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SPECIAL REPORT

4/01/20, 5:17 PM

 

2016 BALLOT MEASURE LAWSUIT-UpDate

Case No: 18 CV 16980

The lawsuit was filed on April 27, 2018, in Jefferson County Circuit Court by the plaintiffs after the former Board of Directors refused to sit down and talk with them.

The plaintiffs complaint alleges, in part, the following:

*2016 Election Process violated State Statutes

*2016 Election Process violated Crooked River Ranch (CRR) By-Laws

*2016 AMENDMENT the Ranch Board wanted to pass violated Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS)

*Ranch Directors/Officials were notified there were multiple problems concerning the 2016 Election Results/Process and they chose to ignore most of them

Interestingly, on 3/23/20, the defendants filed their response to the plaintiffs’ Motion for a Summary Judgment. One particular section of interest addressed Resolution 2020-03-16-B adopted at the Board’s last meeting.

The defendants stated in part, that they were

“MADE AWARE of the potential conflict between the 2016 Amended By-Laws and ORS 94.635(16) and…the Association’s By-Laws will be interpreted in a manner to comply with ORS 94.635(16).”

The Resolution timing is interesting, the content confusing/questionable and they were just “made aware.”?

“MADE AWARE”?

Some Significant Events:

*Former Ranch Secretary/Director, Paula Bartolomei’s July 2016 TELEGRAPH Message/Solicitation stated in part,

“…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 and sought the assistance of an attorney. In a recently obtained email, dated August 30, 2016, and authored by 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 responded, “Maybe a letter in our back pocket isn’t a bad idea.” Mitchener added, “We have asked Zack (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.”

AWARE?

*In another recently obtained email, dated August 29, 2016, authored by 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% + 1 of eligible voters, but to pass a measure the total YES VOTES must be that 50% + 1 also.”

*At the beginning of the 2016 election cycle, Bartolomei stated clearly what was required to amend the by-laws. At the end of the 2016 election cycle, the numbers didn’t add up so they hired experts to make it seem,

“MORE LEGITIMATE.”

AWARE?

*March 20, 2017, Dave Stangland and John Stevens submitted to the Ranch Board 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.

AWARE?

*April 2017, Shortly after the above mentioned 94 Notice was delivered and one year before the lawsuit was filed, the Ranch obtained legal representation from attorney William Ohle. In late April, 2017, the subject by-law amendment was CERTIFIED with the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office on Ohle’s watch. Efforts to negotiate/mediate were again rebuffed by Ranch Officials and attorney William Ohle.

AWARE?

*At the July 17, 2017, Regular Board Meeting, Ranch resident/Phase Rep and current Board Member, Stephanie Proffitt, verbally accosted Stangland and Stevens, demanded that they move off the Ranch, all the while complaining about cost factors associated with the Ranch Officials spending, (unnecessarily) money for an attorney prior to any legal action commencing. The above outburst appeared to be orchestrated by Ranch President, Dave Palmer along with Ranch Manager, Judy Lapora. As an aside, all efforts to obtain the audio recording of the meeting mysterious disappeared.

AWARE?

*July 27, 2017, Stevens and Stangland’s attorney, Robert Birk, writes the Oregon Attorney General (DOJ) regarding the CRR 2016 ballot election, amending Association By-Laws. Birk’s letter states in part, “My clients David Stangland and John Stevens are two homeowners, who suspect there has been a statutory violation by directors of the largest homeowners association in Oregon.”

Further,

“They wish to assert a complaint and request review of that homeowners association’s handling of an election by applicable business activities and non-profit regulatory functions, including reviewing if that non-profit entity and its board violated aspects of ORS 94 and ORS 65.”
Shortly thereafter, the DOJ replied and said they lacked jurisdiction and stated, “Your best recourse may lie in the courts.”

*In the August 2017 Telegraph, former Ranch President, Dave Palmer published his President’s Message. Palmer admits that prior to publishing his libelous Message he consulted with the insurance company’s appointed legal counsel-William Ohle. Palmer implies that his Message/Content was approved by the insurance company attorney-Ohle.

Palmer’s Message was retaliatory in nature, self-serving, misleading, fact challenged, as well as defamatory. Palmer’s apparent objective was to discredit the messengers-Stevens and Stangland. We believe Palmer’s ultimate objective focused on casting doubt on the messenger(s) so as to discredit our information/evidence.

One section of interest stated,

“With respect to the filed (94) notice, Mr. Stevens and Mr. Stangland allege 16 different grievances.”

