The Pickleball Club had a special election. The new officers of the club are:
President - Chuck Cramer
Vice-President - Alan Silver
Communications - Judy Vlad
Secretary - Phil Berman
Treasurer - Carmine Coletta
PREVIOUSLY AT CASCADE LAKES:
Pickleball at Cascade Lakes:
Rigged Officer Elections: Who concocted the fraudulent officer election scheme and who aided and abetted its execution?
Report filed: July 13, 2020 by Editor, Vicki Roberts and Roving Reporter, Arthur Andelson
In the June 24, 2020 synopsis and commentary, we set forth a litany of irregularities engaged in by the alleged “president” of the pickleball club and others in her orbit. These multiple improprieties, which we exposed and reviewed in detail in that synopsis and commentary, were marching the club firmly toward losing its charter. In fact, even the Scavenger Hunt that the Board approved at the last board meeting was an illegal event, because the corporate charter mandates that all matters are to be voted on by the membership, and whether or not to have that event was never brought to the attention of the membership and therefore certainly was never voted upon.
This was specifically contrary to the club’s governing documents. And by the way, as to this secret scavenger hunt that the HOA Board approved on June 24, 2020 based on a “detailed plan” presented to the Board by some of the purported officers of the pickleball club: why was that plan never shown to the members of the pickleball club who are the only ones who can approve it before even sending it to the HOA Board for review? We here at the News Site are fully paid members and we have never seen it. From this point forward, perhaps the Board ought to institute a new protocol and make sure that what they are voting on is properly before them.
Furthermore, the members had the right to know how much of their membership money it was going to cost to put on the event, how much were the prizes going to cost the membership, and how does the proposed event promote pickleball? None of this was ever presented to the membership. Instead, one or more of the alleged officers took it upon themselves to create the event, plan it all out, and present it to the HOA Board with no notice to the membership at all. Membership approval was required before the matter ever got to the HOA Board for review.
So, while Board member Sue Schmer praised Sue Leonard, former pickleball club communications officer, for presenting it, the membership in fact to this date has no idea what was presented, how much of their money it was going to cost, and how it was going to promote pickleball, all in complete and total violation of the pickleball club’s corporate charter. This is an abuse of power by the former “leadership team” which is the nomenclature they adopted after your Editor complained about their referring to themselves erroneously as a “Board.”
The Beach Party that occurred on June 20, 2020 whereby the so-called leadership team encouraged everyone to abandon the pickleball courts during the limited time the Board authorized play during a pandemic was an illegal event because there was never a required membership vote to have it and it was therefore specifically contrary to the club’s governing documents. It was also a violation of the club’s Articles of Incorporation because it had nothing to do with pickleball, and in fact, it was directly adverse to pickleball because it encouraged members to abandon the courts during limited play time and instead party on the beach.
The Juke Box Bingo event that was planned for July 8, 2020 and then postponed was an illegal event because there was never a required membership vote to have it and it was specifically contrary to the club’s governing documents as it had absolutely nothing to do with pickleball.
The list goes on. See the June 24, 2020 synopsis and commentary for the never-ending improper actions by the alleged officers of the pickleball club, including creating a flyer/brochure without club membership input or vote (and if club money were used, then that’s a double no-no), improperly using ringers to play in lieu of paid members who were on the alternate list and ready, willing, and able to play, and improperly sending out an email blast using the HOA website designated pickleball email list for matters unrelated to pickleball (i.e., to slam the HOA Board over its pool rules during the pandemic), among a myriad of other troubling behavior and actions. None of these actions were ever voted on or approved by the club membership as the club’s corporate charter requires.
In fact, as of this writing, on the Cascade Lakes HOA website, under the Pickleball page, the page lists the officers as a “Board” as they illegally called themselves. The official documents of the club mandate that there shall be no board specifically, and rather that all matters are to be decided by membership vote. This was brought to the attention of Elaine and Chuck Cramer, former acting president and secretary of the club, by your Editor via an email on January 21, 2020 at 3:40pm with a copy of the portion of the governing documents that so states, and in fact, Chuck signed that document as acting president of the pickleball corporation. Elaine was the acting secretary.
