Remove the Board from South Hampton HOA , Help the homeowners reclaim this community.
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We would like to update you on the activities that have been in progress for about a year now regarding the South Hampton Homeowners Association.
Some of you might not be aware that a group of us homeowners have been filing complaints against the HOA because of suspicious activity where the fees were concerned. This started from two homeowners. One homeowner was tired of the signs and filed a complaint with the Homeowners Dispute Review Board. Another homeowner started this petition after reviewing the bylaws thoroughly and noticing the HOA was not operating properly. The prompted the interest to inquire about the past activities of this HOA.
The items that seems suspicious were:
The 2015 Annual Meeting. Since this homeowner (myself) was new to neighborhood, I was a little naïve to how an HOA operates. During this meeting the president (Ulysee Davis) first mentioned the management company. He stated that the management company they had was not performing their duties so he got rid of them. Then some homeowners had questions about the Lights in the neighborhood, where he stated the neighborhood wanted to keep a suburban feel and did not want lights. Trash pick-up, they wanted to mandate that the trash be picked up and included in the HOA. The lights comment was not true, everyone in the neighborhood wants lights and we have since called Smeco and they came out and survey the entire neighborhood and. We could get 66 lights for the total of $10K to install of them. The service for the lights are only $14 per light, per month. That $924 per month. It’s $11,088 per year. That’s only $20.16 a year for each home if this was in our HOA fee.
Well I agreed with the trash because most HOAs do include trash, I had no idea why everyone fussing about the increase.
In February I paid my HOA fee to Mr. Davis’ home. I informed my mom of everything, she was HOA president and she said “you don’t pay the president your HOA fee, that is to be sent to the management company” I told her what he said at the meeting and she said EVERY HOA has a management company. She then told me to look at my Bylaws and budget.
Well, in reading the Bylaws and the reviewing the budget. I knew something was off. The bylaws state that we are to have management agent, we are not to be self-managed and no board member can be paid. The bylaws is the law of the community.
After that I questioned Mr. Davis several times about certain things in the budget. He would brush them off. Then I contacted his lawyer and let him know my concerns and that I wanted to pay my HOA to an escrow account until some questions were answers. Mainly why are paying $16K for a non-existent management company? Why are required to pay $7K for a cookout, $5K for professional services but did not know what those services were. $1,200 lights. Where were the lights? Then I asked about $10K for COPS DONATION as part of an HOA? No, that wasn’t right. I mentioned in the bylaws it states we are to receive a budget every year, well this was 2016 and we had no budget.
After that I posted to change.org and passed out a few flyers, this a summary how we got started.
Now what has happened since posting this to change.org?
A couple of people was feeling the same way as I was and signed the petition, in talking to these people we figured there was a problem. The homeowners that were interested linked up and we discussed the complaint already submitted by one of the homeowners. I called and asked about the complaint and was told that it was easier for one person to file it and that everyone else could be a part of it.
On May 4th, we had a worksession with the Charles County Homeowners Dispute Review Board. Here is the recording from that session. To sum it up, Sharon explained what was going on, they agreed, we were told that we could amend the complaint to include everything and everyone who wanted to file a complaint. A hearing would be scheduled after that.
We started having a meetings with a few people who informed of us some of the suspicious activity, like paying children to protest Windsor Manor on behalf of us the homeowners, and most of the homeowners had not received budgets for years and the hostile reactions people would get when dealing with Mr. Davis. At this time with having a hearing we decided we might need an attorney to help with this. At the same time the developer for Windsor Manor came across this Change.org page and contacted us. He was thinking we as the homeowners were trying to stop the development from coming and we agreed with the signs. We informed him that none of the homeowners agreed with the signs and we want them down as well. The developer was willing to work with the HOA to get us things we wanted for the like lights. But Mr. Davis was giving them a hard time.