The attorney (Ohle) representing this case for the Association summarizes them in three categories as follows:

1. Removal of (political) signs during the August 2016 bylaw amendment election;

2. INTERPRETATION OF THE ASSOCIATIONS BYLAWS RELATING TO THE NUMBERS OF VOTES NECESSARY TO AMEND THE BYLAWS (emphasis ours); and

3. Defamation

AWARE?

*August 17, 2017, attorney Robert Birk writes attorney William Ohle requesting an explanation and clarification regarding Palmer’s Message in the August Telegraph where Palmer stated, “having consulted with the insurance company’s appointed legal counsel as to the content.” Birk refers to Ohle’s law firm’s invoice for $9,284.47 and stated, “That invoice identifies you by name. Mr. Palmer is referring to you as participating in his defamatory message, and he indicates you approved Mr. Palmer’s using the CRR-controlled Telegraph as Mr. Palmer’s personal attack vehicle.”
Birk’s letter not only requested an explanation, but also demanded a formal retraction along with necessary corrections.
It should be noted that during this period, Stevens and Stangland supported the Telegraph via a paid advertisement.

AWARE?

William Ohle failed to respond to Birk’s letter.

*On September 14, 2017, former Ranch President/Officer, Dave Palmer signed and submitted along with CPA, Zachary L. Harmon, FORM 990, for the Tax year 2016, to the IRS. The 2016 Form 990 includes a SCHEDULE O-“Supplemental Information to Form 990” that includes subsections with questions. Part VI, LINE 7A, states, “ANNUAL ELECTIONS ARE HELD TO VOTE FOR BOARD MEMBERS…”. Further it states,

“A VOTE OF THE MEMBERS IS REQUIRED TO CHANGE THE BYLAWS.”
“Under penalties of perjury, (Palmer & Harmon) I declare that I have examined this return, including accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct and complete declaration of preparer (other than officer) is based on all information which the preparer has any knowledge.”

PART VI, LINE 7B, states,

“IF CHANGES TO THE BYLAWS ARE PROPOSED, THE CHANGES MUST BE VOTED ON BY THE MEMBERS.” “NO MEMBER POLICY VOTES OCCURRED IN THE CURRENT TAX YEAR.”

The Above referenced 2016 990 Form clearly reflects, “NO MEMBER POLICY VOTES OCCURRED IN THE CURRENT (2016) TAX YEAR.”

However, former Ranch President, Dave Palmer and former Ranch Secretary, Paula Bartolomei signed and recorded with the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office-6 months earlier, the Official Record confirming there was an election in 2016 that AMENDED THE BYLAWS.

AWARE?

 

*On November 17, 2017, Robert Birk wrote William Ohle again, questioning why he-Ohle, failed to respond to his August 17, 2017, letter.
Birk’s letter also addressed invitations to mediate, he stated in part, “My correspondence with you has conveyed my clients’ being open to discussions, and they remain open to such discussions. Yet your letters sent to me since then have clearly stated a continuing refusal by CRR’s Board/leadership to mediate the parties’ differences, leaving a formal lawsuit as a sole option.”

AWARE?

*Fall 2017, early 2018, the Concerned Ranch Residents Group formed that included current Ranch Director/Secretary, Judy Gilliland and former Director Carol Orr.

*March 19, 2018, Concerned Ranch Residents hand delivered a letter, authored by attorney, Robert Birk, addressed to the CRR/BOD and Ranch Manager, Judy Lapora listing several concerns and asking,”What does the Board, and its Directors, intend to do, to correct their breaches?”

AWARE?

*April 10, 2018, Tammy Schaaf, Linda Andyke and Sunray Henderson submitted to the Ranch Board a Statutory Required Notice-ORS 94.630 listing their issues/concerns and offering alternate dispute resolution prior to filing a lawsuit.

*April 16, 2018, former Ranch President, Dave Palmer used the Regular Board Meeting to publicly shame Schaaf, Andyke and Henderson. He accused them of making “egregiously defamatory” statements in their 94 NOTICE and further added, “and (it) must stop.”

!MUST WATCH VIDEO!

https://www.facebook.com/100003322735103/videos/pcb.209184416342272/1628884937232248/?type=3&theater&ifg=1

*April 27, 2018, Schaaf, Andyke and Henderson filed their lawsuit in Jefferson County only after all attempts to sit down and talk with the former Board of Directors were ignored.

Was Resolution 2020-03-16-B, approved by the current Board on March 16, 2020, an admission that the former Board got it wrong by writing a by-law amendment that conflicted with State Law?

AWARE!

Ranch Matters Staff