SaveTheHill.org

Home Election Financial Maintenance Info Board Legal Posts
Register Login

DATE: Saturday, March 13, 2021
TIME: 3:50 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: The Proposed By Law Amendments
TYPE: Community News

I have been busy with work and very distracted with other large-scale projects for the past few months, but I see that there is an urgent issue here which needs to be addressed. About 2 weeks ago, the Board of Trustees sent out a letter with several proposed amendments to the Association's by-laws. The by-laws are the legal rules which govern how the association is run, a copy of which is available here on this site at:

https://www.savethehill.org/Legal/ByLaws.pdf

Unbelievably, the by-laws are STILL NOT available on the association's official WEB site (another example of how they try and keep information away from us). Also available is a copy of the proposed amendment letter, which incidentally is ALSO NOT on the association's official WEB site:

https://www.savethehill.org/Legal/ByLawAmendLetter_2-25-2021.pdf

A couple years ago, the NJ State Legislature changed another set of rules, the "Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act" (PREDFDA), which govern condo associations like ours, to make it easier for their Boards to amend their by-laws. Previous to this change, it was usually very difficult to impossible to make changes. The new rules allow for proposed amendments to be sent to the owners for review, and if less than 54 owners (10% of the total) vote against the changes in 30 days, the amendments automatically pass! The 30-day window for these amendments CLOSES ON MARCH 30TH. The amendments can still end up getting approved even if initially rejected, but then they need the usual majority approval vote of the membership to be approved (which is probably a fairer way anyhow).

Before I get in to the details of each amendment, my "executive summary" of the proposed amendments is that most of the changes are bad or incomplete, and thus the changes should be rejected, and sent back to the board for considerably more work. By the way, these proposed amendments were sent to the board just a few hours before the 2 PM Thursday (a workday for most!) February 18th meeting, with essentially no time for review, and were then put up for vote and bulldozed through at that meeting. While one or two of the proposed changes were brought up at prior board meetings, several of the amendments were never brought up previously, and certainly the exact text of the proposed amendments was not presented. I mention this as another example of how our Board is being run from the inside. This is 180 degrees opposite to how I did things. Amendments to the by-laws are serious, and should involve input from the entire board, well ahead of time.

For those that want the gory details, here are my comments on the proposed amendments. If anything isn't clear or there are questions, anyone can post a follow up message and we can have a "covid-compliant" discussion!

Proposed Amendment 7

I begin with the last one, because this is the one they probably don't want to advertise. Plain and simple, they are going to outright take the $250,000 maintenance fee escrow fund, and use if for general operating purposes. Specifically, they want to use it to pay their roofing contractor for more roof replacements. The roof replacement project is the subject of another editorial I will post later, in which I talk about how much it should cost, compared to what we are actually paying, and how we are being screwed... again. So not only are they grabbing all this money, they are turning around wasting a lot of it.

The full text of paragraph 14.00, all of which would be deleted (and was curiously omitted from the letter), is available on the original by-laws link above. Thus, the current funds in escrow would NOT be refunded to the owners when they sell. When you bought your unit, you had to put 3 months worth of maintenance fee payments (at whatever the monthly fee was at that time) in the escrow fund (this is similar in concept to a security deposit when you rent). For recent buyers, that would be $588 (3 x $196). They are planning to apply this change to all buyers RETROACTIVELY, not just owners who buy after the amendment goes in to effect. It is unlikely their position would hold up in court, as they are trying to change the obligation of a "contract" - the original agreement between you and the association at the time of purchase. The Township of Piscataway tried to do a similar thing to all the former affordable unit owners, and lost big time. As a practical matter, the board knows (or at least its President Mr. Zhou, and his attorney Ms. Radom must know) that it is unlikely anyone is going to litigate this while they are in the middle of trying to sell and close on their unit, so the Board will probably get away with this confiscation. The take-away here is this attitude they have of "we are going to do whatever we want, and if you don't like it, sue us". However, this can all be pre-empted by simply voting to DISAPPROVE OF AMENDMENTS!! LOL.

Proposed Amendment 1

One of the biggest complaints I used to hear in the mid 2000's, under a prior management firm (Taylor Management), was that there was often no one in the management office. We made very sure that after reconfiguring things in 2008, there was always someone in that office. But it looks like we are headed right back to the old mode with no one there. We may already be back to that now, from some stories I hear. This amendment is clearly setting the stage for officially closing the on-site office, and relocating it completely off-site. While I'm sure there will be reassurances to the contrary, you can bet this configuration will ultimately lead to the same complaint I was hearing 15 years ago. So much for progress..

Proposed Amendment 6

Skipping ahead again, this change involves the complicated matter of collections of delinquent maintenance fee accounts. Specifically, the amendment proposes to delete the "20% rule", which placed a cap on the legal fees that can be charged back to a delinquent owner. The cap was 20% of the amount outstanding. So if you owed $10,000, the most the association can charge you back in legal fees is $2000. There is some nuance over what is formally considered a legal fee and what isn't, but for the most part, the bulk of collections related legal expenses are limited by the 20% rule.

The rule is there to prevent abuse of both the delinquent owners, as well as the association funds. With no limit, the board and its collections attorney (currently the same firm representing the association, Radom and Wetter), could charge back whatever legal collections expenses they wanted, with no limit. From past history with a former association attorney (Stark and Stark), who simply ignored the 20% rule altogether, things can quickly get out of control. In no time, a unit could have several thousand dollars of legal collection fees, even if they only owed $1000. The attorney gets paid up front by the association for all the collections work, so they have no incentive to limit their collections work (in fact, have the opposite incentive). The association then depends on recovering those legal costs by billing them back to the delinquent owners. While this sounds like a brilliant idea, in practice is does not work out that well. What often ends up happening (maybe 80 to 90% of cases), is that the delinquent owner just can't pay - they owe the association, they owe property tax, they owe the bank - there is just no money. You can post back all the legal fees you want, get all the judgements you want - you're just not going to ever collect them. In the end, the association not only gets stuck with the delinquent amount, but now it also gets stuck with all the un-recoverable legal fees! Thus, the 20% rule also protects the association by preventing the board and attorney from going wild and racking up tens of thousands of dollars of legal fees that, as a practical matter, will never be recovered.

By the way, I guess nobody proof-read this amendment in the letter. I assume the text in bold is supposed to replace all the text that appears after it, but they screwed up the formatting. It's kind of funny that with professional management and professional counsel, they can still make these kind of mistakes. There is still more to the collections story and how the situation often ends up getting exploited, but this is the part of it relevant to the proposed change, and the reason I would say DISSAPROVE OF AMENDMENTS!

Proposed Amendments 2

This change would allow you to vote for candidates in the annual election without having to send in a proxy form. The proxy form has always caused some confusion, and it is not entirely clear to many why it is there in the first place. This is another lengthy explanation, but suffice it to say that it goes back to the fact that all condo associations in NJ are setup up as non-profit corporations under Title 15A (there is a link on the "Legal" page of this site to 15A, if you would like to see it). This is similar to a for-profit corporation, with which many are familiar, with shareholders and annual meetings and board of directors and voting - and proxies! That's where it comes from, and the reason we have it here.

The proposed amendment would eliminate the need to send in a proxy form with a ballot for the annual meeting. While this may seem innocuous at first, and a welcome simplification, the reality is again quite different. The point of the proxy form was that it allows an owner to exercise their full voting rights as an owner (a shareholder of the corporation) at the annual meetings. This included not just voting on candidates for the Board of Trustees (the board of directors) but also other issues that come up at the annual meetings. Boards and their attorneys are scared to death of this homeowner power, and do what they can to minimize and undermine it. This is yet another assault on homeowner rights. What I am concerned about is that, as a practical matter, it will become all but impossible to ever vote on other matters at an annual meeting, since everyone will vote by absentee ballot. Furthermore, other matters, which legally could still be brought up at an annual meeting (although I'm sure this right will be down-played, as it has been for the last 3 annual meetings), will now be decided by an even smaller number of owners (probably just the "in-the-know" board members) since very few people will know what a proxy is anymore and will all vote by absentee ballot. Therefore, another DISSAPROVE OF AMENDMENTS!

Proposed Amendment 4

This change seeks to clarify the "good standing" requirements for participation in the annual meeting, as modified by PREDFDA mentioned at the beginning of this editorial. I assume it is consistent with that legislation. However, and yet again as a practical matter, I wish it was more specific about the timing in relation to the annual meetings and its adjournments. We used to consider an owner delinquent and not in good standing if they owed more than one month's worth of fees. This covered the situations where the annual meeting date or adjourned date fell after the first of the month but before the 15th, or the owner had a different monthly due date. If we are making amendments, this would seem to be an excellent opportunity to pin this down.

Proposed Amendment 5

This is the introduction of "electronic voting", and another can of worms. Yes, it would be great to have some easy on-line way to vote. However, not at the expense of our rights, or the introduction of a whole new level of possible corruption. It is not clear as to exactly what they mean by electronic voting. If it is just intended to allow owners to scan and email their proxy and/or ballot or absentee ballot, then it's not much different than what is already allowed. However, if they intend this to mean you go on a website and click a button, I would be very concerned because I know way too much about how delicate and vulnerable such systems are. This needs to be clarified before I would be comfortable voting one way or another on this change, so again, it's another thumbs-down DISSAPROVE OF AMENDMENTS from me.

Proposed Amendment 3

This change updates portions of the annual meeting and election procedure to again reflect recent legislative changes in PREFFDA. You would be able to opt-in for electronic delivery (email) of association meeting notices. This is the only amendment of the seven that I would agree with in it's current form! But we can't vote on individual amendments - so this one will go down with all the rest.

It was disappointing to see that while several election-related amendments were proposed, the opportunity was missed to implement some other critical election related protections:

1-There is currently no requirement for the association to validate the signatures of the owners voting in the annual elections. After a lot of energy and expense, the court ordered that I was allowed to inspect the election documents from the 2018 election (which I should have been allowed to see without having to litigate, but that's another matter, which still isn't concluded by the way). During the course of that inspection, it was discovered that at least 50 of the signatures on the proxy forms did not match to one degree or another, with the public-record copy of that owner's signature. While some of these mismatches could be legitimate, it is suspicious, and you would think that mandating a signature check would be a good thing to include in any election related amendments. The fact that it was not included raises another concern as to why. Comparing signatures is common practice in elections at the local, state, and federal level.

2-When I was involved, all the proxies and ballots were stored in a locked drop-box style mailbox, with multiple locks. All of the key holders had to be present in order to open the mailbox. This guaranteed the security of the ballots. This procedure was dropped a few years ago, and as far as I understand there is only one lock and one key and one person with that key. This is not to question the integrity of the person with the key - that is missing the point. The point is that when designing as system to guarantee the security of the ballots, that system should not rely on the integrity of any single individual. It was disappointing that this was not also addressed in the proposed amendments. It seems like a simple rule that no one would object to. The same procedure should also be used for voting on proposed by-law amendments! PREDFDA also now requires that the ballots must be secure.

3-When I was involved, a list of who-voted was constantly made available to the owners. We did this because it was a way for owners to confirm that their ballot was actually received (and wasn't "disappeared"). The "who-voted" list has always been a matter of public record in every other election at the local, state, and federal level, for this very reason. It provides some reassurance that ballots don't get conveniently lost. We also released the list during the election because if such a list existed, there was a strategic value to having that list, and if it is available to one person, as a matter of fairness, it should be available to all. Obviously that is no longer the thinking, but should be, and thus this should be mandated in our by-laws.

4-If they are really envisioning electronic voting as voting on a website, then any such system needs significant rules to prevent its inevitable abuse.

Last thing - take a look at paragraph 6.02, Total Destruction, in the original by-laws. It still mentions the township of East Brunswick. Again, if we're making changes to the by-laws, seems this would be something to fix. Or at least give the board members time to comment, so they can mention this before it's railroaded through.

So that's why I recommend voting "DISAPPROVE OF AMENDMENTS". Comment below if you have questions..

Kevin

5


DATE: Friday, March 19, 2021
TIME: 10:33 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Community Email Returns! March Meeting, and By-Law Amendment Voting
TYPE: Community News

I had mentioned to many owners late last year that I was working to get the community emails going again. I am sorry that it took so long, but I think everything is finally straightened out and working. Apologies also to anyone who is receiving this and has moved out or otherwise does not need or want these announcements. Just reply to this email and I will promptly remove you from the distribution.

To say that a lot has happened since my last mass-email in November 2019 is a gross understatement. I found all the drama on the national level over the last year to be very troubling. I was heartened at least a little to see that our diverse community, and much of NJ as well, was spared from the worst of the upheaval, but at the same time I was disheartened as some of the division trickled down locally. As I see it, there does indeed remain some serious systemic flaws in our country. This is not new to me, and over the years that I was in the position to make positive change, I did what I could, and continue to do what I can, to understand the source of our flaws and find ways to improve. As I've gotten older, solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems become clearer. The antidote to division is to do things that bring people together. Nothing is going to get solved if there is no interaction and no discussion. Alternate versions of reality will not be reconciled with waring factions hunkered in their corners. I am hoping that in some small way, these community emails and the new website and the public forum will get that critical interaction going again.

