06/24/20 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted June 28, 2020. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the June 24, 2020 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary indicated in bold blue brackets.
[Editor’s note: Prior to the start of the meeting, when your Editor joined the Zoom meeting, Marion stated in a neutral tone, “Vicki Roberts is on,” presumably to warn her fellow board members to watch what they say, as she is aware of the fact that this News Site reports on board meetings. No other resident was identified as having joined the meeting at any time. Your Editor was one of the first to join; a total of about 72 residents were online for the meeting at its peak.]
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online.
[Editor’s note: the new Zoom operator is Mike Blackman with assistance from Arnie Green. Both did a great job in administering the Zoom meeting, so kudos to them, and we thank them for their service to the community.]
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 Sue Schmer. Sue: If you are physically able to, please stand while I recite the pledge.
[Editor’s note: Thanks to Sue’s leadership, all Board members rose for the pledge, which was what this News Site called out previously, as in the past, none of them stood. We are pleased that there is now compliance with4 U.S. Code Section 4.]
Marion: Point of Personal Privilege.
[Editor’s note: Marion then read from a prepared speech. In addition to this prepared speech, there were also prepared speeches for Marion’s opening remarks, for the task force reports on the agenda, and a speech from Sue Schmer which she read at the Round Table Discussion at the end of the meeting. In connection with all of these prepared speeches, at the conclusion of the meeting, your Editor immediately sent an email to all Board members at 1:13pm as follows:
The synopsis and commentary that is prepared after every board meeting is read by a majority of the residents. This is a formal request for each of you to email me your prepared written statements made at the Board meeting for inclusion in the synopsis. Specifically, there appeared to be written, prepared statements as follows:
1. Marion Weil: point of personal privilege.
2. Marion Weil: opening remarks.
3. Task Force Reports: Linda Arbeit, Eileen Olitsky, Harvey Ginsberg
4. Round Table Discussion: Sue Schmer
5. Any other prepared written statements made at the meeting.
If you believe that your remarks are important and that the residents of this HOA are important, please email the statements to me for inclusion in the synopsis no later than 6pm this evening.
Sue Schmer immediately responded with her written statement, which can be read in its entirety, unedited, below in the Round Table Discussion portion of the synopsis. Marion Weil sent a generic message at 9:32pm:
“This will acknowledge receipt of your email to the Board of Directors.
Marion Weil for the Board of Directors”
This generic acknowledgement is slightly different from the one Angelo Ganguzza received to his email to the board; Marion started that one with identifying him by a name other than his actual name: “Hi, Anthony!” (see his comments on our Residents’ Input page, under the date of May 6, 2020) and also differs from one received by our roving reporter, Arthur Andelson, which she began with: “Hi, Arthur!” The generic response also, predictably, did not contain any substantive material for inclusion in the synopsis.
That was the extent of the responses to your Editor’s email. A refusal to provide this material to the majority of the residents of this HOA who in fact read and rely on this synopsis should be remembered come election time, either this coming March, or the following March, as applicable to the particular Board member. Ignoring this News Site will not make it go away and will not make it less relevant; its relevance is in fact growing as our diagnostic statistics prove.
Any Board member who refuses to acknowledge the residents of this HOA by ignoring this News Site’s request for their prepared remarks at official Board meetings is not entitled to have those remarks reflected herein. This necessarily means that Marion’s point of privilege will not be reported, and Marion’s point of privilege will be lost on the majority of the residents.
Having listened to it, however, your Editor does find one statement Marion made to be noteworthy of commentary. Marion stated, “I rarely go on the Message Board as is the practice of most Board members.” Marion is the liaison to the webmaster, Mike Blackman. She is a webmistress. For the webmistress and Board liaison to the message board to deliberately not go on the message board by her own admission appears to be a dereliction of duty. Why is she the liaison to something she does not read or monitor? Also, since many people automatically get the messages sent to their email addresses by adjusting the subscription setting under their profiles on the message board, is she one of those individuals or is she really tone-deaf in her arrogance? You decide.
Marion’s statement that “I rarely go on the message board” is belied by the fact that she went on it plenty when she took down your Editor’s honest posts calling out her illegal actions, which posts were proven truthful with documented evidence, but now she’s suddenly MIA by her latest admission. She also stated that this is the practice of most of the other Board members. Is this really true? Why would most Board members be disinterested in what residents are saying on the message board? This is truly insulting to the entire HOA membership, because what Marion is saying on her behalf and the behalf of most of her fellow board members is that what you write makes no difference to them. Sue Schmer does, however, advise that she reads the message board as well as everything she receives from residents.
Did you also know that as webmistress and liaison to the webmaster that Marion changed the time period that posts remain on the message board from 30 days to 14 days? This change was done without any notice to anyone, but we noticed it. And why are any of the posts removed at all? There is no issue concerning gigabyte space or capacity because all standard hosting packages can easily accommodate lots of text, which takes up a miniscule amount of space. We know this from operating this News Site on this digital platform. We are not scheduled to run out of space for another 500 years at our current posting pace based on our current subscription which does not include expanded gigabyte capacity.
More importantly, this was a new policy instituted, so why was this not placed on the agenda for all Board members to weigh in on? Do any of the other Board members even know that this protocol was changed? Does it concern any other Board member that this was done surreptitiously and without proper notice to you or the community? How would you feel if the liaison to Rules and Regulations made a change to the rules and regs and didn’t tell anyone? How is this any different?
Marion can be in denial all she wants and can pretend that we are not here; we are here, and we are expanding our reach every month. The majority of the HOA can decide Marion’s fate at the next election cycle. We do recognize, however, that said fate is also determined by the competition she may or may not encounter, and so we reserve our final opinions for the appropriate time.
As for the rest of Marion’s remarks as well as her Opening Statement, until Marion Weil, President of the HOA, gives the majority of the HOA residents who in fact constitute our readership the respect they deserve, we will move on.]
Marion: Adding New Business #6, Scavenger Hunt by the Pickleball Club.
[Editor’s note: as we previously reported, Director Eileen Olitsky asked at a prior board meeting if there could be a vote to add an item onto the Agenda, presumably because there was no 48 hour notice for said item; when Marion adds items, no vote is taken and it is just added. So here is a hint to all Board members: have the balls to speak up and just state that you are adding an item to the Agenda. Every single one of you has the right to add items. All items should be listed on the 48-hour notice to the residents. Sometimes things come up and are last minute add-ons, and we understand that.
If this new item was known prior to the 48-hours, it should have been included on the email to all residents so that residents could prepare for the First Residents’ Input Session. By not doing so, the residents are deprived of preparing remarks which they are entitled to make, and indeed there were no residents who sought to speak at the initial session, for whatever reason. We over here at the News Site, however, have a lot to say about the state of affairs concerning the Pickleball Club and how it has been essentially hijacked, but more on that juicy stuff later.]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks: [Editor’s note: nothing provided.]
First Residents’ Input Session: [Editor’s note: no takers, no talkers.]
Approval of Minutes: Linda Arbeit: motion to approve the June 3, 2020 minutes. Eileen: second. Harvey: question, on Old Business, Eileen’s motion for a task force, there was no second. Marion: I seconded it. Linda: According to Robert’s Rules, you don’t need a second. Marion: that’s our practice. Linda: I have been told you don’t need a second. Harvey: accept the amended correction. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Treasurer’s Report: Richard Greene: [Editor’s note: it was part of the email to all residents which gave notice of the board meeting and is self-explanatory and will therefore not be repeated herein.] Mark: the fence will probably be delayed. It’s taking a while to get the permit. The builder will have to hold off one side until January at least. Harvey: why does he have to hold off? Mark: I just said that, you schmuck. It’s a matter of getting the material, nothing wrong with that. Delays in construction, you get that all the time. Marion: all in favor of Richard’s motion? Mark: second. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: Palm Beach Broward [landscaping company] – new disease on the blueberry trees in front of the clubhouse, will be treated, $650. Tree has now been removed as choices for the residents…Mowing, the rain has been pounding, the 25th to the 26th is the final mow. Skipped one mow this month. Orientation – many closed during the pandemic; I’ve completed five of eight pending. Pool monitors- resident compliance, all going well…YMCA – only 8 to 10 residents are taking advantage…water aerobics, June 29th, reservation only, 12 residents. Class, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Only the class will be allowed in the pool.
