifically not taxable events per IRS rules governing HOAs [26 U.S. Code Section 528(d)(3)].
The HOA took in $3,000 in revenue from non-HOA proportionate sources to subsidize itself (in this case, club monies from the tennis club and the pickleball club, both separate and independent corporations, but the rule applies to any revenue sources). None of that money was part of either quarterly dues or a special assessment, and therefore none of it was a proportionate contribution from the member/owners. Therefore, per IRS rules, it appears that receiving this revenue produced a taxable event, because it was revenue taken from non-exempt sources.
Taking monies from non-HOA sources (in this case, from two separate and distinct corporations, but in any case), and using that non-HOA, non-exempt money to subsidize the HOA, with said HOA in turn then purchasing awning for common area improvements per a contract between the HOA and the awning company, and thus getting the benefit and value therefrom, constitutes a revenue-producing activity; those amounts are therefore taxable on IRS Form 1120-H at the standard 30% rate for HOAs.
Therefore, that $3,000 that the HOA earned from the club contributions is taxable in the amount of $900 (30% of $3,000), and the HOA needs to account on its financial books for the additional $900 it now owes the IRS as part of the cost of the awnings. How is it fiscally responsible to have some individuals (in this case through two distinct corporations) disproportionally pay for HOA obligations and/or improvements which in turn generates a taxable event to the entire HOA? Answer: it most certainly it not.
The Treasurer of this HOA referred to these monies as a “donation.” This was not a donation, however, because the Treasurer admitted that the clubs received a “benefit” for their contributions, as described previously on this news site; rather, it was a profit generating activity which resulted in the enrichment of the entire HOA, thus creating a taxable event. Even if it were construed to be a donation, which this subsidy clearly was not, the HOA would still have to pay taxes on the revenues it received because it received a financial benefit from those non-HOA, non-exempt monies which were neither quarterly dues nor special assessments.
The finagling of theawning invoices/payment methodology to effectuate this scheme may expose the homeowners to IRS penalties and interest if an audit were undertaken and this anomaly were discovered. It may also red flag the HOA for future IRS audits, which would be very costly. This is not fiscal responsibility, and it is therefore incumbent upon the Board to immediately place on the next Agenda a motion to rescind acceptance of these club monies to protect the members of this HOA, or alternatively, to set aside an additional $900 in HOA funds to pay this tax obligation, the latter of which was caused by a lack of fiscal responsibility in the first place and is an unnecessary additional cost to the HOA.
Re: HOA Taxable Event: Taking Money for Awnings
The following exchange occurred with respect to our above post concerning the taxable event created when the HOA took money from the clubs for the purchase of the sports center awnings. We have removed the resident’s identity and replaced it with the word “Anonymous.” The resident challenged our post, to which we invited the resident to explain why our post was not accurate, and the following interesting exchange occurred (we have edited out parts of the emails that had nothing to do with the issue, but otherwise we have posted the emails unedited):
Oh, perhaps I should mention that your posting about our HOA being subject to income tax was pretty much inaccurate.
Have a good day.
If you believe that the post on the taxable nature of the club monies taken by the BOD on behalf of the HOA is "pretty much inaccurate," please explain on what basis you make that assertion, as we are always willing to be educated. The IRS rules and guidelines were pretty clear and we made sure to read them on the subject before posting that article.
Vicki and Arthur
Anonymous wrote in response:
Ok, but I’ll be quite brief.
First, I see nothing disallowing a club, whose members are all members of our HOA, not be permitted to make a capital contribution to the HOA. (hence, no taxable income). It could be easily argued that this is permissible. For example, there is case law regarding a municipality contributing money to a developer in order to facilitate the creation of a park within the development. Held, a capital contribution and not taxable. I realize that the developer was not an HOA, but it’s the same principal.
Second, even if it were Non-qualified income, the HOA is permitted to recognize certain non-qualified expenses, to defray the income. This is explained in regulation as well as form instructions which mention that, for example, an HOA’s management fees can be apportioned in some reasonable manner, against income. Also, direct HOA expenses, such as legal fees, to earn the income can be deducted. Other HOA expenses would be subject to apportionment. It would be quite easy to allocate a sufficient amount of expenses to (more than) wipe out the income.
Third, to be technical, even if the donation were Non-qualified income and and it had no expenses to offset the income, it still may utilize a $100 “standard deduction”. Not much different from your numbers, but nonetheless a difference.
This exercise would never get to my third point: just mentioned to be accurate.
Even if all my points Above were wrong, this activity would never be audited by IRS based on the size of the income.
The IRS, although not acting in a reasonable fashion all the time, does try not try to raise issues which would both take time and, if successful, result in an assessment of practically nothing.
We wrote in response:
Thanks for your email. We appreciate that you have taken the time to write in response to our post on the subject of the taxable nature of the monies the HOA Board accepted from the independent tennis and pickleball clubs for partial payment of the community’s awnings.
In response, we will also try to be brief but will endeavor to address each of the points you have raised.
Contrary to your claim, not all club members are in fact members of our HOA. Renters and ringers who pay club dues are not HOA members.
The fact that most of the club members are members of the HOA is irrelevant. These are two separate and independent corporate entities registered with the Department of State.
These funds are not capital contributions to the HOA by definition by virtue of the facts stated above in numbers one and two.
HOA rules are specific and the rules regarding municipalities and developers are completely separate and have no precedential value to the issue at hand. Arguing case law concerning municipalities and developers would not impress the IRS, its Office of Appeals, or the United States Tax Court.
There is nothing wrong with having expenses against income, but that does not excuse the requirement to declare the income. Most of your comments entail the use of deductions against income, but the funds are still declarable income.
HOA expenses are to be paid by the HOA as a whole. Characterizing it against the influx of this income is also irrelevant and does not affect the requirement of declaring the income.
You state that management fees can be apportioned against income in some reasonable manner. How so? Management fees are paid against non-income quarterly dues and special assessments, just like landscaping, attorneys fees, and the like.
What expenses are you suggesting would wipe out this income that are not covered by the quarterly dues and special assessments? And even if these unidentified expenses wipe out the income as you suggest, that still does not excuse the failure to declare the income. There are lines on the form for income, lines for deductions, and additional statements that can be added to the return with additional deductions and explanations. None of this changes the fact that this is declarable income.
Your mention of a $100 standard deduction does not make sense to us here. Again, if there is a permissible deduction, then by all means the taxpayer has the right to utilize it. It has no bearing, however, on the obligation to declare the income.
