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Southern Walk Expenses Out of Control? $360 increased assessment for 2013!

Discussion in 'Broadlands Community Issues' started by Neighbor, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. snoopy

    snoopy Senior Member

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    If this is indeed ongoing cost, it warrants another round of survey to see how many SW homeowners are willing to pay $360 ...$720....$1080 ...to continue this.
    I gather we will all have our break point in terms of cost and benefit analysis. Just because we said "yes" to this fight at one point does not mean, it will remain "yes" as cost piles up with no favorable result to show for it.
     
  2. Pirate

    Pirate Overland Park Denizen

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    I don't have a horse in this race, but don't you suppose OB and their attorneys are gathering intel here? Think OpSec.
     
    PDILLM and Chsalas like this.
  3. Mike OMalley

    Mike OMalley Active Member

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    What kind of intel? HOA fees? Public. Legal strategy? I don't see why OB's attorneys are worried on that front.

    What are you worried about "leaking" to OB in a discussion about SW's assessment?
     
  4. hberg

    hberg give me some of your tots

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    It would give them the very false impression that homeowners could be swayed by public opinion if the HOA is losing support - which they are not. I am in this fight to the end. I want them gone.
     
    PDILLM and Pirate like this.
  5. Mike OMalley

    Mike OMalley Active Member

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    I don't follow. You're trying to suppress opinion, or more precisely awareness of opinion? If the impression you mention is "very false", who cares if OB's lawyers believe it? Your personal support of "the cause" is interesting, but hardly relevant to the expressed concept that we shouldn't discuss publicly available SWHOA fee information.

    Ultimately, public opinion is very much a factor in this. The SWHOA Board is responsible to its constituents, not its grievances. Rather than suppress discussion of the case or try to restrict information flow to narrowly controlled channels, the board should proactively engage the general public. If this case continues to drag on due to legal errors and strategic blunders, it will be decided in the next SWHOA election, not the courtroom. Unless the SWHOA Board has signed its legal team to a 75-year irrevocable contract to continue the case regardless of its composition, the next Board could well decide not to continue due to the costs involved.

    Continued misguided invocations of "opsec" and the "don't talk about it" attitude of paranoid secrecy which ignores the court of public opinion and the process of discovery is in the long term a losing strategy. SWHOA is not losing this war due to failure to control information; it's failing due to a misunderstanding of the law. Attempting to suppress discussion won't change that. Instead, build awareness and support. This isn't Law & Order or Matlock. SWHOA isn't going to win by some courtroom surprise, especially given the fundamental errors of the legal team to date. If it's going to win, it's going to be by building a long-term support base amongst its constituents.
     
    Sunny likes this.
  6. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

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    There is no "intel" here which would benefit OB.

    All the complaints filed by SWHOA and its attorneys were dismissed. Their performance is pathetic. In the first complaint, SWHOA's legal minds attached 1 page FCC press release in place of the 55 page FCC order. How is it possible for anyone to mistake a 1 page document for a 55 page document is beyond my imagination. That is the level of competence of SWHOA.

    No wonder SWHOA doesnt want anybody to discuss this litigation, hence the "OpSec" and other excuses. Anything to keep the lid shut.
     
  7. kevinq

    kevinq Member

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    Southern Walk HOA Board of Directors meeting
    Thursday, October 17, 6:30
    Nature Center Conference Room
     
  8. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

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    Much more than that...
    Special Assessment in 2012: $155 x 1117 homes = $173,000
    Special Assessment in 2013: $360 x 1117 homes = $402,000
    As far as I know, they have cashed CDs with about $98,000 in 2012.
    Thats a total of $673,000

    I wont mind if they executed the litigation with the best interest of the community in mind. Their complaints are four times dismissed and yet they refuse to change either the attorney or the strategy. Unbelievable!

    We do not know if how much more CDs they cashed. This board is not telling us the truth. We need to inspect the HOA documents.
     
  9. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

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    I dont think the assessment automatically continues to FY 14. SWHOA is supposed to produce a budget each year which becomes the basis for annual assessments. Only condition the assessments automatically carry on the next fiscal year is when the HOA fails to adopt a budget and hence assessment for the new fy are not established. Not entirely sure if there are any exceptions of special assessments.

    I suggest concerned homeowners attend this thursdays HOA meeting and ask questions.
     
  10. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

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    I also support the litigation till the end too, but SWHOA needs to get a competent legal team in place first.

    This legal team cannot even file the complaint properly. In the last two years, there were four dismissals against SWHOA on procedural grounds. Still SWHOA is adamant that they will continue the same strategy with the same attorney. For some unexplained reason, attorney has become the irreplaceable for this board.

    Can we trust this SWHOA legal team to produce results for us?
     
  11. Neighbor

    Neighbor Member

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    See my first post (original poster). 1 year later, I could post the exact same thing. Nothing has changed. In fact, I posted the same thing in 2010 when I saw this train wreck coming. We still need someone competent to audit the legal expenses and properly manage legal fees. The legal battles have strained our community to its limits. Looking at my notes from the last meeting with the attorney (that I attended), it still infuriates me that Cotti had the nerve to state that the additional $30/month special assessment was to “pad the litigation account.” Seriously, are we still padding accounts? Are we going to pad the litigation account again this year, Erica? Clearly, the SWHOA and its attorneys have sent a unambiguous message; don’t ask us any questions about our spending or financial decisions, otherwise we will levy heavy fees against you. I suspect that many feel helpless and defeated and some go on paying the frivolous special assessments without even thinking about it. It is truly unfortunate that we have such a nice community that is so poorly managed. We are like Mike Tyson being managed by Don King! Give us your money, don’t ask any questions, and we will “take care of it” for you!
     