[Editor’s note: 20 people are normally allowed in the pool; if the class only allows 12, what happened to the other 8?]
Deborah:Other days, it will be open swim per reservation. Roof leak in the ballroom. Coming for repair tomorrow…Gate maintenance, I would like AT & I to take over, please add to New Business; July 4, Saturday, the office is off. I need to know coverage if you want the pool open, please advise…
Marion: #7, Gate Maintenance; #8, July 4 Holiday.
Eileen: the location of the trash receptacle on Cascade Lakes Blvd. – why can’t it be pushed back on the left? Deborah: we can move it anywhere you want…Eileen: put it on the left near the tree…slightly off the path. It’s quite an eyesore in front.
[Editor’s note: you think that’s an eyesore? Have you looked at the construction site of the shed, oops, the newly christened “Utility Building”? It’s no longer called a shed because they wanted to call it a shed originally so that they could claim it was a mere “replacement” which did not require a community vote; now that it’s a done deal and under construction, they’re calling it a Utility Building, which is what it was from the get-go, which would have in fact required a community vote based on the cost of about $130,000, but alas, we digress.]
Deborah: It is there for any debris. Mark: people drop garbage…Harvey: residents comment how unsightly…get something for pet waste. Marion: discuss later on; don’t want to take 10 minutes on a garbage pail.
Task Force Recommendations: Linda Arbeit, Eileen Olitsky, Harvey Ginsberg. [Editor’s note: fitness center, clubhouse/entertainment, pool and sports center respectively.]
[Editor’s note: as stated above, these Board members do not wish the community to have their prepared remarks preserved in this synopsis, or they simply choose to ignore this News Site – at their peril – or probably both. Dissatisfaction with this reality is best dealt with at the ballot box.]
1.Utility Building update – Mark Goodman. [Editor’s note: see above comments about this new nomenclature for this new behemoth of a structure in the middle of the parking lot.] Mark: things are progressing more swiftly…the manufacturer started constructing the SIP material…
[Editor’s note: what is SIP? As we previously reported in the March 18, 2020 synopsis, from which we quote:
“Editor’s note: SIP stands for structured insulated/insulating panel. No, I had no idea; I just looked it up. Per the Structured Insulated Panel Association (yes, there is such an association; www.sips.org), “Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are a high performance building system for residential and light commercial construction. The panels consist of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings, typically oriented strand board (OSB). SIPs are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be fabricated to fit nearly any building design. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective. Building with SIPs will save you time, money and labor.””]
Mark: …we anticipate delivery of the SIP material early August…weather permitting…could be done…August. September…you will see construction…
2.Sports Center/Pool Hours: Harvey Ginsberg. Harvey: pool hours…suggestion, four sessions with longer time period or five sessions for one hour?...motion, I’m undecided, motion with option 2 – four sessions for longer time. Second? No. Mark: Second if you want a discussion. I don’t see we can’t have a two-hour session, why not a half hour in between to clean, and why can’t they clean the bathroom while the pool is open. Marion: we can’t, you have to wait till no one is in the pool.
Deborah: more people, more tables, more to clean. I cut it down from 45 minutes toa half hour…First the exterior, and then go into the restroom…pickleball and tennis are also using the restrooms…Mark: I’m still for the extra time frame for the sessions…if people come 15 minutes late, it’s not conducive…Linda: I’m a swimmer, would like extra time but selfish, limits the number of people who can use the pool. If the pool time is for one hour, you make arrangements to get there when it starts. I’m not for increasing the hours; I’m in favor of five sessions.
Eileen: Linda, I’m in total agreement with you…My only concern about the five sessions is the monitoring – time for staff to have lunch. Deborah: our staff only have a half hour lunch…they’ll manage.
Sue: any data on how many people are using each session? Marion: yes, 67 people used the pool, and the numbers are climbing. Richard: we have a waiting list for the afternoon. I’m for now the extra session. Harvey: I agree with Mark- the cleaning people could be cleaning the bathroom while the pool is open. Requirements of Palm Beach County – frequent cleaning. Cleaning, stop while someone is using it, then cut down to 15 minutes…the requirement of monitoring is not constant anymore, it’s periodic… Marion: Image Cleaning, they said they need a half hour. Masks are mandatory in Palm Beach County. Eileen: indoors, not outside…
Linda: monitoring – all the people are trying to maintain six feet social distancing, probably on Sunday, the monitor not there for the entire time, and people came to the pool later, and people from the pool opened up the pool gate. The number was fine. None of the residents should open up the pool gate. You need the monitor there…the pool gate should be locked; residents should not be opening up the pool gate…Mark: I don’t see why we need the exit to be near the tennis court pathway, especially when you have a half hour between sessions, you could go out the same exit as entrance.
Marion: right now, the health department told us to do it that way – like Publix. Harvey: with Publix, people are coming and going the whole time…One resident said, I’m going out because I see you do it - a Board member. [Editor’s note: Marion was seen leaving through the entrance gate.] I amend the proposal to five sessions and eliminate the exit; use the same in and out.
Eileen: I’ve not been to the pool; I’ve heard not six feet, noodles. Deborah: for the most part, the residents have been behaving and following the rules. However, Cicily has been diligent and is needed – they do not come on time, they come late, they come early, on the weekend she was not out there often enough; we’ll speak with Sydney. One resident tried to bring in a noodle, came back the next day, I took it away. The problem with the exit gate – Sydney- they say I’m handicapped and need to leave by the pool gate. One day Rosemary saw women were in the pool close together touching hands.
Linda: the gates – the 2:45 to 3:45 session – there is nobody coming in, leave by the same gate. There’s no social distancing when the people exit through the tennis gate…it’s silly…older people…use of the noodle – it doesn’t take up any more space. Use in the deep end or side of the pool. It’s no difference – using side weights, training…Sue: we have an established set of rules which is in compliance with the County; the more you change, the less compliance you will have. The current system is a legal system. The more exceptions you make, you will never enforce. I’m a rules person; you can never get into trouble if you follow the rules. Deborah: a pool and restaurant shut down by the CDC is a $2,500 fine. Marion: we don’t want that surprise. Harvey amends his motion. Five sessions. Linda: second. All in favor: 6-0-1 (Mark). Motion to change the exit gate, use the same one. Linda: second. Four yes, three no, it passes. [Editor’s note: the no votes were Marion, Eileen, and Sue.]
Harvey: noodles, question, a personal noodle. Marion: CDC says no noodles because they’re porous. Eileen: people are using weights; part is the same material as the noodles are made of. How do you differentiate? Deborah: yes, they are. Eileen: so, if it’s your own personal noodle, why not be ok for the pool? Marion: the CDC said. If the other material is porous, we should not use them either. Deborah: we could change the rule for noodles; if you’re allowing for water aerobics, it’s hard to say not for the other. Marion: I’m ending it. Number 3, Pool Sign Up Genius, Harvey.
3.Pool-Sign Up Genius – Harvey Ginsberg. Harvey: concerns- sounds like a good idea but a lot of people don’t use the internet…not a good idea…why can’t we have seven days a week…Marion: because they have other work to do and there are 16 people who do not use the internet. Harvey: expand the time for people to make reservations by phone. Marion: they don’t have the time; the business of the Association goes on. [Editor’s note: a short discussion ensued.]Marion: one more minute and then we’re moving on. Eileen: they do have work to do, but the clubhouse is closed…they’re having difficulty with getting through…Marion: Deborah, work with Cicily and Sydney and get back to us.
Harvey: the sports center…night-time play, can we use residents as monitors…Marion: we’ve been told by our attorneys not to use residents or the Board as volunteers. Harvey: should this be tabled until Phase 2? Marion: I agree with the last comment, Mark? Mark: we could have some night-time play, maybe have a camera in the office. Deborah: we do not have room. Marion: our DVR won’t handle it. Eileen: Dr. Fauci expects a spike in the next few weeks. Table this and look at it at the next Board meeting.
