December 7, 2004
be advised of three recent adverse rulings, against "The People
of the State of Illinois," and in favor of the Oak Run Property Owners
Association Inc. These rulings were made in open court, by Judge
Steven Mathers, on December 2, 2004.
The three criminal complaints against the Association, which were filed by
the State's Attorney's Office in September 2003, involved the Oak Run POA's
failure to allow inspection of the membership list, an act required by 805
The criminal charges were filed after the State's Attorney, Paul L. Mangieri,
had expressly instructed the Oak Run POA Manager, in writing, to comply with
the law in Illinois.
Oak Run POA attorneys have stated that POA members have no statutory rights,
and that no request for inspection of any documents, including the
membership list, will be considered, unless the members' written requests
are duplicated onto a special form available only at the POA office.
The Oak Run POA's "document control policy" requires that all
requests for the membership list must be forwarded to legal counsel, and the
POA's policy specifically prohibits a member from using the list for
political purposes, unless the Board approves of their request to do so, in
Oak Run POA Attorney, Charles Rock, (of Hasselburg, Rock and Kuppler in
Peoria, Illinois) defended the POA's failure to follow the express directive
of the State's Attorney, to provide the membership list, by stating that he
would show that those three members of the Oak Run POA had committed
"fraud upon the
Court" and "fraud upon the State's Attorney."
Attorney Charles Rock also stated that those same three members had
"lied to the State's Attorney," and that "they lied to the
Oak Run POA," -- more specifically, that they had all lied about the
reasons for the requested inspection of the membership list.
The POA members were publicly described by Attorney Rock as
"foils and puppets" who had been "trotted in" for
vexatious reasons only, and were not entitled to inspect the membership
list, because the only reason they wanted to do so was to "harass Oak
Two of the POA complainants (Barney Olson, who is an attorney, and James
Sadler, who is a retired businessman who serves on a HOA Board of Directors
in Hawaii) had expressly indicated, in their written requests to the POA,
that their "proper purpose" to inspect the membership list related
solely to their
desire to run for election to the Oak Run Board of Directors.
The third member's "purpose" was indicated to be a desire to
"communicate with the membership" ie. about certain safety issues
and about certain fees being charged by the POA in addition to the annual
The State's Attorney proved that all three complainants were, in fact,
"voting members" -- who were, in fact, entitled to inspect
the membership list -- and that their requests were, in fact,
made during "reasonable business hours."
The State showed that the requests for inspection were made in writing, and
were, in fact, delivered in advance (by Fed-X and FAX from Olson and
Sadler).(Neither of which are required by the Statute.)
The Oak Run POA Manager, Michael Davison, (who is a recently credentialed
"professional" by Community Associations Institute) testified that
all three members had, in fact, stated proper purposes for the requested
inspections, but that Oak Run refused to allow the inspections.
What else could the State have done? Why did "The People of the State
of Illinois" lose these three important cases? You be the Judge.
The Court's December 2, 2004, ruling is being transcribed and will be made
available to you, in its entirety, as soon as possible.
Judge Mathers seems to be quite concerned that while there was a plethora of
civil cases cited to him to support the State's position, that there were no
criminal cases cited.
Do these cases exist in any State? Are other HOAs being cited for
violations by elected officials (or are those in your State too busy trying
murderers and child molesters)? Why are there no published decisions?
The Court's ruling should make it crystal clear to legislators, in every
state, why HOA reforms are necessary to better protect even basic homeowners
rights. Without enforcement, those important rights are meaningless.
An agency must be established to oversee common interest communities, in
every state, in order to effectively deal with ever-increasing complaints
against HOA Boards and/or the attorneys who misadvise them.
Until that happens, "Let the buyer beware."