Bridlewood Quality of Life Coalition


Ballot results by kim0917
30 July 2008, 5:06 pm
Filed under: News, Quality of Life | Tags: , , , , ,

The vote to remove the HOA board of directors did not pass, as announced at bridlewoodhoa.org.

 

The meeting was well attended by residents, to the point that it started late while they were all getting signed in. We don’t currently have an official head count. Residents were given a forum early on to ask questions of the board. Emotions ran high and a contentious tone was set for the proceedings — one resident directly asked individual board members their feelings about gas drilling in Bridlewood (all opposed, with the exception of Mike Walker who said the details of each case must be weighed separately). The board spent the evening on the defensive, even when they weren’t being directly attacked or questioned.

 

A court reporter was present so meeting minutes should be available to those who couldn’t attend. Requests have already been made for a copy of these minutes. We were also told that votes would be counted by an independent CPA firm and that the results would be known by 5 p.m.

 

Some specific points we’d like to point out:

·     The ballot results are vague and incompletely reported. They give the number of votes in favor of removal but don’t give the total number of ballots and proxies cast. They also don’t give the total number of votes against removal. They also do not make clear the rules governing this particular vote, taken in a special session called by petition.

·     Nothing lawfully put forward by the petition actually took place:

o    to consider and vote upon the removal of each existing member of the board of Directors of the Association individually;

o    to nominate candidate(s) from the membership to succeed the Director(s), if any, removed by the vote of the Members; and

o    to engage in general discussion about the oil and gas drilling and development controversy within the Association for direction to the board of Directors.

·     The HOA Board of Directors stated that they are “bad” at communicating with residents. They later complained about the cost of communicating through mass mailings. Yet they had no qualms about hiring an attorney at nobody’s request. They stated that the current total cost of this legal advice was around 15-20 thousand dollars. That money could pay for a lot of mass mailings.

·     Another point regarding attorneys: The board at one point stated that residents should not even be worried about gas drilling due to the clause in CC&Rs expressly forbidding it (it would require a two-thirds majority vote to be overturned). If there is no reason to worry, why hire an attorney to look into gas drilling issues without knowing for sure that a majority of homeowners want to overturn the clause? One of those mass mailings could have polled Bridlewood residents on the issue.

·     During the course of the meeting, several motions were brought from the floor. Though these motions were seconded, the board of directors ignored them and stated that Robert’s Rules of Order, the most common standard for such procedures, did not apply. To what rules of parliamentary procedure does the board adhere? They called several requests from the floor “out of order,” thus implying a procedural framework.

·     Requests from the floor for a roll call were delayed and denied several times. Ultimately, no roll call was ever taken.

·     Requests to determine the validity of the Brinkman/Reserve proxy were ignored. We still don’t know.

·     The board consistently insinuated that in calling last night’s meeting, homeowners wasted HOA money through legal fees. Perhaps the board should consider itself to blame. After all, its statements in emails and at meetings were the reason for the petition.

 

Your thoughts are welcome via the “comments” link.

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11 Comments so far
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I was pretty disappointed with the disrespectful tone the that residents displayed at the meeting. It was nothing less than a hostile and mob mentality gathering. It was expertly orchestrated by the organizer who wanted to spread his agenda to the rest of the homeowners, though. That is why I was one of the first to leave the meeting and not participate in a lynching, especially in the santuary of a church.

The board is made of volunteers who gave thier service because others would not serve. Now with the advent of the drilling everyone suddenly wants to be involved, they think they can do a better job, and they throw accusations and suspisions at them as if they were on the payroll of the gas companys.

I know this: when the Gas Exploration issue first came aound, nearly a year ago, everyone in North Texas was excited about making money from it, including many neighborhood organizations. The board had to gather information from the beginning and become educated enough to understand these issues and not knowing the position of any resident (many of the residents most likely did not have a position in the early days) they tried to prepare for the unknown. If the board had not taken measures to learn about all angles I am sure the residents would feel they were not doing thier job.

I already am certain that drilling is unlikely to happen in Bridlewood (except for maybe at the golf facility), but my concern is about the effect of this exploration from outside our boundaries as well as on the golf club. I do not want the heavy truck traffic in Flower Mound and especially not through our neighborhood. I don’t want any one extracting anything from under my home or the block I reside in. I don’t know what the long term effect will be in 10 years as a result of shattering through the shale.

