Welcome to Willistown Knoll's Wiki
1 What's Should the Title of this entry Be?
Many homeowners within Willistown Knoll receive "violation" letters from the Board for not following the many rules of living within the Association. An example of some of these rules, use restrictions, and regulations. Forget United States civil rights within this Association, the accuser will be anonymous and the judgment of guilt will be automatically assumed. If the offense is particularly grievous in the Board's mind, they will decide the guilt and punishment (a fine) in absentia.
This is quite a poisonous situation for a community as people suspect their neighbors of being spies, snitches, and troublemakers. The sad part is the environment breeds this behavior in some people just as it did in former Eastern Bloc countries or as does is in prisons. But who might be the most prolific reports of violations? It is probably the Board Members themselves in conjunction with the Management Company.
Board Members and the Management Company sneak around the property during weekdays while people are at work to spy what might be on the owners' stairs, back deck, and vicinity around their home. Diane Gothard carries a clipboard with pre-printed tables, a numbered empty box ready to be filled out for each and every home. Forget that Willistown Knoll consists of roughly 35 acres of land with streets, lighting, storm drains and a multitude of landscaping features, What is important is that the "unit owners" follow the rules!
On July 28, 2015, there is an example of this conduct. Board Members Eileen McAnally and David Keating along with Diane Gothard of Associa walk around people's homes, inspecting for violations. The inspections are done in secret, the people who live in the homes are given no advance notice that the inspections will be taking place nor do the Board Members think they should be required to provide notice. It is their legal right will be the quick defense. So much for good governance; a board immersed in triviality.
Imagine the conversation: Did you know that Mary Sue hung her throw rugs on her back deck railing to air; definitely a rule violation, got one! Send her a letter! Don't tell her who reported the violation. Let her think it was her next door neighbor. Oh look, I think I see a bird feeder, another calamitous violation; we've got another one!
Is this secret conduct of the Board polite, is it courteous, is it a way to treat one's neighbors; that doesn't concern Board members as the recipients of the letters will have no idea who filed the complaints. Some will suspect their neighbors. Again, a poisonous activity for community spirit.
- Here's what is really incredible. In November 2014, the Board wrote a letter to all homeowners no repairs should be made to Decks, Windows, interior items, etc. until the Stucco was repaired. This year, the Board is writing individual homeowners that they are violating the rules for not keeping the Decks in good repair and demanding that the situation be addressed immediately else they will be fined.
Way to go Michael Blaustein, William Horst, and Eileen McAnally. Homeowners are reporting being incredulous regarding the stupidity of the situation and your conduct. Eh tu David Keating and and Jonathan Reiter? You two won with a larger constituency than any other previous Board members in the hope that things might change. Mr. Keating, you promised open communications, not staged meetings with lawyers attending at the ready to defend the Board members, paid for by the homeowners.
When will the open communication meetings be scheduled? Even if your board colleagues want to keep secrets, you aren't obliged to keep their secrets unless it violates your fiduciary responsibility. Nor are you obliged to ask their permission to hold your own information gathering meetings. The situation might be the opposite of what you are being told, it is your fiduciary responsibility to out malfeasances or misfeasance that might be going on, not keeping it secret.
2 Michael Blaustein, William Horst, David Keating, Eileen McAnally, and Jonathan Reiter release Stucco Disclosure Statement
The entire letter can be found here: Updated stucco remediation disclosure
Contradicting previous statements that the Board has "yet to make a decision" on complete Stucco Cladding Replacement, The Board has released the following:
- The community is undergoing a stucco remediation project. Professionals have performed tests and evaluated each building and have concluded that the exterior stucco system is failing to perform as intended and that the exterior cladding system must be completely replaced. The Association has engaged Falcon Engineering to prepare specifications to replace the exteriors with a combination of cement board and cultured stone. At present, based upon the surface requiring replacement and using an industry estimate of the cost per square foot of exterior surface, the cost per unit of the material and labor in the form of a special assessment will likely not be less than $25,000 per unit. The entirety of the exterior of each unit will be completely replaced. This is not a firm number but rather an estimate based on information available at this time. Falcon is finalizing specifications which will be sent to reputable and qualified firms to submit bids by the Fall of 2015. The cost per unit may be considerably higher when the details of the remediation are finalized and subject to the actual bid. The cost per unit does not include replacement of any limited common elements to the unit, including but not limited to decks, stair walls, stoops and the like, nor does it include elements of units which may be required or elected to be replaced, such as windows. Because each unit has a unique configuration, the cost of replacement of those features will likely be separately assessed and will vary.
