Feb. 04, 2009
Comstock Park HOA embroiled in lawsuit, election
By MARK WAITE
An election to the Comstock Park Homeowners Association Board of Directors is expected before the fiscal year ends in April, but it's unclear whether it will resolve a tangle of lawsuits over operation of the manufactured home subdivision.
The Comstock Park Homeowners Association Board of Directors filed suit Oct. 6 against Carlo Verdi, Leon Goss, Delores Goss, Carol Curtis and David Connors, alleging since its election Jan. 12, 2008, the board and its staff "have been the subject of continuous ridicule, harrassment and defamation."
The suit claims the defendants interfered with their personal lives by making slanderous remarks.
"It has become impossible to conduct Comstock HOA meetings and business without the unwarranted interruptions, arguments and shenanigans of defendants," the suit claims.
It asks the court to enjoin the defendants from interrupting the homeowner's association meetings, continually filing complaints with the ombudsman for the state's Real Estate Division and making false, slanderous remarks.
The homeowner's association board claims it has been accused of misappropriating funds, rigging the election, embezzling funds and using them to gamble, engaging in nepotism, being crooked and having a president who is a drug dealer.
One board member, Arlene Tellez, resigned Aug. 5 due to the defendant's actions, the suit claims. The remaining homeowner's association board members, who are the plaintiffs in the suit, include President Paul Enck, Vice President Darryl Setzkorn, Secretary Harold "Frank" Burfeind and Carol Vocke.
The defendant's answer, signed by Leon and Delores Goss, states they didn't do anything to cause Tellez to resign. They charged Enck and Vocke weren't elected to remain in office Jan. 12, 2008.
The defendants said, "We have not ridiculed, harrassed, nor defamed the board, nor have we in any way interfered in their personal lives nor business. We have asked for information both verbally at meetings and in writing. The majority of the time the response we have received is, 'it's privileged information.' We feel this is an unsatisfactory answer when we have paid our assessment fees."
The defendants said a Nye County sheriff's deputy was present at several meetings of the homeowner's association, who would have handled unruly audience members. Goss said only Connors was removed from a meeting for being out of order.
They added affidavits filed with the ombudsman's office are supported by proof.
"They would like to permanently enjoin us from using the ombudsman or any other agencies that are available to investigate homeowner's complaints. This would deprive us of our constitutional rights and give them a free hand to run roughshod over the rights and desires of all the homeowners," the defendants stated.
The Gosses said when they campaigned for positions on the board they went door to door. The board called that soliciting.
Leon Goss said his group has "been beaten up" by the board, which is trying to prevent it from running for election. He called the homeowners association's legal challenge a "frivolous lawsuit" and said owners at Comstock Park never gave their consent to use their assessments to file suit.
"They don't want to answer questions about where our money is," Goss said of the board.
Goss said the homeowner's association board last June hired a Texas-based management company, Real Manage Co., to manage Comstock Park for $62,000 annually.
"The people in Comstock Park can't afford that. We're made up of senior citizens, they're on Social Security," Goss said.
Goss said there wasn't an emergency when the board met in executive session to sign the contract. The Gosses said they've asked for information released at a June 9 board meeting about $125,702 in the operating account and $32,850 in the reserve account that supposedly went to Texas along with files and records.
Enck said, "We had to go to a mangement company because we needed somebody that wasn't part of the homeowners to run the place because of all the accusations."
There weren't management companies available in Nevada, Enck said. "We're not managers, we're volunteers," he said. "You bring in a party that's impartial."
Enck said Goss was furnished all the information about the investments.
Enck said three management companies were presented to the residents.
Goss said 40 residents of the park never received ballots for last year's election. There was also a problem with the counting of the ballots, he said.
Enck denied those accusations. "The ballots were opened in front of everybody," Enck said. "Everybody got a ballot to the address they sent to us."
The homeowners group includes 667 lots. Annual dues are $300, Enck said.
"The main reason this got started, the water bill doubled and we had to raise the dues," Enck said, noting the association is watering eight acres. "Right now we're trying to get government grants."
The drastic measure of filing of a lawsuit was necessary to recoup the money the board has spent dealing with these issues, including answering questions from the state, he said.