HOA board members accused of mismanaging funds
Pueblo at Santa Fe's homeowners association is in hot waterPhoto: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A Valley homeowner's association is in hot water over its finances.
Some board members are accused of mismanaging association funds and homeowners want to know what's happening with their money.
It's mostly quiet at the Pueblo at Santa Fe community near North Rancho Drive and North Rainbow Boulevard, just how the homeowners there like it.
"I just retired here three years ago from Illinois," said homeowner William Wick. "I came out here to Nevada and I thought this is wonderful."
But Wick said the neighborhood's beauty has been overshadowed by some ugly accusations against members of the HOA board.
"The board that supposed to take care of our property and the money we're paying, it was just - I was just totally disheartened," said Wick.
His wife Elizabeth said the last year-or-so has been frustrating.
"Things have been going bad in our association for a very long time," said Elizabeth Wick. "We all have felt like we had no control."
Action News has obtained a complaint from the Nevada Real Estate Division filed February 14, 2013. It shows each of the HOA's five board members face at least one accusation of wrong-doing; some face numerous accusations.
For example, the complaint said after the HOA started running out of money to pay operating expenses in February, 2012, board members John Swanson, Teresa Brunner and Wayne Klosek illegally transferred a total of $90,000 from the reserves to the operating fund in two installments.
The documents show two other board members, Brenda Tierney and Bridget Coughlin, were not sitting on the board for the first transfer and neither was present for the December, 2012, meeting when the second transfer was decided.
"It's the last few years when you felt so frustrated, you didn't know what you could do," said Elizabeth Wick.
According to the complaint, Swanson, Brunner and Klosek are also accused of "negligence" and "incompetence" for agreeing to pay legal fees for a former community manager; the three board members are listed in more than half of the accusations.
There's more: all five board members are accused of not conducting a study of the reserves at least once every five years.
Following a homeowner complaint, the board was scheduled to respond to the accusations at a hearing by the Commission for Common-Interest Communities last Tuesday, June 11, but only Tierney showed. An attorney representing the other four board members announced a settlement with the state to resolve the matter. According to the settlement, the four members claimed they acted in good faith and relied on information from professionals to make their decisions. One member, John Swanson, died last month.
The proposed settlement would have meant the resignation of the four board members and included a series of other requirements like not serving on another HOA board in the near future, requiring new board elections and new banking measures.
But the commission rejected the proposal in a 3-to-2 vote saying the penalties were too lenient.
"It wasn't tough enough," said homeowner Michael Dmytro.
Tierney, who represented herself, told the commission she's tried unsuccessfully to obtain receipts and documents for the HOA's finances. She said she also believes some board meetings were purposely held at times when she couldn't attend because of work. Tierney is the only board member who would not have to resign under the proposed settlement.
We went knocking on doors in the Pueblo at Santa Fe in hopes of speaking of Klosek, Brunner and Coughlin. No one answered at two addresses listed and when someone did at a third address, the door closed with no response.
"I don't know if there is an ideal solution but I think that the first steps are to get rid and clear house of the people that have had these transgressions against us," said Dmytro.
Action News reached out to the attorney representing the four board members, the community manager and the state's attorney but none wanted to talk to us on camera.
Some homeowners said they're upset with the commission's decision because it leaves the current HOA board in place for the time being.
Since the settlement was not approved, the matter will likely be rescheduled for another hearing towards the end of the year.