The IRS chooses to audit based on a number of factors, and if there were an audit for a reason other than what we have raised, the fact that this, too, was not declared would raise an additional red flag and might cause the IRS to look more carefully at other areas of the return. There is no reason to deliberately fail to include income on a return and invite scrutiny unnecessarily. Pure and simple, it is dishonest, and it is fiscally irresponsible for the Board to put the association at risk no matter the amount of the outside income it collects.
Now, if any of the above facts are inaccurate, please let us know, so that we can educate ourselves further.
We will be posting your comments and our response on our news site. Please advise if you wish that your comments be posted anonymously as opposed to identifying you by name. If you feel strongly about your position, there should be no reason to hide your identity, but we will honor your wishes if you desire anonymity.
Vicki Roberts, Editor and
Arthur Andelson, Reporter
[Editor’s note: we did not receive any response to our last email.]
March 24, 2020:
Arthur Andelson sent the following email to all current board members and candidates this morning:
March 24, 2020
Re: VOTING FOR OFFICERS: PRESIDENT, VP, SECRETARY, TREASURER
All BOD Members and Candidates:
Immediately after the BOD election, the new board will be voting in private to elect their new slate of officers. Officers include the president, the vice-president, the secretary, and the treasurer. The latter two do not need to be board members per our governing documents, page 3- 9, Section VIII, OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES, Section A, Enumeration of Officers: “The officers of this Association shall be a President and Vice-President, who shall at all times be Directors of the Association, a Secretary, and a Treasurer who do or do not have to be Directors of the Association.”
What should each member of the new board focus on when voting for the new president?
An important question that each new and existing board member needs to ask is:
“Who do you believe would be the best person as President of the BOD for the benefit of this community and why?”
In order to answer that question, we believe that each board member ought to think about the following:
Our governing documents specifically define the duties of the President at pages 3-9 and 3-10, under Section VIII, OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES, Section G, Duties, 1. President: to preside over BOD meetings, to see that orders and resolutions are carried out, and to sign legal documents and promissory notes. That’s it.
When any board member cedes to a president more powers than are enumerated in our governing documents, that board member cedes his/her vote and the community’s vote as well, since the community vested in each board member the power to have one vote of seven, and if a board member cedes his/her vote by being submissive to the president and the president’s will, that board member has completely vitiated the community’s interests in and entitlement to having seven independent votes on the board.
Here are some examples just from the last year concerning the conduct of the president and the board which should impact your decision on whom to vote for as president of the new board:
1. The president does not set the Agenda for board meetings. Any board member may add an item to the Agenda. More properly, the Agenda ought to be prepared by the secretary as it is strictly a secretarial function. Any board member who wants an item on the Agenda should submit that item to the secretary, not the president. The president merely presides over the board meeting by following the Agenda and keeping order. Any board member who believes that the president has veto power over the Agenda, which was in fact a belief held by one or more board members giving the current president, Marion Weil, improper veto power, is wrong and is improperly ceding his/her will to that of the president. The fact that Marion willingly participated in exercising this non-existent veto power is an abuse of power.
2. The president ought not be doing double duty as president and webmistress of the HOA message board, such as Marion is currently doing. Apparently as far as we can tell, she is processing e-tickets of residents who send a request to the board through the HOA website eform system and then hours later sending out an acknowledgment to the resident with a cc to each board member. Each board member should get the resident request simultaneously because all board members have equal power and equally represent the residents.
The present method appears to improperly give full power and control to the current president with respect to the flow and timing of information being distributed to other board members and/or to do what she wants with the information provided. For example, if she alone receives the e-ticket, she can decide to resolve the matter on her own and nobody would know about it except the resident and Marion. This effectively makes a decision for the board without a quorum and is an abuse of power.
This also may affect agenda items because if she does not advise the rest of the board of theissue raised by the resident, the matter remains ignored and there is never an opportunity for it to be addressed by the board at an open board meeting. The resident is also left in the dark, and we know this because on more than one occasion, we have sent in e-tickets and have never received a substantive response. If this procedure were set up before Marion became president, then it needs to change immediately for the reasons stated above.
In addition, by acting as webmistress in determining when a resident’s post is removed, and then acting as part of the appellate jury when that determination is challenged, Marion improperly exercises dominion and control over not only the prosecutorial aspect of the process but also usurps the grievance procedure mandated by the Florida statute and our own governing documents. The fact that the HOA attorney gave wrong advice to the board concerning the grievance procedure does not change the fact that Marion’s conflicts of interest in this flawed process remain.
3. The president should not be convening secret board meetings which are illegal under the statute, with limited exceptions for attorney-client privileged communications and personnel matters. We have documentary proof that Marion and the current board engaged in numerous secret and illegal closed board meetings. When this was discovered and called out by Vicki Roberts on the HOA message board, Marion was part of the team that removed that post and it was part of the basis for Vicki’s 30-day suspension from the message board.
So, what Marion did was: she removed the truthful post, disciplined Vicki, and engaged in a cover-up of her and the board’s illegal activity of conducting multiple closed board meetings that had nothing to do with personnel or attorney-client communications. A more honest and in fact the only proper approach would have been to own the error and correct it from that point forward. Instead, the board, led by Marion, demonized Vicki, allowed other residents to demonize her at board meetings, such as telling us to move, and continues to allow residents to heckle Vicki whenever she gets up to speak at board meetings, all to promote this continued cover-up and Marion’s grip on power.
Any attempt by the president or any board member to engage in a secret board meeting ought to be immediately rebuffed by all other board members, and any attempt to silence and demonize a resident for calling it out also ought to be rebuffed. And yet every single board member remains silent to this day. Silence equals acquiescence to all of the above.
4. The president should not unilaterally decide, in violation of the Florida statute, that residents only have two minutes to speak at board meetings as part of the required Residents’ Input Session, as opposed to the minimum of three minutes required by Florida Statute 720.306(6), which states in pertinent part:
“Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in the governing documents or any rules adopted by the board or by the membership, a member and a parcel owner have the right to speak for at least 3 minutes on any item. The association may adopt written reasonable rules governing the frequency, duration, and other manner of member and parcel owner statements, which rules must be consistent with this subsection.”
Our governing documents are contrary to the statutory requirements; they say, at page 3-7, VI. MEETING OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Section G., Order of Business, number 5, First Residents’ Input Session: “…each speaker is entitled to speak for a maximum of three (3) minutes on agenda items.”
The statute mandates the reverse: it is AT LEAST three minutes, not a MAXIMUM of three minutes. No HOA governing document may usurp or restrict the mandates of the statute, and it says that clearly in the statute as well, so our governing documents must either be amended or stricken as being contrary to the Florida statute on that point.
