AGAINST HAVASU GARDENS
By MARTY SHEVELOVE
Article Courtesy of Today's News-Herald
June 28, 2002
|A lawsuit filed to fight proposed homeowners
association fee increases at Havasu Gardens Estates has been dismissed.
The lawsuit, filed by action committee chairman Bob Allen, was dismissed May 17 by Justice of the Peace Michael C. Centofanti.
Allen filed the suit against the homeowners association demanding full disclosure of several financial and administrative records after residents in the Desert Hills community were notified at the beginning of the year monthly dues would be doubling from $20 to $40 plus a $310 special assessment fee for street repairs.
Jerry Schmitz of Arizona Griffin Development, who also serves on the association’s board of directors, supplied Today’s News-Herald on Thursday with a copy of the homeowners association’s income and expense report for 2001. The same information has been mailed to the association’s homeowners.
Schmitz said that Allen had seen the records not once, but twice. Allen said late Thursday that what he saw on two prior occasions when he asked to see the books were two boxes of receipts and a check register.
Allen said he filed the lawsuit against Havasu Gardens Association secretary/treasurer Joyce Longacre and that it was tossed out because it was in the wrong court.
“To gain the satisfaction I am looking for, the suit will have to be filed in Superior Court. I am pondering the right course on this. The way things look right now is that it will take a court action to resolve differences at Havasu Gardens Estates,” he said.
Allen said he is most concerned about the board of directors denying association status to those homeowners who have not paid the association fee increases, which would prevent them from voting on the increases at a July 2 special meeting.
“I am concerned that money is being removed from the street fund to be used for an attorney. But, I will be perfectly happy to meet with Mr. Schmitz at any time and also to meet with a mediator if it could be arranged. I would abide by the mediator’s decision,” Allen said.
The homeowners association’s U.S. income tax return supplied by Schmitz for 2001 showed the organization with $72,580 of total exempt function income and total expenditures of $79,360 for the tax year.
Documents supplied by Schmitz showed that the largest expense of the homeowner’s association, $14,400, went to the park manager who received a salary of $11,400 and was reimbursed for $3,000 worth of expenses.
Park maintenance was $13,063 while clubhouse maintenance topped out at $4,380.
Bookkeeping expenses were $6,000 and purchases accounted for $6,596.57. Included in the list of purchases were cameras at a cost of $2,100 and glass doors for $2,495.72. Exercise equipment ($465.00) and pool furniture ($319.88) were next on the list.
The association also spent $2,827.97 on outside services including $505 for clean-up work, $432.02 for water meters and $310.80 for a spa consultation.
The association also spent $4,843 on insurance, paid $5,476.63 in taxes, spent $11,373.68 on utilities, $986 on a state fund for an employee, $441.10 on postage, $4,725.45 on supplies and $4.240.85 on miscellaneous expenses.
The association had an ending balance of $2,378.41 and a reserve balance of $1,196.48 along with a $44.67 balance in petty cash.
In the letter to homeowners, Schmitz said the so-called action committee had misinformed them. “The action committee misinformed you and spread vicious lies in both print and verbally about the board of directors, the officers of the home association and additionally about the development group.”
“You need to wade through their accusations and lies and look at the facts, and apply just a little common sense to the whole scenario,” Schmitz wrote.
Schmitz said that association president Clayton Beuchler had worked his heart out to make the park a great place to live. “He has never taken a penny. Bob Allen of all people, should be ashamed to make such a stupid claim.”
Allen told Today’s News-Herald early last month that his gut feeling was that someone was putting money in their pocket. “There’s something very close to embezzlement going on,” he charged.
In a letter to homeowners dated June 7, Buechler, Schmitz and fellow board director Jeffrey J. Crilley said they took pride in their appointments and vision they have for the Havasu Garden Estates’ community.
“We have made and continue to make a major and long-term commitment to the park. We bring to our commitment every organizational, financial, business, and human resource to which we have access,” they wrote. “Our goals are met when you, as a homeowner, enjoy a community that lives up to its potential and when you receive a greater return on your investment.”
A special meeting will be held Tuesday at the estates’ clubhouse. If the required quorum is present, voting will be held on the approval and ratification of an increase in the monthly assessment fee to $40 and on a special assessment in the amount of $310 for road maintenance, repairs and improvements. The special assessment would be payable by July 30.
GARDEN RESIDENTS CLAIM MISMANAGEMENT OF FUNDS
Some homeowners urging neighbors not to vote on fee increase until homeowners association releases records
By BRIAN WEDEMEYER
Article Courtesy of Today's News-Herald
May 09, 2002
|Some residents of Havasu Garden Estates
are urging neighbors not to vote on proposed fee increases until their
homeowners association coughs up its financial records.
The neighborhood community in Desert Hills, including mostly manufactured homes, has existed since the early 1970s.
The Havasu Garden Estates Homeowners Association, established in 1996, has recently proposed doubling monthly dues from $20 to $40, plus a $310 special assessment fee for street repairs.
However, some homeowners have questioned how the association has spent money in the past, and now claim they are now being denied access to financial records.
“My gut feeling is somebody is putting that money in their pocket,” said Bob Allen, chairman of a newly formed action committee. “There’s something very close to embezzlement going on.”
The situation has created much tension in the neighborhood. Some homeowners have posted signs in their front yards urging neighbors not to attend a May 30 special meeting to vote on the fee increases.
On Tuesday, some homeowners received a letter from an attorney threatening legal action unless the signs are removed.
Clayton Beuchler, association president, described the situation as “silly,” when contacted by Today’s News-Herald, then referred all further questions to Kingman attorney Robert Brooks, who did not return messages.
Allen said he recently filed suit against the association demanding full disclosure of several financial and administrative records. He added that he hopes the legal action eventually will lead to a complete audit of the association.
“I don’t mind paying for the maintenance of the common property ... that’s our responsibility,” Allen said. “Without a proper accounting of the money we already paid ... that’s enough to make you suspicious of anybody.”
The committee wants homeowners to avoid the May 30 meeting in order to prevent a quorum. They also are urging homeowners not to return absentee ballots. According to Allen, Jerome Schmitz of Arizona Griffin Development is allowed three votes per every unsold lot — enough to override the other property owners regardless of how they vote. Homeowners also are expected to vote on lowering the quorum requirement from 60 percent to 30 percent attendance.
Schmitz, who also serves on the association’s board of directors, could not be reached for comment.
The association generated more than $55,000 in revenue in 2001, most of which came from monthly dues. The association expects to receive more than $110,000 in 2002 as a result of the increase in dues.
According to the 2001 expense report, more than $24,000 was spent on the maintenance of the common areas, including a park, swimming pool, clubhouse and security.
John Henry, a 21-year-old firefighter, wonders if all of that money ever reached its final destination.
“It’s ridiculous when you compare our amenities to a lot of other places in the area,” Henry said. “When you look around the neighborhood at the general upkeep, you have to wonder where that money is going to.”
Larry Stitt, a member of the action committee, said previous budget reports have always been an issue of contention among the homeowners.
“Whenever we asked for more details, the answer was always ‘We’ll get around to that,’” Stitt said.
The proposed street repairs have been estimated as high as $113,000. Allen said he is not sure if other construction bids were ever considered.
“They said that’s none of our business.”