05/06/20 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON:
Posted May 8, 2020. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the May 6, 2020 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary indicated in bold bluebrackets.
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online.
[Editor’s note: prior to the commencement of the meeting, the following exchange occurred:]
Harvey: There were no signs posted. I assume e-mail is sufficient? Marion: We couldn’t get the shed open; Alex was off, and Deb didn’t have the key. Email is sufficient.
[Editor’s note: there is only one key to the shed and one person on the planet who has it? Does this make any sense? Why doesn’t the property manager have a key accessible to her at all times? Also, not everyone is receiving the e-mails; the signs should have been posted.]
[Editor’s further note: There were about 65-66 people who signed in at the start of the meeting; the count reached a peak of 86.]
Board Members Present: All: Marion Weil (President), Mark Goodman (VP), Richard Greene (Treasurer), Linda Arbeit (Secretary), Harvey Ginsberg, Eileen Olitsky, and Sue Schmer.
Call to Order: Marion Weil.
Pledge of Allegiance led by Richard Greene.
[Editor’s note: Mark Goodman had his flag and Richard Greene also had what appeared to be a sign-flag. Sue Schmer appeared to be the only board member who stood for the pledge of allegiance; if we are wrong about this, please let us know, but based on our view of the webcams, it appeared that way to us. Once again, as we set forth in the April 16, 2020 synopsis and commentary, here is the Federal law on the matter: 4 U.S. Code Section 4 reads verbatim:
“The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”, should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces not in uniform and veterans may render the military salute in the manner provided for persons in uniform.”
Perhaps in the future all those who are able to stand will actually get up and stand, as it is disrespectful to our flag and our country not to do so when one is fully capable of standing while reciting the pledge of allegiance. Sue Schmer showed true leadership by standing for our flag and our country. To the others on the Board who deliberately and shamefully remained seated: this is not leadership. And yes, it is a big deal.]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks:
[Editor’s note: Immediately after the adjournment of the board meeting, we sent Marion the following email, identical to the one we sent for the previous board meeting:
We invite you to email us your opening remarks so that we may include them in their entirety, verbatim, in our synopsis that we are presently preparing for today’s board meeting. Please email them no later than noon today for inclusion in the synopsis.
Again we received no response. Ergo, we move on to the next section, but we will comment on one thing Marion stated: she stated that the Residents’ Input Session should be brief. Why? This is the one formal opportunity that the residents have to voice their concerns about Agenda items upon which the Board will be voting, and which directly affect all residents. We recommend that the President stop trying to limit residents’ input.]
Vendor Input Session:
Tom Cucinotta - pool vendor: Communities are all up in arms. I spoke directly to the Director of the Health Department, and she said she was absolutely furious with the mayor who went on live TV a week ago and said that community pools could be opened up. He never once spoke to the health department. [Editor’s note: that’s double hearsay, but ok.]I have emails from the Health Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the CDC regarding the pools. They should be as blue as possible; they are worried about mosquito outbreak. Not one single community pool that I maintain has opened up. We’re not even in Phase 1. But I don’t know how you can handle all the guidelines. The CDC has put it in your lap as a commercial pool. Every time someone goes in and out of the pool, they have to have someone wipe the handrail. For the indoor pool, the doorknobs. The bathrooms have to be open. Someone has to maintain the gate allowing only so many people in at a time. Furniture – how are you supposed to kill the virus when the only known killer is bleach or chlorine? You just had it all redone; it will be destroyed.
Lynne at the health department - my suggestion is not to have any furniture on the pool decks. The handrails, the bathrooms – you have to hire people. Do not open the spa – handrail. There is no proof that the virus will live or is being killed by the spas. In my opinion, it’s just breeding ground. The health department says keep it closed.
Marion: thank you very much, Tom. Any Board questions? No opening of the pool, spa…Not opening. [Editor’s note: This clearly appears to be Marion’s edict. Where is the required Board vote?]
Tom: sunscreen – the virus could be in the sunscreen, and that is another way to keep it longer on the furniture, handrails, doorknobs. [Editor’s note: is there any scientific evidence that it lives in or on sunscreen? Just asking here, and further, see epidemiologist Jeff Hyman’s comments below which suggest otherwise.]
Mark Goodman: I understand that Kings Pointe and the Fountain opened. Tom: I’m not aware. Only one, Pinetree, and they already shut down. Different color wrist bands, 10am-11am yellow could be there, green 11am-12pm. There’s gonna be a lot of fighting in the communities. I’m out every day, my mother is in a nursing home, Green Acres, there are 11 cases and 3 workers have the virus. I’m hearing – all the communities, the Valencias, the Polo Club, Addison – there’s been a lot of death in these communities.
Harvey Ginsberg: Are you still maintaining it? I know the heater is shut off. Tom: there is no one in the pool so there is no need to super-chlorinate it, and the computer is going all the time. Others have tried other chemicals, but so far bleach is the only thing that is killing the virus. You guys are family to me. We appreciate all of you. I call Deborah almost every day.[Deborah Balka, property manager]
Ron Capitena: I represent eight similar type communities. I completely agree with what Tom is saying. I have a 24-unit condo, on the top of the building, they opened it for three hours a day. It is a challenge. I don’t think anybody should be opening their pool. Various communities – there is not one that have opened any of their facilities at this point in time. Marion: I spoke with other Presidents. Ron: The closest, down the road, approximately 700 homes, you figure it out who it is [Editor’s note: why not be transparent and just name it; what’s the big secret?] – they’re considering opening their tennis court on May 20th based on meeting this Friday and a conversation with their attorney. You should be erring on the side of caution.
Marion: questions for Ron? Mark: I was at a Treasurer’s meeting, 19 association participants, Richard Greene was on for the first time with me, not one is opening. The earliest they anticipated was May 15th and that was if everything was going well. Most are waiting until May 30th at the very least. Talking to the attorney and monitoring everything.
Ron: I get notes from the various Presidents’ meetings and Treasurers’ meetings. Err on the side of caution. Everything that you see in the news – the rebounding effect.
Harvey: We were probably one of the first communities to shut down facilities; only one death from this. We’re all sitting around doing nothing, walking around the neighborhood.
[Editor’s note: speak for yourself. Many of us are not “sitting around doing nothing.” Some of us are 24/7 caregivers to elderly and ill parents. Some of us barely have a moment’s rest and are so sleep-deprived that we are bleary-eyed. Others are working at their jobs; still others are assisting friends, neighbors, and strangers in various volunteer efforts. If you are so idle, Harvey, perhaps you should find a way to donate your time to help others; even remotely that is now possible. Join a support network. Sew a few masks. Volunteer to make calls to check on others who are alone. My goodness, how tone-deaf are you? And you, Harvey, a former health care provider, of all people to complain, we find it self-centered, selfish, and lazy.