There is a picture posted with this message on savethehill.org, which perfectly epitomizes the contrast between the current and past leadership. Yet another one of the community berry plantings behind the retaining walls has been systematically ripped up - the special dirt removed and the drip irrigation hacked up (instead of a little maintenance). As I have mentioned before, the point of those plantings was to create gathering spaces by giving people things to do in the community. There was another plan to landscape "the hill" by the pond with a trail and seating area, and construct additional walking paths around the pond. Again, the point being to create gathering spaces. We also used to do an annual community event, now cancelled along with the trails. In the face of division, this is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the leadership should be doing. This point needs to be made to them, and if they don't take the point, then you have to decide which path we should go down as a community.

I realize there is a natural tendency to disengage from contentious situations, avoid confrontation, and retract. On top of it, the virus is amplifying that tendency. But it is the exact OPPOSITE of what needs to happen. We need everyone to remain involved and engaged, so sensible decisions get made and things are prevented from going even further south.

March Board Meeting
-------------------
As to immediate business, the March Board of Trustees meeting is March 18th, 7 PM. I assume everyone received the meeting announcement, agenda, and Zoom link from management. I understand the continuing roof project and the swimming pool are the main topics. I assume that the 2021 pool season will be on the chopping block, since $35k can be saved and conveniently blamed on the virus. By the way, the pool used to cost us less than $15k a year. I realize there might need to be a second attendant at the pool, but even then it would be $25k tops, still $10k less than what it would cost us now.

The board is still charging forward with its version of the re-roofing project, and is trying to do at least another 5 buildings this spring/summer. My comments on the re-roofing are covered in another post here on www.savethehill.org. I remain very concerned about the total disregard for the ventilation deficiencies identified and corrected in the re-roofing spec we used for building 3, which is now being completely ignored. Ineffective ventilation design shortens the life of the roofing components.

A few years ago, when all the in-house capital improvement and repair projects were cancelled by the current board, I warned that the cost of all those projects was just doubled. As a case in point, the in-house cost of roof replacements would be around $25k/building, and we are currently averaging $50k/building contracted out. So there you go - double like I said. My cost calculations are in the re-roofing post if you want the details.

Proposed By-Law Amendments
--------------------------
There is also the matter of several proposed amendments to the Society Hill by-laws. I commented on those in a previous post, the final conclusion of which was a "DISAPPROVE" from me. The show-stopper for me was the $250,000 confiscation of the escrow funds, all of which would be immediately re-allocated to re-roofing, for which we are over-paying by $20k or more per building.

There is a rapidly approaching deadline for that vote - March 30th. There is still time but barely, given ongoing postal delays, so mail that soon! It should be sent to the Red Bank office of Town and Country Management, which is safer than dropping it here at the clubhouse, for what I assume are obvious reasons.

There is one CORRECTION I need to make in some earlier correspondence. I previously stated that the board received the proposed by-law amendments only a few hours before the February 18th meeting. There was another email sent 3 days earlier with the amendments attached, but I didn't look closely at it and deleted it to help clear my over-quota email box. I did save a copy locally first but didn't find the copy till it was too late. Apologies to those mentioned, as the board actually had three days, not 3 hours, to review the amendment proposal before they were voted on and approved for mailing to the members for their vote.

Under the new state laws for amending association by-laws, the proposed changes will be automatically approved if less than 10% of the owners vote NO in the first 30 days after the proposed amendments are mailed out. In other words, if less than 54 owners vote no, the amendments are approved. Conversely, if more than 54 owners vote no, then the amendments are rejected. However, that is not necessarily the end of the amendments, but then a majority of the members in good standing (usually about 240 members for us) would have to vote to approve the changes.

After re-reading the new state laws regarding by-law amendments last night, I see there is a serious technical flaw in the mailing. Section 5:26-8.13(h) of PRDFDA states:

1. The board's proposed amendment shall include a notice that the amendment will fail only if at least 10 percent of the association members in good standing vote to reject the amendment.

Their letter contained no such statement. This is the second flaw in the letter - the first being the major wording/grammatical error in the text of proposed amendment 6. I can't resist to point out that these amendments and this letter was presumably prepared by professional legal counsel, for which we pay $12k a year. For a firm engaged in condominium law, you would think they wouldn't make such a mistake. Unless of course, the condominium law practice is just the "foot in the door" so they can get to the collections work, where the real money is. I see from the financial statements Radom and Wetter invoiced the association almost $39k for collections work in 2020. The financial statement says we recovered $30k in legal fees from delinquent owners (I have yet to verify this), so we spent $39k to collect $30k, which means we LOST another $9k on collections for 2020. I guess they consider this a "success" lol. Do you want me to guess where this number is headed if there is no 20% cap... To be fair, they did recover some of the outstanding maintenance fees, exactly how much I don't know but I believe it's more than $9k. I see the total paid to Radom and Wetter was $64k for 2020, which included their $12k/year retainer and other extra legal work. Our legal expenses used to be a few thousand a year (except for the affordable housing litigation, most of which was reimbursed). This is right back to the situation we had with Stark and Stark in the early 2000's - nothing has changed - just the name of the firm - same tactics, same business model.

Finally, I also just noticed this in PREDFDA:

(j)An executive board shall not amend the bylaws without a vote open to all association members or as detailed above except to the extent necessary to render the bylaws consistent with State, Federal, or local law.

So they don't even have to put some of these amendments to a vote! Any of the ones which update the by-laws to conform with the new state laws can just be made, no questions asked. So that story in the letter about how we have to do this to "reduce confusion" is just being used as the sugar coating on the pill they want us to swallow.

Some will say I complain too much, but you have a right to know how your money is being spent. And I was heavily accused of "wasting money" LOL!

Kevin

1


DATE: Wednesday, March 24, 2021
TIME: 12:19 AM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: ByLaw Amendment Deadline 3/30, March Meeting Report, and Escrow Funds Moving?
TYPE: Community News

Sorry it took so long to get a March meeting summary out. I never seem to have enough time.. See below for several important updates.

IMPORTANT - Registering on This WEB Site
----------------------------------------
If you are already receiving email from savethehill, it means you are already partially registered on this site. You do NOT need to register from scratch, and in fact doing so will create two of you. Your username is your email address (can be changed later). To complete your registration you just need to setup your password using this link:

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Login&page=../html/Auth/AuthResetPassword.html

Enter your username (which is your email address), and an email will be sent to you with a temporary password. Login with that, click on the 'Profile' menu in the upper-right, and you can change your username if you want, and your password. There have been occasional reports of the password reset emails not coming through, so if that happens email savethehill@optimum.net and I will fix it manually.

By-Law Amendment Deadline
-------------------------
There is less than one week left to mail back the 'ballot' for the proposed by-law amendments!! Don't let them steal our security/escrow deposits! (and do other bad things) Be sure to mail the ballot to the Red Bank, NJ management company address. Letters can still take a while, so DON'T DELAY!

Executive Summary of March 18th Meeting
---------------------------------------
This is short - it was over 2 hours long - zero motions. Everything is done behind-the-scenes. End of summary.

Wait - there was one motion - they did approve the minutes of the prior meeting (February). Which, incidentally had no motions either, except to approve the January minutes. Most everything is handled behind-the-scenes now. The February meeting was when the board 'approved' the proposed by-laws amendments to be mailed out, but they never actually voted on a motion. Chairman Zhou claimed the board had voted on the amendments at a prior meeting. That's not quite the whole story - the board voted on the CONCEPT of proposed amendment 6 (removal of 20% rule) at the January 2021 meeting, but not on any specific language. He claims the board also voted on the confiscation of the escrow funds at a prior meeting (I would have to search - definitely no specific language). However, I'm 100% sure the board never voted on any of the 5 other amendments at any prior meetings. Just another example of action taken by one board member without the full authority of the board.

I still can't find where the meeting minutes are posted on the association's official WEB site, so I'm still going through the trouble of posting them here. I added a few prior missing ones (check Legal menu above), and January and February 2021:

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_1-21-2021.pdf
https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_2-18-2021.pdf

Detailed Summary of March 18th Meeting
--------------------------------------
It was good to see more people zooming in than usual at the March meeting. It is good for the board to get some input from outside its bubble. This is part of the solution - the more people contributing the better.

Much of the meeting was spent discussing what to do about the pool. Chairman Zhou's attorney provided the board with her written opinion on the situation. Trustee Sanford wanted to ban anyone that had not received the COVID vaccine (good luck with that). Vice President Thomas suggested trying to open for July 4th. The final conclusion was to do nothing this month, and push the decision to the April meeting. If the pool season is disrupted again, this would be the 4th consecutive year.

There is a considerable amount of preparation that has to be done to get the pool open, which generally required about 2 months to complete. In other words, to open June 20th, we used to start the process in early April. I would usually have the pool uncovered and the filter running late March or early April to prevent the water from turning green, and find out about any issues as soon as possible in the season. We're going to miss that window again. Recall last year that Chairman Zhou delayed and delayed on getting the pool uncovered until it was completely taken over by algae. Obviously he never managed a pool before. I am sticking to my prediction that the ~$30k cost saving is just too big a prize for Chairman Zhou to resist, and he will push the board to close it again for this season, and blame it on the virus and liability concerns.

It sounds like the trash removal contract is going out for bid again, after the fiasco last spring. I don't remember if I wrote about this before. Chairman Zhou and his board approved a proposal from Waste Management last spring, after too many complaints about Grand Sanitation. Shortly after the new Waste Management contract was signed, Grand Sanitation came back with a new proposal he couldn't refuse, so Chairman Zhou decided we should stay with Grand Sanitation and terminate the new contract with Waste Management. The only slight problem was that the exit language in the Waste Management contract required the association to pay $46k to exit the agreement!

Somehow he managed to wiggle out of this, however it is looking like we are going to end up with Waste Management soon, so I suspect that may have been part of the deal when they let him off the hook for the $46k. I'm only speculating - the board (or certainly me) is kept in the dark on all these high-level behind-the-scenes negotiations. By the way, the signed Waste Management contract was for $94,800 for the first year, which is about $30k MORE than Grand Sanitation. This was another of Chairman Zhou's brilliant cost-savings plans I guess. It worked out in the end - Grand Sanitation gave us an even better price to keep the business - but I'm curious to see what will happen this year with Waste Management.

The last major topic was the re-roofing project. I finally found the payments to the re-roofing contractor, 'Accent Group', in the January 2021 financial statement. I found $299,668 in payments. That was for 2 townhouse buildings and 4 condo buildings. The base contract was $183k, and permits were $6k. All the rest - another $111k - was extras and change-orders. That's more than half of the base contract! Time to re-write that contract.

I warned them about this at the August 17th, 2020 meeting. I found my notes - warned twice about how the contractors will exploit the 'surprises' if you aren't real careful about how the contract is worded. Chairman Zhou had no interest in what I was saying. Once the roof is torn off it's too late - they will happily cash the blank check they were given for every little issue they find. He started to get upset at this meeting when I raised this point in one of the few short moments I was granted permission from him to speak. It is good that he was getting upset because he got screwed - I would be upset too. If the rest of the project has 64% overhead in extras and change-orders, this project is going to end up costing us plenty.

I ended up posting the entire roofing consultants specification under the 'Info' menu above. At the very bottom of the page is links to the numerous sections. From a maintenance and engineering perspective, it is absurd to be completely ignoring this specification. They probably don't like it because it's attached to me. Well, I didn't write it. A roofing consultant did. The end result is that the systemic ventilation flaws are not being fixed, which will shorten the life of the shingles (and may void the warranty they keep bragging about).

Escrow Money Already Moving?
----------------------------
All the financial statements are here on this site under the 'Financial' tab above (you will have to log in). Any owner can go and check out this information themselves. If the financial statements are on the association's official WEB site, I have still not been able to find them. As an owner, you have full access to all the association's financial information. If there is any doubt about this, or the association gives you trouble when you request to see something, check out this document from the DCA:

https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/forms/pdf_ari/assoc_pkt.pdf

Take a look at the bank statement for the escrow account, near the end of the December and January statements. They have already started to pull money from that fund. In October it was $249k. At the end of January it was $217k. I wonder what it is by now - the end of March. The board was not advised of any withdrawals from escrow. It looks like they even tried to pull $52k more out but for some reason that got intercepted. The 'steal the escrow fund' by-law amendment has not yet been approved. Chairman Zhou has no authority to be pulling money from this account. They are allowed to pull out the interest, but I can't find anything in the financial statements to document that, and the interest income these last several years has been very low, probably well below the $32k that was removed.