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  12. sowalker

    sowalker New Member

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    "Clearly, the SWHOA and its attorneys have sent a unambiguous message; don’t ask us any questions about our spending or financial decisions, otherwise we will levy heavy fees against you."

    Neighbor-how many other residents have had "fines" levied against them? I thought cogs said the swhoa sent the attorney fees generated by cogs on to him. Which is what he said they would do if he generated any fees by his actions. I don't think they have any authority to fine anyone.
     
  13. Neighbor

    Neighbor Member

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    I don’t see the word "fine" anywhere in my post. I clearly said "heavy fees." typically when we choose an attorney (which we did not do here), we get to choose the fees that we are willing to pay. In this case, the SWHOA "passed along" complete BS fees to a homeowner who asked for some documents. Trust me, the partners and associates are not gathering or copying the documents. Those fees are ridiculous. It is one thing to get some copies made and run some financial reports, and it's another to charge legal analysis fees. It's obvious, what's going on here.
     
  14. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

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    Sowalker, I know you are repeating what certain board members justified outrageous action. I already replied to it couple of days ago in the legal fee thread. Bottom line is, we all have a right to inspect the HOA books and documents according to Virginia Law. HOA can only impose a reasonable charge for copying. Everything else is illegal.

    If you wish, I am willing to explain issues either on the phone or in person. Send me a message if you want to.
     
  15. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

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    Sowalker,

    Let me see if this analogy will help you understand whats going on.

    You buy a recliner in a store for $600, pay for it and ask for delivery. Store manager tells you that his needs to get the truck fixed. A week later the store charges your credit card another $3,200 without informing you. And then your receive letter in the mail asking for $1,000 in certified funds for delivery charges. The explanation they give your is, the delivery charges are $100, and the delivery guy charges $150/hr and it takes 6 hours to deliver ($900). If you dont pay, you have to forfeit the $600 you paid for the recliner.

    Store manager doesnt respond to your request for explanation of $3200 charges. Disgusted, you tell your friends and neighbors. And then they complain, the store manager justifies to them by claiming he had to get the truck fixed to deliver the recliner sowalker purchased, hence sowalker generated the expense and sowalker should pay for it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
    chris67 likes this.
  16. shim

    shim shim

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    Shashi, this is good theatre bro - thanks and good luck.
     
  17. sowalker

    sowalker New Member

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    Cogs- that's what I needed. Now I understand why you post the things you post.
     
  18. oneotter

    oneotter New Member

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    So, what/who are the current choices for the next HOA President? When is the election? When do the nominations need to be in by? Sorry for not knowing any of this - I am trying to pay more attention to our HOA now (hopefully others are as well).
     
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  19. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

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    If we go by last years example, SWHOA sends the announcement for annual meeting along with nomination forms and proxies with names of incumbent directors already printed on them. The deadline for nominations was 2 days before the annual meeting last year. Since, vast majority of the homeowners mail in the proxies, they would never know who else is running and hence the check the names of the incumbent directors already printed. Any homeowner decides to run is faced with an uphill battle of gathering enough support as a write-in candidate. That is by design to ensure the incumbent directors do not face any serious challenge.

    See the attached last years annual meeting announcement. A clear violation of section 3.5.b of the association bylaws which state:

    Last year they have not given sufficient time for the homeowners to file the nominations nor they have given the requirements and instructions clearly.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. NoVaPackFan

    NoVaPackFan Member

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    Thank you to everyone who has posted their thoughts and opinions in this forum.
    I thought I would weigh in with my perspective as a relatively new resident to the community having moved here just before our HOA dues increased to the current rate. Prior to moving here, I was cognizant of the OB agreement and through Google research aware of the issues Southern Walk residents have with OB. I made the choice to accept the $155 fee despite the technical issues. Having lived here and kept up to date on the forum posts, I believe I have the minority opinion towards OB service since I am actually fine with the technical side of OB. Honestly, I have never had an issue with Internet connectivity (maybe once), nor do I truly care that much about channel selection (or lack thereof).
    I do, however, have an issue with the contract itself. Therefore, I supported the efforts of the HOA to eliminate it. I understood and accepted the first year of higher HOA dues despite the fact that I had only been a resident for a short period of time and was surprised when the notification of increased dues arrived in my mailbox. Now, there appears to be no end in sight for the high HOA dues. Based on my initial research, $155 is a slightly higher than average amount to pay for what we get. But, $185 is a ridiculous amount. The only reason I pay that premium price is because our HOA is attempting to wage a fight against OB and because our telecom/internet account is masked/layered, etc. as an additional HOA. Therefore, I am paying and will continue to pay $30 extra for the cable and Internet with which I do not have an issue.
    Looking at some of the numbers that have been presented in the forum, attorney costs appear to be out of control compared to the progress these attorneys have made. As a resident who has funded their actions, I would expect a level of transparency to exist, so I can make an educated decision when it is time to vote on the issues. Is the cost appropriate for their efforts? The only people who have all the information appear to be the board members.
    I cannot claim that I have not had the opportunity to vote on the issues and the budget. I have been aware of the meetings and therefore the opportunity existed. However, they always seem to be scheduled during a weekday and in the evening. As someone who commutes to/from the city, I am still sitting in traffic when these votes occur. Is it out of the question to hold them on the weekend so more residents have the opportunity to participate? And now, it appears there is a vote occurring 6 days before a major holiday?
    Again, thank you to everyone who has presented concerns and arguments. You have brought potentially alarming issues to light that should be known by all residents. As a result, I intend to be much more aware of the community issues and plan to vote accordingly.
     
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