Where do we go from here? Sun City Summerlin and Sky Las Vegas in Crisis 2011, Robert Paisola Reports
My dear friends around the world:
We want you to know that we are and have been receiving your emails regarding our involvement with Sky Las Vegas and Sun City Summerlin Nevada, as well as other homeowner associations around the nation; we know that what we have been able to accomplish is incredible. We have so diligently been dealing with problems at Sky Las Vegas, and as we sorted through the rubble, we were able to meet your ultimate demand to rid the community of the former Executive Director Christine A Gibbs. We made a commitment to many of you, residents, staff, owners, bankers and fellow media members that we would prevail, and we can formally state... We have succeeded! During that arduous investigation processes (all chronicled on this blog) we have been able to bring to light numerous other issues that have remained ”hidden under the rug” for so long. We have taken your demands from the desire stage ("there is no way that you can do it") to the completion stage ("Oh My God, They did what we have been trying to do for years!") By removing Christine A. Gibbs, The Executive Director at the Sky Las Vegas, from office as your Executive Director we did as you demanded.
As in every battle during wartime, there was collateral damage. Gibbs entered into what she thought was a sweet deal arranged for her by Nevada Legal Counsel Michael L. Schulman, who happens to be the attorney for BOTH ASSOCIATIONS, Sky and Sun City! She was embedded with Sun Board Member, Marilyn LeVaseleur, and a virtual coup took place by the Sun Board to FORCE Christine A. Gibbs into the position of Executive Director at Sun City. (See CBS Video Below) In order for this to happen, we were forced to spend countless hours dealing with both sides, and as soon as the members of the Sun City populace realized what was being pushed down their throats, (See CBS VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=224rEVT-Nhs ) , they quickly gathered and began to revolt as is shown in the video.
It should be known that We have great care and respect for our friends at Sun City Summerlin, and there is no doubt that without their assistance, we could never have pulled off the rally that took place to protest the hiring if Christine Gibbs. As reality began to set in, as to what was happening, These people (Residents of Sun) began to look toward us as they started to see what they were getting into. We spent countless hours discussing the possible movement of Christine Gibbs to their property and how it was being done, under the color of midnight. The members of Sun City Summerlin went to work to gather data as fast as possible; as we did, including gaining the legal data to support the verification that the primary residence of Christine and James Gibbs was going to auction in March of 2011. That revelation lead way to an extensive investigation, of which we have provided to you at www.SkyLasVegas.info.
In the end, the Gibbs issue will surely going to end up in continued litigation, and many people will have to answer for their deeds. This will give you an idea of how they are reacting... Amazing Reading!
It goes to show what a small group, led by one 86 year old man named Bob Robey, who gave us uninhibited access to his online forum, can change the lives of so many of his neighbors.
In reviewing Robey’s information, we found an article that was written for the Las Vegas Review Journal
Lets see what they had to say:
Copyright Las Vegas Review-Journal
HOUSING: Fees and Loathing IN LAS VEGAS
By HUBBLE SMITH
Eunice Schwenig said she's fed up with her homeowners association fees being "arbitrarily" raised at Sun City Summerlin.
She was paying $260 a year when she bought a new home at Del Webb's age-restricted development in the master-planned Las Vegas community 10 years ago.
But the fees have steadily risen, reaching $680 this year with another $135 being tacked on for 2004.
What pushed Schwenig overboard was a $700 special assessment for each home owner to shore up the "catastrophe fund," which was drained when Sun City had to replace some golf course water pumps a couple years ago.
"Nobody's ever stopped these people for 10 years that I've lived here," she said. "We're only upset because this is an extraordinary expense and the board is not trying to live within their budget."
Battles between Las Vegas Valley home owners and their association boards have cropped up over everything from fee increases to rules about portable basketball hoops in the street.
Home owners are told what color they are allowed to paint their house, how long their garbage receptacle may be left out before and after trash pickup, where to park their cars, how and when to display the American flag, whether they're allowed to hang a clothesline in the back yard.
Those found in noncompliance are fined, and failure to pay the fines can result in liens being placed against their homes.
A multitude of horror stories abound. Some residents have gone so far as to hire lawyers to take their cases to court.
Homeowners associations, or HOAs, were formed to protect the value of neighborhoods, to enhance and maintain amenities such as parks, community centers and common areas.
Through Special Improvement Districts, later paid by home owners in HOA fees, the cost of municipal infrastructure such as sidewalks, roads and streetlights is shifted from the city to the developer.
Some 50 million Americans now live in 250,000 association-governed communities, according to the Alexandria, Va.-based Community Associations Institute, and experts predict that number will soon double.
There are 1,191 homeowners associations registered in Clark County , said Eldon Hardy, ombudsman for the state's Common Interest Communities.
The problem is that some associations, composed of voluntary board members, can become overzealous and are often inflexible, and can even overstep their legal boundaries.
Some boards write covenants, conditions and restrictions that seemingly serve no purpose in maintaining property values, critics of the associations say.
"They say they can do anything," Sun City resident Ruth Lieburn said. "You can't talk, you can't vote. They say, `We can do whatever we want.' "
She said one resident, frustrated by the board's unwillingness to compromise or even listen to what he had to say, drew applause when he stood up and gave a "Heil Hitler" salute at a recent HOA meeting.
The emerging political urban consensus is that HOAs are a necessary evil.
