Legal representatives for the Alta Sierra Property Owners Association will seek a temporary restraining order in Nevada County Superior Court Thursday morning, seeking to prevent a recall election scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday.
“Trying to stop an election is over the top, anti-democratic and virtually unheard of,” said Kathy Monteiro, who has spearheaded efforts to recall the entire nine-person ASPOA board of directors. “This is a new low.”
However, Peter Lemmon, one of the attorneys for the association board, said the restraining order is about due process, not democracy.
“Had they made the request (to conduct a recall election) correctly, the board would’ve called a special meeting to do whatever they wanted to do,” he said.
The association has contended that Monteiro’s plans to host a recall election Saturday, and then a subsequent election Nov. 2, flouts the neighborhood’s bylaws and is not in concert with the California Corporations Code.
Lemmon and colleague Steve Richert have maintained that a legally tenable recall election must have an election to replace board members simultaneously, as the corporations code says all mutual benefit associations like ASPOA must have some form of a governing body.
Monteiro said it is less about due process and more about trepidation over facing the wrath of an angry constituency.
“The board has conceded losing in a recall, since 74 percent of the vote rejected their plan to convert Alta Sierra to a mandatory homeowners association,” Monteiro said. “So they are trying to stop the vote and telling members in an email not to vote … that is invalid.”
Monteiro said they are attempting to control how elections work in a desperate attempt to shore up their power.
“They want members to vote in their election to choose three new board members so they can retain majority control,” she said.
Lemmon said allowing the elections to proceed as currently arranged would be “inviting chaos.
“You would have two boards, each claiming control over ASPOA,” he said. “At this point, it’s our duty to prevent that.”
The hearing relating to the temporary restraining order is slated for 8:30 a.m. today in Nevada County Superior Court, Lemmon said.
The debate, which began early this summer, has steadily intensified, resulting in a lawsuit filed in late August.
A group 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 plaintiff is seeking $22,000 in damages.
“The lawsuit intends to get repayment of the more than $25,000 in attorneys fees wasted on trying to convert Alta Sierra,” Monteiro said.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.