1.ARB – Approval of new guidelines – Marion Weil. Marion: I highlighted some of them; any change to the exterior, please don’t change until you have written approval. Air conditioners, compressors must be screened from view by shrubbery. Awnings, canvas, metal… [Editor’s note: Marion appeared to be reading from it.] Marion: lights, no disco balls…driveways and sidewalk; pavers to your house must match your driveway. Mailboxes may not be installed unless approved. Motion to approve the 2020 guide. Eileen: second. Linda: I seconded before Eileen. This is the second time. Harvey: air conditioning, incomplete- get with Shelly to fix. [Editor’s note: Shelly Andreas, Architectural Review Board Chairperson.]Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: at press time, the new ARB rules which replace the current 2007 rules have not been posted to the HOA website.]
2. Insurance Renewal – Mark Goodman. Mark: Insurance has gone up dramatically. Les Bennis is on if you have any questions. The premium has gone up $21,000. From $45,500 to $66,800…We have gone to multiple insurance companies through our agent. Coverage basically have not changed [sic]. Property insurance went up most dramatically. Many of the HOAs in Palm Beach County. From $24,600 to $45,000 because of our roof. When it’s 20 years or older, roof coverage goes up dramatically. It can come down. We have a leak in the ballroom. We are going to need a new roof for the clubhouse and possible for the exercise facility. The insurance company said if you have a new roof, the premium will go down by $15,000. All types of roofs you can put on…we’re getting quotes…it’s about $300,000 per – Deborah: it will have to be put out for bid again. Mark: you know what we have to do to get $300,000.
[Editor’s note: that’s another special assessment, folks. $300,000 divided by 600 units comes to $500 per unit.]
Mark: general liability went up from $12,400 to $15,500…the umbrella policy went down from $4,400 to $1,800. The premium for next year - $66,800, when you vote, we can send the deposit in…there are a number of different companies used…Harvey: what is HNOA and does the umbrella include legal defense insurance? Les Bennis: HNOA stands for Hired and Non-Owned Automobiles. This is excess insurance over your individual automobile policy. It’s a nominal amount of premium; it’s peanuts. Harvey: all these policies will not cover the virus. He’s correct. Anyone will sue a ham sandwich.
[Editor’s note: this is the second time Harvey has butchered the ham sandwich reference; see our March 19, 2020 synopsis for a discussion on the actual expression, which is: “a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich.”]
Harvey: legal defense insurance just covers the costs of the defense, not the judgment. Les: yes, no COVID coverage per se…right now, you can sue, as you say, even a ham sandwich. If we get a claim, we have to report that to our carrier; will defense, but no indemnity.
[Editor’s note: having litigated insurance coverage issues vis-à-vis notice requirements to the insurer, we can affirmatively state that the duty to report is a serious one, because failure to timely report may result in a denial of defense and/or coverage, or defense with a reservation of rights which allows the carrier to challenge the defense costs later, and many policies actually set forth a deadline for reporting once the insured is on notice of the claim.
However, some laws require the insurer to show prejudice before denying coverage based solely on a late-reported claim. Blown deadlines of putting governmental agencies on formal notice of a claim against them by filing a Tort Claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act and state equivalents thereof, however, are much more fatal to the claim, tend to result in protracted litigation, and usually do not bode well for late claimants.]
Marion: it’s a minimum of $8,000 now. It was $5,000 but since COVID-19 it went up. Richard: Any reason why the umbrella went down? Les: no. Mark: just shopping around. Les: …good shopping by our broker who is excellent. Sue: same companies as last year? Board member: yes. Sue: everyone read the policy? The sample policy? Have you read them? Mark: yes, absolutely. We’ll get the policy a month later.
[Editor’s note: does anyone actually believe this, that the Board members read the entire policy and understood all of it? I’m just asking as an attorney who has read insurance policies from front to back and noted that in order to understand them in their entirety, you probably need a law background that includes experience in reading and understanding insurance policy language and its applications to various fact patterns. It would also be helpful if you had a decent knowledge of case law interpreting the written language in the insurance policies, especially the exclusion and endorsement sections and the definition section of the policies. You generally would then have to go back and forth between the definition section and the other various sections to make sure you understand the exact coverage and almost more importantly, what is not covered.]
Sue: I asked Les yesterday; auto insurance companies are giving rebates, because we’re not using our cars. Will we get a rebate? Our facility is not being used. Les: auto, yes. But the clubhouse, the same issue, a contractor could slip and fall on the proverbial banana peel and sue us. So, there is no methodology for a return premium. Sue: how much in the budget and are we overbudget? Richard: $15,000 loss; we’re overbudgeted. But we have no choice; we’ll have to save somewhere else. Eileen: thank you, Les, for your expertise in this. I apologize for not including you on the task force for the clubhouse and entertainment. Marion: All in favor? Board member: second? Marion: doesn’t matter; Mark is waving. $66,806, unanimous.
3. Unanimous Consent – Restrooms open for Sports Center/Change request for Utility Building. Marion: first, to allow restroom use for tennis and pickleball players using the rear door, we all signed, ratification, all who signed raise your hands – unanimous. Ratified. Second, approve the change requested to widen the handicap ramp and install…$7,347, the first change order for the utility building, June 17 signed off, raise hand, ok, thank you.
4. PBB – [Editor’s note: Palm Beach Broward landscaping additional items totaling an additional $49,427 expense to the HOA. At the last board meeting of June 3, 2020, PBB extras totaled $6,378.]
[Editor’s further note: before we begin this portion of the transcript, we want to bring to your attention a post that we have on this News Site under our HOA Issues page, under sub-page Landscaping, since April 29, 2020, which was a speech given by our roving reporter, Arthur Andelson, at the March 4, 2020 Board meeting. It questioned why the Board is being held hostage to this landscaping company and why certain items were not pre-negotiated with a pre-negotiated price schedule for various items related to landscaping, including the specific items on this current June 24, 2020 agenda.]
A.Tree removals in Landon pod - $14,250. Mark: Landon pod trees, 15 trees on Landon Circle, causing damage to the sidewalks and are hazardous to the people. Proposal 24-20: 15 trees have to be taken down and remove the stump, grinded, and sod cover; 2 on Brooklawn. $14,250 for removal. Linda: second. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous. Mark: Proposal 26-20: the County in its infinite wisdom says if you remove a tree, you must replant two. Not the same trees…30 trees for the same areas. Locations basically…$595 per tree, $17,850 final price. Based on the species. It’s a necessity according to the County. 30 trees, Landon pod, including Brooklawn, $17,850. Second: Eileen? Linda? Harvey: second. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
B.Rear root pruning for 3 homes, $1,377. Mark: PBB Proposal #25-20: Landon Circle again, roots intrusions, 3 outlined here: 5346, 5353, 5362 Landon Circle. $1,152, 48 linear feet at $24/linear foot equals $1,152, then to do the root ball, and a half a pallet of sod is needed equals $225, comes out to $1,377, motion for approval. Second: Harvey. Eileen: we went with PBB because they’re the most cost effective? Is none of this included in our contract? Several Board Members in unison: No.
[Editor’s note: why not? And because they are not included, and the amount of money is so great, why was this not sent out for bids?]
Eileen: maybe next time we have to negotiate some of this; it seems like we’re paying a fortune.
Richard: a lot of it was included in the budget but in some cases, we didn’t expect it to be this high. We’re over because of the tree replacement.
[Editor’s note: whether or not it was in the budget is not the point: the point is that all of these things should have been pre-negotiated and part of a Schedule A and/or opened up for competitive bidding.]
Marion: call the question. All in favor? Unanimous.
C.CL Blvd tree removal and install new tree: $1520. Mark: Landscape proposal #27-20, tree, north side of the curb on Cascade Lakes Blvd., another tree has to be removed and stump grinded, $865, install 12 foot tall tree $595 and sod $60 equals $1,520. Second: Linda. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
D.2nd treatment for Phantasma Scale on Palms: $14,430: Mark: another disease with palm trees- $14,430. We had one done a few months ago. The disease came back. PBB claim that with this second spray, and in the budget for the future – two sprays. To protect the common area trees. Second: Linda. Richard: question: did you say annual? Mark: yes, put down $30,000 every year. Like a white fly. Harvey: question: $500 credit for annual flowers? Deborah: we reduced the area. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
E.Hurricane Price List. Mark: 2020 hurricane price list – it did go up a little bit, but we do need - $75 per tree for stump grinding small, $95 for medium trees, $135/tree for large trees.