Like everyone, I have more questions than answers. But I am intelligent enough to know that there is no hidden agenda behind enforcing a lawn sign by-law. Some of the acusations at the meeting were juvenile and paranoid and I was shocked by the lack of sophistocation exhibited by my fellow residents that I have until now assumed were fairly prosperous and knowledgeable people.

I am not pointing at anyone particular, so I appologize in advance if this strikes a nerve personally. It is not meant as a personal attack on anyone, simply a broad observation.

Thank you.

Comment by Chuck

Board Member:

I am disgusted and dismayed at the results of this election. The way you conducted the meeting the other night was a disgrace! You know very well that the first thing that should have been on the agenda was the election so we could all witness the outcome of the vote. Instead of wasting our time giving your tearful speeches and resumes, a roll call should have been done to let us know how many people were there. The section in the by-laws that allows you to appoint a successor should you have to step down DEFINITELY needs to be changed!

How dare you make it sound like we are the cause of escalating legal fees because of special meetings called. No special meetings would have been necessary if you had done your job and kept us informed about the drilling situation in our community–even if there was only the “possibility” of drilling. You allowed people’s imaginations to run wild as to what was going on and let frustration and anger mount until it all came to this point. You have no one to blame but yourselves! And by the way, if I heard Mike Long correctly and it costs $8,000 to have one of these meetings, YOU are wasting OUR money on over priced lawyers.

I20am sick that this board will be in place until elections in November. It will not come quickly enough for me to vote you ALL out.

Cathy Pendola

Comment by Cathy Pendola

Chuck,

I’m sorry that you felt that this was a mob lynching. Most of
us who were frustrated at that meeting have been continually
ignored by this Board. Most of us have written repeated letters
to which we have never had an answer. Communication does
not exist with them. Although it is true that the Board is
made up of voluntary members, they are still subject to the
needs of the homeowners. Many of the statements made
Tuesday night are true. The documentation exists that
this board does not always act in the best interest of the residents. From what I understand, and it is only my opinion,
the Board is not looking at the downside of this problem. They
were taken in by Footlich and Williams but never admitted the
fact that there are problems with drilling. Drilling on the golf
course will NOT happen if they cannot horizontally drill under
your house and my house. Do not think that they are only
going to drill on the course. They will not get enough revenue
for that. That is a FACT. Please, before you think that we are
all screaming idiots, do your homework. Everything is on record. People have been apathetic for far too long here and
it is time to take a stand. Do you wonder why we spent $8000
in legal fees or why we had to wait until this week for a meeting (best vacation weeks for families before school). We
were told that they could not find a facility to house us. We
paid $8000 for lawyers (our money) and couldnt find a facility for $300 before this? This Board keeps speaking of misstatements and inaccuracies but every time we ask what that is we get no answer. The people who would like the answers are indeed frustrated. That meeting in effect was not
a mob lynching but was a Kangaroo Court set up by our board.
Points of order were not adhered to, questions were waived off,
and WE the residents were spoken down to by the lawyer who
we are paying. I know we all have differences of opinions, but
this was not the way. If I felt that this was done in a fair and
and equal manner I would maybe have accepted this vote but
knowing the background I absolutely cannot accept this and I
will do all in my power to see that these people are voted out
during the next election! The misstatements and inaccuracies
are there indeed but it is on the Board’s part. Please read ALL
the background information and then make an informed decision and I promise you I will respect your opinion.

Comment by Geri Srikanth

Chuck,

Unfortunately Bridlewood’s situation has morphed beyond the issue of gas drilling.

For starters, consider why it cost $8,000.00 for this meeting and why were 2 lawyers present? Technically they should not have even been there as they are not homeowners. The lawyers added little, if anything, to the meeting except perhaps to intimidate? Even this didn’t work.

Additionally, we are “intelligent enough” to know a meeting of this size and importance (and expense!) is expected to run professionally and in accordance with parlimentary procedure. Residents who properly made requests following Roberts Rules of Order were not only ignored, but “put down.”