Kevin

45


DATE: Sunday, March 28, 2021
TIME: 10:07 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Voting Process Survey, and ONE DAY LEFT TO VOTE!
TYPE: Community News

I just finished creating a survey feature on savethehill. The first survey is about the election process. While the 2021 by-law amendment vote is still fresh on everyone's mind, here is the link to a few questions about the process:

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Election&page=../html/Election/VotingSurvey.html

You can complete the survey for the by-law amendment voting, or any of the two prior annual elections. There have been various reports from owners over the last two years that are cause for concern, so I am trying to document those concerns and observations to get a better picture of what might be going on. The integrity of the voting process is critical, and as we have seen nationally, it is probably best to design those processes to be as secure and visible as possible. That is not where we are right now, but this survey will help, and especially this fall for the annual board of trustee elections.

I am also thinking very hard about proposing several by-law amendments myself, and putting them to a vote of the membership, without involving the board. The recent changes to PREDFDA have made this feasible. A majority of the membership in good standing can now approve changes, whereas it used to require a 75% affirmative vote of the entire membership to approve. I can think of several election-related safeguards that should be mandated in our by-laws, that I assume everyone (well almost everyone lol) would be in favor of - multiple locks on the ballot box, periodic release of voting list, witnessed election mailing, separation of proxies and ballots AT THE MEETING, signature verification, no campaigning in and around the polling place (clubhouse), and making ALL election documents available for inspection after the election. OR, mandate that the entire election process be out-sourced to a neutral and un-affiliated third-party. Even this would need a bunch of rules, but it's an option.

If anyone else has by-law amendment thoughts, let me know here or you can post them on savethehill.org for group discussion.

If you have not returned your by-law amendment ballot, you have ONE DAY LEFT!! It is too late to put it in the mail for the March 30th deadline, so at this point your only option is to scan and email it to Town and Country at scole@tc-mgt.com. Only as a last resort would I suggest dropping anything at the clubhouse. And please take a moment to complete the voting survey, so we have some way of double checking that your vote was counted.

No response yet from the board to my email from last week asking them about what is going on with the escrow fund... When and if they respond, I will be sure and pass that on to everyone.

Kevin

3


DATE: Sunday, March 28, 2021
TIME: 11:05 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Voting Process Survey, and ONE DAY LEFT TO VOTE!
TYPE: Community News

I just finished creating a survey feature on savethehill. The first survey is about the election process. While the 2021 by-law amendment vote is still fresh on everyone's mind, here is the link to a few questions about the process:

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Election&page=../html/Election/VotingSurvey.html

You can complete the survey for the by-law amendment voting, or any of the two prior annual elections. There have been various reports from owners over the last two years that are cause for concern, so I am trying to document those concerns and observations to get a better picture of what might be going on. The integrity of the voting process is critical, and as we have seen nationally, it is probably best to design those processes to be as secure and visible as possible. That is not where we are right now, but this survey will help, and especially this fall for the annual board of trustee elections.

I am also thinking very hard about proposing several by-law amendments myself, and putting them to a vote of the membership, without involving the board. The recent changes to PREDFDA have made this feasible. A majority of the membership in good standing can now approve changes, whereas it used to require a 75% affirmative vote of the entire membership to approve. I can think of several election-related safeguards that should be mandated in our by-laws, that I assume everyone (well almost everyone lol) would be in favor of - multiple locks on the ballot box, periodic release of voting list, witnessed election mailing, separation of proxies and ballots AT THE MEETING, signature verification, no campaigning in and around the polling place (clubhouse), and making ALL election documents available for inspection after the election. OR, mandate that the entire election process be out-sourced to a neutral and un-affiliated third-party. Even this would need a bunch of rules, but it's an option.

If anyone else has by-law amendment thoughts, let me know here or you can post them on savethehill.org for group discussion.

If you have not returned your by-law amendment ballot, you have ONE DAY LEFT!! It is too late to put it in the mail for the March 30th deadline, so at this point your only option is to scan and email it to Town and Country at scole@tc-mgt.com. Only as a last resort would I suggest dropping anything at the clubhouse. And please take a moment to complete the voting survey, so we have some way of double checking that your vote was counted.

No response yet from the board to my email from last week asking them about what is going on with the escrow fund... When and if they respond, I will be sure and pass that on to everyone.

Kevin

109


DATE: Friday, April 2, 2021
TIME: 6:04 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Caught Red-Handed, and By-Law Amendment Results
TYPE: Community News

The results of the proposed by-law amendment vote were finally released this morning (4/1/2021). The board was emailed a spreadsheet showing 64 units voted, and told that more than 10% had voted "Disapprove", so the proposed by-law amendments have FAILED. The vote was probably close, but I don't have an exact count. I want to thank everyone that took the time to mail in the ballot, whatever side of this issue they were on, because it is so important to stay informed and engaged in the process.

In spite of the "success of the failure", there were two very troubling things that came up during the by-law amendment vote. First, on Tuesday March 30th, prior to the deadline, I received word from multiple owners that Chairman Zhou had called them and proceeded to try and convince them to change their vote from "Disapprove" to "Approve"!!! HA! Caught red-handed. He is certainly entitled to do whatever campaigning he wants, HOWEVER, he is certainly NOT entitled to obtain and use privileged information. How does he know to call these specific owners?? None of the other board members or owners were given any advanced lists of which units had voted.

This confirms one of my suspicions regarding the elections in general. The office, and specifically Chairman Zhou, has access to information that the rest of the board, the candidates, and the homeowners do not have access to. For example, they know who has voted thus far, which can be of significant strategic value. They also have physical access to all the returned ballots, and physical access to all the election materials (envelopes, ballots, seal, etc.).

Second, in reviewing the list of units that responded, I see several missing that I'm almost certain had mailed in their ballots. I will be following up with these homeowners over the next few days before I draw any conclusions, but again this does not look good. Please check this list and if you mailed in a ballot and are NOT on the is list, please let me know, or complete the voting process survey to document the incident:

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Election&page=../html/Election/VotingSurvey.html

The units from which ballots were received by the office are:

32, 34, 38, 42, 66, 73, 87, 94, 108, 117, 126, 130, 141, 142, 151, 152, 154, 171, 175, 186, 187, 190, 195, 198, 216, 242, 275, 278, 281, 290, 291, 302, 304, 316, 332, 338, 340, 343, 345, 347, 357, 360, 362, 376, 379, 396, 400, 407, 428, 429, 439, 440, 441, 460, 463, 465, 475, 485, 504, 508, 510, 514, 533, and 545

None of the other board members are in this list, so I guess we know where they stand.

The integrity of the election process is critical to the proper functioning of the association, and if that process is being violated in any way, it is a very serious problem. It is so serious that I am going to propose by-law amendments to re-institute the necessary election and voting safeguards to guarantee the integrity of the process. We already had some of these safeguards in place prior to 2018, but they WERE REMOVED by the current board leadership, for what should now be obvious reasons. If the board wishes to not sponsor the proposed amendments (why would they possibly not want election safeguards??), then we can put it out for a vote by the membership ourselves without involving the board. The recent changes to PREDFDA have made this process much more practical. I have some other by-law amendment ideas too, as I'm sure do many of you, and I have another little petition that should be circulated at the same time as well :)

Kevin

32


DATE: Wednesday, April 14, 2021
TIME: 8:26 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Board Meeting TOMORROW Thursday, 2PM !!?, and Election Security By-Law Proposal
TYPE: Community News

Following the rejection of the proposed by-law amendments on March 30th, I have drafted my own proposed amendments dealing specifically with election security. Although I could think of about 20 more amendments, I am going to focus only on this one for now, as the integrity of the voting process is most critical, especially in light of what happened with the by-law amendment vote, and what has likely been happening with the annual election voting as well. Here is the text of the proposed amendment:

https://www.savethehill.org/Legal/ByLawVotingAmendments.pdf

Shortly after the vote a few weeks ago, it was further discovered that the votes from at least 9 units were somehow missing from the list of units that voted. I can't believe that many voters would incorrectly recall if they voted or not, so more likely those votes went "missing". Several homeowners took the time to complete the voting survey I posted (see past message below for the link), which was very helpful in documenting various issues with the voting process. That survey remains open, if you still want to respond. A few owners said they emailed their vote in prior to the deadline, but still didn't appear in the voting list, and as with all these votes and elections, several owners reported that they did not receive the mailing in the first place.

I asked to have my proposed amendment on the agenda for this weeks Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, April 15th, and they have been placed on the agenda. HOWEVER, in the last minute the meeting has been rescheduled from the evening to 2 PM in the afternoon! This is the second time Chairman Zhou has scheduled a meeting in the middle of a workday. Although I'm sure he will have a good cover story, you can be certain why I think this was done, as he is about to face some uncomfortable questions at this meeting, and I have an item on the agenda that he would rather not see. Due to the time change, a new meeting notice had to go out, however it was sent on Monday, which is only 4 days prior to the meeting. Recent changes to PREDFDA now require a 7-day notice of Board of Trustee meetings, which means the board is in violation of the open meetings regulations. If they really go forward with this meeting, I will be filing yet another complaint with the DCA, as it seems Chairman Zhou and his board expect everyone else to follow the rules while they don't follow the rules themselves. Any owner can file such a complaint too - it is not difficult, and I have made the forms and instructions available here:

https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/forms/pdf_ari/assoc_pkt.pdf

The meeting agenda was already sent to everyone by the management office, but in case you didn't get it, I've posted it here too, along with the March 18th meeting minutes:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_4-15-2021.pdf
https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_3-18-2021.pdf

As is usual, the agenda is very minimal, with just the pool opening decision, the trash contract, and the voting security amendment. There are two sections to the amendment - 3.13 and 3.14. The first section is the proposed rules for when the Association conducts the election internally, like they have been doing, and the second section is for when the Association hires an external third-party to conduct the election. The procedure in 3.13 envisions the appointment of election inspectors at the very start of the process, who are then responsible for running the election all the way through. Also envisioned are election observers, separate from the inspectors, which can be any interested parties and that are watching over the entire process. Voting on by-law amendments would also be covered by these same rules, as that vote can be just as critical as candidate votes. I'm sure I will be criticized for over-complicating things, but if we really want some measure of security, I don't see too many simplifications. Even handing it off to a third-party needs several protections, as you will see in 3.14. If anyone has comments, please post them here preferably, or at least email me.

I still have no response from the board on several questions I've posed to them over the last few weeks, including why $32k was already pulled from the escrow fund in January, and now I see another $4k was pulled on February 9th, in a check payable to Linda Zhou (employee and wife of Chairman Zhou), with a note "pending backup to support withdrawal". I'm a little surprised that the documentation still hasn't come through, as it's now two months later. I assume this is for a legitimate out-of-pocket expense of some sort, but again given all the criticism of me over the past 3 years, I'm surprised the current board leadership would do anything like this. Also no word on the state of their "forensic audit" witch-hunt, which is coming up on year three. You can be sure if there was anything damning in there, it would have been splashed all over a special edition of the Society Hill News, and used against me in the election last year. My strong suspicion is that the audit has already concluded, a while ago, and with no findings, but Chairman Zhou doesn't want to release it because that conclusion doesn't fit his narrative, so he's sitting on it intentionally to leave this cloud over my head. Anyway, I will be asking about both of these issues at the meeting, and it would be good if some other owners that are able to attend a 2 PM workday meeting press them as well.

I will also be asking point-blank how it is that Chairman Zhou was calling residents prior to the March 30th by-law amendment voting deadline, trying to get them to change their vote on the proposed amendments. I certainly had no knowledge of who voted, or how they voted - why should he? This voting should really have been conducted by secret ballot just like the candidate voting.

Kevin

5


DATE: Wednesday, April 14, 2021
TIME: 10:14 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Board Meeting TOMORROW Thursday, 2PM !!?, and Election Security By-Law Proposal
TYPE: Community News

Following the rejection of the proposed by-law amendments on March 30th, I have drafted my own proposed amendments dealing specifically with election security. Although I could think of about 20 more amendments, I am going to focus only on this one for now, as the integrity of the voting process is most critical, especially in light of what happened with the by-law amendment vote, and what has likely been happening with the annual election voting as well. Here is the text of the proposed amendment:

https://www.savethehill.org/Legal/ByLawVotingAmendments.pdf

Shortly after the vote a few weeks ago, it was further discovered that the votes from at least 9 units were somehow missing from the list of units that voted. I can't believe that many voters would incorrectly recall if they voted or not, so more likely those votes went "missing". Several homeowners took the time to complete the voting survey I posted (see past message below for the link), which was very helpful in documenting various issues with the voting process. That survey remains open, if you still want to respond. A few owners said they emailed their vote in prior to the deadline, but still didn't appear in the voting list, and as with all these votes and elections, several owners reported that they did not receive the mailing in the first place.

