Answers to the False Allegation Letters
[ this is a work in progress.. more to come as time allows ]
Those owners who have lived in Kuau Bayview long enough will remember the 85 pages of misinformation that were mailed to the owners in 2003 by Karen Chun, Mike Gibbons, & Robert Lindan. That was the last time a Board President lowered the maintenance fees. In 2003 they failed in their attempt to remove the entire Board with false accusations of financial malfeasance, but the resulting audit cost the Association $1,719 and turned up not one thing wrong with the books...
"In my opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the assets, liabilities, and fund balances arising from cash transactions of the Ku'au Bayview at Paia Homeowner's Association as of December 31, 2003, and its revenue collected and expenses paid during the year then ended, on the basis of accounting described in Note 2.
— Sharron Courter CPA, LLC Kahului, Hawaii August 31, 2004"
So here we have for the first time in 8 years a President and some volunteers trying to do something good for the neighborhood, and they are again being attacked by these same two homeowners. Karen Chun was placed on the 2011 Board with fraudulent proxies at a meeting with no quorum. Karen Chun hounded the 2003-2004 Board members relentlessly and threatened to sue them so many times that the entire Board resigned. For eight years Kuau Bayview was under the control of bullies who used the power of the Board to persecute their enemies. This Code of Conduct was written, voted on, and passed by the membership of Kuau Bayview at the 2013 Annual Meeting to protect our neighborhood ohana from this kind of negative energy, and to hold the Board members to ethical guidelines so that such a reign of terror can never happen again.
The following letter (received by mail 2012-11-02) was written by Karen Chun who also sent a threatening email to the Board on Sept 17, 2012 listing ten "illegal actions by board president" and stating, "This woman is acting unilaterally and has opened the HOA itself up to multiple lawsuits (in addition to the lawsuits she personally has opened herself up to)." This email was signed by Karen Chun and came from her email address, in case you have any doubt about who wrote it. In Jan 2011 Karen mailed a libelous postcard and another letter to the entire neighborhood viciously attacking two homeowners. Robert Lindan & Karen Chun have now demanded that this web page be taken down to protect THEIR reputations! What about the reputations of the people they have character-assassinated over the years? To borrow a line from Gordon Gecko, "If you stop telling lies about me, I'll stop telling the truth about you."
The Dear Neighbors Letter from Karen Chun
Allegation #1: The Board President illegally spent approximately $10,000 on a rock wall built on private property. There was no board meeting approving this. No agenda so no opportunity for homeowners input. It appears that the President rushed this project without due diligence on determining property ownership or the wishes of the homeowners.
This is nonsense. The rock wall cost $10,000 which is about half the going rate for rock walls. A great deal of preparation was done starting with obtaining the permission of the owners of lots 41,42,43. This was a courtesy considering this area has always been a landscaping easement in favor of the Association. A board meeting was conducted by email on Aug 31, 2012 with a majority vote in favor of proceeding with the wall. All this was posted on the website for owners' input. And the entire $10,000 was covered by savings on landscaping costs thanks to volunteer efforts.
Allegation #2: This opened the Association up to multiple lawsuits: 1. On the part of the homeowners whose landscaping was destroyed and whose land was trespassed upon to build the wall.
As usual, the only lawsuits threatened were by Karen Chun herself. Not only did we have permission from the owners, but the Association owns, and is responsible for maintaining, the landscaping in that area. The claim that "landscaping was destroyed" is inaccurate and misleading, in that a great deal of pruning and weeding was required in order to rid the hillside of unmanageable and improper vegetation. The hillside was then terraced and replanted with the proper species of plants whose root systems will form a net and prevent the continued erosion of the slope, while in time adding a more gentle and aesthetic floral feature to the hillside. As a result of many years of neglect and improper care extreme pruning was needed. The Bougainvillea bushes & crotons under the huge weed vine were already dead. The Bougainvilleas that had climbed 25 feet into the County trees presented a safety hazard for County workers and preventing them from trimming the trees. The traffic signs were entirely encased and obstructed by thorny vines and had to be cleared to prevent fines fron the County.
No "trespassing" occurred in the construction of the stone wall. If any property owner believed that "trespassing" occurred, that property owner had a duty to give a verbal warning or post a written warning of some kind to alert the parties that their presence o the property was considered a "trespass." This did not occur and the wall was constructed with the owners' permission. In fact, Tom Jenkins (the Lot 43 owner) called the Board Secretary and demanded that we start the wall on Lot 43 it had been decided not to touch his lot. We had to change the work order to accommodate him. He then claimed the wall was built without his permission. We didn't need his permission to build on the easement. It was simply a courtesy.
"If the property owner knows or has a good reason to believe that people are trespassing on his land, he has a duty to put up warnings for any trespassers, even if he has repeatedly told them to get off his property."
Allegation #3: This opened the Association up to a lawsuit on the part of everyone else because the Board is not allowed to give a benefit to certain homeowners which the rest of the homeowners don't get.
This assertion is inaccurate. Any realtor will attest to the fact that all KB property owners received a benefit from the enhanced first impression "curb appeal" of the entire neighborhood due to the elegant facade of the rock wall and the improved landscaping. This enhanced curb appeal is an asset that added value to each piece of property within the subdivision as evidenced by the rising sale prices.
Allegation #4: The President refuses to run meetings via Roberts Rules of Order which is required by both our bylaws and by state law. She dominates and allows a favored homeowner to dominate discussion and acts unilaterally without holding board meetings and getting Board approval.
Untrue. The President is very much in favor of following the dictates of Hawaii State Law which require that meetings be conducted according to the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order. Although the book is 716 pages, Director Tom Atkins has purchased and read almost the whole thing. Unlike previous Boards, this Board makes every effort to abide by the rules which pertain to a Non-Profit Corporation Board of Directors.
