Cost of Ownership
Legal Expenses Borne by Individual Owners
are like Monopoly money to
in charge]. They'll spend whatever it takes to
make life a little tougher for those they don't like.
Since key members of the Beaver Ridge board enjoy the luxury of using common funds to press legal action irrespective of merit, lawsuits that have little chance of success have been brought against individual owners in an attempt to force them into paying money they do not owe.
Even when they lose in court, the president and board have refused to compensate these owners for legal costs. They know that their victims are unwilling to risk losing additional money in recovery efforts that will be defended with the same common funds that insulated board members from personal consequence in the first place.
Thus, even when they are wrongly sued by the president, individual owners
at Beaver Ridge are
still left with bills
and losses that run well into the thousands of dollars. According to
Tucker County court records, this has happened to three owners in the
last five years.*
According to Tucker County court records, this has happened to three owners in the last five years.*
An outside investigation found that in one case, board members were actually misled by the president into supporting civil action that never should have been brought. While the owner was left with expenses amounting to 15% of his unit's purchase price, the association had to pay its own attorneys even more while receiving absolutely nothing from the suit. When the facts began to surface in 2012, the president obscured the episode by allegedly lying to owners at the general meeting.
In addition to effectively operating free of accountability, another advantage for the president is that he lives locally and does not have a job, whereas potential targets of legal action often live many hours away and risk losing wages and added fees in order to defend themselves. This situation lends itself to strategic lawsuits backed by association money.
Next Issue: Fines
[Update 11-17-2014: - A third party who looked into this points out that the three owners were sued as one entity.]