I asked to have my proposed amendment on the agenda for this weeks Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, April 15th, and they have been placed on the agenda. HOWEVER, in the last minute the meeting has been rescheduled from the evening to 2 PM in the afternoon! This is the second time Chairman Zhou has scheduled a meeting in the middle of a workday. Although I'm sure he will have a good cover story, you can be certain why I think this was done, as he is about to face some uncomfortable questions at this meeting, and I have an item on the agenda that he would rather not see. Due to the time change, a new meeting notice had to go out, however it was sent on Monday, which is only 4 days prior to the meeting. Recent changes to PREDFDA now require a 7-day notice of Board of Trustee meetings, which means the board is in violation of the open meetings regulations. If they really go forward with this meeting, I will be filing yet another complaint with the DCA, as it seems Chairman Zhou and his board expect everyone else to follow the rules while they don't follow the rules themselves. Any owner can file such a complaint too - it is not difficult, and I have made the forms and instructions available here:

https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/forms/pdf_ari/assoc_pkt.pdf

The meeting agenda was already sent to everyone by the management office, but in case you didn't get it, I've posted it here too, along with the March 18th meeting minutes:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_4-15-2021.pdf
https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_3-18-2021.pdf

As is usual, the agenda is very minimal, with just the pool opening decision, the trash contract, and the voting security amendment. There are two sections to the amendment - 3.13 and 3.14. The first section is the proposed rules for when the Association conducts the election internally, like they have been doing, and the second section is for when the Association hires an external third-party to conduct the election. The procedure in 3.13 envisions the appointment of election inspectors at the very start of the process, who are then responsible for running the election all the way through. Also envisioned are election observers, separate from the inspectors, which can be any interested parties and that are watching over the entire process. Voting on by-law amendments would also be covered by these same rules, as that vote can be just as critical as candidate votes. I'm sure I will be criticized for over-complicating things, but if we really want some measure of security, I don't see too many simplifications. Even handing it off to a third-party needs several protections, as you will see in 3.14. If anyone has comments, please post them here preferably, or at least email me.

I still have no response from the board on several questions I've posed to them over the last few weeks, including why $32k was already pulled from the escrow fund in January, and now I see another $4k was pulled on February 9th, in a check payable to Linda Zhou (employee and wife of Chairman Zhou), with a note "pending backup to support withdrawal". I'm a little surprised that the documentation still hasn't come through, as it's now two months later. I assume this is for a legitimate out-of-pocket expense of some sort, but again given all the criticism of me over the past 3 years, I'm surprised the current board leadership would do anything like this. Also no word on the state of their "forensic audit" witch-hunt, which is coming up on year three. You can be sure if there was anything damning in there, it would have been splashed all over a special edition of the Society Hill News, and used against me in the election last year. My strong suspicion is that the audit has already concluded, a while ago, and with no findings, but Chairman Zhou doesn't want to release it because that conclusion doesn't fit his narrative, so he's sitting on it intentionally to leave this cloud over my head. Anyway, I will be asking about both of these issues at the meeting, and it would be good if some other owners that are able to attend a 2 PM workday meeting press them as well.

I will also be asking point-blank how it is that Chairman Zhou was calling residents prior to the March 30th by-law amendment voting deadline, trying to get them to change their vote on the proposed amendments. I certainly had no knowledge of who voted, or how they voted - why should he? This voting should really have been conducted by secret ballot just like the candidate voting.

Kevin

21


DATE: Saturday, April 17, 2021
TIME: 11:18 AM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Meeting "After-Math", Pool Closed, and Questions "Answered"
TYPE: Community News

The 2 PM workday meeting actually took place, so I filed my 5th complaint with the NJ State Department of Community Affairs, this time regarding the deficient meeting notice. The February Board of Trustees meeting was also at 2 PM on a workday, so it looks like this habit is going to continue. It is just one more example of how the current board leadership wants to keep everything on the low, and keep us all in the dark. Only 3 or 4 homeowners were able to attend as a result of the mid-week mid-day meeting time. The more owners that complain to the state about this the better. Complaint form are available here:

https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/forms/pdf_ari/assoc_pkt.pdf

And a copy of the complaint I just sent is here, to give an example of how to fill it out:

https://www.savethehill.org/Legal/DCACompliantAsFiled_4-15-2021.pdf

The surprise guest for this meeting, I assume to justify the 2 PM meeting time, was Ginger Pitaccio, Executive Vice President and Owner of Town and Country, our current management company. She chimed in on a couple of issues, mostly the swimming pool, and then some comments at the end but due to a conflicting meeting for work, I had to switch to another meeting so I don't know what else she said.

As no surprise at all, the pool will be closed for the 2021 season, and given this boards eclectic risk threshold profile, it will probably be closed for a few more years as it is unlikely that COVID will completely vanish anytime soon. Apparently the insurance policy excludes infectious diseases (I requested a copy of the policy to double check this), which has everyone spooked in to keeping the pool closed. There is some additional costs of COVID compliance as well. While they have zero risk tolerance for opening the pool, they have no problem leaving a gaping hole in the curb on Hampshire Ct. for other a month now (see message further below - it's still not fixed!). This would be the second time the entire pool season is cancelled - we should ask for a refund!

They are still trying to replace the current trash contractor, with a much more expensive one, which we are told will come up for final approval at the May meeting.

My proposed voting security by-law amendment went no where, as expected. I did make a motion to refer the proposal to counsel, as Chairman Zhou himself suggested at the meeting, but it didn't receive a second so no action was taken. That's fine - I gave them their chance. I had already planned to mail this out myself, so there is some assurance votes don't go "missing", so that's what I will do. There will probably be another petition in the same mailing for something else :)

I was given the opportunity to question the board and Chairman Zhou on the issues I mentioned, and here are his responses:

On the forensic audit, he read from a prepared statement, saying I'm under investigation by a number of agencies (lol), and the forensic audit is ongoing. The audit was started in February 2020, so its been a little over a year, and coming up on 3 years that they have been on their witch-hunt. I can't find any payments to the forensic auditor in the recent financial statements, so either the audit is dormant, or Chairman Zhou is paying them off the books (which should be very alarming).

On the escrow funds question, Chairman Zhou said the auditor authorized him to remove $31k from the escrow fund, and indeed in one of the recent audits, the auditor points out that there may be $31k extra in the escrow account that could be transferred out. The $31k number relies on an accurate tracking of the refunds to the seller from the escrow fund and the collection of a new escrow deposit from the buyer, over a 35 year period and thousands of sales. I would not put a lot of faith in that number - it might be close, but it really should be double checked by adding up the maintenance fees at the time of the last sale for all 545 units, which I highly doubt the auditor or anyone else has taken the time to do.

In any case, I thought I better add up all the recent withdrawals from the escrow fund, just to double check, and guess what? They add to $35,997. Hummmm, a little more than $31k! So while I can see why he did the $31k withdrawal, I don't know how he explains the additional $4k, which by the way was in the form of a check to Linda Zhou, his wife and association employee. I assume/hope this was for a legitimate purpose, but you would think by now, with all the criticism thrown at me over the last few years, that he would avoid the optics of such a situation, but I guess he assumed no one would notice or bother doing the math.

The more alarming thing about the money recently removed from the escrow account is that the funds are being directly removed from the account via checks written against it, which means that all the disbursements are essentially "off the books". In other words, these payments to employees and vendors do not appear in the general ledger expense accounts, which is causing some of those accounts to under-state the actual expenses, and making it very difficult to keep track of how escrow money is being spent.

The board was never told about the actual removal of the $31k from escrow, and was left to find it out for themselves from the financial statements. I guess Chairman Zhou thought that since the auditor recommended it, he can just go ahead and do it (wrong!). Ordinarily, a non-recurring transfer such as this would be at least acknowledged by the board at a meeting, or more likely, the transfer would be made by motion of the board. Currently none of these disbursements from escrow appear on the revenue side of the operating account, including a check on January 22 for $24,627.28 with only a note "Move funds to operating". I find it as a deposit in the operating account bank statement, but no where in the operating revenue!? So where did that money end up?

So you say well, what's few thousands amongst homeowner friends? Is it really that big a deal? Well, let's move on the reserve account - where they are doing the same thing. But now it's HUNDREDS of thousands, disbursed directly from the reserve fund, to pay for, among other things, the recent roofing project. All essentially "off the books". I had to manually go through several financial statements to extract all the money spent on the re-roofing project, and add up all the amounts manually, to find out the total actually spent. Why isn't the roof expense recorded in the general ledger!!?? Expecting the board to pick though multiple financial statements and manually create an expense account is a bit much. We shouldn't have to be doing that, especially on a large project like this, taking place over a number of years. No one is going to know what we are spending. Unless that is the intent.

Anyway, there was another little surprise waiting for me - the total comes to $378,175! Gee - that's a little more that the $300k we were told about a few meetings ago. This means we spent an average of $63,000 per roof, for 6 buildings!! For those not familiar with construction, that's *insane*. At that rate, the roofing project will be costing us another two and half million dollars! I sent an email to the board asking about the extra $78k... we will see what they say (probably nothing).

Everything I'm talking about relating to the finances is independently verifiable by any homeowner. You all have the right to see the monthly financial statements, and much more. They are savethehill.org, under the "Financial" menu. To restrict it to homeowners, you will have to log in. You can confirm everything I've said - or let me know what I'm missing!

Finally, on the questions about the by-law amendment voting, and specifically how it was that Chairman Zhou seemingly knew who voted and how, and was calling them, PRIOR to the voting deadline, he admitted nothing, and instead said all those people called him, and then went on with a ludicrous story about how I called some homeowner 7 times, and that he has "picture proof" of my calls. Well he knows my phone number, so that should be pretty easy to check out. I can assure him it wasn't my number, because I don't recall calling anyone about the by-law amendment voting, although I did send a few emails and postcards. And no explanation of the votes that went "missing".

Kevin

164


DATE: Thursday, May 20, 2021
TIME: 8:41 AM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: May BOT Meeting THURSDAY 7PM, and How to Waste Money
TYPE: Community News

Just in case you missed the community email that the board sent on Monday, the May Board of Trustees meeting is Thursday May 20th, and back at the regular time of 7PM. The agenda can be found at:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_5-20-2021.pdf

Minutes of the prior April meeting are at:

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_4-15-2021.pdf

The board is continuing with its roof obsession, with plans to spend at least another $250,000 on 6 more buildings this year. That's the base price, on to which taxes, warranty, and "extras" will be added, bringing it to $300k+ I'm sure before all is said and done. This will be in addition to the $378k already spent last year on the prior 6 buildings, or $63k per building (which again, is insane).

The board is still totally ignoring all the chronic ventilation issues there were pointed out and addressed in the re-roofing specification and bid document from 2011, which they are also ignoring. It's too much detail to get in to here, so I will summarize it as "not good".

I am not saying the roofs shouldn't be replaced - I'm saying it's not a "drop everything else and spend whatever is necessary" level of crisis. After we tore apart and put back together the roof on building 3, I was able to see exactly the condition of a typical roof since I was up there with the crew through that entire project. There were issues, but again, not to the level of the current obsession. Had the new board leadership not interfered with the plan, by now the maintenance building would have been up, and we would be back to the re-roofing project this year. We would be doing a much more thorough job, fixing the ventilation issues and all the other flashings and things that should also be replaced, at a far lower cost.

As decided at the April board meeting, the pool will be closed again for this season. It's still going to cost us $10k to not open it, which is crazy again - we used to spend about that to actually run the pool for the whole season! And here they are somehow spending $10k to NOT run the pool. They just need to turn on the filter and buy some chemicals. No inspections, no lifeguards. It should cost maybe $500 - $1000. I mention these things because this is some of the same squad that was very critical of me "wasting money", but just look at them go. They thought I was wasting money because they didn't understand the details of maintenance and construction work, and now that they are in charge, they haven't magically gotten any smarter, so now they ACTUALLY ARE wasting money, and by the hundreds of thousands of dollars!

I see our President Mr. Zhou has also "negotiated" an increase in the trash contract of $17k/year, probably each year for the next 3 years. This relates back to his debacle with trying to change the trash contract last year. It's a bit of a story, but bottom line is we will be paying a lot more for trash removal. Another one of his brilliant cost-saving moves I guess.

Then the loader was broken for a few weeks I found out, in the middle of the mulch project, which had to be put on hold. Chairman Zhou sold (or "gave away" is more the word) the other two loaders, so now he had no spare machines for when one breaks. He obviously doesn't know the concept of reliability and redundancy. It looks like the $3100 repair has already been completed - to replace the starter motor I found out (cost $500 maybe). It's three bolts and a cable. So another $2600 down the drain. That's $2,600 + $17,000 + $9,000 = $28,600 total waste for May, plus the overcharge for the re-roofing - another $100k+ in the toilet. Good job.