Your Editor’s email to the Cramers was in fact precipitated by an email sent by the new alleged officers inviting members to a January 10, 2020 cocktail party to “come and meet your new Board” which your Editor immediately objected to, because there is no Board for the pickleball corporation. It was also disturbing to read that this group of alleged officers thought it would be some sort of honor to meet them when in fact, a more appropriate statement would have been “the officers would like to meet the members,” but we digress.
On January 23, 2020 at 4:29am, Elaine Cramer responded by emailing your Editor in pertinent part:
“I do not understand where you are going with your concern over whether the officers are a “board.” The officers govern the members, and the members voted.”
No, Elaine, the officers specifically do not govern the members or anyone. That is false. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the functions are of the officers of this club and what they are not. They specifically do not govern period. They are not a governing body, unlike the HOA Board, which is a governing body, and which has Directors of the Board, some of whom are also officers, and some of whom are not. As with most officers’ duties, the president presides over meetings and signs documents as required, the VP is the back-up, the treasurer handles the money, and the secretary keeps the minutes, and that’s it.
When Chuck and Elaine Cramer allowed Diane Green to hijack the election process and become the purported president, Diane then only scheduled what was, in essence, quarterly meetings: one in March 2020 since her bogus election in late December 2019, and one scheduled for June 14, 2020 but which inexplicably never occurred.
The alleged “I.T.” person at the time according to the pickleball page on the HOA website was her husband, who is proficient in Zoom technology, having been the Zoom administrator for the HOA Board meetings a number of times, and doing an excellent job each and every time, so we don’t understand why that scheduled meeting never took place, but then again, why have a member meeting when you and other club officers are improperly conducting club business at the now former purported treasurer’s house, which is what in fact occurred. By contrast, the tennis club met monthly prior to the pandemic. It is very difficult to accomplish much when you only schedule quarterly meetings of an organization in which membership voting is the only manner in which to do anything. It is certainly convenient for someone whose real goal is total control, as described in the June 24, 2020 synopsis and commentary.
Here is the part of the official documents on file with the Florida Department of State that requires a membership vote and that this corporation specifically does not have a Board, which your Editor specifically advised the Cramers back on January 21, 2020, and in fact this official document was signed by Chuck Cramer as acting president; it is page 6 to an official Amendment to the Articles of Incorporation (full document available on request or you can pull it off the Florida Department of State website just like we did). You can clearly see that the box marked is the one where membership vote is required and the box indicating a Board is blank because there is no Board:
No Board means that no individuals may decide anything on behalf of the club. Rather, club decisions are strictly made by membership vote. That means all members, not just a few members who happen to call themselves officers or a faux board.
Also, on the official HOA website on the pickleball club page are a list of so-called “Committee” chairpersons, including a person for membership, one for entertainment, and one for “I.T.” Here is a screen shot of it:
Again, apparently these individuals were illegally “appointed” by this illegal “Board” of officers, because there was no membership vote on them either. And frankly, there would not be any such vote, because this club’s charter is specifically limited to pickleball as we pointed out in the June 24, 2020 synopsis and commentary where we actually attached a copy of the Articles of Incorporation and analyzed it in detail. There is no need for an entertainment chairperson for example. There is no need for a membership chairperson. There is no need for an “I.T.” chairperson. These made-up chairperson positions are modeled after our HOA Board’s Committees. This is nonsensical in the context of a corporation for which membership voting is the only manner in which business is permitted to be conducted.
Perhaps the most troubling of all irregularities was the process of the election of the officers and particularly how Diane Green ended up usurping the presidency of the club when she was neither present at the nominating meeting, was never nominated, and was never seconded, and yet somehow she and the others were on an emailed “ballot” which requested that the member vote for the entire slate of unopposed officers or not vote at all.
So, who exactly concocted this fraudulent election scheme and who aided and abetted its execution?