It has become clear our board is working hard spending our money to stop a small group of well-meaning residents who are following the rules as set forth by our by-laws and exercising their rights as a Bridlewood homeowner.

Thank you for your comment, as I am sure your sentiment is shared. We are trying very hard and honestly to provide you with complete and accurate information.

Comment by bwood

As a Bridlewood resident for 11 years who very much cares about this neighborhood, I want to add a little clarification to how some of this transpired. I am a Reserve board member who requested that both subsidiary boards be included in meetings the main HOA board was having with Footlik and Williams.

Mark Brinkman had attended two meetings and was genuinely astounded by what was going on. I only went to one meeting and was amazed to hear the “HOA” attorney was a great long time friend with Footlik and I immediately asked who they were working for – Footlik or Bridlewood. Common sense would have the board get a lawyer independent of CMA and think for themselves, after getting approval from homeowners. There have been several statements that Footlik was mistaken and there is no connection – but there was no mistaking the fact that they left the meeting several times for discussions.

Williams had 4-5 people there and the glossy presentation was ready. No one had any questions, but after all that research I guess they knew everything…. This drilling would be like no other – only sand and water – all rig employees screened – cataminated water conveniently piped across 1171 to be disposed of by Williams other sites in other neighborhoods. A fountain to be built in front of the well equipment. Oh, and men with orange flags helping children cross the streets safely to get to school with all the truck traffic.

It was like a story book being presented – nothing like it really is – 24/7 drilling, rig employees that can be scary, not to mention the oil equipment thieves that are so prevalent. No mention of the deadly chemicals used or the threat of gas leaks. No responsibility taken for repairing roads or possible damage to homes sinking with the removal of aquifer water from under our foundations.
No concern for wildlife as they drain the ponds – look around at all the birds and creatures that rely on that habitat. Nice thought to look at empty ponds filled with dead fish.

The most telling thing was that Williams reps were shocked that there might actually be opposition to their slick proposal. Clearly this was news to them to the point they stated they would have to rethink presentations if they weren’t welcome. Why is it they haven’t come to share the good news with us yet?

Mike Long stated he was for gas drilling because he is on a fixed income and needs the money. And we needed to do it to support the troops????? Something to consider – many loan forms include clauses about drilling because it threatens their investment. They require prior approval to lease signing and some loans require the monies – which will probably be much smaller than promised – be sent directly to them to be applied to your loan.

A lot of people at the meeting were not happy and Footlik was glaring – could there be opposition to his plan to drill on his golf course? And the common areas where we were to “get rich” – but we don’t have a deed? Think about it – 4500 was spent to alter covenants for possible approval for drilling when Footlik had not even deeded the property over! And it was paid without the board claiming to have any knowledge of it.

Our board knew we could not withhold this information. Contrary to reports we are “the reserve” and “after power”, we knew we should not withhold this information and give the homeowners the power. Remember, on the HOA’s own website there is a letter from Footlik telling people to hold off signing leases until a deal can be worked out between him and the board.

We could only hold information meetings for our area so as not to exceed boundaries. We held a meeting to see where everyone stood. We shared this information and homeowners gave us input. Our next step was to meet with the HOA board to get honest answers without Williams and Footlik. Memories faded, blame was placed on others and who were we to question them. Mike Long got up several times and threatened to leave. We knew enough to know this was wrong. There were one line minutes with no mention of any oil and gas meetings or research. The bill for the possible covenant change was dated before they acknowledged at that time to having meetings. A change in covenants might require 2/3 vote but it was ready! I tried to take minutes of the meeting was told no minutes were allowed – duly noted, but I took them anyway.

There was considerable fact finding effort made and more homeowners meetings. It really isn’t hard to share information and get input if you are interested in having it. A point came where we asked them to resign due to fiduciary irresponsibility, hidden agenda and overall mismanagement. This is over a million dollars they are in charge of and it just is not right. The coziness of Footlik – who builds neighborhoods, and CMA – who manages neighborhoods – is a little unnerving.

They refused to resign, so we went by the rules and started a petition. Anyone interested could help and I believe the signatures to be true and not coerced or ill gotten. Toni’s office placed calls trying to get signatures removed and I think we would have heard about it if they would have been successful.