[Editor’s note: Arthur covered this precise issue in his previously referenced speech which included the following:
“Tree removal categories should have listed amounts. There should be a Large tree definition and cost including a bundle rate if there is more than one tree involved at the same time. This template would be the same for Medium and Small trees. There would be a separate cost for the root ball.”
Where is the bundle rate? Why hasn’t that been properly negotiated? This is costing this HOA and every single homeowner untold thousands of dollars for this fiscal irresponsibility, which clearly has been going on for years. Whenever you do something piecemeal like this, you will generally pay more. Since these things are recurring items year after year, it is unfathomable that this has not been properly negotiated, and yet here we are talking about the lack of fiscal responsibility again. Maybe we should get some actual business owners on the Board, people who did not get guaranteed paychecks for showing up to work in their past careers, but who actually had to run a business fiscally or fold.]
Mark: they have to put in stakes, $8.25 a stake and labor, $175/hour, it requires a three-man staff. I don’t think we have much of a choice. It’s a contract; that’s the cost.
[Editor’s note: if you would have listened to Arthur, you would have had a lot of choices.]
Second: Sue. Deborah: last year, we added the clause – remove all fallen trees from the sidewalks, driveways, streets. The Association will pay that expense. Eileen: last year? Homes included? Deborah: normally, you do common area only. We added the clause. Harvey: if someone falls it becomes a liability – remove as soon as possible. Marion: it’s on the contract. If it falls on your property and it’s not blocking anything, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility. We’re doing common area only. If it blocks something on a common area we have to take care of it. All in favor of pre-approval of the 2020 Hurricane list? Unanimous.
5.Eco Roof Cleaning for 2021 – Pressure Washing $120,000, Marion Weil. Marion: through Fiddler, pressure washing, community roofs and homeowner roofs. No – Eco [Editor’s note: not pressure washing]. Deborah: combination of power washing, but only for one year, not two. Marion: I approve using – 600 homes and community roofs - $120,000. Eileen: second. Marion: second by Linda. Richard: it’s included in the paint reserve. We have $218,000. Eileen: a lot of complaints from residents last year – it’s supposed to be environmentally safe, problem with plants. Marion: one person. Sue: look at #10 – it seems to be not as clear as it should be. If it’s not in writing it doesn’t exist. [Editor’s note: Amen.] Sue: Twelve weeks to show signs of recovery, then it’s deemed undamaged. Claims more than 45 days shall be invalid. Twelve weeks for new growth recovery, only 45 days to put in a claim, seems incompatible.
[Editor’s note: more likely than not, it’s 45 days from knowledge of the problem after reasonable review if the problem is not plainly obvious; if, after using due diligence to notice any problem, the problem does not appear until day 75, and the claim is made on day 76, that should be sufficient because twelve weeks is 84 days, and you are within the time frame allowed for discovery of that particular problem.
A general rule of legal construction is that the specific controls over the general. In this example, the general limit is 45 days, and that would be true for obvious issues that should be readily ascertainable immediately; but there is a specific allowance of 12 weeks, which is 84 days, to show signs of recovery. Hence, the specific would likely trump the general, since any other interpretation would not make sense and would fly in the face of the specific vs. general rule of construction.
Your Editor makes the above comments without having the benefit of the actual contract to read and is only going by the limited comments made by Sue above.]
Sue: I think contracts should be as specific as possible. Mark: we’ll give this to our legal expert and have him look at it.
[Editor’s note: and who would that be? Is that your Legal Advisory Chairperson, Paul Friedlander? While he is quite an amiable fellow, your Editor has a specific recollection of him telling her specifically that he was a tax lawyer, not a contract lawyer and not a litigator. In any event, while I have not seen the contract, the general principle I outlined above is correct.]
Richard: this expenditure is a reserve item. Marion: the general scope of the work – 2 different things. We have to take out 2022. Deborah: no, I’m sorry, there’s a proposal for power washing for 2022, for $13,000. They’re giving you one year free. Richard: power washing 2021 is in the reserves, 2020 is in the budget, not a reserve item. Second: Sue. Marion: 2 parts, all in favor for 600 homes and the clubhouse, the guard house, and the fitness center for 2021, $120,000. Unanimous.
Marion: next, power washing in January 2022 for $13,170. Eileen, Second. Unanimous. Mark: we’ll have the lawyer just change the verbiage a little. Marion: yeah.
6. Scavenger Hunt by the Pickleball Club: Marion: a recommendation by the pickleball club and because it is on community property they need Board approval. I move that they can have July 24 – July 28. Mark: Second. Marion: second, Linda. They have also given their rules and guidance on having this done – the judge’s scoring is secret and final. The results are July 31. Any discussion? Mark: good idea, I compliment them for doing it. Linda: I second Mark. Sue: it was well done. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous. Sue [Leonard], if you’re online, you’re ok to go on this.
[Editor’s note: And now for a little background on why this item is on the Board’s agenda. It’s not yet July 4th, but we thought we would start the fireworks early, so here it goes:
The Mission Statement of the Pickleball Club on the official HOA website at press time states:
“We provide a fun, healthy and recreational activity to all of our members
The club aims to enhance the Pickleball experience through social and competitive events. We welcome everyone and all abilities. The goal of the Club is to promote Pickleball for the sheer enjoyment, health, fun and social interaction for all at Cascade Lakes.”
The pickleball club is a non-profit corporation according to its filings with the Florida Department of State. Here are the Articles of Incorporation on file with the State of Florida:
Now let’s review the anomalies going on with the pickleball club since Diane Green’s “election” as president. We put the word “election” in quotes because she was not present at the nominating meeting in December, she was not nominated, there were hence no seconds to any nomination, and yet somehow we all got an email with her name on the ballot unopposed. In any event, here is what’s gone down since Diane Green assumed the position (of president of the pickleball club):
A. With respect to the election of the officers of the club, Diane Green appeared on the ballot without having been at the December 2019 nominating meeting, without having been nominated, without having anyone at the meeting nominate her, without having been seconded, and then we were given a slate of unopposed officers to vote on en masse.
B. Initially under Diane’s “leadership” the new officers referred to themselves as a “Board” and still list themselves as a “Board” on the club page at press time when the governing documents of the corporation specifically state otherwise, i.e., that there shall be no board and instead the members vote. Only after we called this out did they change their name to “Leadership team” but their “Board” nomenclature remains on the HOA website page designated for pickleball as of press time.
C. When Diane was also the Chairperson of the Entertainment Committee, we observed the following troubling behavior: As a Board meeting was going on, we observed Diane Green, the then-Chairperson of the Entertainment Committee, heading to the pool; as another Board meeting was going on, she had a hair appointment and missed that one. At yet another Board meeting, she was seen leaving early and advising those within ear shot that they were headed for the beach. That was three separate Board meetings.
D. There was no vote on club expenditures such as the new pickleball club brochure which was shown to the members at a meeting after it was done. Also at that meeting, apparently certain club members mysteriously became “committee” members including “entertainment,” “membership,” and “I.T.,” none of which was ever put to a membership vote. This made-up “power structure” is not provided for by the corporation’s charter and founding documents and is actually contrary to said documents which require membership voting as opposed to appointed “committee” personnel. This illegal power structure was invented under Diane Green’s presidency and exists as of press time. She acted as the Chairman of a Board of Directors choosing chairpersons. This is illegal under this club’s corporate charter and is alone grounds for putting that charter in jeopardy.
E. On January 7, 2020, Diane Green as president of the pickleball club refused to play with Arthur Andelson, the former president of the pickleball club, and rearranged paddles in the queue so she could play with the Leonards instead, and bumped Arthur’s paddle down in the rotation. For this she earned a berth in ourCalling Out Bullies page. On that date we posted the following along with two photos of the courts and paddles:
“Pickleball this evening: Is this leadership?
Four players play at a time. There are more players than courts available, so paddles are placed in holders and then moved up one by one in groups of fours as courts become available. Next paddles in line play each other. Four paddles came up and three of the four members went on the court to play. The fourth person, the new President of the Pickleball Club, Diane Fiorillo-Green, saw one of the members in this group and shouted, “no way am I playing on this court” and walked off. She refused to play with one of the fully paid club members. Another member took her place.
