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HOA board member's bad behavior catches up with him

HOA board member's bad behavior catches up with him

By Darcy Spears. CREATED May 4, 2012

North Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- He's the man Contact 13 dubbed president of the HOA Hall of Shame.

And now, his reign may be coming to an end.

Chief Investigator Darcy Spears first broke this story in late 2010. Now, a year and a half later, the state is finally taking action against Joe Bitsky.

"He's just awful!  People don't even want to live here," said then-homeowner Amie-Jo Dinsio when we first met her in November, 2010.

"He picks and chooses people who he wants to fine," added Joe Salvatore, another homeowner we spoke to at the time.

When we first met Joe Bitsky, he'd been at the helm of the Autumn Chase homeowner association in North Las Vegas for ten years.

But that may not be the case for long.

More on that in a moment, but first, let's take a look back at how Bitsky became president of our HOA Hall of Shame.

"So it's OK for some people to have permission to park here but not others?" asked Joe Salvatore, who recorded Bitsky on his home video camera and posted the interaction on You Tube.
Bitsky: "It's OK for people who ask.  Got it?  Ask!  Remember that!" Bitsky says, yelling at Salvatore and shaking his finger out the window of his van.

Amie-Jo told us what Bitsky did when he found out homeowners were recording HOA meetings -- which is required by state law.

"At the end of the meeting he locked us in his home because he found out that the recording had taken place and he wouldn't let us out.  I had to call 911 in order to be let out of his home."

A North Las Vegas judge found Bitsky guilty of coercion for that October 2010 incident and sentenced him to pay nearly $1300 in fines and take anger management classes.

At the time, we questioned him about how he treats homeowners.

Bitsky: It's not how I deal with the homeowners.
Darcy: You're dealing with me the same way.
Bitsky: Look, it's how I deal with jerks!

He even resorted to sticking his tongue out at me on camera.

But now, his behavior has finally caught up with him.

"I just want them to be held accountable.  That's the main thing," said Joe Salvatore.

The Nevada Real Estate Division has been investigating Bitsky and the rest of the Autumn Chase board since Salvatore and three other homeowners filed a complaint back in 2010.

At the time, Darcy Spears asked Bitsky, "Do you belong in the HOA Hall of Shame?"
Bitsky: "No, no!  It's the people who filed complaints for no reason because they got fined!  They belong in the HOA Hall of Shame!"

The state found plenty of reason in the homeowners' complaints. They recently sent a letter to Bitsky, his wife and their friend -- who make up the entire three-person Autumn Chase board.

The letter says the Real Estate Division has "obtained sufficient evidence to commence a disciplinary action... and intends to file a complaint for hearing before the Commission for Common Interest Communities."

In the letter, the Autumn Chase board is accused of violating more than 16 state laws, including failing to audit HOA funds; failing to hold proper elections; and conducting financial transactions not in the association's interest and for their own personal gain such as using association money to install security cameras on their home.

"It's not mine.  It belongs to the association, thank you," Bitsky told Spears in 2010.
Darcy: "But it's mounted on your personal, private house."
Bitsky: "Is there a law against it?"

There's a law against a lot of what Bitsky and his board are accused of doing such as failing to conduct meetings; refusing to give records to the Real Estate Division; and refusing to pay a previous fine. In 2006, Bitsky was fined $8,000 for working as a property manager without a state license.

"Why haven't you paid that fine?" Spears asked Bitsky in 2010.
 Bitsky: "None of your business."

State investigators believe the Autumn Chase board may be guilty of more than 150 individual violations. We're told Bitsky may be removed from the HOA board and prevented from ever serving on any other.

"I think that's the minimum that we expect," said Salvatore.  He hopes the Nevada Attorney General will also investigate what he and other homeowners believe is criminal activity.

They've told the Real Estate Division they believe Bitsky is using HOA funds to pay for his own water and power bills.

"The whole entire HOA is still at his personal residence.  All of our HOA dues still go to his house," Salvatore says.

And Bitsky's house is exactly where Contact 13 went once again to find him.

"Joe Bitsky, it's Darcy Spears from Channel 13," Spears called through the front door after ringing the bell and knocking several times.  "We need to talk to you about the State that says you guys are breaking a bunch of laws the way you're running your HOA.  Will you come out and talk to us, please?" 

No one answered the door or our phone calls.

Neighbors say they haven't seen Bitsky around lately and if you take a look at his house, it does appear to have fallen into some disrepair. 

In fact, it seems like the president himself may be guilty of violating his own community standards: from the stains in the driveway to the cracked and peeling pot at the front of the house to a stained square of carpet laying on the landscape rocks in front of the backyard gate to a corner of the house covered in bird poop.  But then again, neighbors say Bitsky has always operated as if the rules don't apply to him.

"He is the management, he is the board, he is the architectural board.  Everything goes through him.  And if he doesn't like you, forget it," Amie-Jo Dinsio told us in 2010.

Since then, she has sold her home and moved out of Autumn Chase to escape the stress she says Bitsky caused her family.

Now, those who remain hope Bitsky gets a taste of his own medicine.

The entire three-person Autumn Chase board will have to attend a hearing in August.  If, at that hearing, the Commission determines violations have in fact occurred, they face possible administrative fines of up to $1,000 per violation and may all be removed from the association's executive board.

Bitsky's behavior and Contact 13's coverage of it has earned Autumn Chase and our own Darcy Spears a featured spot in a soon-to-be-released national documentary on HOAs.

We've set up a link to the trailer.  To see it, just type links in the search box.

And as always, continue sending your nominations for the HOA Hall of Shame to 13investigates@ktnv.com.
 

Darcy Spears

Darcy Spears

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Darcy Spears is currently the Chief Investigative Reporter for Action News.

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