From the letter's preamble to the 5407 Statement: "The Board feels it is important..." Willistown Knoll is a corporation, the Board has duties and fiduciary responsibilities; it has nothing to do with feelings. Business Decisions involving millions of dollars and the Board talks about their "feelings"! If the Board members really want to discuss their feelings, how about embarrassment, shame, and guilt when it comes to their conduct in this matter. Moving on to more important issues...
- Professionals have performed tests and evaluated each building and have concluded that the exterior stucco system is failing to perform as intended and that the exterior cladding system must be completely replaced.
Professionals? Plural? Are there multiple "Professionals" who have concluded that "that the exterior cladding system must be completely replaced". Name them Mr. Blaustein!. Perhaps you are impaired when it comes to making accurate statements. Who are these "Professionals" and how do you define "Professionals"? Provide the "Professionals'" names, credentials, and produce their reports for review by the homeowners! Or is the board too cowardly, hiding something, or doesn't "feel" they need to be accountable to the people who live in and own the homes? Or maybe there aren't any reports from "Professionals" in Civil Engineering. Maybe Mr. Blaustein's reports aren't from Professional Engineers at all.
Mr. Blaustein and Ms Marian Derr are directly responsible for the Historic Farm house debacle by their past service as presidents and hid their failures and the associated costs from the homeowners. Could past performance be a good predictor of future performance? A career pattern perhaps? One can only wonder. BTW Mr. Blaustein, we don't care what your day job might be; it's about your performance within this association.
- At present, based upon the surface requiring replacement and using an industry estimate of the cost per square foot of exterior surface, the cost per unit of the material and labor in the form of a special assessment will likely not be less than $25,000 per unit.
Provide "the estimates", the square footages, material, and labor. Again, too cowardly, hiding something, or don't "feel" they need to be accountable to the people who live in and own the homes? You don't "feel" like it?
- The cost per unit does not include replacement of any limited common elements to the unit, including but not limited to decks, stair walls, stoops and the like.
Anyone on the Board check the title lines lately? Limited Common Elements? Could this be blatant ignorance, laziness, or simple stupidity? Too much work to do some basic research? Going out for quotations and don't even have a valid definition of the ownership of the properties?
3 The Association Board's July Newsletter
The news letter is composed in Microsoft's comic book inspired font, Comic Sans. Is that symbolic of the professionalism of the Board or is it indicative of the disrespect the Board members possess towards the newsletter recipients?
For those who do not have a copy, it can be found here: July 2015 Board Newsletter
Let's start with the STUCCO REMEDIATION PROJECT
- To direct Falcon Engineering to prepare Bid Specifications for total stucco replacement throughout the community with Cement Board with Stone Accents; additional design details, including a budget for stone accents, to be specified by the Board prior to any final decisions.
The Board doesn't even possess a valid engineering study that says the stucco needs to be replaced! All of the Homeowners need to realize this. If you don't believe this statement, ask Mr. Michael Blaustein, unelected Board President, to produce an engineering report from a licensed construction engineer that states the necessity of completely removing the stucco. He won't because he can't.
This is such a sad situation, a complete article is being written by the Wikiknoll investigative team.
SPRING HOUSE I COX HOUSE UPDATE
- The troublesome easement the Spring House held to the driveway and garage has been extinguished, and the Spring House is obligated to pay the Association a monthly service fee. With this issue behind us, we are free to market and sell the Cox House.
Micheal Blaustein and the Board of 2007 were the people responsible for the "troublesome easement"! Mr. Blaustein, what do you think you cost the association with this mistake of yours? Do you think it is around $100,000. Or perhaps more. Some people would step down in disgrace; then others, well they just are prone to blame others.
The Association is not free to sell the Cox House. As the township patiently has explained multiple times to the Association's attorney, Mr. Blaustein, and former Board members Gil Breintnall and Marian Derr, the Association needs to apply for a zoning change which will be brought up to the zoning commission and township supervisors! More money, more time, more wasted effort on a house that the builder in 2003 offered to convert into a residence for the Association. Again, this subject warrants more its own page.