Shortly thereafter, after all parties had played and the paddles were queued up again, her paddle was behind this same member's paddle because her game ended after his. Nevertheless, she displaced this same member’s paddle in line in the paddle holders and jumped ahead of him so she could play with the other three up for play. She actually picked up this member’s paddle from its holder and moved it back and cut in line in front of him to play before her turn.
Now this may seem petty to some of you, but this is the behavior of the new President of the Pickleball Club against a fully paid member of the club based on a personal vendetta of her own making. So, we have to ask: is this leadership?”
F. As we reported in our February 19, 2020 synopsis, non-resident ringers are being permitted to play to the exclusion of paid and available pickleball club members who want to play under Diane Green’s presidency. Here is a quote from that synopsis to refresh your collective recollections:
“[Editor’s note: …It has also come to your Editor’s attention via an independent source (i.e., not us) that purportedly they are also using club dues to pay for League play on behalf of ringers – non-community members that are inserted into our team from other communities for league purposes, without first seeking our own club members as alternates to play in the League when there is a shortage of regular league players. So, club money is used to afford non-community ringers League play in lieu of willing community club members who are registered as alternates but are ignored. We invite you to let that sink in for a while. In addition, upon information and belief, in order to be in the League, one must be a paid club member just the same as with the tennis club, since they are both under the umbrella of the community sports center. Obviously, ringers are not paid club members, and paid club members who are willing to act as substitutes are not contacted to play when there is an opening.
The last meeting of the pickleball club was in 2019 and there have been no meetings planned until March. The pickleball club is run like a fiefdom which technically could jeopardize its corporate charter, but more on that another day. It is clear, however, that using club money for brochures without a meeting or vote, and using club money to sponsor ringers without first inquiring if other club members are available, is fiscally irresponsible to say the least.]”
So, non-resident ringers are being permitted to play to the exclusion of paid and available pickleball club members who want to play under Diane Green’s presidency.
G. On May 7, 2020, Diane Green engineered a threatening letter to the Board, which is posted on ourBOD 2021 Elections page, essentially excoriating the Board for not doing her bidding after she engineered a payment from the club for an HOA canopy at the sports center. She believed that there ought to have been a quid pro quo for giving money to the Board for the canopy. She believed that this type of horse-trading was perfectly fine. On June 11, 2020 we posted on the aforesaid page an alarming notice concerning Diane Green and Sue Leonard’s email to the Board which they blasted via email, using the HOA website, to the entire pickleball club, which we reprint here for ease of reference:
“The last line of the below email blast by current pickleball club president Diane Green states: “Tennis and Pickleball are united on this issue and that is a formidable force.” This statement is completely unsubstantiated as there was no vote to establish this claim.
Additionally, Diane Green, under the guise of a “leadership team,” accused the Board of dishonesty without offering any evidence to support that claim.
Furthermore, the second to last sentence states, “It will be remembered that we are putting in sweat equity and running committees to serve the community.” In fact, the committees serve the Board, which in turn serves the community.
Finally, both Diane Green and Sue Leonard are no longer Chairs of any committees, having “resigned;” however, see our post of June 9, 2020 suggesting that the “resignations” were merely opportunities to do so in lieu of being terminated for cause by the Board: Residents’ Input Page, Message Board: HOA."
H. The issue of giving money from the club to the Board for the purchase of the canopy only arose after we reminded both clubs that any expenditure of club monies requires a membership vote. Reluctantly Diane Green and her staff crafted a questionnaire which was skewed, and on its face blatantly unfair. The proof of this is in the yes/no section of the questionnaire, where the club members were asked to vote on whether or not to give the money. The “no” question was written thusly:
“No – I do not want the Pickleball Club to contribute. I do not want the canopy.”
We reported on this in our April 26, 2020 synopsis and commentary. This was an abuse of the entire process, because the issue was not whether the member wanted a canopy; clearly most if not all did want a canopy. The question was whether the club should give money to the HOA for the canopy. (The fact that the Board accepted the money is another story, as they never should have allowed that either.) This was a dishonest questionnaire cooked up by Diane Green and her assistant(s) on the leadership team to achieve that which she initially tried to do without a vote.
I. On May 25, 2020, Diane Green sent and/or authorized to be sent an email to the entire pickleball club membership of approximately 226 residents through the HOA official portal, using her privileged access as president of the pickleball club, blasting the Board about the pool and demanding that it be reopened. This was an abuse of the privilege of access to the official HOA website because the pool has nothing to do with pickleball. This shows a total lack of regard for boundaries and a total disrespect for the privilege granted to her in her pickleball officer capacity.
J. On June 5, 2020, Diane Green’s Facebook post clearly evidenced a planned coup de etat of the current Board prior to next March’s elections. She wrote:
“Change is necessary, March is much too far away!”
Here is that post:
K. During the raging pandemic of the coronavirus, Diane Green posted on the Cascade Lakes Facebook page the following post, encouraging everyone to be outside the community as much as possible, in total disregard for the safety of our older and more vulnerable HOA members. This shameful post is completely contrary to the Board’s rules and regulations of trying to limit the appearance and spreading of the virus inside the community. Obviously, the more exposure one has to others outside the community, the more potential exposure there is to catching the virus and passing it on to others, even unwittingly as a carrier without symptoms. Diane Green wrote:
“And that is why the plan is to be outside the gates as much as possible!”
This shows callous indifference to the vulnerable members of this HOA, her neighbors, and an open defiance of the Board’s emergency rules promulgated for the protection of the entire community during a raging pandemic. This individual is encouraging others to put this entire community at risk for COVID-19. Diane Green’s access to the pool was more important than the health and welfare of the community. Remember this well should this individual seek a position on the Board come next election time. Here is that post from June 11, 2020:
L. The above post coupled with other posts critical of the Board while acting as Chairperson of the Entertainment Committee, which is an adjunct of the Board, resulted in Diane Green’s departure as Chairperson of the Entertainment Committee. By her own admission in an email sent to pickleball club members, she was advised not to criticize the Board in her capacity as Chairperson of a Board adjunct, and she refused.
While we are all for free speech, it does have its limitations. We as mere mortals have it here on this News Site. Individuals who are Committee Chairs, which are adjuncts of the Board, do not, because that is an inherent conflict of interest with the Board whom they represent through their Chairmanships. The Board was correct to demand that they cease and desist this insurgence or be removed. The “resignations” were the political equivalent of “saving face” in the face of termination for insubordination. As we wrote on this News Site on June 9, 2020:
“While we are all for free speech, it is also true that Committees are in fact adjuncts to the Board, and Chairpersons serve at the Board’s discretion. Plotting a coup against the Board by an adjunct Chairperson and criticizing the Board’s actions constitute direct conflicts between those individuals and the Board. These adjunct Chairpersons are responsible for recommending entertainment contracts, budget expenditures, and long-term planning for the community. Their recommendations are often adopted by the Board, which rightly relies on them to be non-biased and supportive of, and complementary to, the Board.
Insurrections by adjunct Board members should therefore rightly not be tolerated by the Board. These individuals are now free to continue to criticize the Board at their pleasure because they are no longer officially tethered to the Board. Those who hear their criticisms (and their additional gossip) are likewise free to accept those criticisms (and additional gossip) on their face, challenge and ask questions about those criticisms (and additional gossip), or to reject them out of hand.”
M. On June 15, 2020 Diane Green as president of the pickleball club authorized the dissemination of a flyer to all 226 members of the club via the HOA official website encouraging the entire club to attend a beach party starting at 9:30am on Saturday, June 20, 2020. She also encouraged attendance at this party via another email of the same date to the entire pickleball club from a private email account which she set up and which is email@example.com. That stands for Cascade Lakes Pickleball Club and the community’s zip code.
This time period directly conflicts with the time period allowed for pickleball play on the community courts as designated by the Board. Thus, Diane Green is actively encouraging members to abandon the community pickleball courts and instead join her on the beach.
No other club to our knowledge is putting the community at large in danger or behaving in the manner described herein.