I hope some more residents will be able to tune in to this Zoom meeting to see what is going on and ask some questions, now that it's back to 7PM. I still don't have answers to many financial questions I emailed the board over the last few months. What's up with the additional $78k for the roofs last fall? What's up with the additional $4k that was removed from escrow? Where's the back-up documentation for the $4k of Linda's expenses from last winter? Where are the invoices for their phantom forensic auditor? Why are several lines redacted from the March escrow fund statement!?

I am very close to mailing out the proposed election security by-law amendment petition, along with another petition to remove a certain someone from the board. Hopefully that will be out in a week or so.

Kevin

110


DATE: Wednesday, June 16, 2021
TIME: 10:09 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: The June "Non-Meeting" Reminder, 7PM Thursday, Roof and Litigation Update
TYPE: Community News

It doesn't feel like 4 weeks already, but here we are to the June meeting this Thursday, at the standard time of 7PM. There is only one item on the agenda, so I guess that means everything is perfect in Society Hill:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_6-17-2021.pdf

And the minutes of the May 20th meeting are at:

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_5-20-2021.pdf

The lone agenda item appears to be to delegate authority to the management company to negotiate settlement agreements with delinquent homeowners. No written proposal or specific procedure was presented to the board for the management company to follow, so this is going to be interesting. I'm voting no.

When I was in the office, the monthly board packages were typically around 100 pages of information, so the board members knew what was going on, and in addition, they had access to the on-line financial systems. Now, they have none of that. The monthly financial statements are delayed over 6 weeks. Where are all the people that used to complain about the 3 week delay!? Where are you George? Brian??

Maybe it's just me they are keeping in the dark... which brings me to the next topic. I have been asking for numerous election and financial document over the past 2+ years, and the board has ignored almost every request. These are things that any homeowner should be allowed to see, nevermind a trustee. They had to allow me to see the 2018 election documents, because they were ordered to do so by the court. After a lot of asking, they let me see the ballots from the 2020 election, but literally just the ballots, so I couldn't investigate any of the possible fraud issues. And that's been it. I filed multiple complaints with the DCA, and did eventually hear back, but they are overwhelmed. So I sued the board, again. This time, for breaching their fiduciary duty. The board has acted in bad-faith, and contrary to our governing documents in so many ways, some pushback on their behavior was long overdue. The place is being run as a dictatorship by a "Cluster B" personality (Google that - it's not good).

Most lawsuits are a matter of public record. Mine is MID-C-78-21, which can be looked up on:

https://portal.njcourts.gov/webcivilcj/CIVILCaseJacketWeb/pages/publicAccessDisclaimer.faces

First change "Docket Type" to "Chancery (C)", then you can select "MIDDLESEX" in "Case County". Docket number is 78, and docket year is 21. A bunch of documents will come up, click on the one called "Amended Complaint". So we will see if the court will allow Chairman Zhou to keep running things like he is - I doubt it.

You may recall that at the May meeting the board talked about the next phase of the re-roofing project. I thought they were doing 6 more roofs this year, but it turns out I missed another page of the proposal so it's actually 9 roofs. So that's $392,000 they are planning to spend, base contract price, plus another $10,000 in extended warranty, plus permits, plus "extras". Last year, there were "extras" of $111,000, on a base contract of $183,000. Assuming the same percentage this year, we're looking at another $200,000 at least in extras, bringing the total price tag to $600,000 for 9 roofs. So that's $66k per roof. Crazy.

The surprise guest at the May meeting was two representative from The Accent Group, which is the contractor doing the roof replacement work. I did have an opportunity to ask questions, but as things were getting technical, it was decided that one of the roof people would come to the property one day and meet with me so we could discuss my questions. To no surprise at all, that meeting never happened. So I decided I better check what they did, and again to no surprise at all, there are serious issues.

As I had suspected, they aren't doing the attic ventilation correctly. Building 5 has NO BAFFLES! I wasn't able to get in building 2 yet, but I suspect it will have no baffles either, because building 3 didn't have any when we did that roof, and all the Canterbury buildings were built at the same time. The warranty that Chairman Zhou is so proud of requires that the attic ventilation be done properly, and it is not. So here we go again - clowns overseeing a construction project.

There are no ridge vents either. Again, the GAF shingle warranty specifications require ridge vent, unless it can't be installed due to a structures architecture. The crew and I managed to install ridge vent on building 3 with no problem, as per the Roof Maintenance Systems (RMS) re-roofing specification (that the current board is IGNORING), so guess what - it's possible to install ridge vent on the condo buildings. Strike two.

There is no ventilation at all on the dormers. This was the source of roof leaks in the distant past, and addressed in the RMS specification, but again being totally ignored by the board. We installed dormer ventilation on building 3 - it's not that difficult.

Some of the old roof components are not being replaced - specifically, the original rusted furnace chimneys are being left in place. They are "B-Vent", so there are two walls, so if one rusts through the vent will still work, but that is not how it was intended to be operated. All the fireplace chimney chases are being left in place, which were another source of past leaks. All the old and tattered rake flashings are being left in place. After every major wind storm a few of these blow off somewhere in the complex, because the are too thin and attached with tiny nails in to wood that is often rotting, which is not being replaced either. The fascia boards were probably not replaced (can't see this visually), so the brand new gutters are most likely screwed in to more rotting lumber and will still be falling off the buildings in the ice storms.

If we were paying $30k a building, I wouldn't say much. But we are paying TOP DOLLAR for this work - more than $60k/building - so these roofs should be perfect. They are not.

Anyone remember all the panic about the financial crisis and "Kevin spent all the reserve fund" and we are bankrupt!?? Funny how that's not mentioned anymore. I see in the April 2021 financial statement a reserve fund balance of $621k. After the $600k of roof work this year, that balance is going to be way down. "Bankrupt" by some people's definition. Where's the outrage now??

Kevin

239


DATE: Monday, October 11, 2021
TIME: 12:23 AM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT:
TYPE: Community News

2


DATE: Monday, October 11, 2021
TIME: 1:06 AM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: "Meet the Candidates Night" Returns!!! And Recent Updates
TYPE: Community News

During the 2018 and 2019 elections (PRIOR TO COVID!), the Board failed to hold a "Meet the Candidates" night. Last year, they had no candidates night either, so this year, some of the candidates and I (Atif Nazir, Dilip Patel, and Kevin Wine) are going to host a candidates night ourselves. The current board leadership clearly has no interest in any community involvement and interaction, although they are certainly invited to our event and I truly hope they make some effort to be there - this coming Wednesday night, October 13th, 7 PM, via ZOOM.

Topic: 2021 Meet the Candidates Night
Time: Oct 13, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88277560515?pwd=Z2FFMkZUb0w3MmZxMVo4ZzVXN1Qxdz09

Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Washington DC)
+13126266799,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kd52jAIa5T

IF YOU DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR ANNUAL ELECTION PROXY AND BALLOT, PLEASE LET US KNOW!! Every year, multiple owners report not receiving the election mailing. If you own more than one unit, you should get a proxy and ballot for EACH UNIT!

CHECK YOUR MAINTENANCE FEE ACCOUNT!!! THERE ARE SERVERAL OWNERS ON THERE THAT PROBABLY DON'T REALIZE THEY HAVE A SMALL OUTSTANDING BALANCE. YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED!

In the meantime, to catch everyone up on recent meetings - there was only one in the last 3 months! The July BOT meeting was cancelled, and the August BOT meeting was not planned in the first place (Summer break I guess). The June Minutes and the September agenda were:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_9-23-2021.pdf

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_6-17-2021.pdf

As you can see, the Board meetings are almost nothing, with typically only one substantial agenda item, if that. Any votes that do end up getting taken at the meetings are obviously lined up ahead of time amongst the other trustees. They make an effort to humor me with some "debate", but I can tell how it is going to end before it even starts. I know there is much more actually going on - having sat in the middle of it for several years. They are just hiding 95% of the operation from the board - or at least from me. It is not the way the association was intended to run.

Notable items from the September meetings were:

-No mention at all about the 2021 elections, and no one asked.

-One homeowner was alerting the board about various collections practices by Radom and Wetter, the associations collections attorney. Apparently this owner had tried to email the board via the management but of course none of that was forwarded to me. The collections is a long and complicated story, that I won't get in to now, other than to say watch out - if you owe anything besides maintenance fees (like a late fee, fine, or a legal fee) and don't realize it and keep sending just your monthly payment, they do NOT apply that towards your maintenance fee balance first!! They are applying it to all the other things first, which of course means that you don't get credit for the full maintenance fee amount, which causes you to be "late" again, which triggers another late fee, and possibly more legal fees, and so on. This is an old trick the prior management company and collections attorney used to play as well.

-Another homeowner was on explaining how the roofing contractor drove a nail through the pipe to his air conditioning unit on the porch. The management/board had been giving him a hard time when he asked for reimbursement, so he came to the meeting. This is (of course) the first time I heard about it. There are at least 4 owners I'm aware of over the past few years who have been in similar situations where the association was clearly responsible for the damage and refused to reimburse the homeowner for the repair.

-Two homeowners were asking for various association documents and information that the board is statutorily required to provide, and thus far has not. No surprise there.

-Chairman Zhou went on for a while about the 2020 financial audit, and the board voted to contract with the same auditor for the next two years. It should be mentioned that the subject of grabbing the roughly quarter million dollar escrow fund came up again at a "board member only" audit presentation in July. There is a good chance the board is going to make a second attempt at getting the by-laws amended to grab this money! You may recall that their prior attempt was rejected by the homeowners in April of this year.

Kevin

2


DATE: Monday, October 11, 2021
TIME: 6:57 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: "Meet the Candidates Night" Returns!!! And Recent Updates
TYPE: Community News

During the 2018 and 2019 elections (PRIOR TO COVID!), the Board failed to hold a "Meet the Candidates" night. Last year, they had no candidates night either, so this year, some of the candidates and I (Atif Nazir, Dilip Patel, and Kevin Wine) are going to host a candidates night ourselves. The current board leadership clearly has no interest in any community involvement and interaction, although they are certainly invited to our event and I truly hope they make some effort to be there - this Wednesday night, October 13th, 7 PM, via ZOOM:

Topic: 2021 Meet the Candidates Night
Time: Oct 13, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88277560515?pwd=Z2FFMkZUb0w3MmZxMVo4ZzVXN1Qxdz09

Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Washington DC)
+13126266799,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kd52jAIa5T

*********************************
IF YOU DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR ANNUAL ELECTION PROXY AND BALLOT, PLEASE LET US KNOW!! Every year, multiple owners report not receiving the election mailing. If you own more than one unit, you should get a proxy and ballot for EACH UNIT!

CHECK YOUR MAINTENANCE FEE ACCOUNT!!! THERE ARE SERVERAL OWNERS ON THERE THAT PROBABLY DON'T REALIZE THEY HAVE A SMALL OUTSTANDING BALANCE. YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED!
*********************************

In the meantime, to catch everyone up on recent meetings - there was only one in the last 3 months! The July BOT meeting was cancelled, and the August BOT meeting was not planned in the first place (Summer break I guess). The June Minutes and the September agenda were:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_9-23-2021.pdf

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_6-17-2021.pdf

As you can see, the Board meetings are almost nothing, with typically only one substantial agenda item, if that. Any votes that do end up getting taken at the meetings are obviously lined up ahead of time amongst the other trustees. They make an effort to humor me with some "debate", but I can tell how it is going to end before it even starts. I know there is much more actually going on - having sat in the middle of it for several years. They are just hiding 95% of the operation from the board - or at least from me. It is not the way the association was intended to run.

Notable items from the September meetings were:

-No mention at all about the 2021 elections, and no one asked.

-One homeowner was alerting the board about various collections practices by Radom and Wetter, the associations collections attorney. Apparently this owner had tried to email the board via the management but of course none of that was forwarded to me. The collections is a long and complicated story, that I won't get in to now, other than to say watch out - if you owe anything besides maintenance fees (like a late fee, fine, or a legal fee) and don't realize it and keep sending just your monthly payment, they do NOT apply that towards your maintenance fee balance first!! They are applying it to all the other things first, which of course means that you don't get credit for the full maintenance fee amount, which causes you to be "late" again, which triggers another late fee, and possibly more legal fees, and so on. This is an old trick the prior management company and collections attorney used to play as well.

-Another homeowner was on explaining how the roofing contractor drove a nail through the pipe to his air conditioning unit on the porch. The management/board had been giving him a hard time when he asked for reimbursement, so he came to the meeting. This is (of course) the first time I heard about it. There are at least 4 owners I'm aware of over the past few years who have been in similar situations where the association was clearly responsible for the damage and refused to reimburse the homeowner for the repair.

-Two homeowners were asking for various association documents and information that the board is statutorily required to provide, and thus far has not. No surprise there.