Here’s an idea if you don’t want to help others: have you picked up the classic novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy? It’s 1,225 pages and should keep you busy, and you can do it while you are sitting, since you are complaining that you are “sitting around doing nothing.” This will allow you to sit around while doing something, which is usually better and more productive than sitting around doing nothing.]
Richard Greene: A lot of residents, residents are playing at the public courts and it concerns me what they’re bringing back. Ron: I’ve not heard that. Richard: they’re setting up schedules and everything else. Ron: I will reach out and ask my peers. I’ll get back to Marion.
[Editor’s note: why not get back to Richard, who raised the issue and to whom you responded? Why is Marion more often than not the sole person everyone runs to and feeds information to? What that does is permit one board member to control the narrative and the information that is released, and that is never a good way to run an organization, especially when all Board members are created equal.]
Eileen Olitsky: I’ve been a proponent of opening up pickleball and tennis. There is a lot of playing at Caloosa. If we open the courts, only for single play. They may go to Caloosa and bring back something. If you play with other people, you’re bringing the public into our community.
Sue Schmer: Ron, do you know a community with the virus versus not having the virus having viable plans for opening tennis and pickleball courts?
Ron: No, we’ve been very fortunate. You guys were the first ones to decide we’re shutting down. I represent 19,000 units, and only had 5 incidents of the virus, one unfortunately did die. In other 55+ communities, there were another four, and they’ve come through. The Polo Club, we don’t manage, on Military Trail, they had severe issues.
[Editor’s note: more accurately, there are four that he knows about; there are purported cases in Cascade Lakes which are not advertised publicly and which we believe he has not included in his tally.]
Tom: Totally true about Polo Club. The community won’t tell me who has it. It’s in every single Valencia, the Polo Club is the worst; Hunter’s Run had a breakout, Addison Reserve – they have quite a few cases right now. Ron: I’ve not seen huge breakouts. Harvey: I agree with Eileen that we do need to open our courts at some time; we need to discuss with counsel. It’s better to have it here, a closed community, more control, and discourage people from going to Caloosa.
Ron: I’ve read Lee’s plan for Phase One. It’s very well thought out.
[Editor’s note: apparently a select few elites have read Lee’s plan, but the rest of the owners of this HOA are deprived from seeing it. It should be sent to all members for their review and comments. Here we go again with lack of transparency. It is not a privileged document for the attorney’s eyes only, since Ron, a third party, just admitted to having read it. And there is no privilege with the lawyer anyway, since it does not fall under the two exceptions listed in the statute: personnel matters and litigation or pending litigation. There is no pending litigation. Future, speculative litigation does not constitute pending litigation, and there’s case law on that issue.]
Harvey: I can’t imagine anything opening except the courts until we’re completely out of this. Mark: We can’t prevent people from going…Marion: they go to supermarkets, anywhere. There is no greater risk for sport. Eileen: the gardeners, some of the comments, they are not wearing masks, or some of the property managers are not wearing masks in public. Ron: Our policy for our CAMS or employees[Editor’s note: what does CAMS stand for?] is for interior environment, a mask on at all times; outside, if you’re close, then mask. The gardeners, I can’t speak for, we can say that it is mandatory to have masks on any time in the community. Marion: Deborah, want to comment? Deborah: Susan [Hersh, Administrative Assistant] and I have masks when we’re around people, residents or vendors.
Lee Sinett [HOA sports pro, sharing a computer with Deborah Balka, property manager]: I put together a plan, staggered, I’m not saying to open or not, that’s not my[place or position], the outside issue, question of bathroom, or eliminate chairs, the sanitizers…
First Residents’ Input Session:
Pat Nast: representing the tennis club, not as President but as communications director, and Sue Leonard is going to speak for pickleball. The two clubs are in agreement about opening the courts. [Editor’s note: your Editor and Roving Reporter are both paid members of both clubs and can affirmatively state that no vote was taken in either club.] We have reviewed Lee’s recommendations; great idea. [Editor’s note: so now we have more people privy to Lee’s report, but again only a select few elite. Certainly, the club memberships did not have an opportunity to review Lee’s recommendations, and were not even apprised that he made recommendations.] Our leadership teams are going to reach out to all our members that the only way you can play is to follow the rules. And we’ll have a lot of peer pressure and talk directly to them or Lee. This is a slow roll-out that we’re recommending. It is limited to singles, which is more manageable. I also recommend only all tennis and pickleball played during the time when Lee is there, and the courts are closed when he is not there. I know that risk is a great concern to you guys. I’m very cautious. Certain activities are higher risk than others. Tennis and pickleball are not high risk. Sunshine, UV light, are known to reduce the stability of the virus. In my previous life as a medical technologist, we had a hard time growing viruses. They’re hard to grow outside living cells. If someone is sick, they won’t have the stamina to play. The healthiest ones will be out there. I agree with Lee’s rules; any signs, you just don’t play. I’m a scientist. I believe in making decisions based on data and probability. If there is a low probability, take a tiny step forward. Look to see if we have any issue. Needing a bathroom, I don’t think we care; we just want to play. If somebody needs a bathroom, they will go home. We would like the courts opened next week. We can follow Lee’s recommendations. Let’s not wait until the next Board meeting to decide.
Sue Leonard:[Editor’s note: we sent Sue the following email at 11:37am almost immediately after the board meeting which concluded at 11:26am:
“Sue, You made a very important speech at today’s board meeting. If you would like, you can email me your speech and I will include it in the synopsis that we prepare that goes out to the entire community. If so, please do so by 4 PM today via reply with a copy and paste of your speech.
Vicki Roberts Editor, CascadeLakesResidents.com”
Rather than respond to your Editor who is also a pickleball club member, Sue had Diane Fiorillo Green send out an email to pickleball club members only at 2:26pm which purportedly contained the text of Sue’s speech. The pickleball club membership is in fact a small percentage of the members of the HOA and a small percentage of the large readership of this news site as demonstrated by our daily diagnostic statistics. It is unfortunate that our request for this speech was ignored. Ergo, we move on to the next speaker.]
Marion: we have to listen to Palm Beach County. The board has discussed…you will hear what we’ve been hearing as well.
Joyce Winston: same effect as the people who sit in their driveways or walk the community? We don’t touch each other, we’re six feet apart, there is no ball that everyone touches, it’s not the same.
Bob:[Bob’s audio was not working]
Diane Green: I have a question on Marion’s comment. The governor did open up for our county – pickleball, tennis, pools, golf, parks. Not the same stay-at-home order. Marion: yes, we do. We are not on stage one until May 8th. Diane: Caloosa? Marion: it’s in a city, Boynton Beach. We’re unincorporated.
