SeaScape Master POA Meeting December 1, 2012
This is a brief overview of the tenth annual SeaScape POA Meeting. When the Board sends out its minutes, the Restore SeaScape Committee (RSC) will provide our additional commentary and perspective.
Procedures and Protocol:
- The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. by Eric Johnson, President of the POA Board. Other Board members present were Carroll Lipscombe, Vice President; Brad Cheers, Director at large; Curt Bolden, Treasurer; and Helen Stead, Secretary. Also present were Adam Beaudoin, of Ward & Smith, the Association attorney; and Allen Trask of Ward & Smith's litigation team.
- Over 160 lot owners were present, the largest attendance to date. Plaintiffs to the RSC litigation were represented by Karl Amelchenko, of Whitfield Bryson & Mason, LLP Raleigh, NC.
- There were 62 votes present and 335 proxies (71.5% of the Association). This was by far the highest percentage of owners participating since the Association was formed. (Note that this was also more than sufficient to reject the budget if it proved necessary. The RSC sincerely appreciates the support of both those owners who attended and those who provided proxies.)
- The 2013 Board Appointments were announced: The board remains the same as last year, with the exception of Helen Stead, who was not reappointed. Thus the POA will have a four-member board (none of which are property owners), appointed as always, by the Declarant. Three are Coastal employees and the fourth is not a SeaScape resident.
- The meeting followed the agenda (attached). The main topics covered were the 2013 budget and litigation. Of note is that no time was allocated, nor any given, for a final Q&A session or for committee chairs to report on their past year's activities.
- Curt Bolden made a brief, convoluted presentation, in which he stated that the budget had been prepared and revised numerous times; that it included initial repairs of the marina ($103K) and litigation costs for the Board to sue the Declarant ($50K). The 2012 assessment was $1350; the 2013 annual assessment was increased by 20%, the maximum allowable, to $1620.
- At no time during these numerous iterations of the budget was the SeaScape Budget and Finance Committee involved. SeaScape owners comprise this committee and, for the first time ever, were excluded from any participation in the formulation or review of the proposed budget. When challenged, the Board's position was that they cut out the finance committee because of the pending litigation. (We would like to note that the finance committee was excluded prior to the filing of the RSC's lawsuit.) Curt was unable to effectively articulate how the marina repair budget was formulated.
- A member of the ad hoc Marina Wall Committee, formed by the POA Board to investigate and recommend marina and boardwalk repair, noted that the Board refused to take their advice. At Least 3 members of the wall committee present voiced an opinion that the information presented by Curt was incorrect.
- When the Board was asked to elaborate on the details of the monies allocated for litigation and marina repair, the Board responded that due to pending litigation and on attorney advice, they could not respond to those questions until the budget was ratified. (Emphasis added.) The illogic of that was pointed out to them, to no avail. An objection to this process was entered and noted on the record
- Given the Board's statements and responses during the meeting, a motion was then made by the RSC to reject the budget. This motion was overwhelmingly passed. Although no formal vote count was taken, only a handful of owners (probably less than 5) supported the proposed budget. The Board then stated, as required by our By-Laws, they will use the 2012 budget for next year.
- A motion was then made that the Board accept direction as to how to spend next year's funds. The Board refused to accept that motion. An objection to their refusal was entered and noted on the record. Another motion was then made that the Board accept guidance on how to spend next year's funds. After a brief recess and consultation with their attorney, Eric Johnson said that they would not accept any guidance in the meeting forum, but would meet in the near future with an RSC representative and the finance committee to hear their guidance.
- The RSC would like to reiterate and emphasize our objections to the proposed 2013 budget that was successfully rejected by an overwhelming majority of lot owners - we estimate about 98% of voting members (approximately 400 votes including proxies) in the meeting room. First, that there should be no funds expended by the POA Board for litigation. And second, that monies should only be allocated for the stabilization of the marina, not for initial stages of what we believe would be an inadequate and incomplete repair. Further, that funding for the repair to the marina should rest with those responsible, not the property owners.
- The Board asserted, through their attorney Adam Beaudoin, the Association wants to be a party to the Restore SeaScape lawsuit as a plaintiff, and has made a motion to intervene. This will be addressed in court.
At this point, with no question and answer session permitted, with refusals to accept any motions and refusals to accept any guidance or advice, the Board announced that the meeting was adjourned (without a vote) and abruptly left the hall at about 11:15 a.m.
The Restore SeaScape Committee believes that the meeting demonstrated the intransigence of the Board and its unwillingness to cooperate with the property owners it represents. The RSC is pleased that so many lot owners provided proxies to us. This enabled the rejection of the budget and demonstrated our resolve and cohesiveness.
The Restore SeaScape Committee set up in the lobby to answer questions and provide insights. A number of additional property owners signed up as plaintiffs and pledged contributions. We thank them and encourage those of you who have not signed on as a plaintiff or contributed to the fund in support the legal action underway, to please do so. Your participation will enhance our strength. It is imperative that we have as much community support as possible to succeed in our goal to Restore SeaScape. We have provided a link below where you can join your fellow property owners in our suit as a plaintiff.
LINK TO FORM