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The HOA Legal Mind Shooting the Messenger or Biting the Hand?

Posted By CotoBlogzz January 4, 2011

Laguna Woods Village, CA – In the series The HOA Legal Mind, A Terrible Thing to Waste, we feature abusive common interest development boards use legal resources mostly to support the boards’ self-preservation instincts, rather than benefit the residents.  This case is slightly different.  It pits a service provider and disgruntled ex-employees, but there is a common denominator – the residents still lose out.

 In a  memorandum dated January 20, 2009. Milt Johns, Professional Community Management (PCM) vice president in a classic case of the tale wagging the dog -  the service provider issuing an ultimatum to the Third Mutual board of directors  "respectfully requests the directors to adhere to the following conditions.”

The demand in essence turns the employer-employee rules around, by having the service provider dictate what the board can and cannot do as in "Directors will agree to not breach the management agreement by performing any work of the managing agent, eg. Preparing RFQs/RFPs to solicit proposals from banks, law firms, lien and collection companies, etc.", presumably not going out to bid for property management services either.  The ultimatum to the board also prescribes a chain of command.  "To assist the Directors to this end, and effective immediately, and until further notice, any contact between the Directors of Third and PCM shall be restricted to only the PCM Executives (currently Jerry Storage, Jane Price, Kurt Rahan and Russ Ridgeway".  However, Mr. Johns will be "very happy to ease these restrictions once the roles of the Directors and PCM as management agent have been reconciled to the mutual satisfaction of both parties," according to  the memorandum.





File photos:  Left, Milt Johns, then PCM general manager.  Right, security team making sure seniors do not become unruly during open board meetings.


It is fair to argue that the ultimatum delivered by Johns to the Laguna Woods' local governance was not a unilateral decision, but a message delivered  with full knowledge and approval of PCM.  And if not, when the ultimatum became public knowledge, why did the property management company did not react?



On late January 2010 PCM  fires Johns and names Jerry Storage as Johns' replacement.  Storage  “... is noted as one of the industry’s most respected experts and is fully equipped to uphold the PCM standard of excellence. In addition, Jerry’s diplomacy will assist our boards of directors to achieve the goals set out for their community.” says  PCM's CEO Donny Disbro, in a press release officially announcing Johns' departure.

United Mutual president Gail McNulty in a state of suspension of disbelief, thinks the allegations about misdeeds and corruption  lobed at Mr. Johns are untrue, although  she has full knowledge of the infamous ultimatum.  Bea McArthur claims that the John's firing has to do with not following the contract  and in " in the opinion of others." Implies she has no opinion.

Fast forward to December 30, 2010  where in  case no. 30-2010-00380231 filed in the Superior Court of Orange County, Mr. Johns cross-complains and alleges among other things, breach of contract, age-base discrimination, wrongful termination, breach of fiduciary duty and emotional distress.  The defendants named in the case are PCM, Russ Disbro, Donny Disbro, Paul Hoommissen, Third Mutual, GRF and the law firms of Jackson Demarco Tidus Peckenpaugh and  Much Shelist Freed Denenberg.

 The HOA Legal Mind a Terrible Thing to Waste:

So, how would you catalogue this installment of the HOA Legal Mind a Terrible Thing to Waste:  Shooting the Messenger or Biting The Hand That Fed You?  In any case, if you are a Laguna Woods Village resident, you lose.

Did we mention that Mr. Johns cross-complaint in a Bell-isimo claims that he should not only be PCM’s CEO but also earn a base salary of $275.000 per year. Plus benefits plus 20% of PCM earnings before income tax?  Guess who was to pay for such largesse?





If you thought farming subsidies were bad, you should see the Laguna Woods Village nursery subsidies!  Click here for the rest of the story
Keep out! - Nursery is a Dangerous Place...... for Inquiring Min



What we do with your money is none of your business: Click here for the rest of the story
Do not Ask, PCM Won't Tell: The LWV Accounting System - O


GRF Meeting June 2, 2009: HOA President Stuller crying out "Open Sesame" and trying to accuse activist and critic Mr. Michael Curtis of sexual abuse. Mr Curtis has cancer (chemo therapy) - for three years and has barely enough energy to make it through the day. You be the judge of Mr. Curtis character.
for more: - Click here for the rest of the story
Ali Baba and His Director Show



PCM General Manager Mr. Johns blames the Orange County Register (OCR). not being truthful and making up stories. Laguna Woods residents have video taped similar allegations from Mr. Johns dozens of times over the last 5 years. For more: Click here for the rest of the story
Puttin' On the Blame - It is the Orange County Register's Fault - it is the Orange County Register's fault


June 2, 2009 GRF Meeting - The Shut Up Rule in Effect
All residents want form Mr. Stuller is a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T - Click here for the rest of the story


Desperate HOA Directors - Your Are Out of Order!