[Editor’s note: Marion is correct. We do not live in Boynton Beach. We contract for their water, and we use their post office for routing mail, but we do not live in Boynton Beach. We live in an unincorporated area of Palm Beach County. We have no mayor, and no city commissioners, because we do not live in any city. Our direct governing entity is the county, i.e., Palm Beach County.]
Sue [Leonard, possibly]: golf is open; Westchester plays down the road. Marion: that’s their own decision. We’re on stay-at-home until May 8th; then we’ll see what Palm Beach County does. The governor excluded Miami/Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County from Phase One.
Harvey: Palm Beach County did open pools, golf courses, and community courts. It has nothing to do with Phase One. That was last Wednesday. Sue Leonard: that’s correct. Marion: May 1, new proclamation. Harvey: Georgia and Texas, they have a spike in cases.
Bob: [showing a sign in lieu of his audio]: Share Lee’s recommendation. Update on Glenville pump. Deborah: the pump is being worked on, it is almost completed, and we will announce that to the community.
[Editor’s note: per an e-mail blast from Administrative Assistant Susan Hersh on Friday, May 8, 2020, this task is now complete.]
Debbie Ganguzza: I am 100% behind opening up our pickleball and tennis courts. I see it as the safest way to start moving in a positive direction. They’re already playing out in the community – confused – many courts are open, people playing at them. The first step, courts opening, having safe play. The biggest concern, if we don’t start taking baby steps to mitigate spreading the virus and still go about our daily activities, we need to start. We were one of the first to close up; it would be awesome to show that we could be one of the first to open up. Lee has a great road map. I would hope when you meet together, that you would hear the people with different opinions than the people you brought in.
[Editor’s note: for an excellent discussion of the matter and suggestions on lowering the HOA dues and full time status of some employees during the lockdown, see Angelo Ganguzza’s post on this news site under Residents’ Input Page, Message Board: General, under the date of May 6, 2020. In fact, we reprint it here because it was so well written and thought out. This news site is not taking a position on the matter at this time; we are merely bringing it to our readership’s attention so that the reader has all the information on the matter in which to make his or her own informed opinion. Here is the entire thread posted both on the HOA’s message board as well as on this news site under Residents’ Input Page, Message Board: General (please note that we do not edit resident postings to our news site; we copy and paste them verbatim):
Angelo Ganguzza wrote:
“We are unhappy with the news at Cascade Lakes
Hearing the news today that the board was unable to provide any projected time frame or guidance on when or community will reopen was a huge disappointment. We have federal, state and county guidelines that can be followed. All have provided dates and procedures to follow. Yet the best our board can come up with is we will be closed indefinitely.
Members of this community are capable of making choices. The choices range from "staying at home and shelter in place" to wearing PPE and practicing social distancing. 600 homeowners should not be punished. Certainly, not when there is no empirical or medical reasoning provided. Each person is capable of making an informed decision on how they will conduct themselves, without "having to choose which two people they would be willing to let die" (as seen on a board members Facebook page).
I think that with this position, we must now carefully evaluate and choose a course of action, that reflects the importance the board decision has placed on our community. The board should not be talking about expenditures like replacing fence screening on the tennis courts, when we are faced with this pandemic.
We are a small community with limited amenities. With no pool, clubhouse, fitness center or sports center to use the board should be recommending reducing the HOA fees to only those that are considered "essential". I would further suggest that the management company staff be cut in at least half immediately to reflect the reduced need for that overhead/expense. In addition a reduction in their compensation would also be warranted.
As a community we should be demanding an immediate reduction to our HOA fees. The fact that we've been told in no uncertain terms you must pay your HOA fees because there's a budget is unconscionable. There are now over 30 million Americans out of work, that have all kinds of outgoing expenses, with no income. They are required to make sacrifices. How can our HOA not be?
Once the board decides its an appropriate time to reopen, then we can consider bringing the management staff back, return to a compensation level commensurate with the work being performed.
Tough times require making difficult choices. Those referenced above reflect the sacrifices that many in our community, county, state and country have been forced to make. Cascade Lakes is not and should not be immune from that harsh reality.”
Later that evening, May 6, 2020, Angelo posted the following on the HOA’s message board, which we also have posted on this news site’s Resident Input Page under Message Board: General, unedited:
“I received the following response from the board this evening concerning my post.
Hi Anthony! We certainly understand your frustration with the coronavirus and lack of activities. The Association still has its normal bills to pay, and cannot reduce the HOA fees. The common areas are being kept up so that they do not deteriorate or look dreadful. Bills must be paid to Hotwire, ADT, guard house services, electricity, water, maintenance contracts, etc. Yes, it's tough to have to do these things when all of us can't use the facilities, but, right now, that's the way it has to be. Management staff are still working to maintain and assist residents however they can. Some come to the clubhouse for work orders and other assistance. Some help is done online. Vendors (landscape, pool, etc.) come to the clubhouse for their work orders. ARB requests are ramping up as homeowners change or spruce up their homes. Operationally, nothing has changed.
The Board, too, wishes that the coronavirus was not here. Unfortunately, it is. Our responsibility is to protect the fiscal stability, safety, and health of our residents in a time such as we've all never seen before.
Marion Weil for the Board of Directors
Marion, first let me correct you. My name is Angelo, not Anthony.
Clearly, you have misunderstood my email. I am not frustrated by lack of activities. I work full time, and sit at my desk 10 to 12 hours a day. I have plenty to do. I rarely use the facilities, but do when I want to.
The HOA is in no more a unique position than any other American living through this pandemic. Like the HOA, our residents have "their normal bills to pay." The question is what if you can't? You are then required to make adjustments. I would expect no less from the HOA and the board.
As I said in my email, I understand the "essential and ongoing expenses" will continue. As our elected representatives you should be demanding, along with every resident in this community a refund or reduction in HOA fees for services paid for and not received. We should be demanding the management company staff be cut in half immediately to reflect the reduced need for that overhead/expense as the vast majority of our facilities are laid up. That is fiscal responsibility. The excess is not needed. The board should not be discussing and certainly not approving unimportant or nice to have expenditures of any kind during this time.That is a failure of your responsibility to protect the fiscal stability, safety, and health of our residents. There are already communities that are proactively returning HOA fees to its members. This is an example to follow.
You say "Yes, it's tough to have to do these things when all of us can't use the facilities, right now, that's the way it has to be." That is not the way it has to be. A reasonable person would expect leadership to gather meaningful information and data from a qualified source and not from the "pool guy". Whom are you and the board using to gather information to make these informed choices? Certainly our federal, state and county resources are who you should be turning to.