This ballot was sent via email by then acting president, Chuck Cramer, on December 19, 2019. In that email, he stated that after the membership meeting where nominations occurred, he received emails from other people for positions as officers. Clearly one of them was Diane Green. He then included her and others on a slate which was then provided to the members for voting for this group who was now running unopposed. The members were never given the opportunity to actually nominate her or second her nomination or even challenge it.
And the same is true for Robin Schmierer, who mysteriously became the treasurer of the club under similar circumstances. At the membership meeting where nominations took place, two people were nominated and seconded for the position of treasurer, and neither of them was Robin Schmierer. To the best of our recollection, the gentleman was a CPA and the other official nominee confirmed that she can balance a checkbook, which was good enough for us. Robin Schmierer appeared on the ballot out of nowhere, just like Diane Green.
The whole purpose of having a membership meeting for nominations is to make sure the entire membership has the opportunity to know who is desirous of running and to either have a second to the nomination or a challenge to it for cause, at which point the matter would be debated and a vote would be taken on the issue of the nomination or the person would be disqualified for cause. For example, if someone were nominated who was not a paid member of the club, or who was not a resident of Cascade Lakes, those would each be grounds for challenging that person’s nomination and demanding that that person be disqualified. If that challenge were successful, that person would not be on the ballot.
The entire membership was deprived of this basic election procedure. These two individuals, Diane Green and Robin Schmierer, just appeared on the ballot out of nowhere. This is no way to run a legitimate election and in fact, it was not a legitimate election. This necessarily means that any and all business of the club that occurred while Diane Green was improperly serving as the purported president and Robin Schmierer was improperly serving as the purported treasurer is either null and void or voidable at the very least.
Now how did this come to be? Well, there is a back story, and we back into it here:
On July 8, 2020, we posted the following on this News Site’s News & Announcements page:
“THE ULTERIOR MOTIVES BEHIND ELAINE CRAMER'S POSTS:
Elaine Cramer posted on July 8, 2020 on both the HOA message board and the unofficial Cascade Lakes Facebook page a post stating that the “real” resident award goes to Diane Green for doing something that any neighbor or decent human being would do - catch a falling resident who was fainting. That post read:
“The Real Resident Award for Heroism
Kudos to Pickleball President, Diane Green, who came to the rescue of tennis player,[name identified by Elaine], who was fainting and falling onto the concrete walkway due to dehydration this morning. Great job Diane!!!
Last edited on Jul 08, 2020 10:51 am by Elaine Cramer”
It was fortuitous and it was serendipity that someone was there to assist the individual in need. It happened to have been Diane Green, and everyone is grateful for her presence at that moment, but anyone would have done so. Neighbors regularly do these types of things for neighbors without having it broadcast as some kind of hero worship (e.g., when a neighbor was assisted with CPR and another neighbor helped resuscitate him until the ambulance arrived, and neither that rescuing neighbor nor his spouse ever said a word to a soul), and other neighbors who come to the aid and assistance of other neighbors with nary an acknowledgement and frankly, none needed, because that’s what decent people do.
And what exactly does her position as pickleball president have to do with being a neighbor coming to the aid of another neighbor?
Furthermore, did Elaine clear this announcement with the neighbor that she specifically identified by name before blasting it on the HOA message board and the internet via Facebook? Some people might not want it known that they had a medical issue and yet you just couldn’t wait to praise “Pickleball President, Diane Green” at the first opportunity she believed presented itself, and this News Sites knows why, and this News Site shall explain it in detail below.
Elaine Cramer’s post was also a direct insult to the July Resident of the Month because Elaine’s post clearly stated that the “Real Resident Award” belonged to someone else, and that necessarily means that the current Resident of the Month Award winner was not real, i.e., fake. This is insulting to your fellow neighbor who actually won the award and all the residents who look to see who is the actual Resident of the Month each and every month, and per our statistical diagnostics, there are many, many, many hundreds and hundreds of those. So, you have insulted a majority of the community. To use your words, “Great job!”