Also, why doesn't the Board explain how they bought their way out of the troublesome easement with such items as:
- Years of forgiveness in not paying any association fees
- approval to build a deck on Association property that is larger than any other deck in the association (this also includes the cost of tearing down part of the barn so that the impervious surfaces remain constant for building approval)
- Reserved parking where no member can park nor can construction equipment be placed there for more than 24 hours - whey can't members have reserved parking, particularly those with no driveways?
- a ten foot buffer around the Spring House whereby the owner is allowed to do their own landscaping...
- the list goes on!
JUNE 23rd POWER OUT AGE
The board forgot to mention the cause potential cause of the Power Outage. It is most likely the tree limbs that hang over the wires of Route 926. During a storm, these branches fall on the 33 kV (33,000 volt phase to phase lines) and create a short that snaps PECO circuit breakers. During times of wide spread power outages, it can often take days for PECO to simply come out and reset these breakers.
Also, far more important was the power outage of April 24, 2015. A large Willistown Knoll Tulip Poplar tree with a rotted base came crashing down on the 33 kV three phase high tension wires. The large tree blocked Route 926 and the high voltage wires came whipping down in the school bus area approximately one hour before the association's school children would have been standing beneath them. Does the Board have any idea what 33 kV (33,000 volts phase to phase) would do to a human being upon contact?
The Board and Management company has ignored past warnings that inspection of the Association's trees (all of them) would be prudent. And that does not mean some cursory inspection by a sales Arborist. There are Arborists who are licensed in tree failure analysis. This was the second tree from the association that fell on these lines in the last several years!
Just to make it very clear, many of the power outages that have been experienced in the recent past have been caused by Association Trees! Who has responsibility for these common areas? Who would have to pay the cost of mismanagement? The answer to that second question is ultimately the homeowners!
4 A Board Member's Home - 1906 Westfield Court
4.1 The question that all Board Members should be asking themselves: is it fair, is it just, is it reasonable?
Why would a Board Member such as Eileen McAnally be in favor of replacing all of the cladding? Only she can explain that but let's look at the linear feet of stucco of her home compared to her neighbors. Eileen McAnally's home is outlined in RED. Her neighbors are outlined in Blue. Her home isn't simply an "end unit". It is wholly different design with many more windows, a far more complex shape and far more exterior surfaces!
Using the scaled satellite photo, a middle unit has 44 linear feet of walls. Ms McAnnally's house is over 3 TIMES the linear feet; given that her unit is a similar average height, the square footage of stucco on her home will be in proportion. Stucco costs will be roughly in proportion to: the square feet area replaced, the cost of re-installing the windows, and the complexity of the home.
Yet Ms McAnally along with other board members are sticking with the interpretation that all homeowners should pay the same.
Do you think the Board Members who decided that the stucco should be replaced and claim that we all should pay the same is fair to all owners? Could some homeowners be benefiting from this decision far above what they will pay into the repair costs?
4.2 And if this isn't just, what are Ms McAnally and the other Board members doing about it?
Nothing isn't an acceptable answer, particularly for Board members that simply re-appointed themselves without an election or others who were appointed by the self-reappointed Board members!
Pretending the unfairness doesn't exist or excusing it by saying, well that's how the documents are written is shameful. Board members have the responsibility of Governance. If the documents are not fair, reasonable, or just, then the governing documents should be corrected!
Could this be Conflict of Interest if it is the Board Members whose benefits will be subsidized by the more modest units? Could a more colloquial way of saying this is that it is stealing from ones neighbors?
Could it be that some Board members (and general members) would just as soon keep things just the way they are?
Could this also be the reason the three incumbent Board Members don't want to disclose the facts behind how they made their decisions. Four out of five Board Members that made the 2014 the statement that all of the cladding must be replaced have larger than average sized homes! The chairperson of the Stucco Committee also has an end unit with roughly twice the stucco of his inner unit neighbors.
The Board members who are not fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities to the community can be removed by a simple majority vote!
The Homeowner Association as a corporation can be dissolved by an 80% percent vote of the members! Imagine that, starting over again with a Declaration and Bylaws that the community can all live with, requiring transparency and accountability of the Board members, term limits, fairness in how expenses are determined, and limitations on the Board's powers.
Looks like this board member might benefit a bit more than her neighbors. Owners all pay the same as Ms McAnally but she receives far more benefits.
Anyone remember George Orwell's Animal Farm? "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"
Did George Orwell anticipate Homeowner Association Living?