I now understand the board is going to the community's legal council for an opinion. What does that even mean, except another wasted use of the community money. If the question is, "Can Cascade Lakes be sued?" I ask for what? Using the community amenities and someone claims that they contacted Covid -19? I would expect you to ask the follow up question since we already have the attorney on the clock. What if a resident went to Publix, The Boys, Target, Walmart and came back and another resident contacted Covid -19? Could Cascade Lakes be responsible for that too? This makes no sense. Members of this community are capable of making choices. The choices range from "staying at home and sheltering in place" to wearing PPE and practicing social distancing. 600 homeowners should not be punished. If any resident wishes to avoid another in the community, that is a personal choice, and I trust the individual will do what they feel best.
I trust that you and the board will use the available scientific information and not the opinions of the "the pool guy" and the paid for by the board HOA representative to make decisions regarding the safety and health of ALL Cascade Lakes residents.
Please don't feel obligated to respond to this e-mail. I don't want you to waste valuable time that could be used figuring out how we can get our community back on board in line with state and local guidelines. Too much time has been lost already.”
We here at the news site are curious if Marion actually wrote her comments to Angelo “for the Board” as she claims and if the other board members were even aware that she had responded to Angelo on their behalf; more likely, Marion did this on her own. We believe that Marion ought not to invoke the name of others when in fact she is responding for herself alone. Furthermore, other board members have every right to respond to Angelo on their own, and presumably they would address him by his actual name.]
Marion: Approval of Minutes, Linda. Linda: I make a motion to approve the Minutes from April 16. Second: Mark. Marion: any discussion? All in favor? Unanimous.
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: Palm Beach Broward[landscaping company]will be having a beautification in the tennis area mid-May. Mowing four times this month. Today completes the first time, May 12-13, 19-20, 28-29. The trim crew is in Corville and will move onto Glenville. The awnings will arrive mid-May. ARBs [Architectural Review Board applications] are being processed as quickly as possible. Any change to the exterior of your home needs ARB approval. Debris – please do not drop masks, gloves, etc. for others to pick up. Rear pedestrian gate, east entrance, is now locked[needs repair]. The exit side is still usable.
[Editor’s note: per Deborah, ARB applications “are being processed as quickly as possible. Any change to the exterior of your home needs ARB approval.” How are they being processed when there has been no notice to the community as to when they are meeting and no access to those meeting via Zoom or any live stream process?
Florida Statute 720.303(2)(a) states in pertinent part:
“… Meetings of the board must be open to all members…The provisions of this subsection shall also apply to…meetings of any body vested with the power to approve or disapprove architectural decisions with respect to a specific parcel of residential property owned by a member of the community.”
The Architectural Review Board makes final decisions with respect to a specific parcel of residential property owned by a member of the community. That is why when its meetings were conducted in the library prior to the pandemic, those meetings were open to the entire community, as required by this law. Per Deborah, it appears that they have been and are conducting their meetings in private, since there was never any notice or livestream provided to the community. Any and all meetings of that board that were conducted in violation of the open meeting law must be rescinded and redone with the proper notice and access to the community, along with all the rights that are vested in the members of the community with respect to being able to speak at those board meetings, just like any other board meeting (see same statute, subsection (2)(b)).]
Marion: before…I want to sincerely thank the tennis club and the pickleball club for contributing to the purchase of the awnings. We’re excited and can’t wait till it’s put up.
[Editor’s note: see our comments in the April 16, 2020 synopsis and commentary posted on this news site for what we consider to be an improper acceptance of monies from these clubs. In addition to what we wrote then, on April 26, 2020 we posted another issue this improper scheme raised, to wit, the tax consequences of this action. We repost those comments here:
“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 awnings 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 the awning 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.”]
1. Discussion for re-opening of facilities – Marion Weil: We got a wonderful summary through Lee Sinett, very detailed, we increased some and changed some. Linda: Lee wrote a disclaimer, he’s an independent contractor, and wrote at HOA board member’s request, and he’s not a medical or expert and it’s for informational purposes only. The report – the HOA is responsible to determine…1. signage…play at your own risk, 2. Alterations to the courts and court equipment, 3. Restrictions on play time, 4. Singles play only, 5. Shorten the playing time, 6. Player eligible requirements – no guests, no visitors, 7. Scheduling requirements, 8. Player responsibilities, a whole list, take temperature prior to coming to the courts, 9. Hours of supervised play, 7am to 1pm daily including Sunday which is typically not covered (by their contract), 10. Assistants needed – restrooms, sanitized on an hourly basic.
Marion: The Board though email put in extra and deleted some stuff. Sunday is not in their contract so Monday to Saturday rather than Monday to Sunday. We have strict violation infraction rules; one or more violations that will impact the play, the sports center will be closed again. All of this is based on discussion with the association’s attorney, probably Thursday afternoon. You have to be a resident and 19 or older. If asked by Lee, a Drivers License with a Cascade Lakes address. No guests, no visitors. You have to assert no contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms within 14 days. I’m not sure if we can get hand sanitizer, so I suggest you bring it to the court. Wear a mask from the parking lot to the court, optional to play…we’re not gonna be providing chairs. Bleachers will be cordoned off with yellow tape. Bring your own drinks; we are shutting off the water fountain. Tennis, bring your own new cans of balls. Pickleball, take two from the sleeves, they will have to be disinfected, then put in containers that says to be disinfected. If a ball goes in your court, do not pick it up with your hands. Restrooms will be closed. Arrive as close to your starting time, leave promptly when your session ends. No socializing.
Harvey: I suggest, the water fountains, cover them to discourage people from seeing if they are working. Can the tennis courts be locked with a padlock? And pickleball, Lee could take the nets down. Marion: Lee’s gonna handle. We’ve already talked to him. Eileen: I’m concerned about Sunday. How are you gonna handle that? Marion: take the nets down. Eileen: that’s work intensive. Marion: he can tie them down. Lee: for this time period, I don’t mind, it’s important for Sunday play. Mark: thank you, Lee, I would recommend that as well. And some participants who work; a weekend is good as long as Lee is amenable.
Sue Schmer: it is impossible to absorb – hearing this – process of information gathering…we need to find a delicate balance. The tentative draft plan is a good template. We should give the residents the opportunity to do what we say or not, because the consequences of violations are severe. I do want to respond to a comment. The Board really does not give out this information; we give out the best knowledge we have at the time.
[Editor’s note: your Editor requested that Sue email her comments so that they could be inserted in the synopsis verbatim, and we appreciated that Sue responded promptly as follows, which we post unedited. The entire community should also appreciate that Sue has provided these comments for this synopsis because in fact, the synopses and commentaries posted on this news site are widely read, per our daily and page-sensitive diagnostic statistics. So, without further ado, here are Sue’s unedited comments from her email to us for this specific purpose; we put it in quotes because it is copied and pasted directly and unedited from her email to your Editor.]
“My usual proviso is that since it is a public meeting, I will provide you with a verbatim copy of my words regarding behavior and a synopsis of the other speech which is very lengthy.
