This Is our Village

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

IMPEACHMENT OF THE UCO PRESIDENT - WHAT IS GOING ON?

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Hi all,
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At Delegate Assembly of February it was stated that some Residents did not know what was going on as regards the Impeachment (Removal from Office) of the President of UCO. Here is the compact version:
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On January 20, 2013 a Petition was hand delivered to UCO, the Cover-letter was signed by three persons: Mr. Jerry Karpf, Mr. Myron Solomon, and Mr. Ed Grossman. This Petition consists of a "Statement of charges" and some 35 pages, each containing from 1 to as many as 10 signatures. This Petition has been uploaded to The  Cloud, and may be read at the following URL: 

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It is a large file, so be patient and allow it to download.
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To my absolute amazement, many people had no idea as to how this process of Removal from Office was to be conducted. Well, that is clearly described in the UCO Bylaws. The pertinent section describing "Removal from Office" is extracted below:
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E. REMOVAL OF OFFICERS – Any Officer or Executive Board Member may be removed from office, for reason, based on submission to the President of written and signed charges by a petition of not less than thirty five (35) Delegates, after which an inquiry into the charges shall be made by the following procedure:
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          The President shall appoint a Board of Inquiry composed of no less than five (5) and no more than seven (7) members of UCO, which shall conduct a hearing expeditiously. This Board shall choose its own chairman from the Board of Inquiry members. Neither the person(s) charged, nor the complainant(s), shall be a member of the Board of Inquiry. Both shall be invited to appear before this Board, but neither can participate in any vote pertaining to these charges.
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          In the event that the President is charged, the Board of Inquiry shall be appointed by the Officers’ Committee, with the Chairman of the Advisory Committee as Chair. The members of the Officers’ Committee, excluding the President, shall appoint this Board of Inquiry. The Board of Inquiry shall be composed of no less than five (5) and no more than seven (7) members of UCO, with the Treasurer of UCO as Chairman. This Board of Inquiry shall conduct a hearing expeditiously. The President charged and the complainant shall be invited to appear before this Board but neither can take part in any vote pertaining to these charges.
Notwithstanding any recommendation from the Board of Inquiry, the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Delegates present at a duly called meeting of the Delegate Assembly, provided a quorum is present, is required to effect the removal of an officer. If removal is effected at a meeting, any vacancies created thereby shall be filled in the manner provided in these Bylaws for the filling of vacancies of officers.
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Following is the Statement of charges, interlaced with my responses in blue:
 


 
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Statement of Affirmative Defenses
By: David B. Israel

President, United Civic Organization


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Following are the statement of charges, my responses are in
blue.


1) WHEREAS
 
: Pursuant to UCO By-Laws, As Amended (March 2, 2012), Article XI (E): David Israel, the current UCO President ("President") has acted recklessly in contravention of Fla. Stat.§§ 617.0834 and 718.111(d), and has committed acts or omissions in bad faith as President; -
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The Petition first cites Section 617.0834 FS which deals with officer’s immunity from civil law suits unless the Officer committed criminal acts, the Officer obtained improper personal benefit like money under the table, or the Officer engaged in knowingly bad faith reckless actions. The Petition gives no specifics on this statutory alleged violation. If the Complainants have evidence of criminal acts, improper personal gain or reckless actions; they should bring such evidence to PBSO or the State Attorney. Lacking such official adjudication, this spurious accusation is without weight or substance.
-The reference to FS 718.111(d) is not applicable to UCO, because we are not a Condominium Association. It is therefore irrelevant to this case. -
2) WHEREAS 
 
