Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Bell Syndrome Spotted at Morrison Ranch

Posted By CotoBlogzz  07-29-2010

Agoura Hills, CA - Once the spotlight turned to the City of Bell, California, seems like all Bells went off - the preliminary conclusion is that Palmetto Bugs do not like the sun light, perhaps because it is a good disinfectant.

Consider that as soon as the inflated salaries of certain Bell employees became public knowledge, City Hall decided to reduce its own salaries!  Just last week,  Bell's  city council accepted the resignations of City Manager Robert Rizzo, Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, and Police Chief Randy Adams, who reportedly had a combined salary of more than $1.6 million, for a most insignificant city in California!

In this election year, California's Attorney General  Jerry Brown has jumped in, and is looking into the whole affairs.  You have got to wonder where the AG has been when the office receives daily complaints from homeowners, about similar issues.  Even State Controller John Chiang is jumping into the mix -  the same State Controller who has refused the Governators' orders to make California fiscally viable again.  In this case, Chiang has launched an audit  Bell;s  finances, on top of Attorney General Jerry Brown's investigation.

At first, we thought that perhaps what is going on at the Morrison Ranch Homeowners Association was a case of an incompetent board  funding a $1,000 fence to safeguard a $1.00 horse.  We have changed our mind - seems more like the community has been afflicted with the Bell Syndrome, such as in the City of Bell - the Bell Syndrome is when a parasitic bureaucracy becomes irrational and its decision-making focuses strictly on self-preservation.

You can make up your own minds below:  See the post reproduced below, with permission, from resident Jan Gerstel.  We asked the association to comment on Mr. Gerstel's view of the fact, but the association declined to comment>

Board Spends Over $200 to Challenge $0.13 Request for Document
This is a follow up to the “Board Behaving Very Badly” post.  In response to that post I received another three page letter from the attorney’s representing the HOA Board at their request.  Keep in mind my original correspondence was with CPM, the property management company hired by the Board.  The Board has not sent a single correspondence in reply to my request for documents.  They have chosen to spend our money to have the attorney respond to a very simple request.

Simply, I requested a copy of a document and the Board chooses not to send it to me unless I pay $0.13 in advance.  Understand that before I created this website, the Board sent me pretty much all the documents I requested.  They were put on a CD at a cost of $15 and I picked them up.  At one point I was even asked if I would like to have the cost put on my account. I also know of other homeowners who requested documents that were electronically put on a CD for the same price and sent to them.

After creating this website, whenever I request any documents, I am told they must be copied and redacted at a cost of no less than a couple hundred dollars.  Hmm….what do you think is the difference now?
So here is the latest letter from the attorney at an estimated cost of over $200.  What do you think of their objectives?  First of all, it is extremely insulting and defaming in its tone and content. It is filled with their opinions mostly to slander me and absent of facts.  Secondly  they do not even mention the most important issue. While they repeat over and over in their letter that they feel I don’t understand “breach of fiduciary”, the Board has committed one by having a policy appear without being motioned nor voted or passed at a meeting.  I have asked the property management firm several times for the minutes of the meeting where this “policy” was passed.  The Board claims this was done in January but it does not appear in their meeting minutes.  (Click here to read the January 2010 minutes)

Anyway they want to spin it, I consider making up policy outside an official meeting is definitely a breach of their fiduciary duties.  As far as I am concerned, my opinions of breach of fiduciary duties are well within my rights of freedom of speech as is the Board’s rights to spend our money foolishly sending attorney written letters to try to pressure a homeowner.

Let me ask you this….how are ANY of the Board’s actions  in the best interest of the association? Is any Board member willing to answer that question. Or more importantly how policy is made without Board meetings?
I believe I have a very good grasp of the meaning of “fiduciary duties”.  Perhaps the Board and their attorneys should re-read the article on “THE LEGAL DUTIES OF ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS”Again, I find the Board behaving badly…..

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