Questions include mysterious disappearance of administrator, why HOA attorney came to April meeting, and costs the board is running up

{filler:graphics-citizens-views-opinion-letter.jpg}What was the huge (100-plus in attendance) April 11 KCCA board meeting about? Why was Mr. Chris Tingley, attorney for KCCA board, on hand to manage the meeting? What did his presence cost?

What happened to Kristina Rodriquez, our administrator? We loved her, the board touted her skills in every newsletter. And then suddenly she was GONE! And the accusations began – missing money, a regular annual audit, already in progress, was said to be escalated to a forensic audit. Will her firing cause legal complications and/or more legal fees for us? How much has our KCCA board spent on legal fees over the past two years?

Questions flew – the answers were few!

The attorney was very clear that the board has one job. It is to "preserve, protect and enhance" the property values of the KCCA. Members elect directors, and from then on the board is not required to ask for votes or member opinion on any actions they take, unless it is spelled out in our governing documents. In fact, they can close finance meetings, close the office or fire employees with no explanations required.

KCCA was founded about 1965, before current Oregon State protective laws were implemented for HOAs. Our Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation of King City Civic Association were filed Jan. 15, 1999.

However Mr. Tingley said that because our corporation was originally founded so early, current Oregon laws don't apply to us. Our situation is confusing because the Amended and Restated Articles (mentioned above) were done to update our status. Our documents contain: Article IV, Purposes, 1, b. "To hold, invest, reinvest, manage and dispose of such property and/or income there from in any manner consistent with the laws of the State of Oregon governing corporations pursuant to the Oregon Nonprofit Corporation Act."

He told us that if our documents don't specifically state their intent, the Oregon laws have no impact on our corporation. In other words, if our documents don't specifically that KCCA shall have open finance/budget meetings, then the board is free to close them. We have never had financial meetings consistently closed before. In fact, there has been a printed invitation encouraging residents to attend those meetings in every newsletter until recently.

Hearing the probability that this board will never open budget or finance meetings was very disappointing news for those of us who thought that transparency, open meetings and full accountability were how HOA corporations operate in the 21st century.

Other HOAs enjoy transparency in their budgeting process while we, under direction of Denny Gelfand, president, and Katherine Griffith, treasurer, must be satisfied with no opportunity at all to listen to how they intend to spend our corporate money.

And it is very difficult to get copies of full financial records. Can closed financial meetings actually be legal? That is troubling information if it is correct.

When asked about certain board practices, Mr. Tingley acknowledged that the KCCA board is "except vote for different directors at our next opportunity - May 30.

Our board is "not as formal as it should be." That must cover the fact that it fails to keep complete records. It has closed budget and financial meetings. It has fired our employees without any explanation. It signed a loan for a $1,000,000 pool (adding a new lap pool) without our vote. It refuses to allow very qualified members to serve on the committees (finance and elections).

Actions of three directors exposed themselves to a lawsuit by an aggrieved resident for defamation, assault and battery, and invasion of privacy. Two of those directors are running for reelection now. These are the attributes of a board that is, by their attorney's characterization of them "not as formal as they should be."

Incidentally, Mr. Tingley is the corporation and board's attorney. Our fees pay for his service, but he is not our attorney. He defends the board against us if we file any kind of legal charge. That is, unless those charges are filed against directors personally, which the lawsuit mentioned above attempted to do. If Kristina has grounds for a case, it will undoubtedly be against our board.

If our current directors are re-elected and we are not among those who admire their lack of "formal" behavior, we might as well save our breath and energy for another year, because we will have, according to Mr. Tingley, no voice again until next year's election.

I feel strongly that we must elect directors who will invite our participation, hold open meetings, treat everyone with respect, maintain our corporate records, hire a qualified administrator and stop firing (or losing) our valuable employees. If we are wise enough to elect directors who will do those things, then we can look forward to a more hopeful future.

We have three non-incumbent candidates running for our board. Two of them are among the younger residents that are moving in here and both are extremely well-qualified, independent business women: Diana Platika, MBA, has owned her own business for 17 years, Platika Financial Solutions Inc.; Marty Williams, real estate broker with Ken Miller & Associates, and a conflicts-resolution specialist for non-profit corporations; and Jim Armour, former KCCA director (eight years) and former KCCA board president.

Please ask questions, get to know these dedicated people, check them out and vote May 30.

Please make every vote count – write-ins, while they make a statement, are a waste of your vote. That is especially true in small elections like ours. Please vote for candidates who are truly ready to commit to our community and look out for our best interests.

Respectfully submitted,

Peg Beckwith

KCCA resident since 2001

Contract Publishing

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