Any board member that permits this usurpation of resident time and remains silent is equally culpable. You may recall a past board meeting when Marion unilaterally decreed that residents would only have two minutes to speak owing to the length of the Agenda. That Agenda was noticed 48 hours before that board meeting and on its face said that residents would have up to three minutes to speak. When Marion made that announcement at the beginning of the board meeting, resident Vicki Roberts, now Editor of the CascadeLakesResidents.com news site, who was sitting in the front row, loudly objected, and stated to Marion, “you can’t do that,” and further stated, “I timed my speech to three minutes exactly.” Marion replied, “I just did.”
When it was Vicki’s turn at the podium to speak, and Vicki was addressing the entire board, at the two minute mark, Marion rushed up to the speaker’s podium, leaving her cane behind, and physically tried to pull the microphone away from Vicki, and when that failed, the mic was turned off when Vicki continued exercising her statutory right to speak. This effectively interfered with and vitiated Vicki’s prepared remarks and the speech was lost on the board because of the interruption and mayhem that ensued which was created by Marion’s behavior. Not one board member spoke up.
This type of flagrantly illegal, improper, disrespectful, and unprofessional behavior should not be tolerated, and every single other board member should have spoken up and challenged it instead of remaining silent, which they did. At the same time, the entire board permitted the audience to heckle Vicki during this outrageous abuse of power by the president of this HOA. At that moment, the rest of the board should have had an emergency vote to remove Marion as president immediately for having just violated the rights of a resident in full view of the entire board and those residents present.
What was on display was not leadership; that’s a bully who is out of control and not even properly doing her limited job of presiding over board meetings. If a board member is afraid to speak up and challenge the current president, it is time for a new and different president who will not so intimidate other board members that they abrogate their voice and their vote to the detriment of the community, and remain silent when their president violates the rights of a resident who is asserting her statutory rights. And if a board member is not willing to do that, then that board member is unfit for the job and should resign.
It has been a recurring pattern that the current board has not placed the community’s interests first, but rather has repeatedly covered for and acquiesced to the whims of the current president.
5. This outrageous bullying by the current president is not limited to residents. The current president also bullied another board member by suggesting to that board member to follow her demands or resign. This occurred last April 2019, which was before our arrival here in mid-May 2019, when Marion did this to Alan Silver, another equal board member. This is according to documentary evidence in our possession provided by a confidential informant to our news site, to wit, an email dated April 25, 2019, which reads in pertinent part:
“…Marion Weil is maneuvering to push Alan Silver off the Board of Directors. Specifically, she has requested his resignation by 5 PM today. This is nothing less than an outrage and abuse of the power entrusted upon a President whose purpose is to represent the Community…
…She needs to put our Community first and above any personal agenda…
The Community elected Alan to the Board so that representation and ideas of our Community would be heard and considered. It is not up to Marion to abuse her power by picking and choosing who she personally wants on the Board…”
That email was sent just a short time after Marion became the President of the Board for the very first time in late March 2019. It is a clear indication of Marion’s intent to consolidate power and usurp the community’s rights by applying undue pressure on other board members. Any board member that sits by silently during such a blatant abuse of power is equally culpable.
We are also in possession of an email from board member Alan Silver dated the next day, April 26, 2019, which was provided by a confidential informant to our news site, stating:
“Thank you all very much for your expression of support and encouragement concerning the possibility of my resignation from the board….The board will meet in private (in camera) very shortly to attempt to resolve our differences for the best possible outcome for the community.”
This is yet another blatant slap in the face of the statute that strictly prohibits such private, in camera meetings. And yet this appears to be business as usual with this board. It is not for the “best possible outcome for the community;” it is the opposite, and here is why:
We note that from that point forward, the bullied and threatened board member, Alan, has essentially been a lackey of the president and sometimes he acts more like a “Marion-ette” than a true independent board member. For example, he repeatedly seeks Marion’s permission to follow up on matters that he has every right to follow up on his own. The function of the president does not include giving permission to other board members to take actions such as researching matters relevant to the community. He is also the board member who told both Vicki and me that “Marion has veto power over the Agenda,” which by now should be clear is not correct.
So, Alan has not resigned, but he has been compromised for reasons unfathomable to us. Where is this weakness coming from? What is gained by it? Where is the internal fortitude and strength of character? Where is the pushback? If you don’t believe you are an equal board member, then maybe you should resign and allow someone to serve who understands that basic concept.
6. The president should not be “Weil-ing” and dealing behind the scenes and making promises to constituents and to chairpersons of committees for any reason, including but not limited to efforts to resurrect the reputation of another board member who breaks rules. Yet this is exactly what Marion did, and we have the written proof in our possession. That board member whose reputation was targeted for resurrection after Marion herself threw her under the bus was Eileen Olitsky.
That scenario involved the tennis vs. pickleball issue wherein Eileen had reviewed and prepared notes in response to tennis pro Lee Sinett’s then-confidential memo on pickleball and tennis, and where Marion falsely claimed in an email dated August 8, 2019 at 10:22pm that she caught Eileen off guard by asking her to comment about Lee’s memo, suggesting falsely that Eileen was not prepared, when in fact Eileen was extensively prepared and had yellow highlighted the entire six page memo.
Marion then tried to cut Eileen off during Eileen’s presentation at the board meeting because Marion realized two things: (1) that Eileen’s comments were more favorable to the tennis club, of which Eileen’s husband, Steve Olitsky, was the then-president, and (2) that what Eileen was stating too closely mirrored what Steve had previously read at the Residents’ Input Session, and that it was really just a more detailed version of what Steve read from the podium, which led any reasonable person to conclude that he had prior access to the then-confidential memo. When Marion tried to cut her off, Eileen stated that she was not finished reading her highlighted notes.
Both Vicki and I, who were sitting in the front row, were able to clearly see the yellow highlights on the pages that Eileen was holding up at the time, and other residents confirmed that they also saw Eileen’s yellow highlighted comments on the memo. Marion’s claim that Eileen was not prepared to discuss Lee’s memo was false. Thus, when Marion asked Eileen to speak about the matter, and Eileen’s comments sounded too much like her husband’s, Marion tried to cut her off and then tried to do damage control to Eileen’s reputation when the pickleball community realized that the tennis club president had advance access to the then-confidential memo.
It was no coincidence that much of what Eileen read from mirrored what her husband, who was then the tennis club president, read from his notes at the Residents’ Input Session. The pickleball club, to the contrary, had no advance knowledge of Lee’s memo and were side-swiped. Later, tennis club members were overheard at the pool joking about how well prepared they were at the board meeting and how the pickleball club was left in the dark.