We then put out more flyers to the entire single family community regarding a meeting we were having with everyone. Mr. Davis tried to block our meeting by going to the library and telling them to cancel it because he was the president. He can’t do that. The library is a public place. We got about 40 people in attendance. We informed everyone that we had a case coming up, we were seeking legal representation, and why we were doing this. Out of this meeting we realize a lot was going wrong in this community. The one consist thing we noticed was a lot of homeowners did not want to deal with him and ignored everything. In doing that homeowner was not noticing they weren’t getting a budget, they did not know what they were paying for, and they stop attending meetings and became very complacent. In doing so Mr. Davis was able to take advantage because nobody wanted to deal with him. Well soon found out this you should always be active and your HOA and know what is going on. . After several meetings we realized this was a growing concern with most of the homeowners.
We’ve had our ups and downs with all of this but now we are where we want to be. This group was not put together to bash Mr. Davis , it’s that we are tired and if we are going to have an HOA it’s needs to following the law of Charles County and the State of Maryland Homeowners Association Act. This is not just for people who have not paid their fees, this for everyone.
Here is what has happened so far and what’s to come:
· We have obtain an attorney Ellen Throop, who specializes in HOA cases. Right now she has a clientele of 45 south hampton homeowners. Although we are trying to get this done for the entire community, she is only representing the homeowners that signed her agreement. That means, whatever the outcome is, those are the only homeowners she is going to defend and ask for remedies for after the trial. She only represents the group, not individual cases. We have another attorney for that.
· There have been some discoveries made and things homeowners have provided:
o Our charter was forfeited for 6 years. This is public record. You cannot conduct business with a forfeited charter, which means, the HOA was not allowed to collect fees from 2009 – 2015 https://egov.maryland.gov/BusinessExpress/EntitySearch/BusinessInformation/D03614633 Check the Filing History
o We have not had a management company for at least 2 years and the fees have not been reduced. The budget states we pay $36,000 now for management agent. When asked we are told its Unique Management, but that’s all you get. We don’t receive anything from this, so called Management Company. All of the letters still come from Ulysee Davis, you still pay your fees to a P.O. Box, when a letter is sent, it is from Ulysee Davis not the management company we are paying $36K to.
o We have found out that the 10K we pay to COPS is not true. That’s a free service mandated by Bill Clinton. This has also been confirmed reliable source.
o Most of the cases against homeowners are being dismissed by the court.
o He files a case on your out of retaliation, he does not answer questions asked about the contracts in place that we pay for in our HOA fees.
o He has threaten a couple of homeowners when asked about the fees
o He feels that if you have not paid your fees that you are not entitled to any information.
o There was a discrimination emails discovered that he informed a real estate agent that as 2016 the HOA was not allowing African Americans to purchase or rent in our community.
o He was not giving people their resale packages when they paid for them if they bought a foreclosure. You can listen to this recorded session. He also walks out of the hearing and at the end you can hear the board agree that something is not right with the fees in South Hampton http://www.charlescounty.org/commissioners/channel95/streaming/mp3//HOA_Dispute/2017/HOAB_040617.mp3
· We have discovered that there has been 3 different attorneys in the past year that are should be for the community but he uses them as his own personal attorney.
· We have been informed not to pay our HOA dues to him. We are not saying do not pay at all. We are saying to place the money in an escrow account. We have contacted the court to establish an escrow account for us until a decision is made at the hearing.
· Our attorney also was able to contact the Attorney General, who has gotten in touch with every homeowner that has filed a complaint. They will be contacting Mr. Davis soon. The complaints can be filed on this website. The more complaints they receive, the faster we can get them to work on this and see the seriousness of what is going on in our community. It’s very easy to file a complaint Please do this as soon as possible. On the link below http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/…/Compl…/general.aspx
· We have also found out that some of the board members have resigned
· The community cookout that is paid with your HOA fees was not for us. Just about everyone there was not a homeowner in this community. We did ask several people, who confirmed they did not live here.