-Chairman Zhou went on for a while about the 2020 financial audit, and the board voted to contract with the same auditor for the next two years. It should be mentioned that the subject of grabbing the roughly quarter million dollar escrow fund came up again at a "board member only" audit presentation in July. There is a good chance the board is going to make a second attempt at getting the by-laws amended to grab this money! You may recall that their prior attempt was rejected by the homeowners in April of this year.

Kevin

10


DATE: Monday, October 11, 2021
TIME: 7:08 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: "Meet the Candidates Night" Returns!!! And Recent Updates
TYPE: Community News

During the 2018 and 2019 elections (PRIOR TO COVID!), the Board failed to hold a "Meet the Candidates" night. Last year, they had no candidates night either, so this year, some of the candidates and I (Atif Nazir, Dilip Patel, and Kevin Wine) are going to host a candidates night ourselves. The current board leadership clearly has no interest in any community involvement and interaction, although they are certainly invited to our event and I truly hope they make some effort to be there - this Wednesday night, October 13th, 7 PM, via ZOOM:

Topic: 2021 Meet the Candidates Night
Time: Oct 13, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88277560515?pwd=Z2FFMkZUb0w3MmZxMVo4ZzVXN1Qxdz09

Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Washington DC)
+13126266799,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kd52jAIa5T

*********************************
IF YOU DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR ANNUAL ELECTION PROXY AND BALLOT, PLEASE LET US KNOW!! Every year, multiple owners report not receiving the election mailing. If you own more than one unit, you should get a proxy and ballot for EACH UNIT!

CHECK YOUR MAINTENANCE FEE ACCOUNT!!! THERE ARE SERVERAL OWNERS ON THERE THAT PROBABLY DON'T REALIZE THEY HAVE A SMALL OUTSTANDING BALANCE. YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED!
*********************************

In the meantime, to catch everyone up on recent meetings - there was only one in the last 3 months! The July BOT meeting was cancelled, and the August BOT meeting was not planned in the first place (Summer break I guess). The June Minutes and the September agenda were:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_9-23-2021.pdf

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_6-17-2021.pdf

As you can see, the Board meetings are almost nothing, with typically only one substantial agenda item, if that. Any votes that do end up getting taken at the meetings are obviously lined up ahead of time amongst the other trustees. They make an effort to humor me with some "debate", but I can tell how it is going to end before it even starts. I know there is much more actually going on - having sat in the middle of it for several years. They are just hiding 95% of the operation from the board - or at least from me. It is not the way the association was intended to run.

Notable items from the September meetings were:

-No mention at all about the 2021 elections, and no one asked.

-One homeowner was alerting the board about various collections practices by Radom and Wetter, the associations collections attorney. Apparently this owner had tried to email the board via the management but of course none of that was forwarded to me. The collections is a long and complicated story, that I won't get in to now, other than to say watch out - if you owe anything besides maintenance fees (like a late fee, fine, or a legal fee) and don't realize it and keep sending just your monthly payment, they do NOT apply that towards your maintenance fee balance first!! They are applying it to all the other things first, which of course means that you don't get credit for the full maintenance fee amount, which causes you to be "late" again, which triggers another late fee, and possibly more legal fees, and so on. This is an old trick the prior management company and collections attorney used to play as well.

-Another homeowner was on explaining how the roofing contractor drove a nail through the pipe to his air conditioning unit on the porch. The management/board had been giving him a hard time when he asked for reimbursement, so he came to the meeting. This is (of course) the first time I heard about it. There are at least 4 owners I'm aware of over the past few years who have been in similar situations where the association was clearly responsible for the damage and refused to reimburse the homeowner for the repair.

-Two homeowners were asking for various association documents and information that the board is statutorily required to provide, and thus far has not. No surprise there.

-Chairman Zhou went on for a while about the 2020 financial audit, and the board voted to contract with the same auditor for the next two years. It should be mentioned that the subject of grabbing the roughly quarter million dollar escrow fund came up again at a "board member only" audit presentation in July. There is a good chance the board is going to make a second attempt at getting the by-laws amended to grab this money! You may recall that their prior attempt was rejected by the homeowners in April of this year.

Kevin

20


DATE: Monday, October 11, 2021
TIME: 7:41 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: "Meet the Candidates Night" Returns!!! And Recent Updates
TYPE: Community News

During the 2018 and 2019 elections (PRIOR TO COVID!), the Board failed to hold a "Meet the Candidates" night. Last year, they had no candidates night either, so this year, some of the candidates and I (Atif Nazir, Dilip Patel, and Kevin Wine) are going to host a candidates night ourselves. The current board leadership clearly has no interest in any community involvement and interaction, although they are certainly invited to our event and I truly hope they make some effort to be there - this Wednesday night, October 13th, 7 PM, via ZOOM:

Topic: 2021 Meet the Candidates Night
Time: Oct 13, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88277560515?pwd=Z2FFMkZUb0w3MmZxMVo4ZzVXN1Qxdz09

Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Washington DC)
+13126266799,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kd52jAIa5T

*********************************
IF YOU DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR ANNUAL ELECTION PROXY AND BALLOT, PLEASE LET US KNOW!! Every year, multiple owners report not receiving the election mailing. If you own more than one unit, you should get a proxy and ballot for EACH UNIT!

CHECK YOUR MAINTENANCE FEE ACCOUNT!!! THERE ARE SERVERAL OWNERS ON THERE THAT PROBABLY DON'T REALIZE THEY HAVE A SMALL OUTSTANDING BALANCE. YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED!
*********************************

In the meantime, to catch everyone up on recent meetings - there was only one in the last 3 months! The July BOT meeting was cancelled, and the August BOT meeting was not planned in the first place (Summer break I guess). The June Minutes and the September agenda were:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_9-23-2021.pdf

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_6-17-2021.pdf

As you can see, the Board meetings are almost nothing, with typically only one substantial agenda item, if that. Any votes that do end up getting taken at the meetings are obviously lined up ahead of time amongst the other trustees. They make an effort to humor me with some "debate", but I can tell how it is going to end before it even starts. I know there is much more actually going on - having sat in the middle of it for several years. They are just hiding 95% of the operation from the board - or at least from me. It is not the way the association was intended to run.

Notable items from the September meetings were:

-No mention at all about the 2021 elections, and no one asked.

-One homeowner was alerting the board about various collections practices by Radom and Wetter, the associations collections attorney. Apparently this owner had tried to email the board via the management but of course none of that was forwarded to me. The collections is a long and complicated story, that I won't get in to now, other than to say watch out - if you owe anything besides maintenance fees (like a late fee, fine, or a legal fee) and don't realize it and keep sending just your monthly payment, they do NOT apply that towards your maintenance fee balance first!! They are applying it to all the other things first, which of course means that you don't get credit for the full maintenance fee amount, which causes you to be "late" again, which triggers another late fee, and possibly more legal fees, and so on. This is an old trick the prior management company and collections attorney used to play as well.

-Another homeowner was on explaining how the roofing contractor drove a nail through the pipe to his air conditioning unit on the porch. The management/board had been giving him a hard time when he asked for reimbursement, so he came to the meeting. This is (of course) the first time I heard about it. There are at least 4 owners I'm aware of over the past few years who have been in similar situations where the association was clearly responsible for the damage and refused to reimburse the homeowner for the repair.

-Two homeowners were asking for various association documents and information that the board is statutorily required to provide, and thus far has not. No surprise there.

-Chairman Zhou went on for a while about the 2020 financial audit, and the board voted to contract with the same auditor for the next two years. It should be mentioned that the subject of grabbing the roughly quarter million dollar escrow fund came up again at a "board member only" audit presentation in July. There is a good chance the board is going to make a second attempt at getting the by-laws amended to grab this money! You may recall that their prior attempt was rejected by the homeowners in April of this year.

Kevin

20


DATE: Monday, October 11, 2021
TIME: 8:53 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: "Meet the Candidates Night" Returns!!! And Recent Updates
TYPE: Community News

During the 2018 and 2019 elections (PRIOR TO COVID!), the Board failed to hold a "Meet the Candidates" night. Last year, they had no candidates night either, so this year, some of the candidates and I (Atif Nazir, Dilip Patel, and Kevin Wine) are going to host a candidates night ourselves. The current board leadership clearly has no interest in any community involvement and interaction, although they are certainly invited to our event and I truly hope they make some effort to be there - this Wednesday night, October 13th, 7 PM, via ZOOM:

Topic: 2021 Meet the Candidates Night
Time: Oct 13, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88277560515?pwd=Z2FFMkZUb0w3MmZxMVo4ZzVXN1Qxdz09

Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Washington DC)
+13126266799,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kd52jAIa5T

*********************************
IF YOU DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR ANNUAL ELECTION PROXY AND BALLOT, PLEASE LET US KNOW!! Every year, multiple owners report not receiving the election mailing. If you own more than one unit, you should get a proxy and ballot for EACH UNIT!

CHECK YOUR MAINTENANCE FEE ACCOUNT!!! THERE ARE SERVERAL OWNERS ON THERE THAT PROBABLY DON'T REALIZE THEY HAVE A SMALL OUTSTANDING BALANCE. YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED!
*********************************

In the meantime, to catch everyone up on recent meetings - there was only one in the last 3 months! The July BOT meeting was cancelled, and the August BOT meeting was not planned in the first place (Summer break I guess). The June Minutes and the September agenda were:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_9-23-2021.pdf

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_6-17-2021.pdf

As you can see, the Board meetings are almost nothing, with typically only one substantial agenda item, if that. Any votes that do end up getting taken at the meetings are obviously lined up ahead of time amongst the other trustees. They make an effort to humor me with some "debate", but I can tell how it is going to end before it even starts. I know there is much more actually going on - having sat in the middle of it for several years. They are just hiding 95% of the operation from the board - or at least from me. It is not the way the association was intended to run.

Notable items from the September meetings were:

-No mention at all about the 2021 elections, and no one asked.

-One homeowner was alerting the board about various collections practices by Radom and Wetter, the associations collections attorney. Apparently this owner had tried to email the board via the management but of course none of that was forwarded to me. The collections is a long and complicated story, that I won't get in to now, other than to say watch out - if you owe anything besides maintenance fees (like a late fee, fine, or a legal fee) and don't realize it and keep sending just your monthly payment, they do NOT apply that towards your maintenance fee balance first!! They are applying it to all the other things first, which of course means that you don't get credit for the full maintenance fee amount, which causes you to be "late" again, which triggers another late fee, and possibly more legal fees, and so on. This is an old trick the prior management company and collections attorney used to play as well.

-Another homeowner was on explaining how the roofing contractor drove a nail through the pipe to his air conditioning unit on the porch. The management/board had been giving him a hard time when he asked for reimbursement, so he came to the meeting. This is (of course) the first time I heard about it. There are at least 4 owners I'm aware of over the past few years who have been in similar situations where the association was clearly responsible for the damage and refused to reimburse the homeowner for the repair.

-Two homeowners were asking for various association documents and information that the board is statutorily required to provide, and thus far has not. No surprise there.

-Chairman Zhou went on for a while about the 2020 financial audit, and the board voted to contract with the same auditor for the next two years. It should be mentioned that the subject of grabbing the roughly quarter million dollar escrow fund came up again at a "board member only" audit presentation in July. There is a good chance the board is going to make a second attempt at getting the by-laws amended to grab this money! You may recall that their prior attempt was rejected by the homeowners in April of this year.

Kevin

20


DATE: Monday, October 11, 2021
TIME: 11:04 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: "Meet the Candidates Night" Returns!!! And Recent Updates
TYPE: Community News

During the 2018 and 2019 elections (PRIOR TO COVID!), the Board failed to hold a "Meet the Candidates" night. Last year, they had no candidates night either, so this year, some of the candidates and I (Atif Nazir, Dilip Patel, and Kevin Wine) are going to host a candidates night ourselves. The current board leadership clearly has no interest in any community involvement and interaction, although they are certainly invited to our event and I truly hope they make some effort to be there - this Wednesday night, October 13th, 7 PM, via ZOOM:

Topic: 2021 Meet the Candidates Night
Time: Oct 13, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88277560515?pwd=Z2FFMkZUb0w3MmZxMVo4ZzVXN1Qxdz09

Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Washington DC)
+13126266799,,88277560515#,,,,*860119# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 882 7756 0515
Passcode: 860119
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kd52jAIa5T

*********************************
IF YOU DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR ANNUAL ELECTION PROXY AND BALLOT, PLEASE LET US KNOW!! Every year, multiple owners report not receiving the election mailing. If you own more than one unit, you should get a proxy and ballot for EACH UNIT!

