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HOA Hall of Shame president banned from board

HOA Hall of Shame president banned from board

By Darcy Spears. CREATED Oct 9, 2012

North Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- What started in Contact 13's HOA Hall of Shame has ended with the state taking unprecedented action against an homeowners association board.

Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has the final chapter of a story she first exposed two years ago.

Joe Bitsky will forever live in infamy in Contact 13's HOA Hall of Shame for sticking out his tongue on camera.

When we first met him in 2010, he hurled insults at us and the four Autumn Chase homeowners who filed a complaint against him with the Nevada Real Estate Division.
 
But he was much more subdued at Monday's Common Interest Communities Commission hearing.

When he raised his hands in mock surrender and smiled at our camera, he didn't know what they had in store for him.

"I would say that both your motives and your methods here were not pure," said Commissioner Barry Breslow.

Bitsky's smile was long gone after the commission made its ruling.

"I think it's an embarrassment to all homeowners associations," added Commissioner Robert Schwenk.

The commission voted for the first time ever to remove an entire HOA board.

Commissioner Marilyn Brainard even apologized to Autumn Chase homeowners who "were subjected to this kind of treatment and disrespect for so many years.  I'm just sorry it's gone on for so long."

Bitsky has been running the Autumn Chase board since 2003. His reign abruptly ended Monday. He. his wife Barbara and third board member Hellen Murphy can never serve on another HOA board in Nevada.

They were found guilty of more than 200 willful violations of state law for mistreating homeowners and misappropriating HOA money.

"We're not hiding anything.  They're saying we're hiding stuff," Bitsky told the Commission.

But the commission found the Bitskys spent more than $10,000 HOA dollars on their personal utility bills, groceries, gas, travel and even memberships to online adult chat sites.

"I know I'm not the best-liked person in the room," Bitsky said to the commission.

That might be the understatement of the year, considering one commissioner compared him to a former Yugoslavian dictator.

"Does it seem like I'm a dictator?  No!" Bitsky protested.

But after the Commission fined him and his wife nearly $116,000, the man who's never been at a loss for words, had nothing at all to say.

Darcy: Would you have some comment on what the board ruled on?
Joe: No.
Darcy: No comment at all? They said a lot of very difficult things in there about how you ran things.  No response to that?
Joe: No.
Darcy: They said that you embarrassed every HOA in the valley.

When he wouldn't talk, we turned to his wife.

Darcy: Barbara, you've never said anything.  I'd like to hear your comments.
Barbara: They're gonna say what they wanna say.
Darcy: What would you like to say? We've never had the chance to hear from you.
Barbara: Does it matter?
Darcy: Of course it matters.  It does matter.
Barbara: No, it doesn't.

It matters a whole lot to the homeowners.

"We feel vindicated," said Cathy Aja.

"I'm ecstatic!" added Joe Salvatore.

They've been fighting the Bitskys and their board for years.

"No one else should really have to go through what we went through," Salvatore said.

Joe and Cathy were two of the four homeowners whose complaint to the Real Estate Division in 2010 led to the Commission's ruling.

"Now we have a long road to hoe to rebuild the community," Cathy said.

The Bitskys have six months to pay their fines, fees and restitution to the HOA. 

And they were ordered to immediately surrender the association credit card and records to the state until a new board of directors is in place. 

The commission did not fine Hellen Murphy, citing concerns that she too was a victim of the Bitskys. 

If you believe your HOA belongs beside this one in Contact 13's Hall of Shame, send us an email to 13investigates@ktnv.com.

 

Darcy Spears

Darcy Spears

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