Homeowners Claim HOA President Abuses Power

A homeowners association is a group of homeowners within a community dedicated to the welfare of each homeowner, maintaining cleanliness and organization, and promoting beautification within the community. A HOA president is voted on by homeowners to lead the members in upholding rules and guidelines that are intended to benefit the entire community.

Unfortunately, there are times when the leaders themselves don’t follow the rules and even get away with it. Such an abuse of power does not only open the door to wrongdoings among board members, but it can also harm homeowners within the community.

This type of situation occurred in Carlsbad, California, where some members of the Rancho Carrillo Community homeowners association claimed that their HOA president, Eyzzz Bacarde Evolfo, violated the rules.  They claimed that Evolfo planned to build a deck in his backyard and had applied for a city permit without receiving approval from the HOA. Because they believed that any modification or construction to the property required approval from the association first, they concluded that Evolfo had violated the rules.

What made things worse was the fact that HOA board members approved the construction despite the violation. Evolfo had called an emergency meeting in order to obtain votes for his backyard deck once he had received the permit, and members of the board approved his request.

Eddy Laugle, one of Evolfo’s next door neighbors, was very disappointed that Evolfo had been allowed to move forward with construction even after committing a violation. He and his wife, Glenda, said that Evolfo only got away with it because he was the president of the board, and if he hadn’t been, he would have faced fines and charges just like anyone else.  The Laugles always enjoyed the open space they had in their backyard, but thanks to Evolfo’s new deck, it will never be the same again. The Laugles are now planning to sell their home due to the incident.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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24 Comments

Filed under HOA, HOA Horror Stories, Homeowners Association, Las Vegas HOA

24 responses to “Homeowners Claim HOA President Abuses Power

  1. What homeowners don’t realize is that they are at the mercy of total strangers who are their neighbors in an HOA. In order to make the HOA concept work, and to make them appealable to the masses, HOA officers and boards were given a free pass. No checks and balances and no state imposed meaningful penalties for wrongful acts under a business form – read, undemocratic — of government. And, behold, it’s as if average people will no longer behave as normal people do, and the HOA board is suddenly transformed into angels who do no wrong.

    • Nobody in the world crystallizes the problem better than you do, George. With Las Vegas totally collapsing, what plan would you submit to the Governor or Legislature there, and what plan would work with every state? And do you believe, as I do, that the entire national HOA structure is corrupt?

      • I believe that the HOA legal scheme, first set forth in the 1964 Homes Association Handbook, is an illegitimate and unconstitutional private government. I do not believe that it was the intention of the Founding Fathers to permit parallel governments not subject to the Constitution. Over 150 years ago, this intention was supported with the blood of some 500,000 Civil War deaths. There exist today state laws that will allow for private “home rule” governing charters, “rules and regs”, and private amenities, but subjecting the HOA government body to the same laws and homeowner protections as all other government bodies – the 14th Amendment.
        The most important weapon for advocates is to stand behind the Constitution as the highest authority that supports their reforms as valid and legitimate. I have proposed an HOA Member Declaration of US and State Citizenship (http://wp.me/p3njZ-PA) that affirms the homeowner’s rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities as a citizen of the US and of his state. (See Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment).
        With this Declaration serving as the strategic platform for HOA reforms before all state legislatures, all reforms, activities, statements, and tactical positions must flow from this Declaration — homeowners are still US citizens. The legislators will avoid this argument, because they know that they are defending the indefensible. That is their Achilles heel.

        Oh yes, the Constitution is not all about the absolute right of citizens to avoid constitutional restrictions by writing a contract between themselves, and calling it CC&Rs.

      • George, All excellent points. But how do you get past the argument that the HOA is merely a private club, not a parallel government? Private clubs have all sorts of restrictive regulations, as do most major corporations in America. Secondly, how do you attract legislators to your point of view. I’ve listened to tapes and videos of many of your appearances before the Legislature. What’s the most effective argument, in your opinion, that registers with a legislator?