June 2, 2009 Golden Rain Foundation annotated board Meeting - as Board President denigrates fellow director and cancer patient Michael Curtis, while defending property management company's actions  Click here for the rest of the story.. 
Desperate Directors of Laguna Woods - The Facts Behind the Fiction Part Two - Click here for video



June 2, 2009 Golden Rain Foundation annotated board Meeting - Milt Johns blames the Orange County Resister   Click here for the rest of the story.. 
Desperate Directors of Laguna Woods - The Facts Behind the Fiction Part One - Click here for video


February 10, 2009 United Mutual board meeting V0 - Annotated  video clip uses Adobe® Clip Notes® - pdf format - download, then press play - roughly 15 MB


February 10, 2009 United Mutual board meeting V1 - Annotated video clip uses Adobe® Clip Notes® pdf format - download,  then press play - roughly 16 MB



Laguna’s Foot is Finally in PCM’s Shoes – or is it Mouth?

Posted By CotoBlogzz 06-11-2010 02:00 PM

Laguna Woods, CA – Community activist Mike Curtis waged a battle mostly centered around what he thought was lack of transparency and malfeasance on the part of the community’s property management company Professional Community Management,  Inc  (PCM). That fight he carried on to literally his last breadth, as he made calls from his death bed to other residents to make sure they continued the fight.  It can be argued that PCM paid Mr. Curtis in kind plus interests:

Mike, a True HOA War Hero in Battle Till the End


Laguna Woods Village, CA         - If you live in Laguna Woods, all you need to do is mention "Mike" and immediately friend and foe realize you are talking about Michael Curtis.  They also know that Michael has been battling a multi-frontal battle:  Against cancer, against corruption and specifically against local governance and the property management company - for years.  We have chronicled a number of his battles here.


PCM to Dethrone the King – Cash that is!              Laguna Woods Village - The current mantra for mortgage brokers is that under the current economic conditions, cash is king.  That is, if you have cash, stash it under your mattress, as opposed to spending it, given that the economy is simply going to get worse.

The Thrilla in the Villa: Laguna Woods, that is - The Ultimatum Posted by:  CotoBlogzz  | After a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) and experiencing an exponential growth in revenue circa 1996, Gateway Computer issued an ultimatum to a computer peripheral supplier:  You can bid on a new product, however, you must significantly  improve the quality  AND reduce the price of the new product, or else.  The demands were so drastic that the CEO of the Taiwan-based supplier conceded in a press release, picked by by various local newspapers,  to having lost the Gateway account.             

The $5 Million Landscape Budget and Recall Petition
Laguna Woods Village, CA - We have been to Laguna Woods Village. We have seen Laguna Woods Village. The place is nicely kept, but how many gardeners does it take to justify a $5 million/year budget?That is the question residents are asking, as the...


To Recall or No Recall, & The HOA Hall of Shame

The Hen House Guarded by the Fox in Laguna Woods Village's Foster's Farm & the Hall of Shame  - News This Friday at 2:00 PM

Posted by CotoBlogzz  | 06/17/2009 04:00 PM

Laguna Woods Village, CA -Whether the United Board recall is absolutely necessary is debatable.  What is not debatable is the Golden Rain Foundations  board’s behavior during the June 2, 2009.  When all residents wanted was a little respect, board president Erwin Stuller resorted to unnecessary defamatory and personal attacks.  What is more appalling is that the rest of the board failed to step in and apply a modicum of decorum to the proceedings.  Such behavior is not only despicable but calls for an apology and stepping down.  The video clip capturing Mr. Stullers less than despicable behavior during  the proceedings are quickly becoming a rallying cry against abusive HOA directors.