Legal (so the Board claims) redistribution of wealth from your Neighbors? Modest units subsidize the larger units? Is it fair, just, and reasonable or is it simply unconscionable?
Here's the Pennsylvania law with regard to Common Expenses paid for by an association: Any common expense benefiting fewer than all of the units shall be assessed exclusively against the units benefited.
Common funds spent on Stucco repairs goes right into the pockets of the owners of the homes. The roofs and cladding are owned by the homeowners by Deed. Once it is installed, it becomes the property of the homeowner.
DISCLAIMER: Measurements are approximate and made from a combination of deed coordinates and scaled satellite photographs. The issue is not that 1906 Westfield Court is 2.9 or 3.5 times the size of the smaller unit; it is accurate enough to discuss the unfairness. If anyone wants to quibble exact numbers, a certified engineering should take the measurements.
5 Willistown Knoll 2014 Annual Report
Please read this report, particularly the notes. The 2014 Annual Financial Report can be found here: WKHOA 2014 Audited Annual Report
Note the following when reading the report:
- The Replacement Fund is grossly underfunded and cannot cover the anticipated repairs to the landscape, roofs, stucco, roads, storm drains, etc. While Pennsylvania State Law requires Homeowner Associations to have a long term financial plan, the law does not require the Board to follow either the funding recommendations nor the licensed engineer's schedule of repairs. The Willistown Knoll Board has consistently ignored the plan, delaying repairs, and underfunding needed repairs. The auditor noted that this is not necessarily an issue because the Board can assess the current home owners by special assessments to compensate for past and current board members' mismanagement.
- "Amounts accumulated in the replacement fund may not be adequate to meet future needs. If additional funds are needed, however, the Association has the right to increase regular assessments, to levy special assessments, or it may delay major repairs and replacements until funds are available."
- Replacement Funds have been spent for expensed items not budgeted and without first informing the members of the association.
- Capital Funds have been spent by the Board contrary to Pennsylvania Law without the members' permission!
- Replacement Projects such as Roof replacement, scheduled by a professional engineer, a responsibility of the Association and Board, have been ignored, putting home owners at risk for property damage not covered by their homeowner insurance policies! Insurance companies do not insure roofs when they are long past their intended service life!
6 May 18, 2015 Holly L. Setzler-Ippollito, aka Holly Setzler, Esq, Renders an Opinion or Two
At the May 18, 2015, the Board of Willistown Knoll held a meeting regarding the stucco cladding of the buildings. Ms Holly Setzler, Esq. attended the meeting in full but only participated for a few minutes. During these few minutes, she rendered her legal opinion on the sharing of costs for the Stucco Cladding Remediation.
Before describing Ms Setzler's comments, it may be helpful for the reader to revisit another recent opinion she rendered regarding our bylaws. This is being provided as an example of Ms Setzler's legal reasoning and her abilities. The background is as follows. In August of 2013, the Willistown Knoll Board found a homeowner guilty in absentia and a violation letter was sent to the unaware homeowner. No news here, this has been going on for years. The homeowner requested an appeal and to see the evidence against him. The Board of 2013 flatly refused. The homeowner resubmitted their appeal request based upon the Willistown Knoll Bylaws for Due Process which the Association's Board was contravening. At this point, the Board hired Ms Holly Setzler to render an opinion of the Governing Documents and send the homeowner a letter.
The Bylaws the Association Board was intentionally contravening state:
- Any Owner against whom the Board has levied a fine, issued a cease and desist letter, and/or a Notice of Violation, shall have the right to file an appeal.
Ms Holly Setzler interpretation of the Bylaws and zealous support for the Board:
- "...there was no fine issued to you as a result of the complaint. Accordingly, there is no provision for a hearing on the matter...This final decision concludes the Board's and my review of this matter."
Moving on to the burden sharing interpretation of Ms Setzler. The Declaration states:
- If any Common Expense is incurred, or is to be incurred, by the Association which benefits less than all of the Units, then the Common Expense must be assessed and levied by the Board as an Assessment in a pro-rata manner exclusively against only the Unit, or Units, benefited by the Common Expense.