· We have also discovered that he is not legally the HOA president
o Per the bylaws, members of the board can only serve a 3-year term. It looks as though this same board has been in place for almost 10 years
o We should having annual meetings
o The budgets are to be provided at least 30 days before the assessments are due.
o The fees cannot go up more than 15% every year
o We are to have fidelity insurance always
o You as lot owner, no matter your status, are allowed to view the books and records. If the board is contacted in writing, by law, they have to let you review the records within 15 days of receiving a written request for up to 3 years and 45 days for anything beyond 3 years
o We are to have a management company at all times
o We are to have a valid charter at all times.
o We are supposed to have elections
o All of this is Maryland Law and our Bylaws. For a copy of our bylaws join our FB page The Homeowners of South Hampton – Bryans Road
o Everything is supposed to be approved by the board, not just the president. That means management companies, any contracts, any removals, any budget changes, the signs, none of this was approved by the board.
After months of efforts we are now going to trial on November 2, 2017 at 6:15pm. 200 Baltimore St., La Plata, MD 20646
He has to be in attendance. He has to provide financial records, budgets, meetings, minutes and a roster of the board members and when they were elected and ended their terms for the past 5 years. You can hear this on the link below.
From this session, you can hear our attorney is hard at work. She has become very knowledgeable regarding our community and our case. Her compelling statements is what helped the dispute board finally take this to trial.
We are asking for donations to help pay for the attorney’s fees. An attorney of her caliber is very expensive and she is representing the homeowners of South Hampton. If you would like to donate for her services we are asking the donation go to the go fund me account: https://www.gofundme.com/fight-south-hampton-association
As one of the remedies, she is asking that the South Hampton Homeowners’ Association Board is responsible for paying her fees and not us, but until then we have to pay her for her services.
If you want to be added to the list of clients, we are asking each person to pay at least $70.00 towards her fees. We would like to this be fair for everyone being represented. Again, she is only representing her clients not the entire community. You may contact us on email@example.com to be added to our email list and to receive the agreement for representation.
The attorney is asking for everyone to provide evidence of certain items.
· Budgets between 2012 – 2017
· Minutes from meetings 2012 – 2017
· Newsletters 2012 -2017
· Management companies 2012- 2017
· Meeting Agendas 2012 – 2017
· Elections 2012 – 2017
· Management companies 2012 – 2017
The reason she is asking for this from the homeowners is because she wants to compare them with the records he has. If a homeowner has these documents and it does not match what is in court, then it shows deception. If you have any of these items, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Again this is for any homeowner in South Hampton, single family and townhomes. Whether you paid your fees or not. If you have not paid your fees please put them in an escrow account. Don’t just not pay them because you don’t agree, please have some representation to back you up. We are getting a court ordered escrow account. If we take away the funds from HOA, the board will have to provide proof to the court that everything in the budget is legitimate.
Now some people may think, “He is not bothering me, so I will do nothing”. He is desperate now and if you search SOUTHHAMTPTON HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATON, INC., you will see he has filed almost 50 cases in the last month. The sheriff said he has gone to almost every home in the neighborhood. If you aren’t well informed about what is going on, you might not be prepared to deal with him court. The records are not accurate, you could have paid and presented him with a copy of the check and he will still say you owe. He also cannot take you to court and collect past a certain amount of years.
Believe us, we are trying to help all of our homeowners and have South Hampton flourish again. We have been working really hard to get this far and everyone should be able to benefit from this.
So please donate, contact us with any questions, become e a client of Ellen Throop’s for the group case. Contact us for the agreement and details at email@example.com
If you have an individual case, please contact:
Strissel Law, LLC
30537 Potomac Way, Suite 104
Charlotte Hall, Maryland 20622
Charles county phone number: 301-274-5700
Facebook page: The Homeowners of South Hampton – Bryans Road You can obtain a copy of the bylaws here.
