The increasingly combative tenor of the debate regarding the governance of Alta Sierra took a turn for the courtroom last week.
On Friday, an unincorporated association called Alta Sierra Neighbors filed suit against the Alta Sierra Property Owners Association board of directors, claiming the nine members “have made unauthorized expenditures to their own purpose and have otherwise wasted corporate assets.”
The suit seeks an immediate court-ordered dissolution of the board, citing inappropriate and secretive expenditures by board members combined with improper attempts at power expansion.
“Those in control of ASPOA have been guilty of, or have knowingly countenanced, persistent and pervasive fraud,” the complaint states.
The complaints further assert the board is guilty of “mismanagement or abuse of authority” and the misapplication and waste of the neighborhood’s assets.
Kathy Monteiro, spokeswoman for Alta Sierra Neighbors and the leader of a recall effort, said the purpose of the lawsuit is twofold — to recoup the approximately $22,000 spent on attorney’s fees and to dissolve the current board to prompt elections.
“We are using all options to take our community back,” she said Monday.
The persistent dispute began in May, when Monteiro initiated an effort to recall the entire nine-member board, claiming the directors were engaged in a clandestine plot to expand their own authority.
She alleged the board was attempting to transform a casual property owner’s association into a mandatory homeowner’s association with compulsory annual dues and the ability to enforce regulations and levy liens on property for those not in compliance.
Paul Hoefler, who is named in the lawsuit, never contended the facts, saying the board indeed intended to revamp the neighborhood’s regulations but only to give enforcement of existing regulations a little more teeth.
Hoefler said the board planned on incorporating community input after the issue was fully vetted by the board.
Recently, the board distributed a questionnaire to property owners that asked recipients whether they wanted a mandatory HOA and/or a revision to neighborhood CC&Rs, which outline neighborhood rules.
The community responded with 75 percent saying no to a mandatory homeowners association and with most respondents voting against CC&R revisions.
The board acceded to the majority’s will, but Monteiro pushed forward with the recall effort, saying the board deliberately hid its plans from constituents for more than a year and no longer deserved community trust.
ASPOA Board Director Brad Dixon said his fellow board members, guided by advice from their attorney, were cultivating apathy by keeping their plan quiet in an attempt to subvert a democratic process and incorporate the association under the Davis-Sterling Act, which vests neighborhood regulations with legal force.
Embattled board members have balked at such allegations.
ASPOA Board Director David Johnson said the board members he has worked with are diligent, honest and wanted to rehabilitate neighborhood regulations to aid residents who repeatedly complained about the degraded nature of neighboring properties, to little or no avail.
Hoefler accused Dixon of underhandedly attempting to undermine the board and spreading lies about the board’s internal operations.
Hoefler and others sent Dixon a letter demanding he resign.
Hoefler could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.
Earlier this month, Monteiro and her supporters were informed by the board that their attempt to recall an entire board was “ineffective” despite obtaining the required amount of signatures.
The board sent a letter through its attorney that stated there is no legal provision for recalling an entire board, and the petition should’ve named individual board members.
The letter left recall proponents with few options outside of legal recourse, Monteiro said.
Alta Sierra Neighbors is seeking $22,000 in damages, attorney fees and costs of the lawsuit.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email email@example.com or 530-477-4239.
“Those in control of ASPOA have been guilty of, or have knowingly countenanced, persistent and pervasive fraud.”
Alta Sierra Neighbors
in a complaint filed Monday.