Furthermore, the pickleball club was granted designated courts for doubles play by the Board, and the pickleball leadership team led by Diane Green instead decided to encourage all members to drop their paddles, abandon the courts, and go party with them on the beach during a pandemic. How does that promote pickleball and how does that not run afoul of the club’s Articles of Incorporation and Mission Statement on the HOA website as quoted above? Here is that flyer:
N. Also in Diane Green’s aforementioned private email blast to the club on June 15, 2020 she announced a planned scavenger hunt within the confines of the community (email available upon request). This was done without first getting Board approval. Because the Board was alerted to this illegal attempt to engage in an unapproved activity within the confines of the community, this is what precipitated the late inclusion of the Pickleball Club Scavenger Hunt on the agenda as an add-on by Marion.
At this juncture, we note that the Articles of Incorporation, Article III, specifically limits the purpose of the corporation thusly:
“The specific purpose for which this corporation is organized is: FRATERNAL AND SOCIAL PLAY OF PICKLEBALL IN CASCADE LAKES.”
First, the purpose the organization was formed, according to the Articles of Incorporation, was “specific,” not general. That is significant because there is not much wiggle room when a document states clearly that a purpose is specific.
Second, that specific purpose is for the play of pickleball. The words fraternal and social are used to describe the play of the pickleball specifically.
Third, the document specifically states that the play is in Cascade Lakes.
Those are the three parameters for which this organization was accepted by the Florida Department of State to exist and function and for which it was approved by the Cascade Lakes HOA Board. Any and all other activities that veer from this specifically stated purpose are not permitted to be official club activities, and any and all other events or activities that occur in the name of the club, or which are promoted by officers of the club, directly violate the club’s charter which was given permission to form and operate by both the State of Florida and the HOA Board.
Additionally, members pay their club dues based on what the club represents. Both the Articles of Incorporation and the stated Mission Statement clearly state that the only focus is the play of pickleball in Cascade Lakes (and necessarily league play attendant thereto). It has nothing to do with a scavenger hunt, it has nothing to do with the pending online Bingo game scheduled for July 8, 2020, and it has nothing to do with beach parties. Those activities are Entertainment Committee activities or Recreation Committee activities and should occur through those committees only. It appears that Diane Green is acting as if she is still the Entertainment Committee Chairperson. She is clearly abusing her position as president of the Pickleball Club to effectuate a specific goal, and we will now tell you what that specific goal is.
The reason why Diane Green as president and Sue Leonard as Communications officer of the pickleball club are doing these things is to increase membership in the Pickleball Club for social members, not for the play of Pickleball. The more social members Diane Green and her assistants can collect, the larger the base she and they can theoretically accumulate for next March’s Board elections when either one of them or both of them run for a Board seat. This has absolutely nothing to do with pickleball. This is a bastardization of the pickleball club’s charter and a blatant and despicable abuse of power.
It is clear that the club with Diane Green at the helm has violated its own Articles of Incorporation and its stated Mission Statement quoted above by the recent notices, emails, Facebook posts by its officers, and the conduct of some of its leading members. It is also clear that the club has likely breached its representations to the Board which were the basis for the Board’s granting permission to the club to form and exist in the first place, since those representations would necessarily have to be consistent with the corporation’s Articles of Incorporation and the club’s stated Mission Statement.
Members of the Pickleball Club: is this the type of leadership you want? Members of this HOA: you get to decide what significance you wish to place on all of these facts. We believe that you have a right to be informed about them so that you can make an informed opinion based on facts and evidence as opposed to conjecture and gossip.
This brings us to Sue Leonard, the Communications Officer of the Pickleball Club and former Chairperson of the Long-Range Planning Committee. If Sue Leonard disavows her seemingly blind allegiance to Diane Green, she has a shot at resurrecting herself in the eyes of this community. Sue will have to decide what is more important: blind allegiance to Diane Green or what is in the best interests of this community. Good leaders sometimes have to make tough choices at times, but frankly this isn’t one of those times because this one isn’t even close.
For now, however, it is truly unfortunate that Sue Leonard has hooked her horse to Diane Green’s wagon because she otherwise has so much potential to be a good leader. But part of leadership is knowing which path to take and knowing with whom you’re dealing, and there’s definitely need for growth in those areas in the opinion of this News Site. Any future Board aspirations Sue Leonard may contemplate may very well be doomed with her continued allegiance to this aberrant so-called pickleball club “leader,” Diane Green.
By putting Diane Green in as pickleball club president, we believe that certain elements in the community thought that since she was Chairperson of the Entertainment Committee at the time and had enormous access to and pull with the Board, that she would be the best bet toward getting hard courts passed in the future because of her wheeling and dealing behind the scenes. This tunnel vision was very costly, however, because in the process, her troubling behavior was essentially ignored.
We have a specific comment at this juncture from our Roving Reporter, Arthur Andelson, who is consistently ranked number one on the pickleball ladder of this community, and has always shown up to every league play and has always been courteous to all players on the pickleball courts. Cascade Lakes’ number one pickleball player states as follows:
“As long as Diane Green is in a leadership position in the pickleball club, I will not play in Cascade Lakes or with the team, because she has bullied me, lied about me, engaged in character assassination against me and my wife, in addition to the above items delineated, and I refuse to be quiet anymore about her outrageous, unsportsmanlike, undignified, and malignant behavior. How can I play with the team when she is constantly bashing me behind my back? Would any of you accept that behavior?
How about you, Chick, whom we have never said an unkind word to or about and yet you started bashing us to everyone and anyone who would listen, including at a Board meeting where Marion allowed you to spout on about us and demanding that we move? You’ve been Diane Green’s loyal henchman, which earned you several berths on our Calling Out Bullies page, and you also refused to play with me, and now you are quiet about her outrageous behavior that you foolishly and blindly bought into hook, line, and sinker. And that goes for several others of you, too. You, who never greeted and welcomed us into this community and never said a word to my wife, all the while listening to the trash that Diane Green was spewing about her, and then engaging in it yourselves.
That would be you: Mel Molofsky, Freda Werden, Robin Schmierer, Karen Mossman Farchione (the Facebook commenter with exclamation points after every sentence, and who couldn’t get away from us fast enough when we rode our bikes past her house and stopped to say hi as we had never spoken before, and we greeted her kindly and in a friendly manner and suggested she post her adorable dog on the Our Pets page of this News Site; she was backing away from us so intently it was as if we had the plague; we thought that was incredibly strange since that was our very first encounter with her, and lo and behold, she’s a new resident, too), and the rest of you haters who blindly follow along and believe all the garbage you’re fed. Did you know that this all came about because my wife refused to shut up when Diane called her and told her to be quiet and let Diane run things around here? I bet you didn’t.
Let’s give you all some background here. Diane Green has demonized us for calling out inaccuracies and unfairness in the way she has conducted herself in her official leadership positions. We have challenged her in her official leadership capacity, but never on a personal basis. We have challenged other individual leaders, including Board members, in their official capacities, but never on a personal basis. For calling her out for her official behavior, which was clearly wrong, Diane Green has engaged in grotesque character assassination against us to almost anyone and everyone who will listen. She has even threatened individuals and demanded that they choose between her and us, stating that they can either be her friend or our friend but not both. We told those individuals that they can be our friends and her friend and that friends don’t make demands and ultimatums on whom they should socialize with and whom they shouldn’t. Because one of those individuals told Diane that he/she wanted to be friends with her and with us, that individual was shunned and treated as an outcast.
Another individual told us that she was not “allowed” to speak with us, per the edict of Diane Green. I cannot understand for the life of me why grown adults would tolerate this type of abuse and bullying behavior. I kept quiet then, too. But I am no longer willing to keep quiet watching this community be destroyed and overtaken by another out-of-control “leader.”
Diane Green as president of the pickleball club even refused to play with me, the former president of the pickleball club, on the pickleball courts, and she threw a tantrum and then reshuffled the paddles that were in the paddle holder so that she could play with Mike and Sue Leonard and displace my position in the queue, which she did. On what planet is that leadership or sportsmanship?