: The President has presented to UCO's members ("Members") intentionally inflated and unsubstantiated financial statements regarding its financial condition;
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At no time have I presented any sort of "inflated and unsubstantiated" financial statements to anyone. Accurate financial data is presented by the Treasurer of UCO, and of course our accountants and auditors, Goldman, Juda, Eskew. The data over a period of three years of my Presidency has been consistent and accurate, this fact being attested to by yearly financial audits. Financial audits are available to Members upon request.
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3) WHEREAS 
: The President has delivered to the Members false statements, both verbally and in writing, so as to deceive or give the wrong impression regarding issues of concern to the Members;
This accusation generally makes broad allegations about "false statements" or "deception" but no specifics. The same goes for alleged violations of Article VII A (Presidents duties) and Article XI (Sunshine), no specifics.
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 4) WHEREAS
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The President has intentionally failed to follow UCO's By-laws, and in particular, Art. VIII(C), Article IX, with respect to the execution and performance of contracts for goods and services in excess of $1,000 without approval by the Finance Committee or Delegate Assembly, and overruled a Bid Committee's recommendation with respect to a contract between UCO and M & M Paving, Inc., and of contract rules.
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This accusation alleges I expended over $1000 without approval under Article VIII(c) of the Bylaws, but that Article only applies to $1000 expenditures that were "not previously budgeted". Furthermore, any non-budgeted expenditures in excess of the statutory cap, were made in accord with established process of approval of the Officers, Executive Board and Delegate Assembly. Our Attorney has rendered an opinion, that monies reserved for a specific purpose, may be expended for that purpose without further approval of the Delegate Assembly.


As to "overruling" a RECOMMENDATION of the Bid Committee, ALL Committee recommendations are advisory in nature, M&M were already deployed on site, and the additional mobilization charge to bring in another vendor, did not seem advisable to me, or other Officers of UCO.

5) WHEREAS 
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: The President is not performing effectively, in that he has: (i) failed to act in the best interests of UCO's members and in violation of UCO Bylaws Article VII (A); (ii) has defamed both past and present UCO officers, executive board members, and delegates; and, (iii) has failed to abide by the letter and spirit of UCO By-laws Article XI (Sunshine Laws);
This accusation seems to speak to effective performance, let’s look at the record;

(A) I have removed the UCO Reporter from under the control of the prior President and his wife, who caused the paper to be read prior to publication in UCO, thus removing any hint of a free and independent periodical and reducing it to a fluff and pap house organ. Currently the paper is a free and independent press, under the control of it's Editorial Board, with no undue influence by UCO.

(B) By insisting on following our Bilateral Agreement with the Associations, I broke a 10 year monopolistic hold by the former Insurance Committee, and caused the Insurance package to be competitively bid; thus saving the unit owners some two million dollars yearly.

(C) I have caused UCO to adopt a broad range of Computer upgrades which include; Creation of Interactive Online forms allowing applications for Investigations to be filled in from anywhere on Earth; I have Digitized virtually all paper in UCO Offices, including the UCO Reporter, so that virtually any data may now be located in seconds; Created a robust Email network for all users in UCO; these describe but a small number of computer applications which are ongoing.

(D) I have developed the first ever Information Forward Initiative, which enables electronic distribution of Minutes, PSA, Law Enforcement data; and other items of interest to our Residents.

I doubt any unbiased persons would consider these descriptors consistent with being ineffective!

