How The Board of Directors Can Have
Absolute and Unaccountable Power
In the totalitarian-structure of a homeowner associations (HOA), the board of directors can be allowed absolute and unaccountable power, and, this flaw in the system has been repeatedly ignored in the offices of city and state governments, supported by often corrupt attorneys, and acknowledged in the courts by judges, who seemingly are not familiar with, or worse yet, ignore the laws that are in place to regulate homeowner associations.
Until changes can be made in The Davis-Stirling Law, and Corporation Code, and how association covenants (CC&Rs), and By Laws are written by the attorneys -- who have found a cash-cow in homeowner association law -- the HOA Board will remain as the absolute center and in control of the association on a daily basis.
And, herein lies the dangerous potential for abuse:
The office of a board president is well insulated from reality and accountability by the attorneys, who are paid by association dues to protect the board -- not the homeowner, even though they are intended third-party beneficiary's in the association -- and, a management company, along with a board that the president is largely responsible for setting up, and thereby can also control. This authoritarian structure is especially dangerous under these conditions because it allows for a toxic-faith system that encourages free reign and no accountability by the board members.
When an authoritarian ruler picks his board, under the guise of what is suppose to be a democratic form of voting -- heavily influenced by the board president and his cohorts --he will pick minion-types who are easily manipulated and easily fooled, and perhaps easily brainwashed in to the process of a dictatorship. What may appear to be a board of accountability is in fact only a rubber-stamp group that gives credibility to the president's decisions, who in turn gives credibility to the management company, with the attorney dictating to them all.
This illusion of accountability becomes more dangerous than those organizations that blatantly disregard accountability.
These type of board members then become co-conspirators of the dictator, and permit the toxic leader to reign, and even to persecute others without interruption.
Then, if a practice is called into question by a homeowner, such as selectivity of the covenants, misspending and mismanagement, and even criminal behavior the now well-established persecuting board members justify the behavior by supporting each other in their decisions with a majority of approval in their practices, backed up by the management company and the attorneys, with retaliation against the complainer assured in this sort of regime.
There is no regulatory government office to record a complaint against an abusive board, or, to make an appeal to justice in the world of Corporation Code, and The Davis-Stirling Law when these dictatorships go astray. The homeowner is left to fight in the courts against the attorneys -- who uses the homeowner's own money from the association reserve funds -- chalking up thousands of dollars using the corruption of the law in the courts.
A healthy society allows for freedom of expression. It is when members of a society cannot express themselves without fear of repercussions that problems arise.
In a toxic atmosphere, with no freedom of speech allowed there is a deliberate effort by the powerful to force the powerless into submission. Voltaire expressed this beautifully when he said, It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
In an HOA, this phrase could be aptly applied as "It is dangerous to be right when the board president is wrong."
If a dictator-type board president feels that a homeowner is wrong -- for whatever the reason; it may just be the homeowner speaks out against the association structure -- the board president will set up a process, a hearing of sorts, to examine the question. (Please understand, I am not saying homeowners are never wrong, rather I am saying there is too much room for abuse in this all-too-often flawed process.) The hearing may appear fair and unbiased but in actuality, in a dictatorship it will be tainted by an obvious conflict of interest that comes from the reality that those in charge of making the decisions in the hearing process are appointed, and consequently rewarded in some way for going along with the board president.
In turn, the board president is rewarded in some way by the attorneys, and management companies, often with such things as vacations, luncheons, golf games, and perhaps even monetary kickbacks -- with no legal repercussions for bad behavior -- which makes for a false sense of rightful authority, or entitlement.
And, in this flawed system do authoritorian style boards often continue to harass and intimidate homeowners to keep them silent, and, into believing they have no way of fighting back.
Although many are coming to see the evils of homeowner associations, with some people even refusing to buy into them, still, we must do something to make changes in the law for those already living under the unconstitutionality of oppression in these little gulag-type communities.
to be continued...