Hoist By Their Own Petard - Fuses get shorter in Laguna Woods Village
Posted by CotoBlogzz | 06/03/2009 05:00 PMLaguna Woods Village, CA -So, exactly what happened during yesterday?s Golden Rain Foundation (GRF) board of directors meeting in Laguna Woods

United Recall Petition Signed Sealed and Delivered - Finance Committee Meeting
Laguna Woods Village, CA - As promised, earlier today United Mutual director Michael Curtis during the Finance Committee Meeting, delivered a petition to recall certain United board boards, with close to 100 verified signatures over an above the required...

United Board Recall In Final Stretch ? 4th of July in June!
Laguna Woods Village, CA - Change is in the air. So is anticipation, excitement, thrill and for some, fear. Fear that their telephones are bugged. Fear of retribution. Fear of the unknown.

Prosecuting Mr. Curtis - or is it Persecuting?
Posted by CotoBlogzz | 05/26/2009 8:30 PMPCM General Manager Milt Johns, taking exception to the coverage by Orange County Register of the recent exile of United Mutual Director Michael Curtis from his own community, documents his displeasure at the..


Another Political Assassination in the Works In The Villa              Laguna Woods Village - “Village Snopes would be nice to dispel myths that are causing havoc on the mutual boards”, reads an article titled “Rumors false, and published December 18,2007  by the OCR.  The article asserts that according to Third Mutual president Cynthia Conner, claims that the board is planning on removing director Stanley Feldstein are untrue. 

Demand for Full Scale HUD Investigation into Leisure World/Laguna Woods Affairs               All homeowners of Leisure World/Laguna Woods Village  should demand a full scale investigation by HUD per the Regulatory Agreements. Remember there are two(2)
Regulatory Agreements, one (1) between Laguna Hills Mutual No.One (United) and HUD and the other Regulatory Agreement between Golden Rain Foundation (GRF) and HUD

Support Katie McDaniel              Notice was received this morning of the Special Board Meeting, for the purpose of removing Director Katherine ( Katie ) McDaniel from the board. No reason or justification was given for her intended removal.

Bring it On               In a recent article I discussed how newly elected HOA directors suddenly exhibit behavior changes closely related to the Stanford Prison Experiment.  In this psychological experiment random student volunteers were divided into guards and prisoners and then began to live their roles, showing signs of paranoia, sadism, and brutality

Fiduciary Responsibility Primer – Part One               -What is the common denominator between Denmark’s Entrepreneur of the Year, KPMG, Aide to Madoff HOA/CID board of directors’ fiduciary dut

PCM & Third Mutual – The Ultimatum

      After a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) and experiencing an exponential growth in revenue circa 1996, Gateway computer issued an ultimatum to a computer peripheral supplier:  You can bid on a new product, however, you must significantly  improve the quality  AND reduce the price of the new product, or else.  The demands were so drastic that the CEO of the Taiwan-based supplier conceded in a press release to having lost the Gateway account. 


Cynthia Conners Being Asked to Resign        The Laguna Woods Village Shareholders Committee is asking Third Board director Cynthia Conners to resign her positions on the board for a number of alleged ethical violations.


Breaking News: LWV 3rd Mutual Lessons Learned: If at first you don?t succeed, hide and hide again
Immediately after last night?s closed meeting that ended up being an open-non-board-meeting and subsequent failed attempt at the political assassination of board president Stanley Feldstein, inside sources tell us that a quorum of six directors...

Political Assassination Foiled By Residents- LWV 3rd Mutual besmirch meeting to overthrow board president fails - this time!
The scheduled ?assassination meeting? last night was indeed public and featured over 2 hours of public comment. Stan Feldstein is still standing as President of the Board- in part due to an overflow crowd, necessitating opening another room and using...

Political Assassinations in Orange County ? It?s the Water!
Apparently what appeared to be equine waste emanating from the venue was not coming from horses after all! A few months back, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create an oversight board, indicating the supervisors had...

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After the alleged attempted political assassination of self-described professional fighter and naïve politician, the CZ board president resigns his post. The December 2007 CZ Newsletter announces, again, a proposal to make changes to the association?s...