Often during pickleball or tennis individuals become light-headed, either because of fatigue, dehydration, a sugar drop, or other reason. They are assisted to a seat, and they are offered water or other aid that they might require. It happens occasionally. But when it is Diane Green to the rescue, all of a sudden, some residents go overboard and want to call her a hero. The word heroism used by Elaine in her posts is one that ought to be reserved for true heroes. Per the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “heroism” is defined thusly with an included example by the OED:
1. great bravery.
“they fought with exemplary heroism””
To use the word heroism in the context of assisting a neighbor by an act that is not uncommon is insulting to true heroes. Further, usually when this situation occurs, the person who needed assistance says, “thank you very much,” and everyone moves forward. There is no broadcast of it; this is pure drama. If it were anyone else, this News Site surmises that no one would be posting anything anywhere.
Now let’s look behind the post and see it for what it really was. This post by Elaine Cramer was specifically intended to act as a counterbalance to the shameful conduct this News Site pointed out chronologically and with documented proof on the part of Diane Green in our June 24, 2020 synopsis and commentary. The attempted resurrection campaign has officially begun. In that context, this News Site asks: Elaine Cramer, is pickleball so important to you that you would compromise almost anything for it, because it sure seems like it. Let us now explain the background to Elaine Cramer’s over-the-top display of sycophantic behavior. For the record, the Oxford English Dictionary defines sycophant as follows:
noun: sycophant; plural noun: sycophants
1. a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage.
At the time when you, Elaine Cramer, were the official secretary of the pickleball club, how is it that Diane Green mysteriously ended up on the ballot sent to all club members when she was neither present at the nominating meeting, never nominated, and never seconded?
Last year you had the Editor of this News Site, Vicki, on the telephone for a full two hours from your home in Massachusetts complaining that you were “hated” here in your words and you were hoping that she, Vicki, would be your new pickleball savior. We also enjoyed wonderful times with you and your husband, Chuck, at the wetlands during the Hike and Bike Sundays when you were here in Cascade Lakes.
Ever since Diane Green became president of the pickleball club, you have shunned Vicki. Now you have no use for her and instead have cozied up to Diane, and that makes you happy because you are no longer the “hated” one, to use your word. You are all too happy that Vicki has taken your place in some people’s minds thanks to Diane Green’s baseless character assassination of Vicki that a few lemmings have bought into. Ever since Diane’s “election” under your watch as secretary, you have made efforts to avoid Vicki, actually to avoid both of us, in public, beyond saying a quick hello to Arthur and then urging your husband to move along.
There are no other human beings on the planet that share that honor with the current July Resident of the Month, and any claims to denigrate her honor as we see with Elaine’s post stating that someone else won the “Real Resident Award” should be rejected outright because it is both false and insulting to the true winner and to the majority of the residents who eagerly anticipate the announcement of the true deserving winners each month. Congratulations to all the winners of this honorable award. They all meet the only criteria necessary to earn this wonderful distinction: for kindness and warmth towards everyone they meet.”
One day later after our post, on the evening of July 9, 2020, the entire roster of officers of the Cascade Lakes Pickleball Club resigned. Their reason, according to their email to the membership, was as follows:
“However, to our dismay, frequent severe written criticism has been presented over recent months regarding the election process and some of the direction we have taken.”
More likely, they are dismayed that they got caught. Note that at no time ever has any one of them disavowed or challenged the improprieties we have set forth over the course of the last few months. The reason for that is that everything that we have written is true. If someone accuses you of doing something wrong, and you become aware of it, and you know you didn’t do it, would you remain silent? The fact that not one word of our legitimate criticism was ever challenged is a tacit admission that it is all true, and indeed it is.
Note that the email from these former alleged officers states that there was criticism over the election process. The fact that the process was fatally tainted is not challenged by them; they are just complaining that we raised it. Diane Green, why don’t you tell us how your name appeared on this flawed ballot when you were not at the nominating meeting, never nominated, and never seconded? Why don’t you tell us how you were calling people left and right about the so-called election, trying to make sure everyone was on board with what you were manipulating? One of your calls occurred while Arthur, our Roving Reporter, was on the telephone with another pickleball club member, who then took her call and called Arthur back. He commented to Arthur that she wanted to talk about the pickleball elections which he thought was strange.