When we feel passionate about things, sometimes our rhetoric tends to get a bit heated. As I said in my speech at Meet the Candidates Night we "need to encourage a level of respectful communication based on rules of conduct." We can have differences of opinion without rancor or shaming when our opinions differ from those of others. Everyone's thoughts and opinions need to be respected, and we can disagree without being disrespectful. We are an adult community, and our behavior should always reflect the high standards of excellence that we have set for our community.
Regarding the opening of the sports center , items should include the following:
1. CDC, state and country guidelines,mandates, regulations
2. Recommendations from FRS, pickle ball and tennis clubs, our sports center director, lawyers, information sharing among neighboring communities, guidelines from the USTA and National Pickle ball Associations, input from residents, and recommendations from the BOD.
3.Finding a balance between the safety, health and security of the whole and the individual's wishes and desires.
4.Player responsibility to adhere to the mandatory requirements that have been established if we decide to more forward with reopening of the Sports Center.
5. Gather all information, make a decision, and if we reopen, agree on a doable game plan.
On another note, hope your parents are doing well.
Harvey: if we’re going to meet with the lawyer, we can then vote to publish this to the community by email blast. Marion: I totally agree.
[Editor’s note: this lawyer meeting does not fall under the limited exceptions of privilege; it is more akin to when the lawyer showed up at the January 8, 2020 Board meeting and engaged in open discussion. So, this closed Board meeting with the lawyer violates the open meeting statute, 720.303(2)(a). Also, Harvey then stated that after the meeting the Board can vote on a matter. Say what? The Board is prohibited from 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 vote on the re-opening the facilities or a portion thereof without at least 48 hours’ notice, and such a secret vote would clearly violate even the emergency statute. The vote to re-open a portion of the facilities can, should, and must be done by a special open meeting of the Board which can be scheduled with a mere 48-hour notice to the community.
Here we have what appears to be two blatant examples of the Board violating the Florida open meeting statute: meeting with the lawyer about a matter that is neither about personnel nor attorney-client privileged communication in the context of actual pending litigation, which are the only two exceptions to the open meeting mandate, and then voting afterwards on a non-emergency matter for which there is no right to implicate the statute based on a decision to re-open a facility and which can be done by giving the required 48-hour notice.]
Harvey: This draft … [muffled] …other communities have more new cases; like Texas and Georgia, then we have to go back to square one.
[Editor’s note: Harvey is consistently the most muffled (usually the only muffled) of all Board members because he sits back casually and far away from his computer while speaking. Hint to Harvey: this is an official board meeting, not the lounge section on a cruise deck. Sit forward and speak clearly.]
Harvey: Lee, do you have the ability to padlock the gate? Lee: yes, but you can go around the sides, so it’s not feasible. Mark: if we go into Phase 1, and the lawyer says it’s ok, how quickly are you able to get things going?
[Editor’s note: why is this lawyer, who is not a medical expert, and who in this news site’s opinion has made numerous errors in his advice to the HOA board, essentially making the decision for over 1,100 people when he is neither an owner nor an elected official of the owners and has no expertise whatsoever in virology? According to the Board, they also seem to give the pool guy credence, and we are not aware of his degree in virology either.]
Lee: I need about 48 hours for people to schedule their times. Getting the courts ready will take a day. Richard Greene: the big thing is what the lawyer says tomorrow.
[Editor’s note: Why? This non-medical expert, non-virologist, non-pool guy is going to determine the fate of the facilities here at the homestead? Why did the Board invite the pool guy to speak on the issue but not the lawyer?]
Richard: I agree with Harvey, we should send this out to the community; it’s up to the community to abide by the rules. I don’t like the idea of residents playing outside the community; it’s more dangerous.
[Editor’s note: the community is made up of over 1,100 adults. There are a lot of things that one adult may not like about the behavior of another adult here in the community. No one can dictate the behavior of others; if a resident plays outside of the community, you may not like it, but that is their right. We understand that the concern is that they may bring it back into the community, but the issue of whether or not to open the HOA facilities cannot be based on what a resident does or does not do on his or her own free time; that is irrelevant in the determination of the issue. No need to shoot the messenger here; these are the facts.]
Eileen: Are we gonna have a sign-in sheet that relieves the association of liability, play at your own risk? Marion: The Presidents group, of over 40 associations, every one has not opened up yet. As far as the waiver, we’ve been told by their attorneys, some of whom share the same attorney, that the waiver will not hold up.
[Editor’s note: then why do you want to spend HOA funds illegally meeting or consulting with the HOA attorney in private? You just admitted that you already have your answer. This is not fiscally responsible in addition to being violative of the open meeting law.]
Marion: We will be posting a sign, play at your own risk. Harvey: I have a question for Debbie. The question of the hand sanitizer, can we move that to Lee’s office and get another one for pickleball? Deborah: at this time, I can’t get any.
[Editor’s note: call me; I have a source.]
Marion: what about the one in the office? Deborah: we would not have one in the front of the clubhouse for any vendors or people we’re working with. Marion: it’s not the mechanism; we can’t get the serum to put in there.
[Editor’s note: again, I have a source for Alpine CLENZ Instant Hand Sanitizer, 1 Gallon/128 oz - 4 Bottles/Case, and I have a 10% off coupon, because I am fiscally responsible.]
Marion: thank you very much. That was a really good discussion.
2. Microphone $5800 – Marion Weil: Marion: the FCC has changed the frequencies for the third time that I know of and is assigning them to TV stations. Unfortunately, the radio frequency signals we’re using, we can’t use on our current microphones. And add that our current microphones are over 20 years old. We have three quotes. Recommendation to use the microphones from B & H Photo Video Pro Audio. [Editor’s note: www.bhphotovideo.com] Is Mike Deckinger online?
Jeff Green [Editor’s note: resident/Zoom administrator extraordinaire]: I’ve tried to unmute him, but it’s not unmuting. So he may not have his audio on. Harvey: I second the motion so we can have a discussion. [Editor’s note: no motion was made.]
Marion: Can you explain the difference between the quotes other than the price? The price difference is pretty substantial. Mike Deckinger: Sure, Senhizer, and AT [phonetic]. The least expensive to fit in our system, $850 each, that’s a bit much. Senhizer, equal to Sure, will fit, and is adequate for what we do. The FCC, this is the end of their auctions for ten to fifteen years…city comparisons…everything to date is wireless. All wireless microphones in that band, they operate in the white space between the TV and audio bands. Frequencies in this area – are very full, that’s why you have to…it’s a critical part of the infrastructure. We have six microphones at this time.