CHECK YOUR MAINTENANCE FEE ACCOUNT!!! THERE ARE SERVERAL OWNERS ON THERE THAT PROBABLY DON'T REALIZE THEY HAVE A SMALL OUTSTANDING BALANCE. YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED!
*********************************

In the meantime, to catch everyone up on recent meetings - there was only one in the last 3 months! The July BOT meeting was cancelled, and the August BOT meeting was not planned in the first place (Summer break I guess). The June Minutes and the September agenda were:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_9-23-2021.pdf

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?menu=Board&page=../html/Board/OpenMinutes/2021/OpenMinutes_6-17-2021.pdf

As you can see, the Board meetings are almost nothing, with typically only one substantial agenda item, if that. Any votes that do end up getting taken at the meetings are obviously lined up ahead of time amongst the other trustees. They make an effort to humor me with some "debate", but I can tell how it is going to end before it even starts. I know there is much more actually going on - having sat in the middle of it for several years. They are just hiding 95% of the operation from the board - or at least from me. It is not the way the association was intended to run.

Notable items from the September meetings were:

-No mention at all about the 2021 elections, and no one asked.

-One homeowner was alerting the board about various collections practices by Radom and Wetter, the associations collections attorney. Apparently this owner had tried to email the board via the management but of course none of that was forwarded to me. The collections is a long and complicated story, that I won't get in to now, other than to say watch out - if you owe anything besides maintenance fees (like a late fee, fine, or a legal fee) and don't realize it and keep sending just your monthly payment, they do NOT apply that towards your maintenance fee balance first!! They are applying it to all the other things first, which of course means that you don't get credit for the full maintenance fee amount, which causes you to be "late" again, which triggers another late fee, and possibly more legal fees, and so on. This is an old trick the prior management company and collections attorney used to play as well.

-Another homeowner was on explaining how the roofing contractor drove a nail through the pipe to his air conditioning unit on the porch. The management/board had been giving him a hard time when he asked for reimbursement, so he came to the meeting. This is (of course) the first time I heard about it. There are at least 4 owners I'm aware of over the past few years who have been in similar situations where the association was clearly responsible for the damage and refused to reimburse the homeowner for the repair.

-Two homeowners were asking for various association documents and information that the board is statutorily required to provide, and thus far has not. No surprise there.

-Chairman Zhou went on for a while about the 2020 financial audit, and the board voted to contract with the same auditor for the next two years. It should be mentioned that the subject of grabbing the roughly quarter million dollar escrow fund came up again at a "board member only" audit presentation in July. There is a good chance the board is going to make a second attempt at getting the by-laws amended to grab this money! You may recall that their prior attempt was rejected by the homeowners in April of this year.

Kevin

183


DATE: Sunday, October 24, 2021
TIME: 12:37 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Annual Meeting Attempt Monday Oct 25, 7PM ZOOM
TYPE: Community News

The first attempt at the 2021 Annual Meeting and Election is Monday, October 25th, 7 PM via ZOOM:

SHP - Annual Election/ OPEN Meeting
Time: Oct 25, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88338218050?pwd=R3p4dkxKbmhLZjdKNDBFNDk4QlZPdz09

Meeting ID: 883 3821 8050
Passcode: 796553
One tap mobile
+16465588656,,88338218050#,,,,*796553# US (New York)
+13017158592,,88338218050#,,,,*796553# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
Meeting ID: 883 3821 8050
Passcode: 796553
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcN2JIhyak

As expected, we don't have enough proxies/ballots to meet the quorum requirement for the Annual Meeting, so the members present at the meeting on Monday (via ZOOM) will have to vote on a postponement date. PLEASE STILL TRY TO JOIN THE ZOOM MEETING AND VOTE ON A POSTPONEMENT DATE IN NOVEMBER! IF ONLY THE BOARD MEMBERS ARE ON THIS ZOOM, THEY WILL POSTPONE ALL THE WAY TO LATE DECEMBER, WHICH IS UN-NECESSARY, AND LEAVES WAY TOO MUCH TIME

The board is also planning to conduct board business during this meeting, which they are not supposed to do but they don't care about the rules (again) and will do it anyway. The conflated Annual Meeting/Board Meeting agenda is available at:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_10-25-2021.pdf

Minutes from the September 23, 2021 Board Meeting are not available yet, or somehow I missed them. The August 2021 financial statement has no been released either.

The only item on this agenda for the board is voting to ratify the additional $95k they spent to do another two roofs on two more townhouse buildings. This brings the total contract price for this year to $527k. Since I still haven't seen the actual invoices (they refuse to let me see them) or the latest financial statement, I can't tell exactly how much was actually spent. If it is anything like last year, it will be considerably higher than the contract price due to "extras" that pop up. Last year the total ended up being $378k, off a base contract price of $260k. That is how I arrive at the ~$1M they will spend on the roofs: $378k + $527k = $905 plus another ~$100k extra that will pop up for warranty, tax, extras, and other things that may or may not already be in the figures. That will be an average of $59k/building, at $1M total.

The Meet the Candidates Night on October 13th went well, with about 10 residents attending. After not doing this for so many years, it will take a few election cycles to re-build the prior participation levels. I did find out that some inaccurate information is being spread about the one building that the crew and I re-roofed back in 2015. Apparently we spent 10 months on that one roof, and over $300k! Both of which are a complete fabrication. We did not work from February to November on that roof - I was there. July/August maybe, as we did it in several sections, and we replaced everything on the roof, to a much higher specification prepared by an engineer, and we neatened up all the cable TV and satellite dish mounting and wiring. Plus we had to buy several pieces of equipment to do the job (which would be used for all the other roofs), so there was some startup cost, but it sure wasn't $300k!

Finally, since this WEB site and these emails are no longer sponsored by the Association, I can mention, if it's not already obvious, that I am running this year in the election, along with Atif Nazir and Dilip Patel. We are still fighting hard to restore logical, community-oriented decision making to this Board of Trustees. Things were going pretty well there for a number of years, I felt, from my inside maintenance/construction/design perspective. It was very sad to see all the dismantling and destruction and waste over the last three years, and at the end of the day, for no justifiable reason.

Kevin

2


DATE: Sunday, October 24, 2021
TIME: 1:02 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Annual Meeting Attempt Monday Oct 25, 7PM ZOOM
TYPE: Community News

The first attempt at the 2021 Annual Meeting and Election is Monday, October 25th, 7 PM via ZOOM:

SHP - Annual Election/ OPEN Meeting
Time: Oct 25, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88338218050?pwd=R3p4dkxKbmhLZjdKNDBFNDk4QlZPdz09

Meeting ID: 883 3821 8050
Passcode: 796553
One tap mobile
+16465588656,,88338218050#,,,,*796553# US (New York)
+13017158592,,88338218050#,,,,*796553# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
Meeting ID: 883 3821 8050
Passcode: 796553
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcN2JIhyak

As expected, we don't have enough proxies/ballots to meet the quorum requirement for the Annual Meeting, so the members present at the meeting on Monday (via ZOOM) will have to vote on a postponement date.

PLEASE STILL TRY TO JOIN THE ZOOM MEETING AND VOTE ON A POSTPONEMENT DATE IN NOVEMBER! IF ONLY THE BOARD MEMBERS ARE ON THIS ZOOM, THEY WILL POSTPONE ALL THE WAY TO LATE DECEMBER, WHICH IS UN-NECESSARY, AND LEAVES WAY TOO MUCH TIME.

The board is also planning to conduct board business during this meeting, which they are not supposed to do but they don't care about the rules (again) and will do it anyway. The conflated Annual Meeting/Board Meeting agenda is available at:

https://www.savethehill.org/Board/Agendas/2021/Agenda_10-25-2021.pdf

Minutes from the September 23, 2021 Board Meeting are not available yet, or somehow I missed them. The August 2021 financial statement has no been released either.

The only item on this agenda for the board is voting to ratify the additional $95k they spent to do another two roofs on two more townhouse buildings. This brings the total contract price for this year to $527k. Since I still haven't seen the actual invoices (they refuse to let me see them) or the latest financial statement, I can't tell exactly how much was actually spent. If it is anything like last year, it will be considerably higher than the contract price due to "extras" that pop up. Last year the total ended up being $378k, off a base contract price of $260k. That is how I arrive at the ~$1M they will spend on the roofs: $378k + $527k = $905 plus another ~$100k extra that will pop up for warranty, tax, extras, and other things that may or may not already be in the figures. That will be an average of $59k/building, at $1M total.

The Meet the Candidates Night on October 13th went well, with about 10 residents attending. After not doing this for so many years, it will take a few election cycles to re-build the prior participation levels. I did find out that some inaccurate information is being spread about the one building that the crew and I re-roofed back in 2015. Apparently we spent 10 months on that one roof, and over $300k! Both of which are a complete fabrication. We did not work from February to November on that roof - I was there. July/August maybe, as we did it in several sections, and we replaced everything on the roof, to a much higher specification prepared by an engineer, and we neatened up all the cable TV and satellite dish mounting and wiring. Plus we had to buy several pieces of equipment to do the job (which would be used for all the other roofs), so there was some startup cost, but it sure wasn't $300k!

Finally, since this WEB site and these emails are no longer sponsored by the Association, I can mention, if it's not already obvious, that I am running this year in the election, along with Atif Nazir and Dilip Patel. We are still fighting hard to restore logical, community-oriented decision making to this Board of Trustees. Things were going pretty well there for a number of years, I felt, from my inside maintenance/construction/design perspective. It was very sad to see all the dismantling and destruction and waste over the last three years, and at the end of the day, for no justifiable reason.

Kevin

253


DATE: Saturday, November 13, 2021
TIME: 1:07 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: The Election Newsletter
TYPE: Community News

The first attempt at the 2021 Annual Meeting and Election took place on October 25th, and as expected, we didn't have enough proxy/ballots to meet the quorum requirement. I was told about 115 have been received, and typically we need about 240. Therefore, the owners in attendance voted to postpone the Annual Meeting and Election to Thursday December 9th. At the peak we had about 25 owners on the Zoom call, whom I want to thank for taking the time to connect in.

If you haven't received the election mailing about 2 months ago, please contact the office (scole@tc-mgt.com) to request a replacement. I did post scanned copies of all the election documents here on this WEB site, but they will probably give you trouble if you don't use the original documents and envelopes (although legally I bet they have to accept them anyway). If you have problems getting the election documents please let me know! (kwine@optonline.net).

YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK YOUR MAINTENANCE FEE ACCOUNT BALANCE!! SEVERAL OWNERS MAY NOT REALIZE THEY HAVE RESIDUAL BALANCES (LIKE LATE FEES), AND YOUR VOTE WILL BE DISQUALIFIED!! Payments can take SEVERAL WEEKS to post to your account!

For the Board Meeting portion of the event, the board approved the 2020 audit report, moved $52,000 from the operating fund to the capital fund, and approved/ratified 2 more buildings for re-roofing this year. Several owners made a variety of comments in the public session from pipe leaks, the WEB site, reaching the office, and ADR.

The Yearly "Association Newsletter"
-----------------------------------
To no surprise, the Board (without the knowledge, review, or approval of the rest of the board, of course), published its annual election newsletter, in which they just can't resist taking their standard jabs at me. I guess I'm the only news-worthy topic for the entire year.

I see they are very proud of their financial skills, as they impose drastic spending restrictions on the maintenance/grounds operation, while at the same time throwing nearly $1,000,000 to re-roofing just one-third of the buildings. This is so typical of past boards here in Society Hill, and now this one, as Chairman Zhou is busy "counting the ants as the elephants walk by".

The "undisciplined spending" Chairman Zhou refers to is a result of his total lack of maintenance/repair/construction experience, where every expense he doesn't understand is immediately assumed to be a waste. I have already explained this before - he hasn't gotten any smarter over the last 3 years, and through his ignorance and arrogance it is he that ACTUALLY IS wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. These outside contractors will take advantage of naive boards whenever they can. They are very clever, and I have seen this many times, which is why we didn't use any of them for 10 years!!! Yes, we spent some money when I was in the office, but at least it went into the property as bricks and repairs and equipment and improvements, and not in to the profits of the contractors. Handing the shop over to the thieves is not leadership!

I was just looking through the August 2021 financial statement. Projecting to the end of the year, we will have spent about $450k on personnel and the property management contract. Under the prior configuration, we were spending about $550k a year on personnel, and our personnel was doing all the maintenance, repair, capital projects, grounds, office, and swimming pool. So Chairman Zhou has managed to reduce the yearly personnel expenses by maybe around $100k, but at the same time has drastically reduced the services. No more capital repairs/improvement work. He doesn't want the crew touching the trees. They don't fix the equipment. The pool is contracted out ($35k/year! if it ever reopens - add that to the $450k by the way), and on-going reports that it is very difficult to reach anyone in the office.

