In February, Chris Allison wasted Association funds to send around a 3 page personal attack letter targeting the principals of Ogunquit – the “Mr. Murray” letter. In it Chris Allison falsely claimed that the first communication the Board had with Ogunquit was a letter from our attorney claiming that we suffered $4 million in damages, followed by a lawsuit for the same $4 million. He falsely alleged that the claim for damages was “payable to him.” He left a link to this personal attack letter on the Association’s website for many weeks. Chris Allison’s attack had a fundamental flaw: it was not true.
Chris Allison’s falsehood came up at the 5/20 meeting. In the following audio clip, Chris Allison dismissively answers a serious question on another topic from a homeowner, and then loses focus when there are grumblings in the audience about his “doubletalk.” The discussion then turns to the issue of the false charges in Allison’s February letter and his failure to retract them. Chris Allison finally acknowledges what we and others have been saying all along: his February letter was not true.
In March, we wrote Chris Allison and asked him to distribute our response to his personal attack letter and post it on the Association’s web site. We thought this was only fair, since it is provided under Virginia law. Chris Allison denied our request, alleging that it was “unclear” what we wanted him to send out.
The right thing would have been to send a retraction letter to every member and an apology to Ogunquit. But Chris Allison didn’t do the right thing. Instead, he did nothing for almost 4 months and then posted a postage-stamp sized retraction in the corner of a page of the June newsletter. He did this only after he mailed out several letters promoting his proposed governing documents, changes we have been actively campaigning against for some time. Did Chris Allison postpone retracting his smear campaign because he realized it would hurt his sales pitch for these new governing documents?
Another troubling fact about Chris Allison’s smear campaign is the way other directors have approved it. Chris Allison’s letter is signed:
for and with the unanimous approval of the Lake Holiday Board of Directors
According to the results reported by the Association, James Masland was elected to the Board in October of 2005. James Masland knows first hand that our first communication was not the filing of a lawsuit. Our lawsuit was filed in September of 2005, and one of the principals of Ogunquit spoke to and exchanged emails with James Masland in December of 2004 – over 9 months before the filing of a lawsuit. The focus of these communications is one of the principal issues at stake in the lawsuit: fair access to utilities. At the time, James Masland was President of LHEUC.
It’s bad when the president of a homeowners’ association launches a smear campaign on one of its members. It’s much, much worse when other directors with first hand knowledge of the falsehood sit back and do nothing.