Upon information and belief, this was so embarrassing to Eileen that Eileen was seriously considering resigning. Eileen later used that scenario to play the victim at other board meetings, falsely claiming that she was the victim of defamation when I called her out about what she did, i.e., share the then-confidential memo with her husband, when in fact there was no defamation at all, because it was all true. After that, Eileen orchestrated my removal from the Entertainment Committee, of which she is the board liaison, discussed more fully below.
Marion was actually pretty brazen about it. This improper manipulation was contained in Marion’s August 8, 2019, at 10:22pm email, page 2, second to last paragraph, last 2 sentences, and last paragraph, as follows:
“I was hoping to get pickleball going here, and be able to have league play, as well. It will happen. This I promise you.
Further, in the interest of harmony, please ask your friends and others to stop sending emails or postings regarding this matter. Together, we need to get Eileen’s reputation back to full integrity. It is my hope, no-goal, to put this all behind us and end the divisiveness so that all residents can live harmoniously here in Cascade Lakes. Together, we can do this.”
First, it is outrageously inappropriate for any board member to make any promises to a group of residents. In return for this promise of a majority vote for pickleball, this board member is stating that the quid pro quo for said illegal promise is to be the following:
1. To get Eileen’s reputation back to full integrity, and 2. Directing these emailed members to ask their friends and others, that is to say, other community members, to be silent, i.e., to stop sending emails and to stop posting messages on the community message board (of which Marion is a webmistress).
In other words, if these members aid in Marion’s attempts to resurrect Eileen’s reputation, which Marion herself destroyed to begin with, and get everyone to shut up, then Marion will secure a favorable vote on the pickleball issue, which is in fact exactly what happened. These emailed residents included two Chairpersons of Committees who have a large influence over their groups in the community. Those two Chairpersons are now officers of the pickleball club, and one is the president of the pickleball club.
Indeed, Eileen’s reputation was thusly resurrected, and I became the villain for calling it out on the message board, for which my post was removed by Marion and I was issued a demerit. This also secured another “Marion-ette” for Marion in the personage of Eileen, who would thenceforth be grateful to Marion for resurrecting her tarnished reputation and could then go into full victimhood mode as against my post calling her out. How convenient for them. This also empowered Eileen to boot me off of the Entertainment Committee, of which she is the board liaison, and of which the pickleball president is one of the Chairpersons alluded to above. That Chairperson of the Entertainment Committee who is also the president of the pickleball club continues to talk smack about me and Vicki, the Editor, to anyone and everyone who will listen.
Eileen was also called out by me for being a rule breaker as liaison to the Entertainment Committee, chaired by the pickleball president. Eileen chastised and embarrassed entertainment committee member Lee Simon, who was responsible for the show series while the chairperson was out of town, for giving a show series ticket to a sub-committee member/spouse, which was contrary to the rules, and this rule against sub-committee spouses attending show series has never been changed to this date. However, a mere week later, Eileen approved the disbursement of a show series ticket to a sub-committee spouse, without board approval. So, she did the exact same thing as that which she called out Lee Simon for doing. I called her out about it, after which I was removed from the Committee by two illegal private board votes for doing so. We have documentary proof of that as well. All board members acquiesced in both of those secret illegal board votes.
7. This last year, the president, Marion, in addition to the above, is the one board member doing email blasts to the community when actually any board member can e-mail blast the community, and e-mail blasts should more properly be coming from the property manager by direction of the board. The board’s function is policy creation; the property manager implements the policy by handling the procedure for such implementation, and this was even acknowledged by the board at a previous board meeting.
8. Marion is the one board member with a dedicated page in News & Views where she has already used her bully pulpit to attack residents with whom she disagrees (January 2020 edition).
9. Marion has sent an email to other board members not to communicate with a resident. We have that email.
10. Marion sicced the HOA attorney on a resident, the Editor of the news site, with whom she disagreed without ever convening a board meeting for such purpose, which cost the community thousands of dollars in legal fees which were entirely the result of Marion’s inappropriate conduct toward Vicki, the now-Editor. Marion also gave the HOA attorney misinformation which he failed to vet for its veracity or lack thereof, and based on her unvetted statements, the attorney wrote Vicki a letter wherein he made demonstrably false and defamatory claims against Vicki. His claims were thoroughly debunked, and his letter was completely decimated by Vicki’s two response letters (one three page letter on September 18, 2019, and when no response came to that, two weeks later, on October 6, 2019, a 119-page response letter with supporting exhibits, both of which are available to the candidates upon request; the other board members received those letters and exhibits simultaneously with their transmission to the attorney via email).
Ever since he received those responses, the attorney disappeared and never wrote another letter to Vicki. Over three months later the senior partner showed up at the board meeting on January 8, 2020, where the kangaroo court (the entire board) convicted Vicki of being inappropriate on the message board dating back to her post of August 2019 calling out the board for having illegal secret board meetings, and the board sustained her 30-day suspension which had commenced on December 18, 2019. At that board meeting, the senior partner falsely claimed that the lawyer did not response to Vicki because he was “on vacation,” to which Vicki replied, “for six months? Where can I get that kind of gig?” It is important to note that the suspension occurred because back in August 2019 Vicki posted a truthful message board post about the fact that the board was engaging in secret, illegal board meetings, and Alan admitted to it in an email to the attorney, the rest of the board, and me. During the 30-day suspension, CascadeLakesResidents.com was born.
Marion has conducted several illegal closed board meetings, removed truthful message board posts that called out her behavior, repeatedly allowed message board posts of one resident attacking other residents with impunity, has improperly tried to seize a resident’s microphone at a board meeting when she unilaterally decided that the resident would only have two minutes to speak instead of the required three minutes and then had the resident’s mic cut off, has repeatedly permitted repetitive heckling of residents by other residents at board meetings (where one of her few functions is to preside over board meetings), has allowed a resident to bash other residents at the First Residents’ Input Session on matters that were not part of the Agenda, and has repeatedly focused her efforts on trying to silence residents who air the truth about her aforementioned malfeasance. Any board member that believes that this type of behavior is remotely acceptable is guilty of dereliction of his/her duty to represent the residents of this HOA.
Have any of you made any commitments with regard to your vote for specific officers such as that of President? What “Weil-ing” and dealing have you already engaged in? Board members should understand that each board member is equal and equally represents the residents, and should have a completely independent vote, free from influence and any quid pro quo. And if you were approached by anyone in that regard, that means that that person was not confident that he or she would be able to secure enough votes by his or her character and talent to ensure his or her election as an officer.
New and current board members, ask yourselves before voting for president:
Will this person be transparent, and will this person read, follow, and respect the Florida Statutes and the HOA’s governing documents?
Will this person be respectful of others when they voice their opinions and when others call the president or other board members out for not being transparent, and for not following Florida Statutes and the HOA’s governing documents?