Our petition was simple – have a vote on directors, vote on new ones if necessary, and discuss the drilling issue. It did not require $10,000 or political mailouts or 2 pages of Mane Events to push their cause. Very basic – majority rule. Rules of order like CMA states in their own website would have been a given, but we see how that played out. They went so far as to rule things “out of order”, but dismissed members trying to use them. As far as I know there has never been a vote in Bridlewood where people that did not attend or vote by proxy had their vote counted. And of course, if you didn’t vote or were unable to attend the meeting, your vote went in their favor. I would be interested to see proof of any other time in Bridlewood history where that has been the case. And I would also like to know the actual votes cast in favor of retaining the current board.

No one authorized them to spend thousands on legal fees or 10,000 on a meeting. But remember, that’s between them and the attorneys and it’s no one’s business, as was stated at the meeting. They sent CMA lawyers and a CMA CPA. With the church charging probably $250-300 for the facility and one lawyer working free – how did that come to that? We have requested an accounting statement. And also the minutes and finances of which we have received none. We have to file for public information through a lawyer and wait two weeks for information, or indefinitely…. Minutes are supposed to be an open book – take a look sometime. I believe there was mention of monthly treasurer reports – who prepares those?

The Reserve board is not after power, nor do we think we are better than anyone else. We care about our neighborhood and the habitat and health and well being of homeowners. We think that promises of money and fountains pale in comparison to peace of mind and the knowledge we are without deadly chemicals and gases. I assure you we have busy lives and don’t take on a cause without merit.

Think about it, why would anyone want drilling? And some minds changed not because of knowledge but because of public opinion. We wondered what all the misinformation was we were being accused of spreading… no wonder we couldn’t figure it out. The misinformation is the board changing course and speaking untruths to cover themselves.

In these cases I always look at motive. Who has the reason to lie? The Reserve board did nothing more than bring the oil and gas issue to light ahead of their schedule. How many times have you heard there will be meetings when they are ready? We brought light to meetings held for months without sharing information or asking for feedback from all homeowners.

I am sick that so many people have worked tirelessly in good faith for something that concerns us all only to have it come to a meeting where the petition agenda was not carried out and everything possible done to ensure board members seats even if it meant votes not shared and rules procedure not followed. I would like to know all the votes cast.

For most of us our home is the biggest investment we will have. Our neighborhood is supposed to be secure and welcoming – not terrorized by the developer’s greed and others’ willingness to go along. He made his money off of us once with covenants in place. How arrogant is it for a board to think they should spend 4500 of our money to change those in case we need it? Why would we need it? Why didn’t they have the lawyers strengthen the covenants?

Mark Brinkman and so many others have worked tirelessly to bring information to everyone. This was not about power or where we live. I lived in Carriage Glen for years and I promise I would be just as upset over there. We share the roads and the water and the ponds and crime. We are a neighborhood as one and we are not the ones trying to divide it. That is a diversion to put the focus elsewhere. The pipes go under so many houses and how about across 1171. We all see the rigs and trucks and debris and so do all homebuyers. Your insurance goes up and your property values go down.

I implore everyone to get more involved. Stop by the clubhouse and look at minutes. Check out the bills that add up to the 15,000-20,000 in legal fees that Mike Long stated at the meeting. See how the meeting came to 10,000. Ask to see the records and stay on top of where your money is being spent. And I promise you, our board can sleep at night.

Comment by Susan Huskinson

I am a homeowner personally opposed to gas drilling in Bridlewood. I am not a member of any of the groups involved on either side of the campaign, although I receive some of the emails. (Full disclosure: I did sign the petition.) I attended the meeting earlier this week because I wanted to hear information first hand. Experience has made me a stickler for wanting to hear things “from the horse’s mouth” versus second hand. There is no reason for me to rehash the meeting here as the previous posters have done a more than adequate job. The reason for my post is to applaud Ms. Huskinson for raising two points that bothered me following the meeting and in reality, these are independent of the specific gas drilling issue:

1) “As far as I know there has never been a vote in Bridlewood where people that did not attend or vote by proxy had their vote counted. And of course, if you didn’t vote or were unable to attend the meeting, your vote went in their favor. I would be interested to see proof of any other time in Bridlewood history where that has been the case. And I would also like to know the actual votes cast in favor of retaining the current board.”