Attorney General Complaints: http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/…/Compl…/general.aspx
Facebook post about African Americans not buying in our neighborhood https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10213643557793625&set=g.1580628378848993&type=1&theater&ifg=1
Join: Charles County Matters Facebook Page where a lot of this information is located.
Homeowners Association Act: http://www.wtplaw.com/sites/default/files/document_pdf/2016%20Maryland%20Homeowners%20Association%20Act.pdf
We the residents of South Hampton Homes feel like our voices are not being heard regarding the changes that need to be made in South Hampton. The President Ulysses Davis tends feel he makes the only decisions regarding the neighborhood. Have your read your bylaws or looked at the budget lately? The president does not make the decisions because he is a homeowner like us. He enforces the decisions that were decided on by the neighborhood residents.
In the new budget he has gone up on the management fee by $20K. It's now $36K from $16K. WE DO NOT HAVE A MANAGEMENT COMPANY. Where is it going? We did not agree to pay for him to be the management agent. We need to band together and get some answers, it's our right to know and see where the funds are going.
How many of you know he has a deal with Evergreen Disposal? Has a newsletter gone out to let you know he made a deal for the South Hampton HOA to receive a discounted fee on the trash? I've contacted them an they confirmed it was a deal for certain homes but was never paid.
When is the last time we have had an HOA meeting. It has been over a year in Nov 2015. When asked Mr. Davis says he has a meeting every Saturday at the protest site. That is not a neighborhood meeting.
The signs for the protest, where do you think this money is coming from? Was that discussed with all the homeowners about using our funds for the neighborhood to make signs regarding another neighborhood that was decided on 20 years ago before South Hampton was even built? Once the county has decided on a neighborhood, no amount of protesting in the world is going to stop it. Now maybe you can protest they have their own entry/exit or the county needs to provide lighting or sidewalks for the numerous kids and adults that walk on South Hampton Road, with addition of another neighborhood. How many of you are tired of being blinded by other people high beams because you cannot see? Those are the things that need to be discussed when protesting.
Let us talk about the association fees. A lot of our fees are not going towards the neighborhood. We are force to pay a neighborhood association fee to give a donation to the police. We are forced to pay an association to fund a cookout for the police. What other neighborhood is forced to do that? I did NOT attend the cookout so why should I be forced to pay for it. We still have to pay for alarm systems, I don't see the police patrolling my street. That is their job to serve and protect. They already receive a salary for that. Now if we need someone to patrol why don't we hire a security company. It is different if we are asked if we want to donate or participate in the cookout but it should not be mandatory items we pay for in our HOA.
A lot of neighbors are complaining about lights in the neighborhood. When asked Mr. Davis stated "we (as in he), wants to keep a suburban feel to the community". Well that's funny because every person I have talked to has problems with us not having lights. During the November 2015 meeting the officer present even said lights do not cost much and all and it makes a neighborhood safer. I called about lights and they said they are generally $10 a month for the service and the install is free if it's next to a transformer. About every two to three houses have a transformer. The fee will be cheaper than that if will we did the whole neighborhood. The suburbs have well lit neighborhoods to deter crime in the neighborhood and for the safety of the residents in the neighborhood. Is if fair to have our kids walking to bus stops with no lights? They are walking using the lights from their phones to see. Phones that are needed for an emergency. I don't know about you but I have seen deer, beaver and long snakes in our neighborhood. Not to mention child predators and clowns sightings all over the US. We have owners walking Pit bulls in the neighborhood with no leash. All the above are putting our kids in harms way everyday.
So why do we have money going towards donations and cookouts and a non-existent management company but not towards our neighborhood. In that case do we need a neighborhood association fee? Good question, right?
Let's think about that: We pay our own garbage. We have to pay for our own lighting to illuminate our streets. We don't have any neighborhood activities, such as a tennis court with no net, the playground has never been updated, the playground in the town homes have graffiti on it, no community center and the basketball courts were removed. Most neighborhoods pay to have those amenities for their residents.