Harvey: What’s this $1,995? Mike: markers on the bottom of the microphones. Now we use colored tape. Mark: how many do we want to purchase? Mike: Ten…. Mark: I see quotes from B & H, Sweetwater, which one are you recommending? Mike: B & H. $5,490 plus $20. They also have them in stock. There will be a shortage. They have 200 units in the A1 frequency that we require. Mark: Because of the limited supply and immediacy…it may not be wise to even try [to negotiate]. Mike: Call them, speak to them, I spoke with these guys and was able to get them down. No shipping, no sales tax. Deborah: name of your contact? Mike: no, you get who you get. Call the 800 number, punch numbers, get the corporate department. They will take care of you. Deborah: once approved, get your name off of that. Mike: correct. Harvey: is there a possibility of selling the old microphones? Mike: eBay, several sites, electronics, $100-$150 a piece selling for. The sound system can be sold for approximately $1,500. So we can recoup at least half of this expenditure; it can be used in other parts of the country, not here because of the area limitations and the FCC.
Marion:[calls the motion.]Harvey: second. Marion: all in favor? Ten Senhizer microphones and ring identifiers from B & H Audio and Video. Unanimous.
3. Tennis windscreen replacement - $6,783.59 – Linda. Linda: contract pending with Tennis Supply $6,783.59 taken from the reserve for a double-sided windscreen. Motion to approve. Sue Schmer: second. Marion: second [Editor’s note: sorry, Marion, Sue beat you to it, barely, but she did.]Harvey: why do we need to replace it? Marion: Lee said the screens are disintegrating; this would be the last thing we would have to do. Pretty good prices now. Eileen: this is absolutely needed? Marion: they take them down. We’re going into the hurricane season. It’s a good price now because of the virus and hurricane season. Richard Greene: Ours is 5-6 years; these screens usually last four years. Starting to wear and tear. It’s really tennis and pickleball being used for the screen. Mark: warranty? Richard: four years; ours is a couple of years past that. He replaced two recently for one of the courts but now he needs them for all of the courts. Mark: might be good while there’s limited play. Marion: coming out of the reserves. Richard Greene: the reserves are for that amount so it’s dollar to dollar. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
4. Tennis fence repairs – Linda Arbeit: Linda: the contract from Rapid Fence Incorporated, guard rails to replace…reset…amount is[under $1,000, Deborah’s limit, why is it on the agenda]. Deborah: why it’s on the agenda, it falls under my purview; I put it on there in case. I can approve it with no problem. Linda: it says not responsible to damage to the underground pipes from installation. Richard: that’s standard; the rails he’s replacing are on the top.
Marion: ok, so now Second Residents’ Input Session.
Second Residents’ Input Session:
Judie: only the virus knows what it’s going to do on its own. I walk at 6:30 in the morning. I have observed 10-12 times a day people walking shoulder to shoulder or two feet apart, not wearing masks, talking… Sanjay Gupta, CNN…I see very few people with masks on. There are several people who have the virus who have chosen not to report it. [Editor’s note: someone outed two people on the Cascade Lakes Facebook page.]People are in and out of the markets every day. They can be carriers. We are to be extremely careful, what we want versus what we need…. droplets do not drop to the ground; they linger in the air. They go a lot farther than six feet. Please keep that in mind when opening anything. You’re playing with fire.
Jeff Hyman: I’m an epidemiologist. Covid is a respiratory virus….you don’t absorb it through your skin, food, sunscreen, not from sitting on infected surfaces unless you touch your face with your hands and touch your nose; then it gets into your respiratory system. The virus survives for a very short period of time in sunlight, only a few minutes. There is no specific risk of playing in the pool or tennis. Ninety percent of the virus travels less than six feet; a few percent travel further. Stay away from people, a ten-foot distance, and the chances of getting the virus are very low.
[Editor’s note: Jeff provided an expansion to what he stated at the Board meeting, which we post unedited below.]
Jeff Hyman: “I would like to expand on the comments I made at the board meeting regarding Covid 19 and our response to it.
For those who didn’t attend, Covid-19 is a RNA respiratory virus in the Coronavirus family. This means that we are infected when we inhale liquid droplets (from coughs, sneezes, etc) which contain the virus. It colonizes our noses, causing a mild flu like disease 2-14 days after infection.. Depending on a number of factors such as age, comorbidities, immune status, ACE2 and other receptor status, and many currently unknown factors, it can also cause a more severe disease and also travel to our lungs where it causes a much more severe disease, which can lead to death in some cases.
The recommendation to maintain a 6” social distance is based on the fact that 90% of droplets travel 6 feet or less. The virus can survive on surfaces for varying lengths of time and we can also become infected if we touch the surface and then touch our face, transferring the virus to our nose. This is the reason for the recommendation to frequently wash our hands. Washing with soap and water for 20 seconds will kill the virus by disrupting it’s lipid shell, causing it to fall apart, i.e. soap is all we need for our hands).
While the virus can live indoors for days on different surfaces, sunlight and warmth rapidly kill it outdoors. In our warm, sunny, south Florida environment this means we are actually safer outside (on a tennis court, pickle ball court, pool deck, etc) than inside where there have been an equivalent number of people, since we have less chance of touching a surface with live virus on it. We just need to be careful to follow the recommendations to maintain a safe distance and wash our hands (although, as noted, the sun helps us a lot with this one).
In a situation like the current one, it’s natural to want to wait until the virus ‘goes away’ to reopen our facilities. Let’s look at how likely that is to happen. It’s been estimated that we need 70-75% of the population to be immune to the virus to achieve herd immunity. This percentage is based on the current Reproduction Number or R0. Herd immunity is achieved when R0 falls below 1. In simple English, this means that each infected person infects less than one other person, so the epidemic dies out. Since the percentage of people now immune from having had the virus is relatively small, this immunity will have to be achieved with a vaccine. A number of groups are working furiously to achieve this. But what does it mean to achieve 70% immunity in the population? For example we would need for the vaccine is 100% effective and at least 70% of people take it. Lets look at our experience with other vaccines- The shingles vaccine is 51-90% effective The flu varies by year but is 35-50% effective and about 50% of people take it. Mumps vaccine is 31-95% effective. Measles is up to 90% effective. Pneumonia is 50-85% effective.
These numbers, for established vaccines with long development times, suggest that it will be very difficult to achieve herd immunity to Covid-19 anytime soon, especially since a sizable segment of the population refuses to take any vaccines, and an even larger number of people won’t want to take a very rushed, barely tested vaccine. In addition the vaccine under development will (wisely) be tested on healthy young adults, and we really have no idea how the effectiveness of the virus in this population might apply to older populations such as ours.
What does this all mean? We don’t know the future but there is a good chance that we won’t rapidly achieve herd immunity and this virus will be with us for a number of years. We could expect it’s impact to vary between the current baseline level and higher spikes when we try to return to normal economic life and realize that we can’t.
