Deep Creek Section 20 election overturned

Article Courtesy of The Charlotte Sun Herald

Published July 9, 2005

DEEP CREEK -- Kim Jakubaitis could celebrate Friday.

Susan Wilkinson, a state arbitrator for the Florida Homeowners' Association Mediation and Arbitration Program, declared the Deep Creek Section 20 Property Owners Association's last election invalid.

"Effective immediately upon issuance of this order, the winners of the 2004 board of directors of the Section 20 Property Owners Association are declared to be Mike Brown, Kim Jakubaitis and Michael Della Camera," Wilkinson wrote in her final order. Wilkinson also reversed the election results that called for adoption of the association's 2004-2005 budget, adoption of architectural review criteria and adoption of an $80 assessment.

Jakubaitis, Brown and Camera all celebrated Friday and felt vindicated.

They also plan to hold an organizational meeting at 9 a.m. Monday at the association's office, 2000 Rio de Janiero Ave. -- even though the association has yet to recognize the arbitrator's decision.

In January, Jakubaitis filed suit with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates property owner associations, to rule on the propriety of the election.

Like other associations, Deep Creek Section 20 property owners "vote" according to the number of properties they own. Jakubaitis attended the association's annual meeting, when elections are held, and handed in more than 900 proxy votes, but she and her fellow candidates were told they lost on the night of the election.

Jakubaitis, Brown and Camera have been critical of Lee Dunn, a former association director now serving as its manager. Prior to the elections, the three banded together and formed the nonprofit group Concerned Citizens Section 20 and ran, more or less, as a political ticket for director seats against the present management of the association.

But Dunn announced the association declared more than 600 of Jakubaitis' proxies invalid.

On the night of the election, Robert Evans won his re-election to his director seat in spite of the fact that he maintains that he called Dunn prior to the election to resign from the board and wanted his name struck from the ballot.

On the night of the election, that information could have allowed a Concerned Citizens member to step up to the board. But on election night, Dunn denied Evans resigned.

"I think in this situation, justice has prevailed," Evans said Friday.

Dunn, however, said Friday he had no knowledge of the arbitrator's decision, and Jakubaitis said she, Brown and Camera were turned away Friday when they went to the association's office.

"We're still going to be there," Jakubaitis said of the meeting Monday. "We don't know what's going to happen."

Bernard O'Donnell, the attorney for the association, could not be reached Friday, but Jakubaitis' attorney, Brian Beason, said he can seek a circuit court judge to "adopt" the arbitrator's decision and issue a court order for the association to accept Jakubaitis, Brown and Camera as board members.

"An arbitrator's decision cannot be appealed," Beason said.

Summary Final Ruling

Arbitrator reverses election results for Deep Creek board

Disenfranchising Voters

Deep Creek residents upset

Homeowner association actions spawn rebellion