It has been all too obvious that this past year there have been fundamental misunderstandings of what limited powers the president of the BOD actually possesses.
It has also been abundantly clear that other board members for whatever reasons have failed and refused to rein in the wayward president, thus permitting unbridled power to coagulate in one person, as opposed to the seven persons that are supposed to be running this HOA. The result of this runaway power grab is an essential dictatorship, not a board of directors.
For the above reasons, it is the opinion of the news site, CascadeLakesResidents.com, that other board members would be much more suited for the position of president of our board. We also weigh in on suggestions for the other officer positions:
President: if elected, Susan Schmer, who has an excellent command of the rules and regulations of this HOA, and who has not been tainted by the illegal conduct repeatedly engaged in by the existing board. If not elected, Mark Goodman because he is focused on the tasks at hand and what is fiscally responsible.
Vice-President: if Marion is not president, then Alan Silver would make a great vice-president because he welcomes input from everyone and seeks to make informed decisions on matters before him. If Marion is re-elected, however, he should not be vice-president because, for reasons unfathomable to us, he simply cannot refrain from ceding his authority as an equal board member to Marion. Mark Goodman would be an excellent choice for vice-president if he is not elected president.
Secretary: this position is not required to be on the board of directors. Based on past experience, Linda Arbeit is perfectly suited to continue in this post, regardless of whether or not she is reelected as a board member.
Treasurer: this position is not required to be on the board of directors. Richard Greene, a CPA and current Chairman of the Budget Committee, is perfectly suited for this position, regardless of whether or not he is elected as a board member.
March 5, 2020:
Alan Lampert wrote:
The mailboxes are being discussed again. I thought this was squelched.
What can we do to stop this?
Thanks for writing. My March 4, 2020 synopsis and commentary will be posted on our site either by tonight or tomorrow night and I address it very completely therein. It is completely illegal.
Mailboxes do not have to be uniform and are in fact subject to individual homeowner/ARB approval as our governing documents clearly spell out. Neither the Board nor the community has the right to interfere with that specific right specifically granted by our governing documents, page 1-18, at Section O and page 4-8, at Number 8.
Having said that, based on our analysis which I set forth in the March 4, 2020 synopsis, it seems pretty clear that if this went to a community vote it would fail miserably.
Do I have your permission to post your name and your letter to the editor and my response on our website?
[Editor's note: see the details below in our February 6, 2020 post.]
February 9, 2020:
At the last board meeting on February 5, 2020, the topics of tennis court pavers and an awning between courts 4 and 5 were listed on the agenda and discussed. Because this matter is informative to the community, we are reposting the excerpts from our February 5, 2020 BOD Synopsis and Commentary here:
Item 3. Tennis Court Pavers, Courts 4-5, $5,500: – Linda: Pavers between courts 4 and 5. Mark: this is a reserve item, not a budget item. Linda: We want it to look exactly like what it looks like between courts 2 and 3. The contract is $5,500. It will give better access to the courts, so you don’t have to walk through the dirt, and will increase the beauty. Eileen: the grandstand is so hot. Another board member: that’s the next item. Harvey: would it make everything the same? Linda: yes. Linda: motion to accept the proposal for APC to install. Eileen: second. Jerry: each place with a canopy and chairs is on a cement pad. Why now pavers? Which is more expensive? Eileen: it’s walking to the seating area, not under the seat area. Alan: there is a fence there, does it include modifying? Another board member: Has to be another contract, not included, has to be done by others. Alan: there’s a drain there, a significant sink hole, is that included? Linda: I asked Lee, it’s the same drain as in the other area. Larry [Editor's note: Engineering, from the audience]: the water will drain and will not flood. It’s called a French drain. [Editor’s note: per Merriam-Webster: “Definition of French drain: a drain consisting of an underground passage made by filling a trench with loose stones and covering with earth, called also rubble drain.”] Marion: they don’t have that on here. Jerry: it has to be written or it’s not done. Marion: send it back, add the French drain. Alan: I need to see the fence in there. Harvey: let’s table for the fence removal and the French drain. Second: Jerry. Eileen: It’s been four years. The grandstand, no one uses it. I’m a little confused. We pushed through pickleball, increased Lee’s salary. This should be given to tennis players as an accommodation. I encourage you to pass this and let them have the seating area they so deserve. [Editor’s note: decisions ought not be made as accommodations based on an improper comparison, in this case, to pickleball. First of all, pickleball enhances the value of the community and only takes up one court. It has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Second, the pavers are a benefit to the community and will allow access to the grandstand, and that should match the other grandstand access referenced as being between courts 2 and 3. Third, this is not something that the tennis contingency “deserves” per se. The community owns the sports center, all of it. Decisions ought to be made on the proper criteria: fiscal responsibility and enhancement to the community. So, the proposal makes sense, subject to the fence and drain issue, and it stands on its own. Conclusion: base the decision on good common sense and value to the community, not some tit for tat based on a false analogy to pickleball.] Harvey: we need to complete the contract; the motion was to table. Discussion: proper aluminum fence removal and the French drain. You’re right, they deserve it, they asked for it, they should get it, but we can’t vote on an incomplete proposal. [Editor’s note: same observation: whether something is deserved is not the issue, and just because they asked for it does not mean they should get it. The determination should be made based on good fiscal responsibility, and community enhancement. Your Editor believes the proposal meets these criteria subject to the fence and drain issues.] Mark: the bleachers will stay? Larry [Editor's note: audience]: yes. Marion: Motion to table and second Items 3 and 4 (Linda). Motion passes 7-0.
Item 4. Awning for Court, Court 4-5, $4,695: – tabled per Item 3 above. [Editor’s note: the awning is critical to have for the safety of the residents, who otherwise have to bake in the sun if they wish to use the grandstand. Therefore, both the pavers and the awning should be approved.]
February 6, 2020:
Your editor, Vicki Roberts, and her husband, Arthur Andelson, wrote:
Mailboxes are specifically referenced in our Declaration of Conditions, Covenants, Easements and Restrictions on file with the State of Florida; at page 1-18, it states: “Section O. Mailboxes. No mailboxes or similar improvement shall be installed on any Unit or Lot unless the location thereof has been approved by the ARB and the materials therefore [sic] and color thereof have been approved by the ARB and are in accordance with such standards for materials and colors as may be adopted by the ARB.” This necessarily means that an individual homeowner may apply to the ARB, the architectural review board of our HOA, for a specific and unique mailbox, and there is, in fact, no requirement that all mailboxes be uniform.