This Board held more meetings in the first two months than the 2011 Board held in the previous year. And Karen Chun was on the 2011 Board. They had no open meetings, no notice of meetings as required by law, no minutes except May 7th until a homeowner at the annual meeting pointed out that they HAD to provide minutes because they had taken actions and spent plenty of HOA money. So they produced minutes after-the-fact. How hypocritical.
Allegation #5: The President has threatened other directors because she claims emails discussing Association business are "secret" and cannot be shown to homeowners. This is beyond illegal. However she has compounded this illegality by allegedly refusing to keep directors she suspects of sharing Board email discussions with homeowners in the loop. This is also highly illegal.
This assertion of some sort of "illegality" in the use of email correspondence between Board Members is erroneous. The Board of Directors have a right to confidentiality in their "working discussions" of the Asociation's business. The "confidentiality" right is very different from the allegation of "secrecy" in the activities of the Board in that secrecy implies "conspiracy," which is of course illegal, and not equivalent to the right of "privacy" or "confidentiality." The Board of Directors has firmly stated that the conduct of business will be "open" as required by law. "Secrecy" has no place in the conduct of the business of the association, nor does a board member's "conflict of interest" have any place as an influence on our conduct of business. The following is the opinion of Walter B Clur AMS CMCA CA PB, of Aloha Property Management regarding the right of a non-board member, but who is an HOA member, to read the emails of Board members without their knowledge:
At Tom's request, our Association Manager was consulted 10-8-2012 and his answers are shown below in bold:
- Is it proper for a Board member to allow a non-board HOA member access to his/her emails that include Board email discussions? NO
- Does a non-board HOA member have the right to view and copy the contents of Board email discussions? NO
- Is it proper for a Board member to allow access to the private email addresses of the other Board members? NO
- If all members of the Board are listed as recipients of an email thread, does the discussion or contents of this email thread in some way constitute some form of "board meeting?" NO
Allegation #6: Without Board approval, the President terminated Valley Isle Management's contract prior to collection of dues at great inconvenience to homeowners. The previous Board had 'already' planned to terminate Valley Isle after the assessments were collected in order to create an orderly transition.
The "previous board" did not lift a finger to help with an orderly transition, or anything else. Valley Isle was not performing their duties and were unavailable by phone or email. They hadn't paid the landscaper since April. They were paying other vendors for work that was not even done, or done poorly, and with no oversight whatsoever. They refused to provide reports and would not release the QuickBooks data file. Everything was left to the President and Treasurer to handle. It was impossible to function. Valley Isle had been overcharging the Association from the beginning and not fulfilling the terms of their contract. There was no point in paying for another month of non service. It was the right (and mutual) decision to move their resignation up a month.
Allegation #7: The subsequent property manager has quit.
While Walter Clur is the nicest guy ever, we intimated we were going to put the company on probation when it became apparent that they weren't really doing much for the money we were paying. He then resigned. When you are paying someone for their expert opinion, and that opinion turns out to be that we should hire an attorney, the middle-man starts looking rather superfluous. We decided it would be more cost effective to consult an attorney on an as-needed basis whenever necessary.
Allegation #8: The front landscaping is looking weed-filled and unmown and is now becoming a hodgepodge of high-maintenance plants.
We'll let you judge the front landscaping for yourself.
Allegation #9: A nonBoard Member - presumably on the landscaping committee - continues to use Association water on private property and landscape on private property. Is this being done under the auspices of the Board?
This is a landscaping easement. In 1996 the Association had Oihana install irrigation at the top of the Lae St slope starting at Lot 43 and extending all the way up to Lot 30. Association water has watered this area since 1996. Our Landscaping Committee volunteer simply installed a hose bib on the existing pipes so the watering could be better controlled during the planting stage. Interesting that Karen seems so concerned about the Association water considering she tried to illegally keep a former owner on the Board who had tapped into the Association water supply for approximately 8 years.
Allegation #10: Is this person insured? Is the board leaving us open to a lawsuit if she gets hurt or if the homeowners sue for trespass and vandalism for ripping out the existing landscaping?
Yes, all volunteers are insured. No, the Board is not liable if a volunteer gets hurt, nor if plants are accidentally damaged. For trespass, see #2 above. The fences and landscaping on this easement, along with the irrigation system, belong to the Association, not the lot owners. More on the landscaping easement.
Allegation #10: This Board President is out of control and acting unilaterally and illegality (sic). She needs to resign immediately. I understand the fear of retribution - but the other Board members have to find the courage to replace this President.
In 2001 Karen Chun resigned from the Board in disgrace. She then tried to oust the 2003 Board so she could get back in power, but failed. Luba Reeves is the best President KB has ever had and Karen can't stand to see someone else succeed where she failed, so she is once again spreading hate mail to try to hound the Board members into resigning. Her MO is to spread gossip that the Board is harassing owners when in reality the only harassment has come from Karen herself. She threatened to sue the 2003 Board so many times that the entire Board resigned. She has already threatened to sue the 2013 Board as well. This time the neighborhood won't stand for it. This negative energy is not welcome on Maui.
A Homeowner who has witnessed harassment and is afraid of retribution
At least Robert had the courage to sign his name. Karen apparently prefers to libel innocent people anonymously. With her cover blown, she chose not to show up at the meeting. Is it surprising that these letters were mailed to everyone but the very people they were attacking? She did the same thing in 2003 sending 85 letters to everyone but the Board members themselves.
What happened to the plan to block the door and cancel the meeting? We were expecting torches and pitch forks.