1/31/2022, 4:35 PM
Ranch Matters (RM) published on 1/29/22, “PAPERS PLEASE” regarding the budget preparation process and the importance of the mandatory filing of the IRS Form 990 by the Ranch Association. The 990 is a significant part of the overall financial reporting process and the Ranch is federally mandated to make it available upon request.
(See story for details)
RM Member Dale Wiley commented: “What is there to fix? Nothing there can be amended. Looks like some inaccurate information was listed on the form by the accountants. They must have missed or were not told about the bylaws vote thing by their Boards contact. Probably just a clerical error by the accountants. I am sure it is just a minor misunderstanding, easily corrected.”
Mr. Wiley spoke with us about his comment and asked, “Was it just a clerical error by the accountants?” He added: “Is there more to the story?
We told Wiley, there is more to the story and walked him through, chronologically, the Ranch 2016 Election Process/Controversy.
For readers unfamiliar with the election process, every August Crooked River Ranch (CRR) holds elections for members of the Board of Directors along with other BALLOT MEASURES.
The August 2016 election cycle ran from August 1, 2016 through August 31, 2016, and according to former Ranch Vice President, John Williams, that election, “Was one of the most important in the history of Crooked River Ranch…”
The Ranch Officials were unhappy with how they had to govern the Association based on the BYLAWS at that time and placed on the Ballot, Measure 2. Measure 2 asked the Members to amended Article XVII, Section 1, of the BYLAWS by replacing the 2016 version of 50% plus 1, affirmative votes, of all eligible property owners, to “2/3 majority” of only votes cast. At that time at least 1300 plus eligible property owners represented the required voting quorum and that too stood in the Ranch Officials way. They knew if they could get what they wanted and amend the BYLAWS accordingly, they would finally be able to govern all Ranch Affairs via a very small number of select (“AFFLUENT”) residents.
Interestingly, former Ranch Secretary/Director, Paula Bartolomei posted the following Message/ Solicitation in the July 2016 TELEGRAPH: “…In order to change the By-Laws, we need a majority of eligible voters plus one-or, 1,324 votes in favor (YES)-in order to change anything.”
In July of 2016 and before the annual election cycle started, questions involving the process fell on deaf ears and triggered an opposing/controversial NO ON 2 campaign regarding the subject ballot measure.
During the election cycle, Ranch Manager, Judy Lapora ordered the removal, “theft” of our NO ON 2 Political Signs-Message and concealed them in the Ranch Boneyard. Theft reports were filed and efforts to recover all of the stolen signs resulted in threats of arrest for trespass by former Ranch President Dave Palmer.
After the 2016 election, Ranch Officials knew they had a problem with the election results and sought the assistance of the Ranch attorney. In a obtained email, dated August 30, 2016 and authored by Secretary/Director Bartolomei, addressed to then President, Mitch Mitchener, Bartolomei stated: “Mitch, do you think it would be worthwhile to have at the work session a letter from Steve Bryant (attorney) addressed to Ranch residents outlining his legal opinion on the quorum/plurality issues?” Mitchener responed:
“Maybe a letter in our back pocket isn’t a bad idea.” He added: “We have asked Zach (CPA) to give the results at the work session to lend credence.”
Bartolomei expressed her concerns, as a Ranch Officer, about the election results and felt “experts” were needed to legitimize it. She stated: “I think it’s imperative that we do what we can to stop the rumor-mongering that is affecting the Ranch so negatively, and one way to do that is to have ‘experts’-Zach from the auditor and a letter from Steve Bryant-giving their outside opinions on our election results. If it comes from the Board, it is going to be suspect, but if it comes from the auditor and the attorney, it will be MORE LEGITIMATE.”
In another obtained email, dated August 29, 2016, authored by former Director/President, Dave Palmer, he stated: “So, after reading and re-reading this ad nauseam it really seems to me that the intent is not only do we need the 50% plus 1 of eligible voters, but to pass a measure the total YES VOTES must be that 50% plus 1 also.”
At the beginning of the 2016 election cycle, Bartolomei stated clearly what was required to amend the by-laws and Palmer too, understood. At the end of the election cycle, the numbers didn’t add up so they hired experts to make it seem “MORE LEGITIMATE.”
March 20, 2017, RM Dave Stangland and John Stevens submitted to the Ranch Board of Directors a statutory required NOTICE-ORS 94.630 listing 16 claims, including claims regarding the by-law amendment election. Efforts to negotiate/mediate were rebuffed by the Ranch Officials.
94 Notice Attached