Furthermore, under our Rules and Regulations, page 4-8, under B. General Rules, Number 8, it states: “Mailboxes and numbers are the property of the individual homeowners. The homeowner is responsible for maintenance and/or replacement in accordance with the standards established by the property manager. New mailboxes must be in accordance with standards established by the Board of Directors.” Thus, again, there is no requirement that all mailboxes be uniform. And to the extent the Rules and Regulations are in conflict with the Declaration on file with the State of Florida, the Declaration controls and the Rules and Regs must bow to the Declaration. Therefore, it is actually improper for our BOD to vote or for there to be a community vote on changing mailboxes en masse because the HOA does not own the mailboxes and no resident has the right to vote on issues concerning another resident’s mailbox. So, if a mailbox looks like crap, the HOA has a right to proceed under our Rules and Regs, Section E., Violation Guidelines, at pages 4-16 to 4-17, but that’s it.
January 29, 2020:
Your editor, Vicki Roberts, and her husband, Arthur Andelson, wrote:
Why does our Board of Directors continue to condone mean and hateful behavior? Our Board continually allows a resident to post ugly and mean posts attacking your editor, her husband, and this website (see Calling Out Bulliespage for these posts).
Yet the Board suspended your editor for 30 days from the Cascade Lakes Message Board for posting a provably truthful criticism of the manner in which they conducted business. This is selective discrimination, and by continuing to allow these multiple hateful and mean posts by this one resident, the Board actually promotes this mean and hateful behavior.
The Board is empowering and endorsing this behavior and putting their mark of approval on it. Thus, the Board is equally responsible for this mean and hateful behavior. This resident, Chick Coletta, with his approved posts, can now be deemed to be speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors.
This is supported by Board President, Marion Weil, who commented in the January 2020 News & Views about this website in a manner which denigrates this website. This is why Marion is more than happy as a co-webmistress of the Cascade Lakes Message Board to allow Chick to continue posting his mean and hateful posts.
Your editor wrote to the Board on January 24, 2020 about this selective discrimination concerning Message Board discipline. That email was ignored. Here it is in its entirety:
"Selective Discriminatory Discipline on Message Board Posts
You pulled down an August 2019 post of mine, counted that as one demerit, and then pulled down a December 2019 post of mine, and counted that as a second demerit, and promptly suspended me from the message board for 30 days.
When we first moved here in May, we met Chick Coletta at the pool and he told us that he was suspended from the message board for 6 months.
In the last three and a half weeks, Chick Coletta has been permitted to post no less than five insulting and attacking messages against me, my husband, and Patricia Florenco, which were posted on December 30, January 4, January 5, January 6, and January 23. Please see the five posts from Chick Coletta on your message board here:
You suspended me for two posts over a four-month period (one from August and one from December). Yet here we have 5 posts from the same resident that has posted successively over the course of the last 30 days and yet somehow, he was not suspended at all.
In other words, after his offensive and attacking posts of December 30 th and January 4 th, he was allowed to continue posting offensive and attacking posts at least three more times this month, as late as yesterday. Why? Why have you selectively discriminated against me for posting 2 posts over a four-month period that you didn’t like, yet you allow this bully to continue to attack residents with impunity.
That email was ignored. Chick then posted another mean and hateful post on January 27, 2020, also posted on our Calling Out Bullies page. I then sent another email to the Board, forwarding this additional mean and hateful post by Chick, and my email again was ignored and his post remains up. Here is that email:
"Attention Mike Blackman and Entire Board:
Here we go again - Chick attacking me on your Message Board again. Why has this person been consistently allowed to post attacking and insulting messages against other residents with impunity over and over again?
Why hasn’t he been suspended for these multiple and repeated offenses? It’s shocking that you still allow this person access to the Message Board after having removed his other multiple posts. Is he your lackey?
By your continued allowance of this disgusting behavior you are endorsing it and you are selectively applying your so-called disciplinary rules, which makes your so-called Terms of Service a farce.
I just recently wrote to you (the Board) about your selective and discriminatory practices concerning this matter and here we have another post proving my point. He is your bully by proxy. That makes all of you the bullies because you enable him and endorse his behavior.
Category: General Author: AKA Chick Coletta Topic: CascadeLakesResidents.com - February Resident of the Month Award Winner Chosen! Message:
I'm not interested in playing such a childish game that you have one or 2 people voting. why don't you do some more constructive.? I dropped out of kindergarten because of Recess because I wouldn't play stupid games
Now we have this latest post of January 29, 2020, one of several posted over the course of the last 24 hours, all mean and hateful against his fellow residents, your editor and her husband, and this site. This latest post is also posted under today's date on our Calling Out Bullies page.
Aside from resident Chick Coletta's smear campaign and clear obsession with this website, the more disturbing truth is the Board's obvious glee in their henchman's posts, as led by Board President Marion Weil, the chief webmistress on the Cascade Lakes Message Board.
Let me be very clear here: this website will continue to be the go-to place for our wonderful community, we will continue reporting on news in our community, and we will continue to comment on matters relevant to the community. You will soon be seeing us around the neighborhood in our new hats; look for our white caps with the following purple lettering on the caps:
Because we are press, any resident in any capacity is free to contact us and request an "off the record" discussion which is protected by the journalist shield law, which means it cannot be compelled to be revealed. For the loud handful of haters who are reading this, know that your editor has been an official member of RTNA for over 15 years (Radio and Television News Association).
We appreciate the many kind words from many members of our great community as to what we have done with this website, what it offers, what we have contributed from our personal resources, and how much of our heart, time, and energy that we volunteer to maintain it and keep it current.
As of yesterday, our analytics state that we have 1,938unique visits to our website for January alone [not including late December when we started] (this is not the number of visits or website hits, which are in the many, many thousands, but rather a tally of unique devices accessing the website), and our website has only been active for approximately one month. This number grows daily. This website fills a dire need in this community for truth, transparency, and up to date news.
January 23, 2020:
Patricia Florenco wrote:
Really tried watching the meeting last night but unfortunately Zoom wasn't cooperating. Hopefully the kinks will be worked out for the next Board Meeting. I never used Zoom before so they should have been some sort of instructions on the Message Board as to what to press or not press. I saw, including myself, videos of another resident who was trying out Zoom. Also, heard some resident that was also connected.
With all that said it is a great idea! Thank you Vicki, Arthur, those who decided on Zoom and the BOD's.