The effectiveness of homeowners associations is vastly underestimated these days, particularly when it comes to home appreciation, said Shawn Cunningham, a real estate agent with Re/Max Advantage in Las Vegas .
"People complain about them, but there are neighborhoods in town that are three years old that look 30, especially in-fill neighborhoods in the northeast and east Henderson where homes were built in the middle of older areas with no HOA and the neighborhoods quickly deteriorated," he said.
On the other hand, older areas with HOAs have managed to preserve their curb appeal.
Cunningham cites The Lakes, an upscale neighborhood on west Sahara Avenue , where homes are 15 years old. Go a couple miles north and east and you'll find homes built at roughly the same time that aren't worth nearly as much, he said.
"The difference is that The Lakes has great associations that keep those residents inclined to park their cars on the lawn in check," Cunningham said.
Homes in newer areas such as Summerlin, Green Valley and northwest Las Vegas Valley tend to hold values much better than in the northeast part of town, where appreciation is slow, simply because they have good homeowners associations in place whose primary purpose is to keep the values rising, he said.
"And whenever I have a buyer that complains about the high HOA fees, which is often, especially with people from out of town, I always tell them that the $100 fee or even $150 fee in some higher-end and condo communities is easily worth the extra $1,000 a month that you'll make in appreciation because your neighbors are forced to keep their homes up," Cunningham said.
HOAs hold a few other advantages over traditional neighborhoods, the Community Associations Institute contends.
Residents share ownership of common land and have access to recreational facilities such as swimming pools and tennis courts that they otherwise may not be able to afford.
They automatically become members of a community association and typically must abide by the rules. They pay an "assessment," often a monthly fee, that is used for upkeep of the common areas and other services and amenities.
These self-governed communities usually feature attractive combinations of well-designed homes and landscaped open spaces.
Homes may even cost less than traditional housing because of more efficient land use.
About 6,000 to 8,000 new community associations are formed every year, including those for condominiums, cooperatives and planned communities. It is estimated that 4 out of 5 housing starts in the past five to eight years have been built as part of an association-governed community.
In 1999, Gallup conducted a survey that found 75 percent of association home owners were "very" or "extremely" satisfied with their communities.
Prime drivers of satisfaction included overall community appearance, safety, financial accountability, location and friendly neighbors.
Forty percent said they wouldn't consider selling their house even if given 15 percent above the market value.
Half of community associations were very responsive to the needs of their residents and 17 percent were extremely responsive, the survey said.
That differs from what Sherryl Baca lists as the No. 1 complaint she hears from association residents: their calls are never returned.
"Every one of their complaints is justified, but most of the time, they complain about (board members) not calling back," said Baca, chief executive officer of CMS, a company that manages 20 HOA communities in Las Vegas .
CMS works with association boards to keep the architectural integrity of a neighborhood intact, so that you don't drive down a street of mostly earth-tone homes and then see one painted purple, she said.
Baca said HOAs run the spectrum between the good, the bad and the ugly.
"A lot of times, people break rules because they don't know the rules. It's unfortunate when that occurs," she said. "Part of the problem there is my idea of cleanliness and your idea of cleanliness may be two different things.
"Sometimes it's a big power thing. They make a lot of rule changes and there are a lot of HOAs like that. I've seen them. Then there's the flip side where people don't do enough to keep a property up."
The second complaint Baca hears is that walk-through inspections aren't done to make sure that the gardener is doing his job or that people are adhering to parking regulations.
Hal Bloch, president of Summerlin Community Association, said he had never lived in an HOA community, but moved to Summerlin because he appreciated the protection that association rules gave him as a home owner.
"In order to get that protection, you give up certain latitudes such as painting your house orange," he said. "We believe we're entrusted by home owners but we're not dictators. We try to keep a light hand on the reins and still enforce the rules. If you waiver on the rules, you'll be salamied to death, one bite at a time."
Bloch said a phone survey was conducted as a result of the flap over basketball hoops and 15 percent to 20 percent of people said the HOA wasn't enforcing rules strictly enough.
"We tread a middle course between being too strict and not being strict enough," he said. "There is no perfect answer to any set of problems. I think the net on the bottom line in Las Vegas , living in an HOA is a pretty good move."
250,000 Communities nationally governed by homeowners associations
6,000 New associations formed nationally each year
1,191 Homeowners associations registered in Clark County
300 Subdivisions being built in Las Vegas that have HOAs
So, now where do we go? Well… One thing that we know is that Gibbs is completely out of the picture at Sky Las Vegas. This means that there will have to be an executive committee setup to screen the candidates. We have been told that the first thing that the board of directors at Sun is going to do is FIRE GIBBS. She has a 3 month severance built into her contract, but that is nothing compared to a Gibbs Regime at Sun City Summerlin. We have been told that they are going to cut their losses quickly.
We look to the board of the Sky Las Vegas to seriously consider what has happened. We are open to working with honest and honorable people, including Mr. M. Aaron Yashouafar , who as of today has 79 units in Sky Las Vegas. We are planning on working with the Board of Directors at Sky Las Vegas to help them get over the damage that they have sustained under the Christine A Gibbs Administration, and again, all we ask for is that you judge us by our results. Stay tuned for further developments and breaking news. This is being cross posted on NBC4.
To your Continued Success
The Western Capital Foundation USA