      • Ward, your astute and perceptive question, “how do you attract legislators to your point of view,” digs deeply into the root cause of today’s HOA mess that finds support in the current political and social climate in America. One affects the other.
        But allow me to address your other concerns. First, the answers are complex and involved, beyond the scope of this forum. Second, my arguments that the HOA concept is illegal and unconstitutional rest on both constitutional law and contract law. For example, both legal doctrines apply with respect to the preference for the equitable servitudes doctrine of constructive notice that violates judicial review requirements — surrender of rights and consent to be governed — as well as contract law requirements – free and fully informed consent, meeting of the minds, full disclosure, etc. While each claim is independent of the other, they will both invoke overlapping arguments when the arguments are spelled out in detail.
        Third, as to the non-government argument that we are just good ol’ boys and gals sitting around for the benefit of a greater society, people must cleanse themselves of the sound bite indoctrination to the contrary and examine the arguments afresh. Starting afresh requires identifying the unique characteristics, not similarities like CAI uses to argue against a government, of each organizational type: 1) what is a social club, 2) what is a business, 3) what is a nonprofit, and 4) what is a public government?
        Simply put, as can be found in any basic text on government, a political government is a body that regulates and controls the people within a territory. Not in a sports stadium like a VP at the Goldwater Institute tried to argue, but in the homes and places of residence. CAI, in its propaganda, has not argued the reverse that businesses are governments, because it knows that wouldn’t fly. And the attorneys use “word games” to redefine what is essential serving the same purpose to mean something else, like assessments are not taxes, and “rules and regs” are not ordinances, etc.
        Which brings me back to my opening statement. It has been demonstrated over and over again that the public policy of these united states is to support, protect, cooperate, and assist HOAs in a symbiotic relationship for the mutual benefit of the state and HOA industry. This alone is cause for declaring the HOA legal scheme as a state actor (see US Supreme Court criteria for state actors) and therefore subject to the 14th Amendment. It has been demonstrated that legislators see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil when it comes to HOA legalities.
        So Wade, your question comes down to what motivates politicians to do right by homeowners in today’s America. I hope that advocates will force the politicians and legislators to address the HOA Member Declaration of US and State Citizenship, which must be sent to every state legislature, and answers demanded as to why homeowners being denied their rights as citizens. This argument will lead to a discussion of all the issues mentioned above. Their response will define the America as it exists today, either the America of our forefathers now found only in HS texts, or the New America of HOA-Land.

      • anonymous

        George,

        That’s all very interesting, but you didn’t answer Ward’s questions:

        1. “But how do you get past the argument that the HOA is merely a private club, not a parallel government?”

        and

        2. “Secondly, how do you attract legislators to your point of view.”

      • I believe I answered this at the very beginning — too broad and complex an issue for a fourm. If you select and browse my Commentaries at http://pvtgov.wordpress.com you will find several posts that provide background info to better understand the issues involved. The short answer that will lead to getting the legislators and neighbors attention is found in my Declaration of US and State Citizenship. This very strong position sets the tone for any discussions and debates and justifies the legitimacy of reforms to be presented. How do you get a True Believer to change his views? How do you get the legislators to see what CAI is all about, and how it conned the people and the government?

        As I wrote in my Commentaries, if those who should know, the legal-academic aristocrtats, hide the truth it is understandable that the average people can’t be expected to understand.

        Watch for my post today on my HOA Constitutional Government blog mentioned above. There are no silver bullets!

      • Hi George, I understand and accept what you’re saying. But there are lots of us pleading for silver bullets. You are sophisticated and articulate enough to know how to crystallize your arguments. My fear is that the great mass of the American people won’t or cannot understand the logic in your arguments. Not for a second do I think the people are too “dumb” to understand your logic. My fear is that the vast majority of people won’t take the time to think about the longterm consequenses of the HOA threat until they’re actually personally targeted by an HOA. Only at that point will most people suddenly discover the freedoms they’ve given away.
        It makes me wonder how many colonists actually read and understood the Federalist Papers before we declared our intent to separate from King George! Even then, sophisticated arguments were boiled down to cliches like “No taxation without representation.” How do we boil our current day arguments down to something all homeowners can readily identify with? What is the “bumper sticker logic” we ought to be displaying?

      • Well put, Ward. My failure is not to have found that second level person, the “translator,” who can do exactly what you are asking, and what is desperately needed to be done.

