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Part 7: GWLUA/GW Inc Legal Issues

Part 7: GWLUA/GW Inc Legal Issues Gillian Fryer posted 6 months ago

The information from Chavez started a firestorm. Mike sent out the Declaration of HOA as proof that we were legitimate, but he did so without going through the usual channel of getting board approval.

This is an email thread (read from bottom to top, showing the tone of what was happening.)

The Community wanted to see all my correspondence with Chavez, so the notes from the last installment of this discussion, were sent to everyone. (This was posted in part 6, but here it is again)

This is the legal opinion document that Chavez referenced in the previous post on this subject.

We scheduled a town hall meeting for the community to discuss the pros and cons of incorporation.

Here is another email thread from the board. Note that the board still seems to think that they have the sole right to create policy, despite the specific wording of NMSA 53-10, which gives that right to the membership. If the GWLUA was still intact at that point, 53-10 should have prevailed. Again, read from bottom to top. Judy's last statement suddenly made me worried, as it was clear that I still hadn't got them to understand that incorporating would create a totally new business, and by law it had to have a new name and that a new board would have to be voted on.

Just before the town hall, I got this: For some reason this thread reads from top to bottom.

John took over the Town Hall with discussions about the temporary asphalt plant at Taos Gravel Products next door to GW. We didn't get to discuss incorporation. Mike did say that he could refile GWLUA every 20 years if he wanted. I recorded it. Of course Mike couldn't accept what our lawyer had said, because that was an integral part of the remaining lawsuit.

Mike repeatedly accused me of hiding communications with lawyer Chavez. That is very easy to verify, as every conversation is a billable, and there is therefore a record of everything. Mike and the rest of the board began to think that Chavez was tainted. Amy became the contact person for Chavez, though that must have been decided outside of our board emails, as I wasn't informed of this. I'm increasingly being kept out of the loop.

At the 6/5/19 board meeting, John proposed Marilee Ives to take over Steve Masse's position (which he had held for only a few months, taking over from Sally.) I opposed Marilee because I didn't feel she was remotely prepared for what she was facing and I had started noticing discontent from community members because we were appointing so many board members without their input. I told John as much. That destroyed what little relationship we had. Judy was angry at me too, for apparently changing my mind and not wanting to appoint board members. She questioned my right to oppose Merilee. The board also voted to keep Chavez on as the community lawyer, and Mike offered to let community members present questions to Chavez.

Three days later the board decided to replace Chavez with a local lawyer. None of those community concerns were forwarded to either Chavez or the new lawyer.

In mid-June, the board went to visit Kelan Emery, a Family Law attorney. Under the rules of professional responsibility, attorneys are supposed to educate themselves on their own time, if a client brings a case regarding an aspect of the law in which they have limited knowledge, or hire an outside specialist to assist. Emery did neither. Apparently his qualifications were that he was a member of an HOA. (The were these qualifications as Marilee, BTW.) Despite the fact that I gave him 150 pages of documents, plus references to the pertinent laws, he apparently didn't read much of them. He was not made aware that the legality of the GWLUA was an issue in a continuing lawsuit.

A month after meeting with him, Emery finally sent what looked like a hastily crafted letter, and the board held another of its emergency meetings to discuss it. Marilee was not at this meeting. The board was elated as they concluded that the letter legitimized the GWLUA once and for all. (On 9/6/17, McElroy, the judge in the lawsuit, had sent out a letter asking that community members form a committee to determine the legitimacy of the board. Mike took years to show this letter to the board and I have notes that the letter was sent to the community in April of 2019, but I can't find the email for that.) The board at this meeting voted that they were legitimate! I said you can't determine yourself legitimate, and Mike said they just had. None of the other board members seemed to think there was anything wrong with this behavior. He demanded that I stop inquiring about any of the legal issues, and then he YELLED that I was the worst thing that had ever happened to GW and that the entire lawsuit against him was my doing. None of the other board members reacted. There was no record of any of this as far as I know. Gauntlet thrown down: Gillian, if you didn't already know it, you are officially alone on the board and persona non grata.

Emery Letter:
Judge McElroy's Letter:

Wow, I just reread the email threads, and Mike's 4/10/19 response in all caps (file name ends in VJA.pdf), admits that the judge had not ruled on the legality of the GWLUA. But he had just said the judge ruled in his favor on this issue during the Board meeting a few days earlier!

No one on the thread caught the inconsistency!

I guess whatever Mike says in the moment, is what counts.

profile-50.pngGillian Fryer commented 6 months ago

Emery concluded that the GWLUA was a valid HOA in 2019, solely because of the declaration of HOA document that was filed in 2015.