January 23, 2020:
At the January 22, 2020 BOD Meeting, a resident brought up the issue of sprinkler heads and there was an exchange with the board and others. Arthur Andelson has some critical information on this topic which is worthy of reading. First I will post the exchange from the Second Residents' Input Session and then I will follow it with Arthur's comments:
Bill Deitsch: I have several questions pertaining to the budget and replacing sprinklers. $19,000 last year and this year $23,000. I’d like to know what this includes. Does it include parts and labor? Harvey: Barry will address that. Barry Gordon: sprinkler heads we have four-inch sprinkler heads, we decided to go with six-inch sprinkler heads for better coverage. The six-inch heads are more expensive. Bill: how did we come to $23,000 budget? Marion: the cost of the six-inch sprinkler heads. Bill: it’s inserts. Marion: we replace them more than you think because of the mowing. Barry: $8.00 difference for the bigger head. Bill: insert: it’s $3-$5.00 per insert. I still want to know how you come up to $23,000 for sprinklers. Mark: a lot for labor. If we have to replace, it’s labor. Palm Beach Broward. Bill: the cost factor for labor is theirs, not ours. Harvey: any time you have a job done, it’s parts and labor, the labor is usually more expensive. Mark: $60/hour. Marion: we’ll have to research and get back to you with the numbers. Bill: how many heads were replaced last year? What was the cost of the parts? The labor? If Palm Beach Broward [writer’s note: the Landscaping Company] breaks a head, that’s their cost, not ours. [writer’s note: great point!] When you find out, how many heads in our whole property? If you replace 1,000 a year, it would cost $23,000; I don’t think you replace that many. Marion: 1,000/year, yes. Harvey: breaking, and things wear out. Bill: table it under Robert’s Rules and get back to it. [writer’s note: Robert’s Rules of Order.] Marion: thank you, Bill.
Arthur Andelson makes the following critically important observations:
It’s not just the change to a six-inch sprinkler head, and the longer sprinkler head has nothing to do with coverage per se. And you cannot put a six-inch sprinkler head (the insert) in a four-inch chamber. When you increase the length of the sprinkler head, you have to decrease the extension pipe from the head to the main water supply pipe underground, also known as a riser, otherwise the sprinkler head would be sticking out two inches above the ground in its closed state. If you don’t do this, it will get mowed and destroyed every time the mower goes by. So, it stands to reason that the labor cost must include also replacing the riser (the connection between the sprinkler head and the main water supply pipe) upon which the sprinkler head rests. If they are breaking a lot of sprinkler heads, it could be because the mower blades are set too low. In that case, they must adjust their mower blades or absorb the cost of what they destroy. However, if the mower blades are properly adjusted to accommodate this issue, this necessarily means they will not mow as low and will therefore likely have to re-mow more frequently, which is a great cost to the community. The reason why it is better to have a six inch sprinkler head, which has to be set four inches lower as further explained below so that it doesn’t stick up in its closed position (called a counter-sink so it is below the ground when closed), is that when you put in where it is counter-sinked, it can rest in its closed position slightly below ground level so as not to be damaged by mowing, but long enough so that in its extended position, it will cover the same as the four inch one. It allows for the same coverage without breakage and damage by mowers. You do not get greater coverage. You get the same coverage without repeatedly breaking and damaging sprinkler heads, but this is only true assuming they do it properly by also lowering the risers (extensions) which connect the sprinkler heads to the main water supply pipe below ground. So, you are no longer going down only two additional inches to the main water pipe; you are going down an additional four inches. Let me explain why: for example, if the main water pipe is 12 inches below ground, a four inch sprinkler head requires an eight inch underground riser to connect it to the main water pipe if you have the sprinkler head at ground level. A six-inch sprinkler head, if it had a six-inch riser, would not solve your problem, as the head would still be at the same ground level and still get damaged and broken. If you drop the riser an additional two inches, so that in this scenario, the riser is now 8 inches below ground, which makes it a four inch riser (four inches above the main water pipe), this means that the four inch riser plus the six inch sprinkler head equals 10 inches from the main water pipe, and that means that the six-inch sprinkler head in its closed position is two inches below ground level, and therefore will not be damaged by mowing. When it is opened, it will therefore open six inches, which includes the two inches underground plus an additional four inches above ground. You get the same exact coverage, but you don’t get damaged sprinkler heads. Are they doing this for the $23,000 contract? This does require a lot more labor. However, if they are not doing all of this, then it is a total waste of $23,000 because you have not solved the problem. If you do have the sprinkler head below ground in this scenario, there is additional care involved in making sure that the head does not get clogged by dirt and debris.
January 20, 2020:
On January 15, 2020, Arthur Andelson sent the following letter to the BOD:
Via email [2 pages] January 15, 2020
Re: Cascade Lakes Entertainment Contracts
Dear Board Members,
Vicki and I want the best for our community. One of the Board’s primary goals is Fiscal Responsibility. With that in mind, we formally requested and received the entertainment contracts for the years 2020 and 2021 and have now reviewed them.
Shortly prior to my improper and illegal suspension from the Entertainment Committee, at the time when I was still the Secretary of the Committee, I had mentioned that I was concerned about the contracts. My suggestions on how to save the community money without compromising the talent were presented at the meeting. When I endeavored to include those comments in the Minutes that I prepared, Diane Green, the Chairperson, deleted those comments from her final edit of those Minutes which she emailed to the Committee. Thereafter, I was suspended from the Committee by an illegal in camera vote at what Eileen referred to as a “personnel” meeting of the Board.
Separately, prior to my illegal suspension, I emailed the Board two times requesting guidance on how to prepare the Minutes in view of Board Member Eileen Olitsky’s rule-breaking concerning the distribution of tickets to the show series. This issue was part of the same Minutes that I was charged with preparing as Secretary of the Entertainment Committee. Despite my repeated attempts to work with you on these issues, you all summarily ignored my emails requesting your guidance on this specific issue and instead voted privately and illegally to suspend me from the Entertainment Committee.
With the above facts in mind, we will now address the contracts that you all approved without any input from the Entertainment Committee as far as the 2021 contracts are concerned. In fact, the Entertainment Committee was never consulted about the 2021 contracts which were provided to you surreptitiously by Committee Chair Diane Green and Committee Liaison/Board Member Eileen Olitsky, neither of whom have any expertise in legal contracts or talent negotiations. Every one of the larger contracts, with the exception of Sarge’s contract, requires our community to pay the talent many, many, many thousands of dollars upfront regardless of ticket sales. We then have to hope and pray that enough tickets will be sold so as not to incur a loss. We have the Committee Chairperson running around begging people to buy tickets to try and stem any potential losses owing to inadequate ticket sales. This is absurd and no way to run this type of business.
For the record, Vicki has been negotiating and drafting contracts for 36 years and both of us have been licensed talent agents since 2008. We have represented many high-profile talent and negotiated their many, many contracts. This talent includes Englebert Humperdinck and Jermaine Jackson, who are performers similar to the performers you hire for our community. We have also represented and negotiated contracts for the late David Carradine, Gary Busey, Michael Madsen, Armand Assante, Michael Nouri, Lou Ferrigno, the late Don Kirshner, and others. Some of Vicki’s contract language and clauses are now standard in many entertainment contracts.