Russian Vote Credibility

Flash Report: New Look United Mutual Unusual Business or Business As Usual
Just elected at the organizational meeting for United Mutual are:
President: Lloyd Foster
First VP: Bevan StronmSecond VP: Marv RosenhafSecretary: Linda WilsonTreasurer: Paul VogelExecutive VP: Milt Johns:Assistant treasurer: Janet...

Sleepless in Laguna
ZZZZZZZZZ"S ...........Our Gen. Manager ( Milt Johns) was distressed and fearful because he did not like what was said in an e-mail. He has hired attorney Bill Harts firm to...

New Third Laguna Hills Mutual of Laguna Woods Village Board Seated
The Third Laguna Hills Mutual of Laguna Woods Village seated the new board for that housing mutual today. Officers include Carol Moore, President; Stan Feldstein, 1st Vice President; Don Lippert, 2nd Vice President; Kathryn Freshley, Secretary. The voting...

Law?  What Law?  WE are the Law!         Recent find of Original Documents were mailed to each President (GRF, Third Laguna Hills Mutual and United Laguna  Hills Mutual), together with information sheets from OriginalTrust and amendment to the Trust dated Jan. 9, 1969. These documents stated how and why Ross Cortese, the developer of Leisure World Laguna Hills, changed the concept of Leisure World Laguna Hills from a Senior Citizen non-profit Co- operative to a Senior Citizen non-profit Condominium Complex.

New Golden Rain Foundation Rules of Engagement
On the heels of the Golden Rain Foundation?s (of Seal Beach) decision to appeal the recent Court of Appeals decision, on a financial transparency lawsuit, to the state Supreme Court, the embattled GRF HOA board of directors recently decided to enact...

$2 million Verdict Returned Against Homeowners Association
Conduct constituted malice, oppression, or fraud and committed by one or more officers, directors or managing agents of the HOA - Presiding Juror Earlier this week a jury in a case filed in Superior Court of California Riverside, a jury ruled in favor...

GRF 2009 Budget Review, Be There or Be Out of Luck!
Letter from LWV resident M. Curtis inviting concerned residents: Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 22) at 9AM, in the Community Center Board Room, GRF will have a Special Corporate (all boards) meeting to review next year's budget. See the...

Different Homeowners Association, Same Issues
I assume that you are a member of the Walnut Creek Leisure World Association, or is this another HOA in the area? We have had many comments of similar problems by HOA's who happen to run into our website and I'm glad that you contacted me

The Right LWV Leadership for Such a Time as This?
Is this general manager (Milt Johns) over his head in his management skills? Can someone come out with only experience from the garden to manage a 90 million dollar business without a conflict of interest? When is the last time Mr. Johns lowered our costs...

Working to Serve, Or Serving To Work - Letter to OC Register Columnist
Another good column. I was wondering if there was ever any serious consideration to any non-union government employee for the position of publicly elected Sheriff by either the Register or Supervisors? That is all I see in your Top Five selection and...

To Destroy a Community, or to Destroy the Status Quo?XThat is the Question in this Letter to the Menifee SCCA Board of Directors
First of all I have no intentions or no desire to destroy "our community". However, I must ask you to please define what you think the community is, what it is you think I am threatening to destroy?Secondly, Sun City has been declared a "blighted...


by D. Vanitzian(c) 2007 Donie VanitzianWhen criminal liability is not charged against the "criminals" in an association, then the titleholders become the Human Capital used to fund the criminal activities and wrongdoing.

This ain't no party! This ain't no disco! This ain't no community!

Dare's role in Pastures cost association $100,000
By BRENDAN J. LYONS, Senior writer First published: Sunday, Times Union August 12, 2007. Republished with permissionAugust 12, 2007 ALBANY -- An advocate for the Historic Pastures Homeowners Association, which lost more than $100,000 in...

BLACKMAIL--TAKING CLIENTS HOSTAGE- Q: How can you tell when an attorney is lying? A. His lips are moving.August 10, 2007 If California can place caps on spending and caps on fees of various types of businesses -- then it needs to put caps...

by Donie Vanitzian, JD(c) 2007 D. VanitzianYou can?t have a good old boys and girls club without a little help from friends in high places, of course, a little help from California?s State Bar wouldn?t hurt either. [FN1]Forget for a moment that the term...

Should I stay or should I go - in/from my HOA? X
First was the Delegate?s Corner blasting CZ Master Association board of director?s critics for speaking out against a corrupt delegate system and electoral process in favor of direct elections, consistent with current legislation, and consistent with the...

