Foothills resident takes HOA board to task
In August, I wrote an open letter advising homeowners of the Foothills Community Association our HOA is in trouble.
Last week’s board meeting drove home how troubled our association is and it provided shocking examples of why homeowners cannot trust the board.
I pointed out that the contractor ProQual, working on a million-dollar irrigation replacement project, had received a citation and been fined by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
I was quickly interrupted by the board’s attorney, who vehemently insisted I was wrong; he stated emphatically ProQual had not been cited or fined.
This supposedly nonexistent citation is now posted on our website, thefoothillsinfo.com, along with the consent agreement that stipulated payment of the fine.
I confronted the attorney about statements he made at the August board meeting defending the late mailing of absentee ballots for the recall election in May.
When he reaffirmed his position, I read him the very Arizona statute he had cited and this clearly said the exact opposite of what he had claimed.
A transcript of his earlier statement and the text of the statute are also on our website.
A truly unbelievable exchange occurred regarding the board’s failure to comply with Arizona’s open meetings statute. We challenged the board to explain how it had met in closed session to discuss legal advice from its attorney for 38 minutes BEFORE the attorney arrived.
The treasurer initially responded the board was discussing nonlegal matters that are covered by other exceptions listed in the statute.
We then pointed out the statute stipulates the board must give advance notice of the exceptions that justify a closed session and the board had only listed the ‘legal advice from an attorney’ exception.
The board president then switched the story and asserted the board had been discussing a letter from the attorney. I doubt even the board’s few supporters at the meeting could buy that the board spent 38 minutes behind closed doors discussing a letter from the attorney before the attorney actually appeared.
Sadly, the board’s dismissive attitude toward homeowners was again on full display. In two minutes, it discussed and moved to pass its 2020 budget.
Of course, determining how to spend nearly $2 million of our dues is one of the board’s most important functions, but it spent only one minute per million dollars on this during the meeting.
The only information provided to homeowners was a one-page summary made available at the start of the meeting and there was absolutely no discussion of any details.
This made meaningful input from the homeowners impossible.
The board did pass a much-needed written procurement policy (which it acknowledges was in response to pressure from homeowners). This should have been a good thing.
But like the budget, the board had developed this policy on its own and it rejected our appeal for an opportunity for proper homeowner review and input.
Amazingly, within minutes the board approved some $30,000 of our dues for a new FCA magazine in violation of its own new procurement rules.
In all fairness, it was the leadership—specifically the president and treasurer—who were the problem. Other board members seemed genuinely interested in helping the association.
Apartments a possibility on country club golf course?
As Councilman Sal DiCiccio has warned many times – the Ahwatukee Country Club course is zoned for apartment homes and should the course face future closure, Ahwatukee could be dealt the unthinkable with apartments at 48th Street and Warner Road, along the entire golf course.
But what if we have a way to keep apartments out? If we act, we can. If we don’t – we will all lose big time.
One of the never disclosed, but critical, components to the deed restrictions governing both The Lakes at Ahwatukee and Ahwatukee Country Club properties is that they have an expiration date according to Section 9. Rule Against Perpetuities.
What happens then? The property owner is no longer subject to golf, or golf-related restriction and may pursue whatever use of the property they wish. At that point, we as a community may have no say as to what the landowner does.
Current legal proceedings of the Lakes and Club West properties press on and the dilapidated condition of the Ahwatukee Country Club course and climate of golf in the country are tenuous. We as a community still have a voice today that can influence the future use of these properties.
The property owner has lost the appeal. He can appeal the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court or he could file bankruptcy, likely to not pay taxes or fines imposed by the city, county or state.
If Mr. Gee were to file bankruptcy on the Lakes property, we risk losing the Ahwatukee Country Club course and lose any negotiation power. This leads me to my solution.
What if Mr. Gee and his partners agree to the following: if the required number of benefitted parties consent to lift the CC&R’s and allow development of the Lakes property, in a plan that we as a community have a say in, Gee and his partner would gift the Ahwatukee Country Club course to ABM to be forever dedicated as open space.
It would be a common area for the exclusive use and benefit of ABM members and their guests.
The west side of the Lakes property would be family homes, on the east side, two thirds would be townhomes and a third for assisted living. Just a suggestion and yes, it will increase traffic but not as much as 10,000 apartments.
The whole idea is to protect the Ahwatukee Golf Club from ever being developed; to have a voice not just for few years but forever.
The current CC&R’s have an expiration date, this expiration date is still to be determined but why wait and react, why not be proactive as a community and be part of the whole picture and the entire solution in our community?
I strongly believe we as a community have a window here and have a bigger voice on how to best protect the future of our community.
Leaving our community better than when we moved here is and should be our goal.
I would like to see a Little League field and softball field under light, soccer fields, playgrounds, pickleball and shuffleboard, sand volleyball courts, so everyone can have access to using them. The restaurant to be upgraded and so on.
The opportunities as a community with this property are endless. I would like to hear your feedback. email@example.com.
Lakes saga reminding him of ‘Blazing Saddles’
My favorite comedy movie is “Blazing Saddles.” When I read Mr. Gee’s disregard from two judges’ decisions, that the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course cannot be swindled as a lucrative home redevelopment deal to sell or control the golf course lease, I became upset.
When I read how Mr. Gee feels he is above the law and can play a waiting game by threatening to do the same to the Ahwatukee Golf Course, it reminded me of the character who was a lawyer and state official to the Gov. Headley Lamar.
Headly found out the railroad was going to be rerouted because of quicksand. Headly did various bullying tactics, devised unethical schemes and got the governor to hire the first African American sheriff to protect the town of Rock Ridge from violence from Headley’s gang of hoodlums.
If he could scare the townspeople away, he could buy the deeds dirt cheap or take them over for nothing and make a fortune.
What he didn’t account for was the two heroes, Sheriff Bart and his sidekick the Waco Kid with their scheme to get help from the railroad workers to help if they could get a deed to build their homes along with the other citizens of Rock Ridge.
Everyone united and Headly Lamar’s nefarious scheme backfired. The people of Rock Ridge got their town back.
My question is who can we tap to muscle Mr. Gee so he can’t put us on his timetable? He wants us to give him a million dollars to fix up the Ahwatukee Golf Course for a quick sale. Do you know where that money will go?
In 1977, a lot of people came to play the Ahwatukee Golf Course and look how it looks today. Is this on purpose Mr. Gee? What is Phoenix City Councilman Sal Decissio doing for all us Ahwatukee citizens on this flagrant injustice of golf course mismanagement?
What about reelected state legislators, State Rep. Mitzi Epstein and State Sen. Sean Bowie?
Can these three elected politicians ,in power, be Sheriff Bart, Waco Kid and the railroad workers group willing to fight for their land and town’s development?
I voted for all of these three politicians, but are they working for the people of Ahwatukee or Mr. Gee? My suggestion, why don’t we ask them?
- Dr. Jeff Eger