Here is Ms Holly Setzler's rendered opinion as best as could be understood from what she said:
- "Fortunately or unfortunately, whichever camp that you are in, the documents are extremely clear. Your assessments, especially for exterior work are equally shared. Because you are affecting what someone else owns, you need unanimous consent to change the documents. You need consent of the lenders. The lenders lent money for people to buy homes based upon those documents. Some things require 66%, some require 80%. This particular issue requires 100%. You purchased with that information in the Declaration when you bought your home. There are some ancillary issues, decks and stairwells, we need to focus on whether they are limited common elements or common elements. Keep in mind, the larger units are the end units and every building needs an end."
Any corrections can be sent to email@example.com.
7 May 18, 2015 Donald Bernhardt Stucco Committee Presentation
On May 18, 2015, the Board of Willistown Knoll held a meeting of owners at the Willistown United Methodist Church, beginning at 7:00 PM. Donald Bernhardt, the Board appointed chairman of the "Stucco Remediation Committee", gave a presentation. Notes taken by various owners have been compared and the following minutes will be provided. The Secretary of Willistown Knoll, Eileen McAnally, was not witnessed taking any notes and has been her habit, she does not provide detailed minutes of open meetings. This is a good faith attempt to document the statements made, any corrections can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Board provided no written materials other than a one page agenda.
Please keep in mind that none of the "Stucco Remediation Committee" nor the Board members have any stated professionally recognized experience (such as being an engineer) in home construction, building claddings, or moisture remediation. In other words, they are not experts in the field and have few if any credentials to be making "recommendations" to the Board of the Homeowner Association.
Here is a record of Mr. Bernhardt's statements:
- the "stucco committee" was established by the Board in November 2013 and was comprised of three owners.
- January 14, 2014, the committee was provided two documents
- SDA and AI were also at the meeting and the three committee members got to see a presentation of the material and ask questions.
- on February 11, 2014 - the committee reviewed the material
- February 18, 2014 - the committee met witht he Board and made two recommendations:
- to not proceed with the SDA and AI plans for "numerous" reasons (not disclosed)
- wanted additional engineering and testing done to determine the status of the stucco cladding on the homes
- The Board agreed to both of these recommendations and authorized the Committee to obtain two additional proposals for testing
- February 25, 2014 - the committee met with Falcon Engineering
- March 22, 2014 - the committee met with Northeast Inspection to review their proposal and go over the deliverables.
- The committee recommended that the Board accept the proposal of Northeast Inspection
- June 20th, the Board signed a contract with Northeast Inspection.
- Testing was done on July and August of 2014.
- September 20, 2014:
- The report stated the Association must develop a strategy for replacing all of the cladding
- The board authorized the committee to get an engineering services agreement from Falcon Engineering to plan a cladding replacement project.
- October 14, 2014 through January 20, 2015 was spent negotiating the Stucco Replacement Contract with Falcon Engineering.
- The agreement was signed on January 20, 2015.
- Due to weather conditions, the next events took place in late March 2014 and made a series of invasive cuts into the buildings.
- April 7 2015, the Board met with the committee and Mr. Mark McCann of Falcon Engineering to determine the next steps. The Board directed the committee to do the following:
- review the prior testing information and provide an opinion on any additional testing
- provide a recommendation for a cladding material for continuing with the re-cladding project. This will allow the Board to determine the cost of the product.
8 Years of Research and all we have are three Clip Art Pictures?
What the Board had to show - pictures of houses with vinyl siding and stick-on stones over stucco...
What exactly has the board been doing for four years? What about the re-engineerng of the chimneys, the defective exterior stair walls, the grades above the foundations, and the lack of proper gutters and kick-out flanges in the roofs? No, the Board shows us pictures of vinyl siding as their progress. No engineering reports, no budgetary estimates, no schedules, priority rankings, just some poorly taken building photographs on a overcast day with images of mustard yellow vinyl siding and stick on river rock veneer superimposed on the front of the buildings.
Want to make your own pictures for free? Certainteed has a free online tool; upload a picture of your home and visualize it with Vinyl Siding for free in minutes! Click Here: Certainteed ColorView See the Stucco Collective for examples.
The Board holds a meeting on May 18th:
- claims they "want our inputs"
- hands out nothing in writing other than the meeting agenda!
- refuses to allow copies of any valid engineering reports be released to the owners of the homes. Perhaps there are things to hide, e.g. the Northeast Inspection "report" was not conducted by certified Professional and Licensed Engineers. Something may be very wrong if Michael Blaustein and Gail Van Dyke of Associa fear having the reports and actions taken by the Board reviewed by independent licensed engineers and attorneys.
