HOA Hall of Shame president tries to shed title

HOA Hall of Shame president tries to shed title

CREATED Jul. 1, 2011

The man Contact 13 dubbed president of the HOA hall of shame is trying to shed his title.

He's stepping down as president of his HOA following a Contact 13 investigation.

But as Chief Investigator Darcy Spears reports, it may be too late for him to shed the limelight.

You may remember the man who became infamous for his lengthy rant to Chief Investigator Darcy Spears, and, for sticking his tongue out at her.

Homeowners in the Autumn Chase community in North Las Vegas say Joe Bitsky, the president of their HOA, has been causing trouble for years.

He's under investigation by the Real Estate Division and facing possible criminal charges from North Las Vegas police for locking people in his home during an HOA meeting.

Since our investigation aired, his actions have caught the attention of North Las Vegas City Councilman Richard Cherchio.

In 2006, he started the North Las Vegas Alliance of Homeowner Associations and Concerned Citizens.

"You do give up some of your rights, but not to the degree of what I saw in your story," Cherchio told Darcy Spears.  "People are entitled to enjoy their community."

Cherchio met with homeowners after seeing our story.

"Very clearly there's a problem here in this community that needs to be addressed."

You only need to spend a few minutes with Joe Bitsky to know there's something amiss at Autumn Chase...

"How come you yell at people so much? Why don't you just talk calmly?" Spears asked Bitsky during a November interview.

"Because I'm a triple A-type person. Alright?" he answered.  "I'm sorry, but I am and I have been my whole life. Your job is (imitates talking head)..."

Darcy Spears: "My job is just to get both sides of every story."

Joe Bitsky: "To be sensational!"

Darcy Spears: "You're doing a good job with the sensational because you're yelling at me."

Joe Bitsky: "That's right but you have to listen!"

Since our story first aired, it seems the fire has become a bit too hot for Joe Bitsky, so he's announced he's stepping out of the frying pan.

Early this month, he sent a letter to homeowners apologizing for what he calls "the channel 13 fiasco" and for losing his temper.

He calls the homeowners who filed the complaint with the State and talked to us on camera "crybabies," and that's not all.

"Apparently in his letter I am a leader in a gang that commits criminal activity on a regular basis," homeowner Joe Salvatore says with a chuckle.

In fact, that's something Bitsky told Contact 13 when we interviewed him last month.

Darcy Spears: "How are they criminals?"

Joe Bitsky: "Well, because they're doing illegal movements."

"We're not breaking laws or doing criminal acts," Salvatore says shaking his head.  "We're trying to hold our association accountable for their actions which are violating not only our CC&Rs but Nevada Revised Statutes."

Bitsky's December 5th letter ends with him announcing that he'll be "stepping down as president of Autumn Chase homeowners association."

"When you saw the notice that he was stepping down as president, what did you think?" Spears asked Salvatore.

"I think I fell on the floor laughing."

Cathy Aja thinks it's all just a ploy.

"He's really not stepping down from the board, he's just stepping down from the limelight," she says, agreeing with Salvatore.  "He's still on the board, he's still controlling things."

We called Bitsky to see if he'd talk to us again.

He didn't answer the phone and no machine picked up so we couldn't leave a message.

We did catch his car pulling out of the garage, but suddenly stop when he saw us.

And then, this...

"Oh my god!" Spears said as she watched from across the street.  "The door just closed on their car! He just closed the garage door on top of his trunk! So we know they're home."

At that point, we went to knock on his door.

"Mr. Bitsky, it's Darcy Spears from Channel 13. We know you're in there. We just want to talk to you about your stepping down as president of the HOA. Would you please come out? We know you're home."

He never came out of hiding.

But that's what Councilman Cherchio says the other residents of Autumn Chase need to do.

"They need to get involved like everything else. People need to speak up."

"And why can't you rally the other homeowners to take neighborhood-wide action?" Spears asked Aja.

"The rest of the neighbors, they just want it to go away. They don't want to get involved."

She thinks that's because Bitsky has never raised the $16-a-month association dues, and that's all many people care about.

But the HOA has credit card debt, few reserves, and has never had a proper audit.

Cherchio says that's setting everyone up to become accountable depending on the outcome of the State's investigation.

"Ultimately the homeowners could be responsible for any fines that are imposed on the community. So that's a real concern to me."

As, he says, it should be to homeowners who look the other way.

Those who have spoken up are frustrated... waiting for action from the backlogged Real Estate Division and the overwhelmed North Las Vegas City Attorney.

We hope to see some movement on at least one of those fronts in the coming weeks.

The councilman wanted to point out that most HOAs serve the greater good.

But he says people like Bitsky give them all a bad name.

Contact 13 is committed to covering this important community issue.

Please continue to send your nominations for the HOA hall of shame to 13investigates@ktnv.com.

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