Welcome to Willistown Knoll's Wiki

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A Homeowner Sponsored Site dedicated to HOA Homeowners Everywhere

bringing a bit of transparency and truth to a secretively and insularly managed community
A site by and for the homeowners of Willistown Knoll, neighbors helping neighbors. Knoll Banner.png

1 NOTICE

Do not base any legal decisions upon this website; for official information, contact the Board of Directors via the Board President, Michael Blaustein of 302 Princeton Court, Newtown Square, PA. If he refers you to PENCO Management, keep in mind that the Management Company and their employees do not legally represent the Homeowner Association.

When dealing with Willistown Knoll Homeowner Association, Incl, for important decisions (e.g. thinking of buy or selling a home within the association), make sure the information you received is in writing and signed signed by the President of the Association and/or one of the several association's attorneys. DO NOT TRUST verbal statements.

Information on this site is provided in good faith by members within the association; please immediately report any errors, unsubstantiated statements, or statements that are believed to be falsely incriminating to the administrator of the website. Please read the General Disclaimer for more information.

2 Elliot H. Berton, Esquire of Steven L. Sugarman & Associates

2.1 ...you can squeeze blood from a stone, you just have to squeeze hard enough...

During a recent "Information Meeting" where vendors were presenting information while Knoll's board president, Mr. Michael Blaustein, ran the slide projector, a homeowner asked for information on how these Vendor's proposed multi-million dollar project would affect her financially. Being completely honest and brave, she stated as an owner, she may not be able to continue to live here due to the financial burdens this project would place on her. She would like to act in a responsible manner, perhaps selling before the additional bills start coming in. After all, she confessed, you can't squeeze blood from a stone, I may simply not have the money.

Mr. Burton Elliot, Esquire, who the board paid to attend this meeting (at what cost?), helpfully replied: "when I work collections for my clients, I tell them that of course you can squeeze blood from a stone, you just have to squeeze hard enough and to make sure none of it is your own blood".

This vendor should have been made to immediately apologize to all homeowners for his crude and thoughtless statement, if not simply fired. Our Board of Michael A. Blaustein, William Horst, David Keating, and Eileen McAnally; showed no sense of disapproval of Mr. Elliot's joke. Mr. Burton and Mr Blaustein were clearly on a first name basis; one of many experts from whom Mr. Blaustein seeks out advice.

3 Michael Blaustein's Letter - Living in Willistown Knoll

Anyone wondering about this association only needs to read Mr. Blaustein's recent letter which he sent to most but not all of the homeowners within Willistown Knoll. Mr. Blaustein was running for election (he had been previously appointed to be a Board Member by his friends on the Board).

The direction that Mr. Blaustein and friends have taken with this Association is whether to borrow $7 million to $10 million dollars to make questionable architectural changes to the homes. Please note: this stimate based upon non-union labor rates and the square footage of the siding within the development ($20/square foot, roughly 350,000 square feet of stucco, other work is also planned by the Board). Mr. Blaustein and the board received legally binding quotations for the work they have unanimously endorsed (according to Mr. Blaustein's April 14, 2016 letter) in April 2016 but as of June 13, 2016, have not updated their previous disclosure of a year ago that the project costs will be greater than $5 million dollars ($25,000 per homeowner) minimum. Does Mr. Blaustein stand by that lower estimate or is there a new minimum? Why the long delay in updates? Perhaps rather than simply quoting a minimum; how about providing homeowners of a NOT TO EXCEED amount? Wouldn't that be a better planning tool for the owners withing the association or potential buyers? Or perhaps after years, no one knows how much the project will cost; that's hard to believe. Thus this site is making a good faith estimate in lieu of any released information from the Board.

For anyone seeking more accurate and timely estimates, please contact Mr. Blaustein, president of the Board. He and the Board have been in possession of the contractor quotations for weeks. Accurate and official answers are the Board's responsibility, not this website or it's authors.

Whatever the cost, this is known. Owners will be obliged to pay the unfunded amount, either by special assessment of a lump sum or increased monthly payments to pay back a loan taken out by the Board on behalf of the association. If some owners cannot pay, the board have announced after three months, the full years worth of assessments will become immediately due and a lien will be placed on the owner's home. Additional legal action could include foreclosure.

In the interim, the other owners who can pay will need to pick up the difference.

The Board has not disclosed that they received a proposal in 2013 for the repair and continued maintenance of the stucco from a well respected Professional Engineering firm in conjunction with one of the area's top stucco remediation companies.