- claim they have not made any decisions (no decisions, no money spent - right?)
- stated they will soon decide on whether to continuing the re-cladding (vinyl siding) project that has been started
- claim they know nothing of the projected costs
- claim they will be able to finance (borrow) 100% of the costs
- The attorney of nine years, Ms Holly Setzler, and the Board members of years don't know the legal ownership status of the:
- framing of the homes
- but Ms Setzler will research it for us! $$$
More to come...
9 A Failure in Fiduciary Responsibility - Roofs of Homes
At Willistown Knoll's Vinyl Siding and fake River Stone Cladding meeting last night on May 18, 2015, it was revealed by owners that former Board Members Marian Derr and Gilbert Brientnall along with current Board Members Michael Blaustein, Eileen McAnally, and William Horst have failed in replacing Nine Building Roofs according to schedule.
Owners of these homes, (approximately 50 homes) are having their Homeowner Insurance Carriers cancel their coverage for water damage due to the age of the roofs in their buildings, something that is completely the responsibility of the Board Members. Liability for any damages to these homes is now a Common Expense shared by all homeowners due to the Board's actions. This is an unfortunate aspect of Association living; if the board fails in their duties, the owners end up having to pay.
There are sufficient funds in the reserves for these roof replacements to be started immediately but the Board Members, for undisclosed reasons, have chosen to neglect these buildings and wait. Owners in the affected home are now wondering if their roofs will be put back for several more years!
If Board Members don't care about the owners in the Association, perhaps self interest will motivate them. Mr. Michael Blaustein, Ms Eileen McAnally, and Mr. William Horst, Director and Officer Insurance does not cover breach of duty of care, if you even know what duty of care is. If you don't, perhaps you should either inform yourself or resign! Owners here are fed up with what is perceived to be Board arrogance and lack of concern.
Is the roofing project a precursor of the the "stucco" project; three quarters through the project, the Board will lose interest (or run out of money) and not all of the houses will be completed?
It is bad business practices such as this that is brings down the value of homes in an Association and makes the Association a rather unpleasant place to live.
Perhaps new board members Mr. Jonathan Reiter and Mr. David Keating can help advise you on doing the right thing for the association.
10 Check out the Stucco Collective on Pinterest
Of easements, encumbrances and HOA common element expense liabilities and liens; state-of-the-art in covenant-restricted living from before the Iron Curtain fell.
11 IF COVENANT HAS ZERO BENEFIT . . . . IT HAS ZERO MERIT
or legitimacy: members of a mutual benefit association are owed fiduciary clarity in entrusting their property deeds to covenant enforcement powers. I argue here that the covenant restrictions contained in our HOA's Declaration do not benefit all classes of homeowners, but rather financially harm some so that others benefit exclusively. Allow me to crunch the numbers –- and to make the math simpler lets assume buildings are all similar rectangles -- to demonstrate my hypothesis...
Click on the thumbnail to read this document in full
12 WILL REMOVAL OF ADDITIONAL BOARD MEMBERS BE REQUIRED?
Three incumbent members of the Board have shown no inclination in their Fiduciary Responsibility of Care to disclose information in a timely fashion. If past performance is in any way a predictor of future conduct, the solution may be that they must be voted out by the simple majority of the owners and replaced.
Inform yourselves. Read the Governing Documents. Read the Recent Board Minutes. Come to the Meeting on May 18, 2015. See how the Board Members have been spending your money and why?
Please Understand the Following:
There are very serious and very specific issues with the Stucco and have been known for quite some time. Has there been a general failing of the stucco cladding? This has never been proven. The Board has not shown any scientific proof of a general failure of the stucco that necessitates replacing all of the cladding. Why are Michael Blaustein, Eileen McAnally, and William Horst refusing to allow the owners of the homes to see the reports and supporting documentation? Imagine using your neighbor's money to conduct a study on your neighbor's house and then telling him or her that the report cannot been seen because it is confidential! Are these three lonesome Board Members planning upon committing all the homeowners to paying millions of dollars first before showing the owners anything? Most reasonable people would consider this lunacy, or perhaps from a legal perspective, breach of their fiduciary responsibilities.