        All successful reform movements had a policy group, a leadership group, that set the aims and ideals for the movement, and oversaw that the “operational” or organizer group acted in a consistent manner. That structure is absent in homeowner rights advocacy, Everybody wants to be the Boss.

        One person cannot do both as it requires different perspectives, if it’s to be done right. The doors are wide open for applicants. Any qualified volunteers?

        This would be a first step toward a national movement to fight the long-time entrenched CAI that operates in all 50 states with it legislative action committees. If you haven’t heard from them in public, it’s not that they’ve gone away, but that they have tunneled under in response to criticism of their public statements.

  2. Pingback: Exchange with Ward Luca on HOA legitimacy and legislative reforms « HOA Constitutional Government

  3. HOAs- a throwback to good old medieval times. Whether you’re ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, and whether you are allowed to flourish unmolested or legally attacked until you go bankrupt, depend soley on who’s Board King and how much favor you’ve curried with his court.

  4. Victoria

    Is a deck permissible in this HOA?
    Do the association’s governing documents prohibit construction of a deck in the homeowner’s backyard? There is usually an architectural review process for reviewing and approving architectural requests. It is important to know what the HOA’s architectural policy is before jumping to the conclusions.

    Rule by Example:
    Board members need to remember that they, more than anyone else, need to abide by the procedures, rules, and governing documents of the association. Board members set an example for the rest of the association

    Building Permit:
    Usually a homeowner will fill out an architectural request form when they want to do something like build a deck. The board or architectual committee review the request and tell the homeowner what additional information they need, ie contractor information, proof of insurance, building plans, and proof of permits. The first step is usually confirming with the association board that their project is approved at the HOA level, and then proceed to get city permits, although that isn’t set in stone.

    Boards need to be really careful not to give the appearance of doing something for themselves that they would not do for any other member of the association.

  5. Victoria

    The local governments do not want the financial obligation associated with our communities; that is why they often insist that developments be created as Community Interest Developments (CIDs). I am not going to take a stand as to whether this is good or bad; it is what it is.

    I hear a lot about people wanting less government in their lives, yet when given an opportunity to self govern (as in an HOA), there are so few homeowners willing to serve. The few homeowners that do serve, often do not have a clue what their obligations to the community are. They do not understand their own communties governing documents or the state and federal laws that regulate their HOA.

    The only way we will have good communities is when we have great people step forward to volunteer to serve their communities and to accept that they need a little bit of “education.”

    Community Association Institute (CAI) as well as other state organizations and many mangement companies offer “Board Education” opportunities to bring the new volunteers up to speed. There is a LOT to know when serving on an HOA Board of Directors, but it can be a very rewarding experience.

    • IC_deLight

      Wow, the industry hacks must be pretty desperate in their reputation management efforts. Searching out blogs at 4 AM to pollute with HOA industry propaganda.

      This response was rife with conflicting and equivocal statements. First off, “self governance” is oxymoronic and a non-sequitur as Victoria has used it. The “governance” is not by “self” but rather by “others”. The commenter starts off with a proposition that people want “less government in their lives” but then seems surprised that the same people don’t want to be “governed” by a board of a private corporation. Where’s the surprise, Victoria? As you noted the owners wanted less governance so your “solution” is to offer a dictatorial corporate regime as the solution to “less governance” and then try faulting the owners for the inevitable failures of such regimes?

      By the way, HOA corporations are not “governments” and they certainly do not equate to “the community”. Even with the myth of being a person, an HOA corp is at best only one member of a community.

      CAI is nothing but a trade-lobby group for HOA vendors – the most active of whom are the HOA “managers” and HOA attorneys. CAI’s public policies include unlimited assessments, no limits on debt creation and collection, unregulated monopolies, and justifying any conduct under the pretext of “aesthetics”. The only folks pleased with that environment would be the vendors and certainly not the owners or residents of HOA-burdened property. The only education that CAI offers is brainwashing seminars from which these vendors profit from. CAI’s picture of a “good community” is one where the residents are soft targets compelled to just hand over the cash to CAI member vendors like the HOA management companies..