It is my undertanding that my previous HOA in Houston only used the votes cast along with the proxies when determining the outcome of a vote. If you didn’t vote or send in a proxy, you were not counted. If a specific situation required anything different, it was spelled out in the by-laws.

An excerpt of our Bridlewood by-laws was shown on the overheads at the meeting, but it didn’t apply to the above concern; it applied to how the positions of voted off members would be filled. Anytime something is extracted from a large document, it can be misinterpreted. It should not have been taken out of context nor sprung on us at the meeting like it was. It may well have been used ‘correctly’ from a legal standpoint – I have not checked – but it is suspect at the very least.

2) “No one authorized them to spend thousands on legal fees or $10,000 on a meeting … With the church charging probably $250-300 for the facility and one lawyer working free – how did that come to that?”

The estimated cost of the meeting does not compute. I recall $8000 being mentioned whereas Ms. Huskinson recalls $10,000, but either way it’s exorbitant! I am extremely interested to see an itemized invoice for that night’s cost. I’m glad an accounting statement has been requested and hopefully it will be provided.

Thus, yes, I am definitely concerned about gas and oil drilling in Bridlewood, but I am also concerned about the general workings and runnings of the board addressed by the above comments and questions. That is why the responses are very important to me. At the meeting, although I did vote to remove some of the board members, I did not vote to remove every one. I do not want a board made up of people who are only (?) concerned with gas and oil drilling because there are many other things the board oversees like the pools, landscaping, water lines, etc. that also affect our quality of life. I understand the hot button issue right now is drilling. It is a BIG issue, and as I said, I am definitely opposed, but I urge you that we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Finally, I encourage residents to attend all meetings, not just the ones they are emotionally charged about. The attendance at last fall’s association meeting where board members were elected, had a moderate turnout at best.

Comment by Amy Foutz

*** OPEN LETTER TO MIKE LONG AND BRIDLEWOOD HOA***

Mike:

I have a few questions for you and the rest of the board.

1. I heard you state forcefully at the meeting that you were against surface drilling at Bridlewood. I have heard from Mr. Brinkman, Ms. Huskinson that your demeanor at the meeting with Mr. Footlick was very supportive. Ms. Huskinson points out that due to your fixed income, you would welcome the extra income drilling would bring. What has changed in your personal situation to engender such a radical swing in positions? Have you recently come into money? That would be comforting to me.

2. You stated at the meeting that you, nor any board member, has received any compensation from Williams. Do you have promises of compensation from Williams and or Footlick? I am trying to square why each of you would get publicly pummeled for a volunteer position? It makes no sense. Two of you were moved to tears. This has obviously been emotional for you.

3. I am very concerned with the reports of collegiality between our HOA counsel and Mr. Footlick. What have you done to allay any question of conflict of interest? Has our attorney ever been engaged by Footlick, subsidiaries thereof, and or Williams?

4. Several months ago we met at the clubhouse and heard our attorney talk about consolidating voting rights to the common areas as a viable strategy to defeat potential drilling. Why has this not been explored further? Many months have passed. How much money has been spent engaging this attorney to develop strategies we simply pass on. Do you intend on attempting to consolidate voting rights to the board for the common areas?

5. Mr. Walker…. I fully understand that you could not speak to your personal position given the position you hold with the Town of Flower Mound. However, many residents who attended the variance meeting expressed grave concern that you seemed to part from you colleagues and vote for nearly every variance. Can you explain to this forum the logic behind your votes since it is a matter of public record?

6. Marie Seabrook…. You garnered the most sympathy at the meeting. There is no doubt you were sincere in your answers. I truly felt sorry you had to go through that. I will ask about your comment regarding openness and transparency of financial statements though. I believe you indicated that all we had to do was ask to get detailed financials. Correct me if I am wrong. If I am right, why has the Reserve had to engage counsel? On whose advice are you acting on as a representative of the residents of Bridlewood? What has the HOA counsel advised you with regards to the public disemination of information?