Read how Michael Blaustein has instructed Diane Gothard to answer queries of those who have asked to see the supporting documentation for the decision to replace all of the cladding made by past Board of Micheal Blaustein, Gilbert Breitnall, William Horst, Eileen McAnally, and Marian Derr:
Members have had the opportunity to review the Northeast Inspection Corporation stucco inspection report in the MAMC office, and they received the summary section in the October 10, 2014 mailing. Stucco-related information is Board /Stucco Committee work product and as such, is confidential information that can be subject to restrictions on reviewing and copying. The Board has determined that the sensitive nature of the full report precludes its free availability for copying while the Board is conducting due diligence with respect to stucco remediation. Additional review of the stucco testing and engineering information is underway by the Board and the Stucco Committee, and will be summarized and communicated to Association membership in due course.
On behalf of the Board of Directors
Michael Blaustein and the other two incumbent board members have blocked all attempts to by owners to take the same reports and have it reviewed by independent engineering and stucco contractors. Contractors whom owners have asked to inspect their homes have been told that the Board's inspector intentionally picked moisture reading points that would find moisture!
Neighboring Communities such as Willistown Woods (older) and Worington Commons are addressing their issues in far more cost effective ways. Worington commons is only replacing the backs of their buildings because of deck failures, not because of stucco failures. For the remainders of their buildings, they are simply fixing the issues that need to be addressed! Is it a perfect solution? No; Will it preserve their homes for the next 10 or 20 years, Yes. Is it affordable for the community? Yes Is any solution perfect? NO, including replacing all of the cladding!
Mid-Atlantic was Edward Weingartner's choice to manage our community, not the homeowners. Why did Mr. Weingartner chose Mid-Atlantic? It was a company that he found he could work with; guess the reasons. Gail Van Dyke was one of the original Mid-Atlantic employees; a compatriot of Ed Weingartner.
With reference to reserve fund, ask the president, Mr. Blaustein, why the planned work on roads and roofs have all been stopped. Read the 2011 Reserve Study! Compare what it says should have been done and what has been done. Ask the Board for their alternate plan as they are not following the recommendations made by independent engineers and accounts? Certainly, they most have a better, more thought out plan, right? Or perhaps they don't have an alternate plan, they just didn't want to follow the recommended plan but can't state why (from a good business judgment rule).
Ask the Board where the money is going to come from to pay for roads, roofs, curbs, retaining walls, storm drain repairs, etc. Ask them to project a budget for the next five years and to fold in the stucco cladding replacement plan!
Board Member favorite line: "you can't criticize us, we are volunteers" Let be blunt, Jerry Sandusky was a volunteer for many charities benefiting children. He volunteered for his own perverse reasons.
This association has been fortunate, it has had many wonderful volunteers who selflessly dedicate hundreds if not thousands of hours to making this community a nicer place to live. The Jerry Sandusky comment certainly isn't meant to imply anyone involved in Willistown Knoll is a child molester, but it is meant bring home the severity of being aware of what is going on around you, no matter who the people might be: volunteers, paid employees, strangers, etc.
Let's look at the action of the recent Board and the three incumbent board members. Their "volunteering" has been to control the destiny of the other members without accountability, spend funds without disclosure, try (determine judicially the guilt or innocence) of members in absentia of rule violations refusing to show the evidence against to the members found guilty, and putting themselves in charge of a multi-million dollar project without being willing to demonstrate good business judgment to the owners. Something is very wrong. What is Mr. Blaustein going to say in five years: "sorry, I was convinced by the experts who were advising me (implying it wasn't his fault)" as he did in the recent newsletter about his bad legal decisions from 2007? Perhaps Mr. Blaustein and his colleagues should not make decisions in secret? Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have learned his lesson from past mistakes and appears intractable in his conduct.
It is fair (and necessary) to question and criticize volunteers. Past Board members here have played the stock market with Association funds and lost tens of thousands of dollars. It was never disclosed. Mr. Blaustein has not been particularly forthcoming with past agreements he made and the resulting court cases that took place. These decisions of Mr. Blaustein and others on the Board at the time cost the Association members tens of thousands of dollars if not more. Meanwhile, Mr. Blaustein as a Board Member overseeing these misspent funds, strove to implement policies such that anyone who installed their Verizon service without first "asking the Board for permission" should be fined $190!
Is it any wonder that Board Members don't want owners to see detailed financial information and details of what really gets discussed at Board Meetings. Is it any wonder they don't keep detailed minutes. Imagine the uproar that would occur if the truth came out.