Casta Courier Coverage of Unhappy Campers at Leisure World
I'd like to comment on the following paragraph that was in your publication "The Casta Courier" on July 19, 2007. The second paragraph reads as follows:

SPENDING OTHER PEOPLE?S MONEY by Donie Vanitzian, JDX(c) 2007 Vanitzian
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Critics do not attend board meetings - GRF that is!
Critics do not attend Home Owner Association Meetings to learn of actions deemed necessary by their Board!August 6, 2007 Critics are principally individuals who fail to attend Home Owner Association Meetings to learn of actions deemed necessary...

The New Seven, err... Eight Wonders of the World
CZ's definition for leadership is that whenever questions are raised, the canned response is ?Remember the Reserves?! Now CZ Spin Machine has to be the Eight Wonder of the World!- August 6, 2007 The results of the NOWC?s New Seven Wonders of...

Note to the do-gooders whose glasses are corrupted by the half-full half-empty circular-argument nonsense and who want only to hear the good-of-it-all and nothing too depressing, oh, and want only smiley ha-ha journalism: Go grab your teddy bears and...

Lawyer seeking condominiums' business goes over the line
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About every two months I get a call, or a client comes in to ask me about condominiums. It usually starts off with, ?I bought this adorable little condo? and then the upstairs neighbor had a flood?. And then the Homeowners Association refused??

Paraphrasing the LA Times on Defeat of SB670 & Wicked Twin Witches of the West - SB 127 & AB-980
Taking a page out of the OC Register?s ?paraphrased reporting?, an article written by LA Times staff writer Diane Weder titled ?Bill to limit transfer fee founders?, published appropriately on May 13, 2007, quotes the president of the statewide Realtors...


Private Transfer Tax - Good for the Common Interest Development (HOA/CID) Industry or Good for the Politicians?
When we received our copy of the report that the California Association of Realtors (CAR) used to Sponsor and help draft transfer fees, we were confused. Given that Vanitzian has become an icon in Sacrament (some say a thorn in the legislature's side),...

Management company's tape-recording tactic puts homeowners at risk
Question: Because our management company has been sued before, it has a policy of recording all incoming and outgoing phone calls. Before a management employee answers the phone, there is an automatic announcement warning callers they are being recorded....

Of Trial Lawyers, the AAJ and the Democratic Party
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Laguna Woods Village CC&Rs, What CC&Rs? I Got Your CC&Rs Right Here!
Coto de Caza is not the only place where the board of directors consistently either disregard the civil code, governing documents (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions - CC&Rs) or even the moral code.


What is better in HOA Management? Transparency and Accountability or Feel Good?May 22, 2007
Mostly as a result of the Enron and Worldcom scandals, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 and commonly called SOX; was enacted to provide business executives with less wiggle...



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Dear Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger,
SHATZI! PLEASE REMEMBER YOUR PROMISE TO US. Please listen to the people who support you and look to you to help us! When you first began buying property in California NO ONE told you what you could or could not do...

It apparently does not matter that titleholders with a vested interest in their property cannot get their legislators to carry legislation to help US, but, they can waste taxpayer funds by preventing the bills WE WANT and NEED by CHANGING *ONE* WORD in an...

So THIS is what the Senate calls an "Open Meeting." How many Open Meetings have THEY been to? Obviously not many. ROTFLMAO!


CAN YOU OUTSWIM YOUR HOA SHARKS? or will you drown trying?
Owning, let alone living in an HOA is a tough JOB and requires you be physically fit, possess a certain sophistication of the processes, and have the character let alone stamina, that allows you to be persistent in a manner that indescribable to REAL...

(c) D. Vanitzian
May 16, 2007The Gray Panthers are on record as SUPPORTING A BAD BAD BAD BAD BILL: Senate Bill Number 948. SHAME ON YOU. Where the heck are you getting your information from?

The Law of Unintended Consequences: Legislation and HOA BOD Cause and Effect: Clueless in my CAR

Coming off a most improbable but successful campaign to defeat SB 670 author and HOA advocate Vanitizian thanks supporters making a connection between the quality of legislation being passed in Sacramento, and the quality of life in most homeowners...







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