Posts Tagged ‘Colorado’

Mile-High State Requires High Levels of HOA Transparency

December 21, 2012

In case  you’ve missed my repeated ranting on the subject, Idaho has very little HOA legislation.  Meanwhile, our mile-high neighbors in Colorado have passed a law increasing HOA board transparency and apparently, legislating common-sense respect for privacy.

Bill

The new Colorado law drills down into the type of documents that an HOA  might have, and requires disclosure of a broader number of them, including for instance, receipts and contracts with third parties.

The new Colorado law also clarifies that HOAs are not required to disclose other, private records.

In Idaho, meanwhile, HOA record retention and disclosure is almost always governed by the Non-profit Corporation Act.   This requires disclosure, upon request by an owner, of:

(a)  Excerpts from any records required to be maintained under section 30-3-130(1), Idaho Code, to the extent not subject to inspection under section 30-3-131(1), Idaho Code;
(b)  Accounting records of the corporation, and
(c)  Subject to section 30-3-133, Idaho Code, the membership list.
Certainly the list of documents required to be disclosed is shorter in Idaho.  In case you were wondering, the “records required to be maintained”  under 30-3-130(1) include “… minutes of all meetings of its members and board of directors, a record of all actions taken by the members or directors without a meeting, and a record of all actions taken by committees of the board of directors …”  That’s it.
Despite the limited number of documents required to be produced in Idaho, it is still good common sense to keep HOA emails separate by using a separate HOA account.   Whether or not an Idaho court would consider those emails “a record of all actions taken by the … directors”  email can still be dragged out in litigation, and most folks would prefer to keep their private emails separate.
While a member list must be maintained for voting purposes, it is also still a good idea to respect everyone’s privacy.  Don’t publish “member directories”  without specific consent from the members.  Use that BCC function on group emails.

Aspen Shake-down

September 18, 2012

 There is no great way to ask your HOA treasurer if she has a criminal record.  It is hard enough to get volunteers for many board positions without subjecting candidates to public scrutiny or background checks.

However, if you are hiring a professional bookkeeper, like this Aspen association, there is no reason not to.  The Mountain View Board, if they had checked, might have noticed that Ms. Dobbs, their treasurer, had a checkered history of fraud, forgery, and embezzlement.

You may wonder if your typical HOA checks and balances are robust enough to handle convicted felons, but Ms. Dobbs apparently did not use any sophisticated methods.  She just withdrew cash from the HOA account for personal use.  Her haul totaled over $27,000.  From the local paper:

An HOA representative told Aspen police that Dobbs was hired as treasurer. An Aspen police detective said it is easy to mistake Dobbs for a sweet older woman who has bookkeeping skills.

Upon getting the HOA job, she asked for a debit card to cover a few expenses. She then repeatedly went to a bank and drained all but $1,000 from a $28,000 account, according to her arrest warrant.

In court on Monday, Judge Gail Nichols of the 9th Judicial District asked her how she pleaded to the felony count of theft in a series of more than $20,000.

“Guilty, your honor,” Dobbs said quietly.

“Did you get money from the Mountain View Homeowner’s Association?” Nichols asked.

“I did, your honor,” she said.

“And you had to take it bit by bit, is that correct?”

Dobbs said yes.

If your board is hiring a bookkeeper, it would be fair to look into her criminal record.  And watch out for the nice little lady who wants a debit card for personal expenses.

PS.  The court is considering letting Ms. Dobbs avoid jail, based on the hope that she will repay the debt incurred.  However: 

Nichols and prosecutor Andrea Bryan both expressed concern that Dobbs — a four-time convicted felon — would steal from others to pay back the victims in this case.