We are already seeing resistance in our community to keeping facilities closed and paying full HOA fees for greatly restricted amenities. This will certainly get much worse as the county approves re-opening facilities. I think our board and management company would be very wise to start to think about safe strategies for opening as many of our facilities as possible, and to not get their public health advice from pool management companies.. Otherwise the ducks will continue to be the only ones enjoying the pool and there will continue to be reminders on the message board that the facilities belong to the residents, not the board. Jeffrey Hyman Ph.D. Epidemiology (from Harvard and Hopkins)]”
[Editor’s note: Jeff Hyman posted a second response on the HOA message board which we repost below unedited.]
“There has been some discussion about the possible inadequacy of CDC’s 6 foot social distancing recommendation and I would like to comment on that. It has been known for many, many years that in some circumstances (such as totally uncovered sneezes) the droplets from sneezes can carry much further than 6 feet. Recent research has found that droplets can carry up to 27 feet.
The 6 foot recommendation is based on the fact that 90% of droplets travel less than 6 feet. Plus these are the bigger droplets that carry more virus particles. Since the larger, more virus laden particles travel less than 6 feet, the actual risk reduction when standing 6 feet apart is greater than 90%.
The droplets that carry much further are small, more spread out and carry a much lower virus load, which makes them less dangerous.
Masks can offer additional protection, but with the variety of masks being used, disposable masks being reused a number of times, and some people not knowing how to use masks properly, it is very unclear how much additional protection they might offer to the wearer. Their main purpose, of course, is to block virus transmission from someone who does not know they are infected and who is unknowingly spreading droplets.
At the present time, it is almost certain that well under 5% of Floridians are actively infected with Covid 19. In addition, in our age range virtually no one has an asymptomatic infection, which means a newly infected person will only shed the virus for a few (mean 5) days before they realize they are sick. These facts, combined with the 6 foot rule, (plus a mask if desired), minimizing time in stores, plus frequent hand washing offers an extremely high level of protection, probably greater than 98%. However this virus can cause serious disease and death in people in our age cohort. If someone desires an additional increment of protection, they are free to stay as far from other people as they wish, totally avoid going into stores, avoid all outdoor activities, or stay totally isolated in their home. They will still need to properly handle any packages that they receive and frequently wash their hands. This option could lead to psychological problems but this is entirely a personal choice for those who are very afraid of the virus.
When people decide to stay home or maintain a 30 foot distance, avoid stores, and not touch anything that another person could have touched they no longer need to worry about what other people do since they won’t be affected by anyone else’s actions. If someone plays pickle ball and runs into the net or two people walk close together or someone sits in the hot tub once it’s open there is no way it can affect someone who is sitting in their house. So people who are isolating themselves don’t need to worry about, or publicly comment on, the actions of others.
It is entirely possible that this virus will be with us for a very long time, as in years. We will need to learn to adapt to this situation and live with it with as little disruption and as much safety as possible. This is one of those times when we need to work to find ways to make our lives as normal as possible within the CDC precautions. This of course includes regaining the use of our beautiful pool complex, where the hot sun is helpfully killing any covid viruses that have come to rest on places like chairs, tables, or railings. Again we are much safer at the pool than we would be indoors where there is the same density of people in the area.
Just to help us count our blessings, while the case fatality rate from covid is still difficult to calculate for a number or reasons and certainly increases with age, it is almost certainly well under 1% overall. By contrast the related coronavirus SARS has a case fatality rate over 10%, and the coronavirus MERS has a case fatality rate of 34%. So we should be very grateful because this pandemic could be much, much worse than it is.
Round Table Discussion:
Marion: thank you to Harvey Ginsberg, this is National Nurses Day and National Nurses Week…Mark: note – final financial audit statements went out. Deborah: an email went out last week. Eileen: Second Residents’ Input – I have a speaker.
Roberta Alter: I have two comments. Palm Beach Broward, I would like to commend them. They broke my screen and smashed a window, and within one week, they had the glass company here…within one day, and the screen was replaced without charge. My second comment: Facebook is very disturbing. A resident commented on Cascade Lakes regarding ground cover while the family was suffering from coronavirus. Could we be more sensitive about violations of ground cover.
Deborah: I ask that resident to contact me for an extension and that will be granted. Mark: I know a number of people contacted me, put in for an extension. I agree it was not the appropriate time. They can ask for an extension.
Linda Arbeit: Jack Golden on the phone; wait. Harvey: I got a call as well. I told her to call Deb for an extension. Even though in this situation, we still have the obligation to maintain the property; we can’t put that on hold. A person was under the impression it’s not the Board, Deborah, Susan, it’s corporate. I got a violation last year. Don’t take it personally. It’s just something that they do. Eileen: I really empathize with this resident. Unfortunately, we don’t know what’s going on in each household. It’s just business as normal. Can call property management and discuss it with them. Deborah: to date, this person has not contacted me. Eileen: it may not be a bad thing to contact them. Marion: Harvey – you know – give to Deb.
Jack Golden: It’s very important. I would like to be able to read Lee’s document, which is the centerpiece of guiding everyone. Every owner should have the opportunity.
[Editor’s note: We agree. Once again, the owners are left in the dark, and the entire community is deprived of input from some very smart, creative, and talented people who reside here.]
Marion: we need to get with our attorney first. If he says it’s ok, then we can send it out. We will meet sometime tomorrow. Jack Golden: you’ll be notifying the owners? Marion: yes.
[Editor’s note: Marion needs to get an approval from the attorney to send out Lee’s document which she already shared with a number of members of the HOA, including the entire leadership teams of the tennis and pickleball clubs? This is nonsense. Also, see my comments above concerning the non-pool guy, non-epidemiologist, non-medical doctor, non-owner, unelected hired gun attorney. And there is no need to seek legal counsel on releasing Lee’s document. It is not a privileged document; it was prepared for the HOA, all of the HOA, and was already shared with a number of members of the HOA. This is completely ridiculous and fiscally irresponsible to use HOA money to pay an attorney to ask his permission to release a document that was created as a de facto work for hire for the benefit of the entire HOA. It is time for Marion and the Board to start behaving from a premise of openness and transparency as opposed to the knee-jerk position of secrecy.]
Round Table Discussion [again]:
Linda Arbeit: nothing.
Harvey Ginsberg [muffled, again]:food trucks, maintain social distancing, I would be against it.
Sue Schmer: I think it’s a bad idea. We just spent over an hour on whether to open the sports center. Leave it alone; there are plenty of places to take out and for delivery.
Eileen Olitsky: the food truck may be more sanitary; I’m more concerned about congregating at the parking lot. At the tennis court, also can’t congregate in the parking lot.
Mark Goodman: Jeff, call from Paul Friedlander. Unmute him.
