Within the past month, representatives of the Oakmont Alliance (OA), concerned that the prospective purchase of OGC by OVA could be a serious financial misstep for the future of Oakmont, have published a flier in the Kenwood Press attempting to correct the claims of supporters of such a purchase, and solicited signatures on a petition demanding from the board a special meeting to conduct a membership vote. After Board president Steve Spanier refused to consider allowing the membership to vote on the issue, the OA engaged an attorney to create the letter described in this article.
On May 14 the OVA Board of Directors received the attorney letter requesting they address a number of specified governance issues, the correction of which would discourage abuses and breaches of fiduciary duty in the future.
“… issues that, in the past, led to substantial financial losses by OVA and by the Directors and Officers insurance carrier.”
The OA letter first identifies two issues that, in the past, led to substantial financial losses by OVA and by the Directors and Officers insurance carrier. One of these issues involves various alleged breaches of fiduciary duty by OVA directors and OVA employees, leading to an employment contract for then OVA General Manager Cassie Turner that resulted in substantial unjustified payments to Ms. Turner. The other involves the recovery of costs in connection with the demolition of property behind the CAC, which occurred “in an accelerated attempt by the outgoing Board to commence construction of a pickleball sports complex.”
“… leading to systemic changes in OVA governance that would make it less likely for such failures of fiduciary duty to occur in the future.”
Many of the facts relating to these issues might never have come to light except for a pending lawsuit against OVA and individual defendants that seeks compensation for pain and suffering caused by breaches of fiduciary duty by these defendants. In contrast, the Oakmont Alliance, through its attorney’s letter, seeks to establish a dialogue leading to systemic changes in OVA governance that would make it less likely for such failures of fiduciary duty to occur in the future. Governance changes sought by the OA and outlined in the letter include:
- “Revision and renaming of the existing Employee Abuse Policy to provide for mutuality in treatment of employees and members, … and to thwart the potential for collusion among employees as well as between employees and any and all members of OVA.”
- “Updating of OVA’s governing documents to comply fully with … the Davis-Stirling Act, including appropriate revisions to minimize the possibility of fiduciary breaches by the OVA’s officers and directors.”
- “Updating of OVA’s governing documents to require majority approval of OVA’s membership for (a) loans in excess of $250,000 … and (b) acquisitions of real property exceeding 25% … of the amount (size and/or dollar value) of real property under management by the OVA.”
- “Updating of OVA’s governing documents to require completion of at least 75% of outstanding deferred maintenance … before constructing or acquiring new facilities.”
- “Updating of OVA’s governing documents to require full disclosure to the OVA membership of any and all fiscal impacts of any prospective acquisition of properties or facilities … [including OGC] … Among other concerns, the Alliance believes that the inevitable increase in dues will be particularly damaging to the less fortunate residents of Oakmont Village, and especially the population of shut-ins and others on smaller fixed incomes. It could be argued that an indiscriminate increase in their assessments could amount to a form of elder abuse.”
“… an improvement in life at Oakmont Village for all its residents, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”
The letter goes on to say, in part: “The Alliance is concerned that failure to address the systemic issues could result in OVA being unable to maintain Directors & Officers Insurance, thereby creating a situation where no members are willing to serve on the Board. It is my clients’ hope that the OVA will see this letter as an opportunity to open a meaningful and respectful dialogue that will lead to an improvement in life at Oakmont Village for all its residents, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”
As of this writing, the OA attorney has received no response from the OVA Board. As the letter states, we are hopeful that this will lead to a process resulting in a better Oakmont for all. But the Oakmont Alliance is also preparing to take more forceful legal steps, should the plea for reason fall on deaf ears.
If you would like to learn more about the Oakmont Alliance, there is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you believe in what the OA is doing and would like to support its efforts, the last two FAQs in the list tell you several ways you can help, including how to donate towards the legal expenses.
Oakmont Observer Editorial Staff: The views expressed above are those of the Oakmont Alliance, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Oakmont Observer. Other responsible groups and individuals are welcome to contribute articles with different perspectives. Contact TheOakmontObserver@gmail.com for more information.