Elaine Cramer, you were the official secretary of the club at the time; why don’t you explain it to us as well? And upon information and belief, you are a paralegal, so you should know better, and perhaps you did.
This group of former alleged officers also notes the criticism of “some of the direction we have taken.” All of the events this group planned were never authorized by the members, i.e., voted on, as required by the club’s governing documents, and they had nothing to do with pickleball, which is directly contrary to the club’s corporate charter.
Let’s look at some other clubs in the community, and ask yourselves, do any of their officers act like this:
Does the tennis club or its officers plan beach parties during limited tennis play time? No, they plan tennis-related events during non-pandemics, such as a trip to a national professional tennis match.
Does the Hike & Bike club plan scavenger hunts during a pandemic? No, they’re not even hiking and biking together at this point, but when they do, everyone knows where to look for them: meet at the back gate and end up at Dunkin’ Donuts.
Does the bowling club plan Zoom Juke Box Bingo? No. They plan bowling.
If you want to do that other kind of stuff, join the Entertainment Committee or the social club. That’s why the Entertainment Committee exists, and with respect to the social club, you can be social to your heart’s content with others who want to socialize with you. Everyone else can politely decline.
The truth is that Elaine Cramer used Diane Green because at the time of this rigged election, Diane was Chairperson of the almighty Entertainment Committee, with close ties to the HOA Board and massive exposure to the entire community. Elaine wanted this so that her goal of getting hard courts for pickleball would have a better chance of coming to fruition; the theory was that the more people she could amass, the better chance that the required community vote for hard courts would pass.
The truth is that the pickleball club was hijacked and used by Diane Green for her own purposes which included amassing more support for her dream of taking control of the community at large, which is what she stated she wanted to do in her telephone conversation with your Editor a year ago as described in detail in the June 24, 2020 synopsis and commentary.
Former faux officer/treasurer Robin Schmierer’s motives remain unclear, although her ties to Diane Green are well known in the community. We wouldn’t refer to them as the Bobbsey Twins, but she is in Diane’s “inner circle.” Interestingly enough, in the Bobbsey twin novels, there are two sets of fraternal twins for a total of four people; in Diane’s inner circle, there are also four people, and these women were specifically identified by Diane to your Editor by name in her infamous call to your Editor a year ago. Robin Schmierer was one of those specifically identified women.
Earlier above we queried who exactly concocted this fraudulent election scheme and who aided and abetted its execution. Now you know. We add to that reality that these are some of the same people who have consistently demonized us and tried to silence us. Now you know why. Furthermore, their dishonest scheme was a complete and utter betrayal of the membership of the pickleball club, and of the entire HOA membership, which has the right to expect honesty in elections for positions of power within the community. This abuse of power began prior to the election, occurred during the election, and continued after the election, and would have metastasized had this News Site not done its investigative work and reporting.
When we were relatively new to Cascade Lakes last year, and raised concerns about other issues we saw, we were told by Director (now also Vice-President of the HOA) Mark Goodman to “be quiet,” and to “learn how things are done around here.” We refuse to allow improprieties to be swept under the rug and we will not remain silent; we were not silent then, and we are not silent now. You can expect us to continue to report on Cascade Lakes at this News Site until further notice, since we plan on living here for at least another thirty years.
The resigned pickleball former officers, including the fake ones, need to immediately inform the Florida Department of State that they are no longer officers of the corporation known as Cascade Lakes Pickleball Club, Inc.
The pickleball club needs to hold a special election for new, real officers. We recommend that Lee Sinett, the Sports Director, moderate the election to ensure that this time it is done properly, i.e., that there is no cheating to get elected and no hijacking of the corporation by any wayward individual with questionable ethical standards, visions of grandeur, and sinister motives to control this community and how it operates, such as Diane Green with the help of her small, vocal retinue of minions, lemmings, and sycophants.
The alarm bells we set off were to save the club which was rapidly imploding before our very eyes. In the words of one resident, “thank you for saving pickleball at Cascade Lakes.” You’re very welcome. Now let’s have an honest election and let’s play some pickleball!