  6. IC_deLight

    I like a number of comments here but I think clarifying a few things would help when presenting your position to the legislature and others.

    Keep in mind that the HOA industry hacks have been working on their marketing terms and quips for 30 years. One should not fall into the trap of using their marketing terms – which were intentionally designed to be misleading, equivocal, or euphemistic in nature.

    First, the term “association” is a marketing gimmick. Contrary to the intro on this blog, a homeowners “association” is NOT a group of homeowners within a community. These are incorporated entities not a loosely knit group of individuals. The HOA corp typically existed before any homeowners were there. The inappropriate marketing term “association” is used to create confusion as to whether one is speaking about a group of individuals or a corporation. This term is often used to confuse judges, juries, buyers, and sellers. HOA industry hacks will employ the term to make equivocal statements. An HOA attorney, for example, might try to proclaim that he/she represents “all the homeowners”. In fact, the HOA attorney doesn’t represent any of the homeowners but rather the HOA corporation. When you switch to the more correct term “Corporation”, you will bring more clarity to judges, jurors, buyers, and sellers. You will find that the industry hacks tend to stay away from the term “Corporation” like the plague.

    Second, “mandatory membership” is another marketing gimmick. This is an example of a euphemistic term. These are involuntary membership corporations and they are not here to work for your benefit. If they were such great things membership would not be involuntary. The reality is that most owners want nothing to do with the HOA corporation.

    Third, another myth is the myth of “choice”. One can help dispel this myth by the using the term “involuntary” instead of “mandatory” when discussing membership.

    • Excellent points, all of them. And I will take them all to heart.

    • IC_deLight! City-Data used to give me a nasty little message that I had to “like” posts other than IC_deLight’s. Annoyed the hell out of me. So glad you are doing well.

      On the bumper sticker issue, here’s a few from the top of my head that will need work. (Can we do html tags on here?)

      For Republican legislatures (with test tags): If you think Obamacare is a threat to freedom and liberty, you haven’t lived in a mandatory HOA.

      Borrowing from the recent NJ Supremes decision: You don’t voluntarily give up your constitutional rights when you live in an HOA. But the HOA tells you those rights were gone one minute after you closed.

      The Confederacy didn’t lose. It’s now headquartered in Florida and is better known as an HOA.

      The John Birchers misidentified the Communist threat in the USA. It’s alive and well, but better known as the HOA’s Board of Directors.

      You get the drift.

      • Good ones, good ones, but they’ve got to be shorter. Seven words or less. 😉

      • I thought they needed work … not the nuclear option. This from a guy with 10 words in his book title? 🙂

        Best one? Gadsden Flag snake and background. Underneath the snake are the words: HOA’s TREAD ON THEE

        Or

        HOA’s: WE TREAD ON THEE

        and put it on the back cover of your book. My idea, haven’t seen it anywhere else. I give permission.

  7. KEEP IT UP WARD! You got the Evil Empire’s attention! The lies and misrepresentation in all propaganda cannot survive exposure to the truth that has been kept from the public for years. Advocates need to just challenge, confront, and expose as is happening here. The playbook responses die out quickly as the True Believers realize that they no longer control the playing field. KEEP IT UP WARD!

  8. Ann

    I find the board’s freedom to do what they want is despicable, especially when they get away with it again and again. We had a past president, Jayne Szymanski, bully, harass and even sue the members into doing what she wanted or you didn’t get your common elements fixed or ever in “the know”. A management company replaced her and the current board for a short period of time due to legal proceedings, after the management company backed out, a new board President voted in and resigned, only to have her re-appointed President, even though this Association had volunteers for the position (they weren’t the volunteers this secret board wanted, so they don’t get on board). Currently, she is suing the Association for negligence, suing homeowners and tenants, along with suing the builder. She is definitely not working in the best interest of the Association nor has loyalty to the homeowners. It’s so ridiculous!

  9. My HOA Board routinely adopts and enforces amendments without the vote of the Association members in violation of our governing docs and CA 1355. After I filed suit, the judge forced me into a settlement claiming my case is a waste of judicial resources. To view all the gorey details, see http://www.nodailyfines.com

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