Getting back to Mr. Blaustein's letter, Consult owners? Work towards a consensus owners, comparing alternatives to total replacement of the siding? Mr. Blaustein did not even make the new board members of 2015 aware of the 2013 proposal and option/. The Board has also not responded to requests to make this proposal available to the owners along with an explanation of why it was discarded and never disclosed.

Mr. Blaustein did not extend the courtesy of providing copies of his letter to the people whom he was criticizing but that would be par for the course, perhaps it was a coincidental accident.

Please read the letter below. There will be more disclosures on this website regarding Mr. Blaustein's "track record of accomplishment for the Association." This will include past financial mismanagement when he was previously president of the Board, potential abrogation of his Board responsibilities to Vendors (a theme in his letter, the board follows what "experts" tell them to do. What value then does Mr. Blaustein bring? Perhaps the vendors (management company, lawyers, and others) could simply run the association. Questions also exist as to the Board's failure to act in fidelity to the governing documents and Pennsylvania Law.

Sadly, living within Willistown Knoll has become a miserable experience for many of residents. Another theme of the letter, it is all about Mr. Blaustein and his friends, not the people who live here. Given that multi-million dollar contracts are soon to be signed, all rather concerning that Mr. Blaustein and friends think they must continue being on the Board; welcoming no outsiders as it would interfere with their unanimous position of replacing all of the stucco without ever disclosing any alternatives.

Here is Mr. Michael A. Blaustein's letter in full.

April 14, 2016
Dear Fellow Homeowner,
We are in the midst of an important Board of Directors election at Willistown Knoll. It is important not because of the personalities involved, but because of the candidates' positions on what constitutes good governance of our Homeowners' Association. I am writing to ask your support for effective governance that is consistent with our Declaration and Bylaws, best practices, and common sense by casting your vote for Bill Horst, Eileen McAnally, and me-incumbent Directors with a track record of accomplishment for the Association.
Our Declarations and Bylaws have a lot to say about governance, including the Duties of the Board> "It shall be the duty [emphasis added] of the Board to act as fiduciaries for the Association in the administration, operation, and management of the business affairs of the Association and the Property." [Bylaws, Article XIII, Section 1. ] Our documents list numerous specific duties of the Board, including budgeting, maintaining those property elements the Association has responsibility for, collecting fees and assessments, and enforcing the rules and regulations of the Association. The documents also enable the Board to obtain and rely on the support of "accountants, architects, engineers, legal counsel, Manager... " in performance of its duties.
Two candidates have proposed that "consensus" be a primary principle of governance in Willistown Knoll for "big decisions" or "weighty matters." Besides the fact that this notion does not appear in our governing documents, it shouldn't be supported because it is vague and impractical. This is not to say that the Board does not consider homeowners' needs/wants when making decisions, big or small; after all, we were elected to represent all of you. However, making decisions through homeowner consensus presents unmanageable challenges, starting with: What is meant by deciding through consensus? Does it mean that a Special Meeting should be convened for every decision over a certain threshold? What would the threshold be? Does it mean that a vote, subject to a 25% quorum requirement, should be taken on issues at those meetings? Does it mean that the vast majority of the homeowners who understand and support the governance principles of the HOA should turn over power to a vocal minority who happen to be engaged on one issue or another? If a quorum is not achieved and consensus is not reached, an all-too-likely event, does it mean we do nothing?
I don't know the answers to those questions, but I do know that the current Board is committed to fulfilling, not abdicating, our duties; we view them as required, not optional. In fulfilling our duties, we have continuously sought out guidance from professionals on best practices and content. We are not perfect, but we are always learning.
As President of the Board, I have had the opportunity to lead a strong Board of Directors over the past year. We came together in a cloud of controversy after the 2015 election. We proceeded to capitalize on the diversity of experience from our work in the government, non-profit, and for-profit sectors and with backgrounds including human resources, finance, marketing and sales, information technology, business management, and science. On the most challenging issue the Association faces-siding replacement- it was important to me that the Board reach a unanimous conclusion about the path the Association would take. To ensure this, we revisited every report and observation, reconvened the Stucco Committee, reengaged our engineers and experts, and arrived at the conclusions we have communicated to the membership. This is how a Board committed to fulfilling its duties operates.
I appreciate the opportunity I have had to serve the Association, and I hope you will give me, Eileen, and Bill the opportunity to continue to work for you.
Sincerely,
Michael Blaustein

4 Management Company:

PENCO Management, Inc

Staff Person Position
Debbie Marchiano Community Manager
Steve Enrey, CMCA®, AMS® Vice-President
Bobbie Castellotti President

5 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.

6 Footnotes:



Please read the Disclaimers before using this website.