7. Mr. Pittman… still trying to figure you out. Keep on truckin’.

8. Gail. Like Mr. Long you too must have enjoyed an epiphany after the meeting with Footlick. I heard you state at the meeting that you had received bad information. Can you share with us exactly what that was and how it moved you to make such a dramatic shift in position? Is it still your ambition to become a rich hoa as you have written in previous emails? Could you define for us please what benefits being a rich hoa would bring?

9. Mr. Long… where is the survey, sir? Tomorrow will be one week and we only have dubious election results and promises. It would take me 10 minutes to develop and communicate a plan to the residents as to what would follow on this critical issue. I would sleep much better at night if by board stated they would have a poll distributed withing a week. Or….. is it your intention to have “education meetings”. I have a 132 page PowerPoint that Gail forwarded extolling the virtues of urban drilling. Of course, in my personal life, if anyone came to me with a 132 page PowerPoint I would evict them by the ear.

10. Mr Long, has the voting procedures employed by your board ever been empoyed by the Bridlewood HOA? What is your position regarding the exemption of all non-hoa proxies. MORE TO THE POINT, YOU SPEAK ABOUT A SURVEY BEING PREPARED TO IDENTIFY THE POSITIONS OF THE COMMUNITY ON URBAN DRILLING. WHAT ARE THE POLLING PARAMETERS YOU WILL USE TO COUNT THE FINAL RESULTS?

11. Will you use the same voting ballot methodology whereby each homeowner’s vote will be tabulated whether they agreed to drilling or not? I think it would be fascinating to subpoena the board’s household ballot to see if it squared with the public statements last week. Alas, I will bet you a steak at III Forks that the ballots will be anonymous.

Citizens of Bridlewood, you can feel my passion about this issue. Let me explain to you why these questions are so critically important. Sometime in the near future some obscure clerk at the Texas RR Commission will come in to find a petition to drill here at Bridlewood. That will set in motion a series of events that will quickly outpace our ability to fight. What tangible steps has our board taken to give us the posture we need to fight this off? None. We heard from Ms. Huskinson herself that Williams stated they may have to rethink their position if there was strong, organized oposition. A critical examination of the record, laid forth on the bqlc website, will lead any rational person to conclude that this board is not being honest and is not acting in the best interest of the residents.

In closing, may I stipulate the following… Mr. Footlick’s campaign is about amassing contiguous real estate to put him within the regs of the Town of Flower Mound. Our common areas may in fact be well on his critical path to success. I liken the common areas to our Gettysburg. Our ability to rest control of this board from very questionable decision making may be the turning point in our battle against urban drilling in Bridlewood.

Where is your action plan Mr. Long??????

Comment by Jim Cafferty

[…] 6 August 2008 by Daniel The link below will allow you to download or view a letter sent to HOA board attorney Chris Payne questioning the procedures and statements made at the July 29 special meeting.  It brings up some points we made in our next-day reaction. […]

Pingback by Letter to Bridlewood HOA board’s attorney « Bridlewood Quality of Life Coalition

A hat tip to the bridlewoodgasdrilling web site. Hit the link here to see a tabulation of the votes of the Oil & Gas Board for the very controversial Red Oak project. >>>>

http://www.bridlewoodgasdrilling.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=1&Itemid=57

I will take solace in the fact that Michael “Aye” Walker would be recused from any vote on Bridlewood variances. 15 variances were voted on for the Red Oak Proposal. There are 5 members of the Oil Gas Board. 24 out of 75 possible votes were in favor of extending variances for this project. Bridlewood’s own Mike Walker contributed to 15 of the 24 votes. Put another way, he voted in favor of extending all 15 variances. Nary a ‘Nay’ was heard from him.

Mr. Walker doesn’t need to tell the residents of Bridlewood where he stands on urban drilling. It is a matter of public record.

Jim Cafferty

Comment by Jim Cafferty

Any response to the letter sent to the HOA’s attorney?

Comment by scott

Has anyone heard a word from the HOA since the meeting several weeks back? When will the survey be sent? When will Mr. Long respond with regards to how they will count the votes on the surveys? Remember, it is all about the denominator. Will he count total households or those voting? If in the former, will he consider them to be in the affirmative to drilling? Waiting Mr. Long……. Live up to your word! A timeline would be appreciated.

JC

Comment by Jim Cafferty




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