In 2005, after filing the most recent changes to the GWLUA documents, Mike created... a Board!
Initially, everyone was appointed, but the next year, and every year thereafter, one board member seat was vacated and an election was held. Mike took a permanent position on the board, making 6 members of a 5 member board.
The entire time of my tenure, I heard us described as a 'Courtesy Board.' One board member told me that we were not a real board at all. Starting in 2016, Mike insisted that the following document be read at the beginning of every board meeting:
However, in response to the lawsuit, Mike insisted that the board had been elected since 2006 and that every board was independent. He even had all board members sign the following affidavit, which I later recanted.
So which is it, were we a courtesy board or a real board?
As developer, Mike owns multiple properties. To my knowledge, there has only been one election, in which Mike did not control the outcome because of his (and his employees) multiple votes.
Does that change the picture any?
One of the first orders of business that the board addressed was road maintenance. I have looked at all the available minutes from back in 2005, and all I can find are several board discussions about increasing the fees to cover the costs of road maintenance. Mike sent the following email to the board to 'prove' that the early board voted to make the community pay for road maintenance.
But does it? This assumes that in order to discuss road fees, the board must have voted to pay for road fees, but there is NO record of that vote anywhere. Legally, if its not in writing, it didn't happen! What is more likely is that Mike simply told the board that the community should be paying for the roads and no one questioned it.
I've asked two of the first board members and neither remembers specifically what happened. It was 16 years ago after all!
This should have been a major issue that marked a major change in community policy. NMSA 53-10 mandated that the community discuss and vote on this, and that simply didn't happen. Further, board members should have referenced the community documents to see if they had the authority to levy such a fee. Had they done so, they would have discovered the conflict between the Bylaws and the LUC and that should have been a red flag that warranted further review.
None of that happened. Why is that? Could it be that 4 of the 6 members of the 5 member board were employees of SSA/EB? (Oh, as a result of Mike's losing his architectural license, I forgot to mention that... Mike created a new business, Earthship Biotecture EB, to succeed his old business, Solar Survival Architecture SSA. The early documents reference SSA.)
Over the years, several community members have complained about paying for the roads when the LUC clearly states we should not until full build out. They were ostracized and bad-mouthed by Mike and/or his employees. They either withdrew, or they left. This is one of the issues still outstanding in the 2015 ongoing lawsuit.
I welcome comments, counter arguments, questions...
Board Member Affidavit: https://www.greaterworldcommunity.org/file/document/2850934796/sv9kFmPBRoku18SD.pdf
Minutes regarding roads: https://www.greaterworldcommunity.org/file/document/2850934796/6MwEJSRchq82m07e.pdf
Gillian Fryer commented 7 months ago
I think you have that right, Gillian. You really do a great job of explaining it in a way that is easy to understand. I have seen in the minutes of the meetings at various times, members disagreeing with the use of the dues to pay for roads, taxes, insurance etc on lands not belonging to the GWC.
I think the Porters even wrote a letter that actually was attached to the meeting minutes at the time... that one was, if I remember correctly, about taxes and insurance on the 'common' land.
I tried to follow the link to those minutes, but I couldn't view it - it said (blocked).
Thanks for all your work and care.
Jody Rhines commented 7 months ago