Also, we were approached a number of years ago by Sarge, one of your headliners, to represent him in Los Angeles. We declined that invitation because he could not commit to engagements in California owing to his commitments in southern Florida. The payment clause in his contract with Cascade Lakes, however, is a great template and all contracts should mirror that clause in his contract. It would not only save our community many thousands of dollars for every single contract, but it would also inure to the benefit of the entertainers, assuming they believed in their own talent.
Sarge’s contract requires a $500 deposit and then he takes 80% of the ticket sales. Our community is guaranteed 20% of the ticket sales. A 20% return on ticket sales could be broken down as follows: 5% could go for clean-up and refreshments and the other 15% could go towards utilities, insurance, wear and tear, and remodeling. So, when the Board enters into a contract in the hopes of breaking even or making a little profit, in reality the community is losing money because there is no consideration taken for the cost of utilities, wear and tear, remodeling, renovations, etc.
When the Board voted on and approved the Entertainment contracts at the various Board meetings, did each Board member review the contracts? Was the Board aware there was never any vote or discussion in the Entertainment Committee about what talent the Committee was going to choose for the 2021 roster? Did anyone engage in any negotiations whatsoever with the talent or their representatives? Based on the contracts we have received and reviewed, the answer is a resounding no. This is not fiscal responsibility.
It seems to us that you were handed pre-written contracts presented by the talent or their agents and accepted them without any negotiation whatsoever. The Sarge contract’s payment clause should be the model upon which all Entertainment contracts are based from this point forward. If the talent refuses such terms, we find other talent. Rest assured, the market is overflowing with hungry talented people.
Vicki and I are available to assist in the proper negotiation of talent contacts so that this community can be fiscally responsible with respect to entertainment contracts. Since we are not going anywhere as we have stated to those of you who wish we would leave, we will be here to handle these matters and then report to the Board. Are you willing to be fiscally responsible in the future with regard to Entertainment and other contracts? Please advise via return email. We do intend to post this on our website, CascadeLakesResidents.com, because our community owns the HOA and this is their money that you are charged with handling.
January 16, 2020:
Vicki Roberts, your webmistress, wrote:
Message Board Suspensionsare Discriminatory Against Single/Widowed Members:
Here is an excerpt from a letter I sent to the Board and “our” HOA attorney concerning my illegal suspension from the message board contrary to the mandatory procedure of the Florida law that governs suspensions. I sent this letter on December 21, 2019 as part of my demand for a grievance procedure which I never received. In that letter, I talk about the discriminatory effect this illegal policy has against single and widowed homeowners.
At the last board meeting on January 8, 2020 where the issue of my suspension was addressed, the attorney literally cut me off when I raised this issue and attempted to advise the community. He shut me down and stated over me: “We’re not talking about that.” Here is what he did not want you to hear:
“Now let me explain why this entire process is actually discriminatory. I am not here talking about myself; I am addressing all of the disenfranchised single Member/Owners who are deprived of community access to the entire message board if/when you suspend that Member’s access. A married Member still has access to the community asset, the community Message Board, through his or her spouse, by simply inputting the spouse’s username and password into the system. But the single Member is 100% locked out. You have not merely disallowed them to POST a message, you have locked them out of the entire community asset, and prevented them from viewing other posts, and this is discriminatory in the application of your illegal discipline, as it is based on marital status and numbers of Members in a household. You have prevented those single Members from knowing what is going on in and around the community, and that by itself is a safety issue. That is the discriminatory effect of this asinine policy.”
That is what “our” HOA lawyer did not want you to hear.
January 7, 2019:
Anonymous #4 wrote:
I have followed your emails for some time.Based on my reading of your emails there seem to be a number of illegalities on the part of the HOA Board. This is a matter of concern both for the individual illegalities and for the BOD’s attitude that such illegalities are not significant because no-one seems to care enough to report this to the State. A close friend in California explained to me that were this to happen there, and a complaint filed, the State could dismiss the board, making them unable to sit on a condo board in the future, the State would order a new election, and that board would work under daily supervision by the State until such time as the supervisor felt the BOD could handle this with less restrictive supervision. He said that any fines imposed by the State would be be the responsibility of the members of the BOD, and could not be covered by Directors’ insurance but the BOD themselves would be held liable for the fine.
Does anyone know what would happen here? Do you know if anyone here has spoken with the State? It seems to me the this can only be resolved by removing this board.
January 7, 2020:
Anonymous #3, Glenville Pod, wrote:
Re: HOA not following state statute
Thank you for creating that board, especially with everything going on with our current board.
While I will not be able to attend the meeting due to a bad cold and wanting to disrupt the meeting, my take is if the board does indeed go forward with procedures against state law, why not reach out to the state to have them investigate them?
I was in another HOA and president of an HOA for 9 years (nowhere as big as this) and I’ve never seen anything like this by a board. I hope that you quote the Florida statutes tomorrow and then at the end ask them how they feel if the state looked into this board and their actions.
You have nothing to lose since the BOD feel they can do what they want. I’m also surprised they weren’t told by the property mgt company as an ‘unofficial’ comment they were treading on thin ice, so to speak.
Also, while I’ve attending some HOA meetings, why doesn’t the board have a lawyer present at the meetings? When we lived at our condo, the law firm or lawyer for us was at every meeting? I don’t remember seeing one at the few meetings I’ve attended here….
January 1, 2020:
A True Volunteer vs. a Director on the Board of Directors
-- By your friendly webmistress, Vicki Roberts
Let’s review and contrast the differences between a true volunteer and a director on the BOD:
A volunteer donates his or her time for the betterment of a third party or cause. A volunteer may assist the Board of Directors with various tasks or undertakings. A volunteer does not make policy decisions. A volunteer does not make financial decisions that affect the HOA. A volunteer is not an elected official. A volunteer cannot penalize a member of the HOA, either financially or with other punitive action such as taking down message board posts. The only power a volunteer has is showing up and asking what they can do to help.
The BOD is a governmental entity. A director on the board of directors has both a legal and fiduciary responsibility to the members, today, yesterday, in the past, tomorrow, and every single day moving forward. A director gets to decide how others’ money will be spent. A director gets to decide a myriad of issues affecting others, including removing message board posts and dismissing volunteers. A director must run for office and be duly elected. A director cannot be dismissed (recalled) without following proper legal procedure. A director has prestige and wields an enormous amount of power. They even get their name on a plaque in the hallway of the clubhouse.
As you can see, there is a world of difference between a true volunteer and a director on the board of directors.