Paul Friedlander: in response to Judie, I walk every morning; every person I see the social distance is very well maintained and people are following the rules. Regarding the opening of the tennis courts, I would like to commend the Board and especially Lee for coming up with a great plan to make it work. I am somewhat disappointed to how this was left open. I thought the Board was favorable, subject to outside counsel’s sign off.
[Editor’s note: see my comments above about the Board’s stated intention on having a private meeting and vote contrary to the open meeting laws. Marion will tell you that it’s part of their emergency powers which they can 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. This abuse of power is consistent and unending. Please remember it at election time next March. We will also remind you.]
Eileen: you want to add to the document – no congregating in the parking lot.
Jeff: for Diane: I think you should check with her. Her idea with the food trucks for a specific event – it wouldn’t be a regular food truck. They were going to experiment with it with a special event which would start when all of this was over.
[Editors’ note: the message board posts were not about food trucks for a specific entertainment event. They were to have food trucks on the property in general.]
Mark: there was also an email, on a trial basis, a number of these. Jeff: check this with her. My understanding is it was for a specific event and it would not occur till all was back to normal.
Linda: when this is all over, I don’t think there is anything wrong with experimenting with this; let’s try it.
Eileen: confusing – there were a few posts on the message board- during this sheltering, we’re mixing two things together. [Editor’s note: we agree.] Eileen: at this time, outsiders – we don’t sanitize…my experience, where I used to live, gourmet – can be wonderful event when everything is over.
Sue Schmer: when you make a decision, the better the decision-making process will be. Read the CDC guidelines – I don’t think anyone would ever be able to play tennis again. The decision is not as easy as you might think. We should make a decision within a reasonable timeframe. You do what is in the best interest of the majority. We hear you. I’m a tennis player. We need to make a decision in a reasonable timeframe.
Richard Greene: We’ll meet with the attorney tomorrow; we will have a better idea when we can open up.
[Editor’s note: who elected the attorney to make that decision? What does he have to offer inasmuch as Marion already stated earlier that the Presidents of various associations went through this exercise already with counsel and were told that a waiver would “not hold up” in her words? And again, how is this fiscally responsible to spend HOA money on this type of unnecessary meeting with an attorney?]
Marion: we had a death in our family from the coronavirus- an uncle – we were not particularly close, but it made a jolt, I can’t even tell you. Let’s say we have 250 chomping at the bit to play; we also have 940 others.
[Editor’s note: that totals 1,190 residents; Deborah recently mentioned 1,135 but that number would necessarily fluctuate over time.]
Marion: We are meeting with the attorney tomorrow. We will let everyone know what the outcome was, good or bad.
Eileen: when we meet with the attorney and he gives his opinion, what is our plan for going forward? I agree with Paul, Sue, Rich. Do we have another board meeting? Do we vote? What’s our plan of action?
[Editor’s note: yes, you have another OPEN Board meeting, which can be scheduled on a mere 48-hour notice to the community.]
Marion: we have emergency powers, we can make that decision and let the residents know and ratify.
[Editor’s note: No, you can’t. You cannot blatantly abuse emergency powers in this manner. It is not an emergency to decide to RE-OPEN the facility which in any event could be done via an open board meeting with a mere 48 hours’ notice. Residents: please take note of this fundamental misunderstanding or deliberate misuse of the limited emergency powers granted to the Board.]
Eileen: that requires a unanimous vote; a board meeting is a majority.
[Editor’s note: in line with Eileen’s comment, whether or not to have an illegal private, secret meeting versus a required open meeting is not determined by how many votes are required to pass a motion.]
Harvey: it’s a privileged meeting – but we can then vote and then put it out. Marion: correct.
[Editor’s note: It is NOT a privileged meeting. The only privileges are personnel matters and pending litigation discussions, which are not present here. If you refuse to read, understand, and follow the open meeting statute then please step down or hopefully you will be voted out of office next time around. If your lawyer tells you this is privileged, then shame on him and it is time for a new lawyer, which this news site suggested previously because, in our opinion, of some of his well-documented dubious and erroneous advice in the past.]
Harvey: complaints, people are congregating at Angel Wing and Cascade Lakes Blvd., not maintaining social distancing. It’s ok to meet friends but not congregate in groups. Maintain social distancing.
[Editor’s note: oh, please. Stop treating us like babies. People should maintain social distancing but there is no need to be pedantic about it. Anyone who is conscious knows the rules and if they are intent on breaking or ignoring them, there’s nothing you can say or do to change that. If they are in violation of some rule in your governing documents, you have a procedure for dealing with that, although as past experience shows, you are loath to even follow that. Stop preaching already, and if you can’t stop yourself from preaching, at least have the courtesy to speak clearly into your computer’s microphone.
To those of you who are worried about others’ purported failure to follow social distancing rules, nobody appointed you as chief of police. If you remain in your homes, you will not be exposed to anything except your significant others, and if that is unpleasant to you, to be sheltering in place with your significant other, that’s not someone else’s burden to bear. We welcome an explanation as to how others’ alleged failure to socially distance themselves in the street affects someone who remains in their home.]
Mark: We’ll meet with the attorney and then get approval.
[Editor’s note: Get approval? So, you are ceding your collective votes to this unelected hired independent contractor with no expertise in anything remotely relevant to the issue at hand and/or for which Marion already claimed to have confirmed other counsel’s or this same counsel’s advice that a waiver is ineffectual. This is not leadership.]
Mark: We don’t have to wait another two weeks, we have emergency powers, we can do it as soon as possible. Marion: correct.
[Editor’s note: Board members, you cannot use the statute granting you emergency powers for non-emergency matters. You also need not wait two weeks for your next regularly scheduled board meeting, although the Agenda states that there is no scheduled board meeting at all, so there’s no consistency there either. Instead, you simply give 48-hours’ notice to the community and then have an open board meeting.
Will somebody, anybody on the Board, please read the statutes and follow the law. This is getting old and it is an embarrassment to a number of members of the community that this Board is either clueless or blatantly ignoring the statutes or worse, abusing their power and basing said abuse on a tortured interpretation of the emergency statute that would likely never hold up in a court of law.]
Marion: Meeting adjourned. Eileen: Second. Marion: All in favor? Adjourning at 11:26am. All rise, ha ha.
[Editor’s note: Marion, now you’re declaring that everyone should rise and laughing about it? You should have risen for the pledge of allegiance, Marion and company, with the exception of Sue Schmer, who did stand. And as President, Marion, in charge of presiding over board meetings, you should have instructed everyone to stand for the pledge. In the future, since Marion has failed to do it repeatedly, for future board meetings, when the call for the pledge is made, it would be great if any board member would verbalize that everyone should rise for the pledge.]
[Editor’s concluding comments: And so concludes the board meeting of May 6, 2020; next Board meeting: presently unknown.]