Shame on Sue Fuerst. Her childish letter repeatedly refers to my brother Bill as “Sneazy”, a dwarf in a fairy tale. Bill is short and suffers from a rare bone disease. Her outright hate speak is among the most despicable behavior I have ever witnessed. Chris Allison and the LHCC board apparently support mocking the handicapped. Who’s next on their attack list? Recently, the supporters of the Board have stooped to spreading the false rumor that we have “sold out” and abandoned our reform efforts. This is not true. And by now you have the latest lie-filled panic attack from the Chris Allison supporters. Their strategy: If you can’t win based on the facts, attack someone’s handicap and resort to spreading lies.
The affairs of Lake Holiday are dominated by one individual, Chris Allison. He’s made bad deals and is unwilling to relinquish power lest they be exposed. Our concerns are serious and legitimate:
- Selling Association assets at a fraction of their value to a single buyer;
- Entering into discriminatory sweetheart deals with this same buyer;
- Refusing to abandon the expensive effort to revise governing documents – particularly in light of the Association’s current cash crunch;
- Micromanaging the former GM to the point of his abrupt resignation, followed by offering pay of $100,000 per year and a $17,000 fee to a headhunter who could fill the job;
- Placing an employee of a Miller & Smith builder on the Architectural Committee; and
- Uncontrolled spending that has caused an Association with nearly $2 million in the bank at the beginning of 2005 to seek to borrow money to meet its current cash needs.
We’re not a disgruntled lone wolf. In the June 10th election, over 2 out of every 3 voters who voted against the governing documents voted with us. Our concerns about asset sales, overspending, an obsession with rewriting governing documents that are not broken, and board room shenanigans are universal concerns. If we don’t work together to fix these things now, the problems will get worse and the bills to fix them will get bigger. Just one example: talk of a multimillion dollar special assessment to pay for changes to the dam.
It’s obvious to just about everyone that Chris Allison is out of control and, left unchecked, will spend Lake Holiday into financial ruin. He stubbornly refuses to acknowledge these problems and change course. Despite the overwhelming rejection of proposed governing documents in June, Chris Allison has said he intends to put these same documents to another vote. He refuses to face facts: it’s time to move on. This is nothing more than Chris Allison spending Association money to pursue his own agenda. Meanwhile, other board members sit in silence. Maybe they’re gagged by the confidentiality agreement they were forced to sign.
The Board surrenders to the interests of Miller & Smith. Miller & Smith itself acknowledged this in a letter mailed to every member: “Yes, we have special privileges….” This entrenched board acts to continue these special privileges at all costs. Why? In a recent board shakeup, the Board appointed Stephen Locke to fill a vacancy that was never announced. The resume Stephen Locke submitted to earn his board seat said he favored a “close working relationship with Miller & Smith” and described other members as “enemies.” Is it any wonder the Board appointed him without disclosing the vacancy? Is this democracy in action? Fair play can’t exist as long as the Board is dominated by thoughts of special privileges and partnering with Miller & Smith. Stephen Locke is now a candidate for election to the Board and needs your vote to remain there.
To stay in power and discredit our efforts, Chris Allison and his supporters repeatedly parrot two lies: that we are after free water & sewer and that we are blocking the utility sale. We have never sought and will not accept other members of LHCC paying for extending water and sewer lines to our unserved lots. When we bought our first lots without utilities at Lake Holiday, we offered to perform line extensions at our own expense. We were denied this opportunity by the Chris Allison-dominated board. After blocking us for over a year and needlessly increasing legal costs on both sides, Chris Allison quietly gave in. Why was our money unacceptable to Chris Allison in 2005? How are these facts in any way consistent with the attack Chris Allison and Wayne Poyer waged on us at a public meeting on May 20th, where they described us as stealing Cadillacs?
The second lie is that we’ve worked to block the utility sale. Common sense shoots a hole in this fairy tale. Given that we’ve had problems getting utilities, we’d welcome a new owner seeking more customers. The truth is that we put a stop to the discriminatory utility pricing that the Board created. We did this to keep utility costs low. Miller & Smith enjoys utility fees waivers. While you’ve been paying your utility bill, they’ve been getting a waiver. We argued against price discrimination at the SCC and recommended maintaining the current line extension policy to protect Membership Lot owners’ utility access. Instead of working for lower utility costs, Chris Allison paid lawyers to file a 30 page argument – paid for with your dues – to support waiving utility fees for 1 customer. Why was the President of the Association fighting to waive fees for Miller & Smith and thereby make your utility bill higher? We successfully persuaded Aqua Virginia to adopt pricing so everyone pays his fair share and to include an extension policy very similar to the existing policy. The Concerned Owners Group would like you to believe that no discrimination exists. But on October 4th, the Board faced the truth: “all contracts…that are in non-compliance…are…declared null and void.” Translation: the discrimination is real, and the Board got caught.
We all know the problems. Lake Holiday is full of talented individuals who are prepared to contribute, but they are unwilling to participate in an environment where there is a single domineering leader, Chris Allison, and a group of followers on the Board who are unwilling or incapable of exercising independent judgment. We are all hurt by this political climate. The solution is to change the makeup of the Board. There are 2 ways to do this: the upcoming election and a Special Meeting. The October election is an opportunity to elect 5 new people to the Board; a Special Meeting is a democratic way to remove Board members who have led us down the wrong path. If you support change, casting your vote for 5 of the 7 announced candidates is not a solution. 3 of these candidates are incumbents, and 2 others are effectively utility insiders. These 5 insider candidates want to continue the status quo.
We plan to nominate a slate of directors at the Annual Meeting who are committed to 3 simple things: restoring the financial health of the Association, open governance that promotes democratic solutions at every opportunity, and treating all members fairly. Those are the 3 things we stand for, plain and simple. Any attempt to characterize our nominees as in our pocket is nothing more than a smear campaign. One of our nominees and an announced candidate, Bill Masters, has a solid track record of working for the community; his independence is unimpeachable. Yet he, like our other nominees, is attacked for simply stepping forward.
If you support change, now is the time to act. We encourage you to return either our Proxy or the Demand for a Special Meeting. The sooner we resolve these issues, the sooner we can all focus our complete energies on enjoying and improving Lake Holiday.