When we first arrived here one year ago, Diane called Vicki in approximately June 2019; she was on the speaker phone of Vicki’s iPhone and I heard the shocking statements she made to Vicki during that phone call. She viewed Vicki as an asset because she recognized that Vicki had swayed the Board to negotiate the hotwire contract so that those who did not wish to be tethered to that monthly payment would not have to be. During that conversation, she said to Vicki that she wanted her in her inner group which at the time she stated consisted of herself and three other young and powerful women whom she specifically identified.
Diane made it seem that Vicki should be honored that Diane was asking her into this inner circle of “four young, powerful women” as she specifically stated, and Diane said that she wanted Vicki to join the group, which she stated gets together monthly. She was further impressed with Vicki after engaging with her at the pool.
She said to Vicki in that conversation that while Vicki should join her inner group, Vicki should “be quiet” so as not to compromise the work that they were doing to take control of the community. Vicki was on the cusp of turning 60 years old, and had been a lawyer at that time for 36 years, including a decade or so of being a Judge Pro Tem on the bench in the largest trial court system in the country (Los Angeles), having presided over thousands of trials, among other accomplishments which are well documented on the internet and elsewhere.
Vicki was a well-known television legal commentator and celebrity attorney and author and her red-carpet appearances show the many charities and functions she was invited to attend as a celebrity guest over the years, including twice attending the Academy Awards and being interviewed on the red carpet for international press. Many of these appearances are captured on many celebrity and paparazzi photo and video sites. Many of the events I attended with her.
She has never once mentioned any of this to anyone here, because she is incredibly low key, and here she was being told by this strange woman at the time to essentially shut up and obey. Never in her life has anyone told her to be quiet, and she was so taken aback by this statement that she got off the phone with her mouth agape, and stated to me, “this woman wants to have a cabal and take over this community with herself at the helm.” Basically, Diane Green wanted to make sure that Vicki either be on board or get out of her way.
Vicki wanted no part of that. That is when Diane started her campaign to demonize Vicki, because she was threatened by the fact that she knew Vicki would not be quiet and that she could not control her. The last thing Diane Green wanted was an independent thinker who might challenge her vision for the future of this community with herself at the helm.
After that, I joined the Entertainment Committee and called out irregularities that were occurring there under Diane Green’s leadership and that of the Board liaison, Eileen Olitsky. I did so privately out of respect for both of them; my military and corporate background taught me to respect boundaries and the chain of command. Diane had chosen me as Secretary of that Committee because she knew of my paralegal background and was desperate for somebody to step up and help her keep organized. However, when I saw these irregularities, I contacted her and Eileen in an attempt to resolve them, because I refused to ignore the blatant rule-breaking that I was witnessing. In return, I was illegally booted off the Entertainment Committee, and Diane began her character assassination of me.
Why would I or anyone want to be part of a club where anyone is disrespected and bullied by the president of the club and her minions? I’m all for getting hard courts for pickleball here at Cascade Lakes, because it would be a benefit to the community, for competitive play, and for bringing talented new residents into the community. But my integrity and my character will not be compromised by this type of malfeasance and behavior. When this coronavirus subsides, I will take my talent elsewhere and improve upon it even more.
So those are the facts, folks. If you want to support Diane Green’s brand of meanness, spite, and malice, so be it. However, as long as Diane Green is in any leadership role of this club, I will have no part of it.” --Arthur Andelson
Editor’s further note: We have a Resident of the Month page with a recurring theme - people who show “kindness and warmth toward everyone they meet.” Would any of the aforementioned individuals ever qualify or would they be automatically disqualified by their dastardly behavior? You decide. Is this the type of behavior one would be proud of or is it behavior despicable under any scenario? You decide.
Know also that we will continue to call out bad behavior on the part of the leaders of this community in their official capacities, because in those capacities they are fair game, just like any other elected official. And by the way, there would be no need to criticize them if the leaders/elected officials would simply follow the rules and play fair. For example, we have not made one criticism of Sue Schmer because she has been following the rules and playing fair. We have not agreed with everything she has voted on, but that’s irrelevant.
Likewise, we have been kind and warm to every single person in this community that we have met, and the majority by far have been kind and warm to us. There are so many wonderful and good-hearted people in this community, and we are thrilled to be here. We meet more and more of them as time goes on. We have received nothing less than vitriol from some residents. It is clear that some residents cannot make the distinction between personal versus political criticism.
A small handful of you have bought into the character assassination against us engaged in by Diane Green and others and base your conduct and behavior toward us on that false and despicable narrative. Another small minority of you despise us for daring to criticize our elected officials and for calling them out when they break the rules. You have chosen to demonize us and want nothing to do with us without ever having introduced yourselves to us. We do make that criticism of you, because you initiated your vitriol against us. We are counter-punchers, not instigators toward civilians.]
7. Gate Maintenance. Marion: gate maintenance contract through AT & I – highly recommended by the Safety and Security Committee. Monthly maintenance, all inclusive, $350/month versus $600 some odd dollars we are paying now to Florida Equipment. Mark: Second. Harvey: maintain or replacing equipment? Deborah: maintaining our equipment. Harvey: we need a motion to cancel the current contract with 30 days’ notice.
[Editor’s note: kudos to Harvey for realizing this. We must say that Harvey has come a long way and is really doing a great job of late and is willing to learn and make corrections when warranted. Who knows, we may just endorse him come election time. He was one of the first on the old Board to acknowledge and emphasize that the people are “screaming for transparency.” So, we have taken notice and we thank Harvey for his hard work and effort. Harvey, can you possibly get a different computer for the Zoom meetings? Your audio is still coming in less than clear and we don’t want to miss some excellent points that we see you are raising.]
Marion: second. Richard: they’re not changing the software. Deborah: it has nothing to do with the software. It’s just to maintain the gate. Mark: I polled the treasurers of the associations; the majority think this company is one of the better ones. They come strongly recommended. Marion: sending thirty days’ notice to Florida Equipment and cancelling the contract with them: unanimous. Now, AT & I gate maintenance. Deborah: we were paying $625 and they’re much more proactive and up to date…Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
8. July 4th weekend: Deborah: Friday is a paid holiday for the office staff, so Sydney will be covering pool hours. Saturday, July 4th, pool open and what hours and Sunday. Harvey: if we close the pool, we’ll have a mutiny on our hands. Marion: I agree.
[Editor’s note: wake up: there’s already a mutiny in progress led by Diane Green using her post as president of the pickleball club as noted above. The plot has already been hatched and is progressing along swimmingly, no pun intended.]
Harvey: I propose we have it open…Marion: Deb and I will work on filling it[monitor slots]and let you know if I have a problem. Eileen: if it’s difficult, then perhaps holiday hours 12 to 4 if necessary. Deborah: we’ll work it out. Marion: all in favor of having it Saturday an Sunday? Unanimous. Linda seconds Harvey’s proposal.
Second Residents’ Input Session:
1.Les Bennis: This is actually Linda Bennis. Why are we missing the terms “budget” and “reserve” when we’re looking at money? When we get the agenda, I don’t see “budget” and “reserve.” Deborah: it was an oversight. Richard Greene: certain things – would be clear to let people know…
2. Stephen Sussman: where does the Board have this extraordinary power that you said at the beginning of this meeting? Marion: given to us by the state of Florida, CDC, Palm Beach County. State emergency till June 26. Stephen: that’s two days from now. Sue: it’s also in 720 – emergency powers – in the state statute. Stephen: what is the plan for opening the facilities to the residents here? You have pool, tennis, and pickleball; more open? Marion: we were told by the Department of Health 20 people at a time. Stephen: what about a chair, to sit in the sun? Marion: you’ll have to be one of the twenty…
[Editor’s note: we have raised alarms about the abuse of this so-called “emergency power” in multiple past synopses and shown how the statute does not, in fact, give the Board the right to make expansive decisions in private; there would be virtually no occasion where a minimum of 48 hours’ notice would not be required by the emergency statute – it would have to be a real dire emergency that literally could not wait 48 hours, such as closing the pool if someone accidentally defecates in it. The statute is clear; the Board does not follow it and instead uses it to justify votes made in private which are then ratified later. That is an abuse of the emergency powers granted by the statute.]