The crew has basically been reduced to mowing the lawn, and on the side, trimming bushes, mulching (but not last year), blowing the leaves (but not collecting the piles!?), some irrigation repairs, and handling the snow as best they can with half the equipment. So wow - all that turmoil to save $100k/year in labor - less actually because we used to do the pool, so maybe he's "saving" $65k/year in labor. So for another $65k, I used to have 2 more full-time project/grounds crew from April to November, 2 full-year maintenance crew instead of 1, lifeguards, summer part-time help, and 2 to 3 people in the office all day. You can double check my numbers in the financial statements - all on savethehill.org. I guess that's why he admits he needs to "improve operational efficiency". lol

The "Clean" Audit
-----------------
I'm sure I've mentioned this before - When I was in the office, the financials were primarily handled by Linda Zhou and an external accountant. I was not involved in the day-to-day book-keeping and financial reporting. The only thing I did was the code for the WEB site to handle the maintenance fee payments, and the accounts payable. As Chairman Zhou also doesn't know anything about WEB development, coding, and payment gateways/processors, his paranoia got the better of him. Apparently he still hasn't figured it out after over 3 years, with full access to all the payment processing records and internal WEB site files. If he really knew how all that worked, he would immediately realize it is impossible to divert or alter any of the on-line payments. The payment processing code has zero control over any of that.

He is still talking about his "Forensic Audit", which I'm 99% sure is just fake news (there has never been any payments to any other auditors) so he can continue to cast doubt on me. By the way, he's the one that caused the prior audits to be "dirty", because of all his speculation and unfounded accusations against me with ZERO EVIDENCE! Our prior auditor eventually quit after Chairman Zhou refused to let him speak with me or any other board members to try and resolve the problems. In a letter dated March 11, 2019, our former auditor said:

"...he [Tong Zhou] told me that I was unable to have contact with any other board members. I have enclosed a copy of his email. At this moment my firm decided to terminate our relationship with Society Hill."

The letter also echoed several concerns, however most of them were inaccurate characterizations of the situation, as I'm sure the auditor was intentionally mislead by Mr. Zhou and others. The reason Mr. Zhou didn't want me (or anyone) talking to the auditor was that those problems would have been straightened out and Mr. Zhou would not have been able to use them as a convenient way of attacking me.

The Real Roofing Project Update
-------------------------------
The roof invoices still haven't hit the latest financial statements (August), with the exception of one invoice for $108,000. I assume this was the down-payment on the contract for the 9 buildings this year. That would about cover the materials for 9 buildings, which gives you some idea of the labor cost and profit. The base contract price was $402,000. I am sticking to my prediction that the total cost for these 9 buildings, plus 2 more they tacked on this year, plus the 6 buildings last year, will come to around $1,000,000.

There are a total of 47 buildings in the complex. This means there are still 30 buildings to re-roof, which is about two-thirds. With the current roofing contractor, projecting out the cost for the remaining buildings the bill is going to be around $2,500,000. This is way more than we should be paying for what we are getting - they aren't fixing the attic ventilation properly (the "baffles"), they are re-using some of the old roof components (chimney caps, b-vents, flashings), and they aren't fixing any of the satellite dish/CATV wiring. They can't even match the original trim color (the aluminum behind the gutters and at the step-walls), or at least use beige - they made them all white - how lazy. The gutters on at least three of the condo buildings are waterfalls when it rains (I have video!), and I just heard this week that there is a leak in the new roof on Norwich Court. I am in the process of trying to find out exactly what happened.

Had Chairman Zhou not interfered with the original plans in 2018, the maintenance building would be built by now, the property would be cleaned up and all the materials and equipment would be stored in that building, Hampshire Court would be re-surfaced, and we would be back to the roof project ourselves, done right and at far less cost.

Kevin

254


DATE: Saturday, December 4, 2021
TIME: 3:15 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: ELECTION THURSDAY!, I Found the Baffles, and Nov BOT Meeting Report
TYPE: Community News

This is a reminder that the Annual Meeting and Election is scheduled for this Thursday, December 9th. I assume it will be 7PM, but the November 1st newsletter sent by the board President failed to mention the time. I further assume that a quorum has been achieved, but nothing official has been announced.

The deadline for submitting your ballot is noon on Wednesday, December 8th. It also appears that the board is ONLY accepting election proxies and ballots in the "official" envelopes. If you misplaced your proxy/ballot/envelopes, you will have to contact the office for replacements (email to scole@tc-mgt.com).

If there isn't time to request, receive, and return the ballot, you can email a completed proxy form to management (scole@tc-mgt.com), appointing someone else to vote for you (put their name in second blank and check box 2) and let the association reject it. I don't think they can legally reject a valid, signed, proxy form, so if necessary and if it would end up making a difference, this issue could be decided after the fact.

The 2018 and 2020 elections were VERY CLOSE!!! Only a few ballots separated the winners and losers! I have no doubt the same thing will happen this year. Every vote matters.

I would include the Zoom link to the Thursday meeting but either I accidentally erased that email or it wasn't sent yet.

Since this is not an Association endorsed communication, I can let everyone know that I am running in this year's election along with Atif Nazir and Dilip Patel. I am sure Chairman Zhou is pushing his two supporters, Doug Sanford and Wendy Zhou, who have voted along with him on every single motion over the last 3 years. I don't know who he is supporting as his third candidate.

I Found the Baffles
-------------------
You may recall me complaining a few times about how the re-roofing contractor was not properly installing the ventilation baffles in the attics. I looked in several attics a few months ago and confirmed this in a couple of buildings. Just a few days ago, I discovered two un-used boxes of baffles under a pile of junk in the Hampshire Ct. parking lot, as you can see in the picture on savethehill:

https://www.savethehill.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?articleid=37

The baffles are the pink things - one box is open, the other box is still closed to the left (and yes, that is a bathtub). Since they bought them they will show up on the invoices so it will look like they installed them, when in fact they didn't. Of course, there may be more to this story, but on the surface it doesn't look good..

Leaf Collection
---------------
I'm sure it was with great pain, but Chairman Zhou finally had to relent and spend some money on a replacement leaf vacuum so the crew could clean up all the leaves. However, since he no longer has anyone that can drive the dump truck to the dump, he has to have a dumpster brought to the property so the crew can dispose of the leaves. From the financial statements, I can see that the 30 cubic yard dumpster costs about $1,000. We used to spend about $100 per trip to dump the leaves at the local recycling yard. The 30 cubic yard dumpster holds three dump truck loads of leaves. Therefore, Chairman Zhou has managed once again to turn a $300 expense in to a $1,000 expense. We used to have 15 to 20 truck loads of leaves every fall, so that's another several thousand dollars down the toilet, but I guess it makes sense to him.

November Board Meeting Report
-----------------------------
Not much happened at the November meeting. The meeting was actually cut short during the open-forum part, since the property manager indicated she was under the weather and wanted to end the meeting as soon as possible, which is understandable. However, this was a Zoom meeting, and it is very easy to hand over the moderator role to another person on the call. I suggested this, so we could hear the remaining homeowner concerns, but Chairman Zhou had no interest in doing this, so the meeting was ended in the middle of a homeowner complaint about how the roofing contractor damaged their air conditioning system (the third time this happened!). My question about the leak in the new roof on building 42 didn't get answered either.

The purchase of the leaf vacuum was ratified (about $9,000). Due to waiting till the last minute (as usual), the vacuum had to be bought a few days prior to the meeting since it was apparently the only one left in stock.

It was also revealed that Chairman Zhou has decided, by himself as again usual, to have the "hill" at the end of Lancaster hauled away. The town is after him because he single-handedly cancelled the planning board application I had prepared in 2018 to landscape the hill and incorporate it in to the site plan. Now he has to spend several thousand dollars to get the soil tested, and I'm sure he will be spending tens of thousands of dollars to then have it all trucked away. That's assuming there is no significant contamination - if there is, then it's going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to have it removed or remediated. In the end, most likely it would be cheaper/better to go with the original plan, but he doesn't understand anything about construction, landscaping, environmental, etc., so he is learning all this at our expense. Anyway, his court date is Thursday December 9th, 9 AM, Piscataway Municipal Court, via ZOOM (same as election day lol).

It turns out that the original court summons was way back in April of this year, and the case kept getting postponed at the request of the association's attorney. The town was finally out of patience and December 9th is the last chance. Of course, Chairman Zhou dropped all this on the board at the November meeting, and now after wasting 7 months, and with the board's back to the wall, insisted that the board vote to approve his request to have the hill hauled away as the only choice.

Finally, I found out a few months ago that Chairman Zhou sold his other house where he was living (single-family house on Dunbar Ave., very close to Society Hill)! He still owns a unit here in Society Hill (rented I believe), but now I don't know what the plan is?? Maybe he is moving!!!????

Kevin

256


DATE: Sunday, December 12, 2021
TIME: 11:42 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Election Results
TYPE: Community News

In case you haven't already heard, the 2021 election results were:

Nalaka Dias - 152
Atif Nazir - 127
Dilip Patel - 120
Doug Sanford - 148
Kevin Wine - 123
Wendy Zhang - 141

To no surprise, our current board leadership has finally managed to get me off the board, and the two candidates I was running with lost as well. Doesn't really matter - I was already "frozen off" the board for the last three years, so this will make little difference, and even in the best of cases, the current leadership would still have had a majority for this year.

We continue to receive numerous reports of owners not receiving the election mailing back in October, intense campaigning by office staff over the last three months at the clubhouse, and a total lack of transparency with the election process. I still don't even know who has voted in the last three elections, and I have not been allowed to review any of the proxy forms, which seriously undermines my confidence in the election process. Maybe it's all on the up and up, however if it was, it would seem that people would not have such a problem allowing the various documents to be be reviewed.

It turns out I sued the association several months ago over access to election and other records, and the case if finally scheduled for trial in May of 2022. The board has certain statutory obligations to make various records available to the owners, so I don't know how they are going to wiggle out of this one, but I'm sure they will try.

I do want to thank all the owners that have supported our mission and our candidates for this election. It was close as predicted - another 15 votes would have changed the outcome, and another 26 votes would have changed everything. Even with enough votes, I doubt the result would ever be any different, as I'm sure chairman Zhou and his wife will use their strategic and tactical advantage to make sure we never win (except for my accidental win last year by one vote.. lol).

In any case, this is still far from over in my mind. I have no patience left for people that do things which make no sense, who manipulate and violate the processes, and make up stories and spread lies to achieve their goals. Apparently I am now being accused of trying to convert the association in to a co-op!?? I have no idea where that is coming from - first I'm hearing. Do they even know what a co-op is? Do they have any concept at all of what that would entail? Obviously not, because if they did, they would see how ridiculous they are.

Get ready for the fee increases! The reserve fund is finally depleted, with 29 buildings left to re-roof, Hampshire court to repave, "the hill" to remove, and equipment to buy. They are going to need at least another $2,000,000 over the next few years, and guess where that is going to come from! And I'm sure they will blame it all on me, after they destroyed everything and changed all the plans.

Hopefully the pandemic will be over soon - if the association doesn't do the community picnic event this coming summer, then I will do it myself, just like I did way back in 2006. Let them try to shut it down - show their true face. Events like these are important and need to resume. The pool needs to be reopened too. It should have been open this year! They are just being cheap!! (and still managed to spend $10k on the pool!!!!)

I still have hope that in the end, logic will prevail, and people that shouldn't be running things will eventually not be running things. I have learned a lot about human behavior in the last 15 years, and more and more my thoughts turn to ways of improving our group decision making process, not just at this level, but all the way up. I may have more time to work on this and other projects soon - as some of you know I ended up working at Rutgers after things blew up here in 2018, but now Rutgers is enforcing the vaccine mandate executive order, so there is a good chance I will be "retiring" soon. Having had covid very early on (fortunately mild), and multiple re-exposures (no reaction), I see little point in the additional risk of taking the vaccine. They see otherwise (no logic again). Thus I will probably be separated from Rutgers on January 4th. It's just as well - three jobs ago I had promised myself not to get another job, and still somehow I ended up working for someone again instead of pursing my own things. I can't put that off any longer, as I'm not getting any younger, and although I've done it for most of my life, my personality does not fit well with working for other people.

I would like to wish everyone a happy holidays and new year (including my enemies lol)!

Kevin

259

Recent Highlights

Meet the Candidates Wed 6PM??, Special Board Meeting Thurs 7PM Sep 27
It sounds like there will be some form of a "Meet the Candidates" event at the weekly community Zoom more...

Petition Submitted, BOT Hill Meeting Today 5PM, Wed Community ZOOM Sep 12
The petitions have been submitted to the Board, along with a copy to the Board's attorney, and were more...

**Petition Threshold Reached**, Wednesday ZOOM 6PM, Boards Special Meeting Sep 05
As of September 5th, we just crossed the 278 petition threshold needed to order the Board to call a more...

Town/Board ZOOM Update 8/31 6PM, Another Petition, Direct-Debit Trickery Aug 30
There is a community meeting scheduled for this Wednesday, August 31, starting at 6 PM. The meeting more...

The Board Blows it Again, Board Mtg. Petition, Tuesday ZOOM Reminder Aug 22
After I showed the Board how to get rid of the Hill for just $11/ton, guess what your Board and Mana more...


Search posts for