We pay for tree removal, however do you realize there is a tree that has been laying over for months when you enter the neighborhood. A pine tree falling onto someone's fence. Where is the tree removal service that we pay $3000 for? The majority of our fees go to landscaping. The landscaping is mediocre and only consist of South Hampton Drive. We have bald spots, weeds, and lots of grass growing between the curbs and street and sewers. If we pay $56K for landscaping why are we paying $7000 for summer and winter flowers, isn't that part of landscaping?
Do you realize all of that brings the property value down. Why is it that the lights for the signs are never working? Why the majority of our street signs, leaning, turning the wrong directions and faded. This is what our neighborhood fees are suppose to go towards and it's time for us to demand action.
A lot of people aren't paying their fees, is this the reason you aren't paying your fees. Instead of not paying them we need to talk to the lawyer that represents South Hampton to set up our HOA fees in an escrow account, not to be released until we can all agree on what our HOA fees needs to go toward to better our neighborhood.
Mr. Davis is always threatening to take someone to court, well lets take Mr. Davis to court and have him explain where to portion of the management company fee is going. Clearly something is wrong because all of the cases are being thrown out. He clearly stated in the meeting that we don't have a management company any longer because they weren't doing their jobs but was still getting paid. We only have a company for filing now. If that's the case why did you take out the cookout fee and up the management fee from $16,800 to $36,000.
Our bylaws state that a portion of the association fee is to go to a management company and we are not to be self managed. If we do not have a management company, why haven't our association fees been reduced since we don't have a management company. I have done research and other neighborhoods, newer than ours have Meredith Management and pay $16 - $19K for their fees. If we did that our fees would be $313.00 They pay $20K for lights, so why did the $20K go towards a non existent management company and not towards lights? Mr. Davis announced in the meeting in Nov 2015 he took on the role of collecting payments for HOA but clearly you cannot do that according to the bylaws or get paid for that if you are a homeowner. So where is the Management money going too? We need to see receipts? It's our right to see the receipts .
These are the questions we need to be asking.
These houses that are foreclosed, the HOA is suppose to take care maintaining the grass on those houses. I have been here over a year and that has not happened.
Again I ask, WHAT IS THE HOA DOING FOR THE RESIDENTS OF SOUTH HAMPTON?
Has anyone wondered why no one is allowed to join the committee? I requested to and he said it was not needed. Mr. Davis only focus is stopping that new neighborhood from being built and nothing else. How we feel about things does not matter to him.
We need to become more active and let Mr. Davis know you are just the president, your are not the decision maker or the dictator for South Hampton as a whole.The president can be removed.
Signing this petition will help Mr. Davis understand that changes need to be made. Please sign if you agree with the following items and post what your problems or concerns are:
1. The South Hampton Community needs Street Lights for safety
2. The Community Cookout is not a mandatory item we pay for in our HOA fees. That has since been removed however the money was hidden in the increase of the management fees.
3. The Police "DONATION" is not a mandatory item we pay for in our HOA fees
4. The protest signs be removed from the property. It is an eye sore and to others it looks like we are protesting our neighborhood, which can ultimately deter people from buying our homes when we sell them.
5. That HOA funds are NOT used to create these protest board
6. Discounted trash pick up is part of the HOA not a separate expense. Upon my investigation most people that have trash pick up in their neighborhood, the average price is $17 a month per home. The amount with Evergreen is $27 a month we could be saving $120 a year per house home.
7. Decide on a management company or that benefits the neighborhood.
8. HOA fees are used to revitalize the neighborhood. Playground, ground keeping, new signs, playgrounds etc.
9. Have meeting about the changes without Mr. Davis trying to embarrass you in front of everyone and listen. Mr. Davis should not be exposing what people have or have not paid in front of everyone because someone does not agree with him.
10. Ultimately decide if we need a vote for a new committee.
11. Decide on a new lawyer for the HOA. We need a lawyer that will stand up for everyone in this community not just for the president.
12. File a law suit for misappropriated funds against the HOA
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