Willistown Knoll needs ethical, motivated and conscious volunteers, people who are willing to make this a homeowner run community a better place, not a financial instrument for economic profit of outside concerns. We should suspect anyone who claims we all need to share the costs equally while benefiting disproportionately from the Association funds. Even more, we should suspect those who control the funds and make decisions while refusing to be accountable and transparent.
13 Homeowners Hoping for Change oust two Incumbent Board Members
Gil Brientnall and Marian Derr were ousted from their seats as Board Members in a record turnout at the Annual Meeting of the Willistown Knoll Homeowner Association.
The two new candidates promised change such as evaluating whether the community's management company, Associa Mid-Atlantic and attorney Holly Setzler, Esq. are meeting the community's needs. For example, our neighboring community, Willistown Woods is better managed and only spends $1,500 per year on legal expenses. Contrast this to Willistown Knoll's expenses of $50,000 in 2014 for legal fees alone. This promise of looking for new vendors was met by applause and cheers.
Congratulations, to new Board Members Jonathan Reiter and David Keating. Their two year term began immediately following the close of the Annual Meeting.
Mr. Reiter's background is in Financial Management and Mr. Keating's is in customer relations. Hopefully, a new broom sweeps clean. Homeowners are seeking accountability from the Association's vendors and their Board members themselves as opposed to the smug and dictatorial attitudes of the past. If there was any key word that describes expectations of the owners, it is accountability!
13.1 Management Company:
Staff Person Position Steven☺ C. Bickley, CMCA® Assigned to provide Community Manager Services by Associa-MAMC, Reassigned January 2013 Diane Gothard, CMCA®, AMS® Community Manager, Associa-MAMC Diane Gothard, CMCA®, AMS® District Manager, Associa-MAMC Marcia Reichenbach Assistant Director of Accounting Services, Associa-MAMC Patricia Mullen-Smith, CMCA®, AMS® Chief Operating Officer, Associa-MAMC Nancy S. Hastings, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM® President and CEO, Associa-MAMC and Associa-MAMCO
13.2 Licensed Attorney Performing Collections & "General Counsel":
- Holly L. Setzler, Esq.
- Landis & Setzler, P.C.
Ms Setzler provides collection services for Willistown Knoll and many other clients of the Associa Mid-Atlantic Management Corporation, She was referred to the Association by Associa Mid-Atlantic Management Corporation roughly a decade ago. She typically garners $5,000 to $6,000 annually from her collections activities at Willistown Knoll by special assessment against specific homeowners, collected by Associa-MAMC without the Board's authorization.
Ms Holly Setzler: AS ASSOCIA-MAMC HAS ACKNOWLEDGED THAT YOU GHOST WROTE THE BOARD'S FEBRUARY 18, 2014 LETTER AND RESOLUTION, WHAT IS YOUR REASON DENYING INSPECTION RIGHTS OF EVEN THE MEMBERSHIP LIST TO A MEMBER OF A MEMBERSHIP BASED NON-PROFIT TO WHICH THEY BELONG? COULD YOU BE CHURNING THE ACCOUNT TO YOUR BENEFIT? WHO WILL EARN MORE MONEY WHEN COURT ORDERS ARE FILED AND YOU OFFER YOUR SERVICES TO REPRESENT THE ASSOCIATION?
PLEASE DON'T COME TO OUR PUBLIC MEETINGS, THE HOMEOWNERS DON'T WANT THEIR MONEY WASTED ON YOUR SERVICES IT'S NOT LIKE YOU ANSWER ANY OF THE QUESTIONS WHILE YOU ARE THERE WITH ANY PROFOUND LEGAL ADVICE. WHAT IS YOUR REASON FOR BEING AT OUR MEETINGS?
CERTAINLY, ONE WOULD HOPE YOU ARE NOT CREATING AND FOSTERING AN ENVIRONMENT OF ADVERSARIAL RELATIONSHIPS AND ACRIMONY WHEN THERE NEEDS TO BE NONE? WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM THAT?
YOU'VE ALSO INSTRUCTED THAT ASSOCIA NOT DISCLOSE YOUR INVOICES TO MEMBERS. WHY?
ALL VERY VEXING - AND YOUR COLLECTIONS INCOME YOU MAKE FROM OUR COMMUNITY, COMPLETELY OFF THE ANNUAL REPORT FINANCIAL STATEMENTS. WHY?
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