[Editor’s further note: One other comment concerning the pool. The pool was shut down on Thursday, June 25th due to a “poop” accident. Ok, shit happens, pun intended. There was no explanation as to why the pool is closed until Monday, June 29th. Perhaps the chemicals needed to treat the contaminated pool are too strong to allow swimming right away. Perhaps they take a few days to dissipate before it is safe to swim again. If so, then simply communicate this to the residents. This communication failure is assigned to the property manager. If the property manager does not timely inform the residents of the reasons for the closure, then it is incumbent upon the Board to order her to do so or to do so themselves.
Board Members: don’t wait for Marion to put forth this required communication. Marion’s job as “president” is limited to presiding over meetings and signing documents – that’s it. Any one of you could step up to the plate and issue an e-mail blast to the entire community and tell us what is going on. Instead, you all remain silent, and that’s when you get vitriol on the message board and on Facebook. A lot of the vitriol is attributable to the Board’s continual failure to keep the community informed in a timely manner with basic information to which everyone is entitled to know. These complaints are completely justified. We will stress it again to all Board Members: you do not need Marion’s permission to communicate with the residents.
If you piss off other board members or the president by doing so, maybe you’re doing something right and the Board or the president is wrong. The Board cannot remove you as a director. The only sanction they have available to them is removal of an officer, which includes the offices of president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. If removed as an officer, the individual remains as a director. Only a majority of a quorum is required to pick a new officer. Directors cannot be removed absent a community vote. Read the governing documents.
By way of example, let’s say there is a Board meeting, which of course has to be public. Let’s say four or five board members attend. That’s a quorum. That means that only three of the four or five in that scenario would be needed to remove an officer. If the attendees totaled six or seven, then four votes would be needed for removal. Again, this has nothing to do with the Board member’s position as a director. So since your positions as directors are relatively secure, perhaps one of you will have the guts to stop protecting the rule-breakers, stop protecting each other’s backs, and represent the community you were voted to preside over.
For example, who authorized the name change of the shed to a utility building? Marion will tell you that Palm Beach County preferred that nomenclature. Bullshit. If that were true, the name would have been changed when the permit was secured. It was called a shed to avoid a community vote by claiming it was a replacement. Now that it is in the construction phase, it is called what it truly was from day one. Stop protecting each other. Your obligation is not to each other: it is to the residents of this HOA. And if you cannot make that distinction, then you don’t belong on the Board.]
3. Elly: Jeff Hyman here.[Jeff is an epidemiologist]: the virus. This virus infects through prolonged exposure in indoor environment…the spike is due to people spending more time in indoor environments. Outdoors, you almost have to work at being close enough. Noodles are sanitized by being in the pool…I read the guidelines; I didn’t see anything about 20 people only, one-hour sessions. We should study the actual recommendation without making additions. I have a question regarding landscaping. Uncomplete change orders to contracts are the classic way to zing their clients. Did we sign a contract that prohibits us from getting bids…”
4. Robin: Landon Circle. [Schmierer]: As a former member of the Long-Range Planning Committee, I have a question about the dismissal of outdoor fitness classes. Dismissal because of the heat is short-sighted. All tennis and pickleball players are currently playing in the heat…six people in a class will not make this the active community we want to be. Linda: can I answer this? Marion: no.
[Editor’s note: way to go again, Marion, shutting down a resident’s fair and reasonable inquiry with a valid comparison to other activities in the same environment, and last we looked, Linda is the liaison to the Recreation Committee, so she rightly should have responded. Hint to Linda: next time, don’t ask permission, just respond.
This reminds your Editor of my first-year law school Contracts professor from forty years ago in 1980 at Southwestern University School of Law, the oldest law school in California, having been founded in 1911. Its first graduate was a woman named Betty Trier Berry, who also became the first woman in the United States to serve in a public defender’s office.
Anyway, back to my Contracts professor, the wonderful late Anita Glasco:
I had a question in that class one day. I raised my hand. Professor Glasco called on me. I said, can I ask a question? She said no, and then moved on to someone else. This happened a couple of times. I finally got the message: just ask your question; don’t ask permission to ask the question, because that’s two questions and you have just given the other person the option of shutting you down. So, Linda, take the advice of my wonderful law professor: don’t ask permission to answer a question either. You clearly had a response; have the kahunas to state it. And separately, the resident deserved an answer.]
5. Judie:[started to speak]. Mark Goodman: What’s your last name? Judie: Delman. Mark: ok, I didn’t recognize you; there are a lot of Judys. Judie: Will we get a percent of how many people in the community had or are testing positive now generally? And if at one point the County makes it mandatory to wear a mask outside as well as inside, and I see biking, not wearing masks and spewing droplets. People are not taking it seriously. If we have mandatory, will they enforce it and are you willing to close things down again? Deborah: Once Helix has contacted all the residents, I will get a report with statistics, not with any names. The Board has the right to close at any time. Recommendations from the CDC; you can go stricter; you just can’t do less.
6. Barbara Appleby: why are there no flowers or any color on the boulevard for weeks and weeks? Deborah: they were removed and reinstalled where it could be; we are looking for permanent solutions; flowers are not making it.
Round Table Discussion:
Harvey: I haven’t seen an actual order yet – mask order – in all public buildings…if you can maintain social distance, then no mask; tennis and pickleball, activities are not conducive to wearing a mask. I’ve seen people driving cars with masks; that’s like going to bed with a condom on.
[Editor’s note: both seem anticipatory, one delightful, one not so much…]
Eileen: we have to be very careful with stating what we can and cannot do. Most say you may, not must. Over 55, we have exception, the HOA can put stricter guidelines in effect…we have to look at the community as a whole…so again, it’s what we may do, not what we must do.
[Editor’s note: in this News Site’s opinion, the Board is just trying to protect the residents as best they know how and are coming at this unprecedented situation from a place of good faith; some of the rules may seem a bit over the top, but they are made with good intentions, even if they are a tad overboard in some instances. The reason they seem overbroad is because the Board is not providing the proper and timely communication to the residents as to the bases for their decisions, and they are becoming less transparent with the use and abuse of the emergency powers statute.]
Linda: pools – you can spread the virus through the pool. Your body may be immersed but your face isn’t. Also, I’m unclear about noodles. They’re now allowed along with weights. Marion: now they’re not allowed. Linda: use of outdoors for exercising. The Y says they will not do it, uneven surfaces and cement, injury if you fall…
[Editor’s note: it is clear that this is what Linda wanted to respond to Robin above when Marion cut her off.]
Sue: I want to thank Les Bennis and Mark for answering my question before, and Shelly Andreas and to Sue [Leonard] and the pickleball club – they presented outstanding plans, and thanks to our president for her remarks.
[Editor’s note: Sue then read from a prepared statement which she provided to this News Site for publication in this synopsis per our email which we reprinted at the beginning of this document; we include her statement as she provided it to us, unedited.]
Now that I am a director, I do read the message board from time to time as it provides insight as to how some residents feel about the Board’s actions or inactions. I believe in freedom of speech as it is a necessary component of and vital to our democracy. However, freedom of speech is not an unlimited right, and, in my experience, words do matter.
Recently, on the message board, this question has been coming up – When did the community become so angry? This is something that I have wondered about myself. When did we become so angry at the very people we elected to represent us? When did our discourse become so heated? When and why did some of our interactions become, at times, less than acceptable behavior?
I believe that we need to address this issue and develop more positive ways on how we communicate. Even if we disagree, there are ways of manifesting it without being disrespectful. I’m open to any and all suggestions, as in the words of a former principal I knew, Together Make It Better!”
Sue: I really hope this is the last time I have to say it. We are a great group of people and it’s great to live here.
Mark: expenses, some predictable, some unpredictable. To the Board, just be careful, is it a want or a need. We’re over budget and we’re still only in June.
Marion: we need to go through what we’re going to be spending. Example, waste basket, we could buy a fantastic garbage pail so for now…
Sue: thanks to Arnie and Mike for the outstanding job they’ve done. My hat is off to them.
Marion: thank you both.
Mark: motion to close the meeting. Second: Eileen, Sue. Mark: ok. Marion: meeting adjourned at 11:55am.
[Editor’s concluding comments: And so concludes the board meeting of June 24, 2020; next Board meeting: presently unknown. Again, why is the virus being used as a pretext for not scheduling a regular board meeting? The Zoom app is working perfectly, and the new operators are doing a very fine job. Cheerio until next time.]