 
Additionally this accusation speaks to "defamation"; of who, please may I have some specificity; the only consistent case of defamation of which I am aware, is ongoing at one of the complainants regular meetings of his "Presidents Umbrella Club", which by all accounts is virtually a continuous UCO bashing session. No wonder they do not allow recordings.
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The accusation states that I have failed to abide by the Sunshine Laws. Anyone who has been receiving my regular Email under my Information Forward Initiative (IFI) knows full well, that no prior Administration of UCO has been more forthcoming with information than I have. Since the inception of IFI on January 3, 2012, a total of 296 Emails have been disseminated and seen by thousands of unit owners directly, both online, and collaterally via Association posting on their bulletin boards.
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6) WHEREAS
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: The President has failed to seek professional legal advice, as would a reasonable and prudent officer, with respect to issues of major importance to the Members requiring interpretation and definition of written agreements, and instead has imposed his unilateral decision(s) regarding same by fiat.
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This accusation is beyond ludicrous, since taking the Presidential oath some 3 years ago; I have requested over 100 legal opinions from our Attorney Rod Tennyson. Additionally, within one month of my installation, I obtained from Rod, computer discs containing all of his previously rendered legal opinions, both in the Investigations department, and all other requests for legal opinion, back to President Arthur Bernhard. These many thousands of legal opinions are resident on the UCO Digital Data Base where they may be searched by keyword or phrase in seconds.
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7) WHEREAS
: The President owns and controls the "CENTURY VILLAGE® in WEST PALM BEACH" blog which he presents as the official blog of C.V. of WPB, to abuse the Members by disseminating vicious attacks on individuals and groups who oppose his personal ideas as well as his false assumptions and facts. This blog was never authorized by the officers, executive committee and the delegates. This blog is not sanctioned by UCO's bylaws as is the UCO Reporter.
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This accusation is yet another exercise in absurdity; do you remember the UCO controlled CV Forum? This was a teletype grade site on which no substantive discourse was permitted, The guidelines for its use were childish; questions such as: where can I find a good plumber, or where is a good place to hold a High School reunion were encouraged by the prior Administration. Any criticism of that Administration would get you "banned for Life"! so, indeed I created a proper Web site, or BLOG, where anyone could ask ANY question, and have it answered. Here is my first Post on that BLOG:
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WHY WAS THIS BLOG CREATED
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "John 8:32
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Hi All, With the latest CV Forum guidelines, I believe that the Forum has been reduced to a Bulletin Board for Fluff and Papp rather than substantive inquiry. It should be allowed to experience the ignominious demise it deserves. Researched data is regularly referred to as "opinion" by the Forum Managers.
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No criticism of the current Administration is tolerated even if it might be well deserved. Worse yet, UCO is presented as the only valid source of the "Full Facts" and the "Real Truth"! Simply ludicrous. No controversial issues are entertained. Any non-compliant post is summarily deleted and declared "inappropriate". We are endlessly reminded that our "inappropriate" posts are read all over the world and worse yet are affecting Real-Estate values in the Village! Of course, the reckless multi-million dollar legal fiasco that we have been plunged into by the Officers of UCO is not given the credit it so richly deserves for depressing said values! So, while light fare and banter are welcome here, it is hoped that this BLOG will also deal in harder questions regarding how to run your Associations, questions about Condominium law, Technical matters related to Condominium living and various complex research questions related to Florida Statutes that impact our lives in CV. In short, informed controversy is welcome. We are not lawyers, and no legal advice will be dispensed on this BLOG, but real questions are welcome and hard research is encouraged. There is more to life than; "Where can I find a good tile person"


 
No one is banned, chat is encouraged, as chat is a normal function of Human communications. Criticism of UCO, WPRF or any other "Authority" is fine if it has some basis in fact.

We are not children to be kept in the dark and fed propagandized trivial pap. Please be civil, and respect your fellow neighbors, that is all I ask! -
Dave Israel
And for the sin of opening up an unrestricted communications channel for our Residents, I am to be removed from office…Give me a break!!!!!
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8) WHEREAS 
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The President permits a certain non-elected person free access to the inner offices of UCO as well as attendance at important private meetings while not having the appropriate officers present. -
On any given day UCO is populated with upwards of 20 volunteers, who save our Residents millions of dollars yearly. Most of them are non-elected; some attend private meetings with no Officers present. Let's have a close look at just a few:

1) Claudette LaBonte - Investigations Chair, Insurance claims Manager.
2) Toni Salometo - Chair Insurance Committee.
3) Pat Sealander - UCO Admin.
4) Anitra Krause - IT Tech. WiFi Committee
5) Ed Black - Chair Security Committee, Chair UCO Computer Committee, Chair Channel 63 Committee.


Well, I could go on for quite some length!

So, what is this really about, competent, productive people who daily accomplish important tasks,  The Complainants taken together could not approach the productivity and service levels to our unit owners of any one of the persons mentioned;

Yes indeed; I do permit this: nay, I encourage this!!! Is this grounds for removal from Office??




9) WHEREAS
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: The President permitted a member of the officer's committee on behalf UCO to contact a local government official to unduly influence the Building Departments decisions as to the Drainage and Paving project.
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Where does this stuff come from? Absolutely no Officer of UCO or any other UCO related person "unduly influenced the Building Department" about anything. However, once all permits relating to the Drainage and Paving project were closed officially by a Building Department inspector, at least two of the complainants, Messrs.' Solomon and Grossman, did indeed unduly influence the Building Department to re-open these permits: You may thank these Complainants for the alternating black and yellow stripes in your parking area.

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Where does that leave us?
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The Board of Inquiry hearing to examine these charges and make recomendation to the Delegate Assembly as to my Removal from Office, will be on Thursday in the Main Clubhouse at 9:30AM
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Be informed, come prepared to listen and vote your mind at the Special Meeting of Delegate Assembly, to be announced!
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Dave Israel
President
United Civic Organization
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