Emery never looked at our original documents or NMSA 53-10, because if he had, he would have been forced to address the issue of whether we had expired in 2014. He had not been told about the lawsuit, and he was not even aware that Mike sat on the board (Mike wasn’t at the first meeting with Emery), as evidenced by Emery’s letter questioning whether the board had any authority!

He then went on to say that there was no legal barrier stopping the board from incorporating and transferring all power over to the successor business. Again, Emery clearly didn’t read our initial documents that spell out the requirements for extending the lifespan of the GWLUA beyond its original duration. He didn’t consider that the membership had any say whatsoever.

Emery’s letter demonstrates massive malpractice.

I was the person who crafted the declaration of HOA document as an attempt to comply with the requirement set fourth in the NM HOA Act that we had to notify the county of our existence. It’s a notification document, it doesn’t address whether we were either a legal business or a legal HOA. It is simply a statement. There is no proof there.

But Mike proudly sent that document to the community to prove that we were an valid HOA, so Mike and Emery were in agreement. Congratulations Mike, you proved that if to you looked long enough, you could find a lawyer with an opinion that coincided with your own. That lawyer just happens to be incompetent.

Since Emery has been in business for many years, I have to assume that he has competency in his chosen field however. This just wasn’t his field and he should have either studied more or sought outside advice. The fact that he didn’t, is a violation of the rules of professional responsibility.

profile-50.pngGillian Fryer commented 6 months ago

Judge McElroy sent a letter to both parties summarizing the outstanding issues of the lawsuit. In addition to the issue of the transfer of the common lands, McElroy specifically noted the concern regarding

“whether the current HOA board has been duly constituted and has the proper authority to act on behalf of the homeowners”

He specifically says “... a committee of respected members of the association needs to review the existing records, obtain independent legal advice and put the association's affairs to rights.”

McElroy, was astounded at the lack of community interest in the lawsuit. In actual fact, we knew very little about it. Mike had convinced most of us that it was a fight between Jody and the community and he would save us, at great personal expense. The board, of which I was a part, never did our due diligence: we never independently reviewed the lawsuit, we never presented to the lawsuit to the community to see if the membership was interested in becoming a party, and we never kept the community up to date with respect to how the case was proceeding. (The current GWInc board isn’t doing so either.) We never took Jody and her complaints seriously, and we mistreated her when she came to the board to present her issues. We utterly failed in our duty to both Jody and the community as a whole. And all of us should have been removed because of that. I’m just as guilty as the rest of the board since I didn’t speak out, and silence is compliance. Our duty as a board was always to the community, not to the developer. Since it’s inception in 2005, the various boards have almost always put Mike’s interests ahead of the community and its members.

Mike didn’t forward that letter to the community. His lawyer, Natelson, didn’t forward it to the community. Amy, who knew of the letter, didn’t forward it to the community. Let that sink in.

Mike repeatedly resisted our having any independent legal council, as I noted in the first email thread above, file ending in byOh.pdf

Mike justified that he didn’t need hold any community meeting because he insisted that the board itself comprised the respected members of the community to which McElroy referred.

That is why he created the affidavits that he asked board members to sign, and that I later recanted.

But just to make sure, that farce at his office where the board voted that they were legal, was a second attempt at complying with McElroy. After which, Mike sent out the email above, dated 6/9/19, that doesn’t include my name (the links aren’t working, because the build link button doesn’t work properly, but the link contains the McElroy letter.)

There was never an independent group of community members formed to debate the issues McElroy posed. Mike didn’t want us to speak up, because he couldn’t have controlled what we might have said.

The very issue of whether the board is duly constituted and whether it has the authority to act on behalf of the homeowners, still plagues us today. If you’ve been reading all of this series on these legal issues, no doubt you have drawn your own conclusion as to the answer.

profile-50.pngGillian Fryer commented 6 months ago

Mike is in business with himself and any other person who has an unexpired currently signed document with him and/or his businesses. Not one single person more.

Your signature is specifically necessary and would bind you legally to any documents in the same way your lack of signature would not. This is the acceptable method used in determining if you are legally engaged with basically anything. I don't even know why I have to keep stating this as if people don't understand that if they didn't sign a specific contract that they are not a party to that contract, good or bad. I suppose Mike himself should be reading this.

If everyone in your neighborhood signed a contract to receive a hundred dollars every week and you did not sign, you do not get the hundo and you can't go back later and say...but my neighbor. It's not rocket science. It is legalities.

Since the expiration of the GWLUA would by default also expire all documents attained by or for the GWLUA and any and all paperwork would become null and void at that associations expiration.

There was an exception made to the above logic in that in order to renew or reinvent the GWLUA it would take specific conditions that were not met in a timely manner.

GW Inc is simply another business of Mike's that encompasses the people who signed legally binding documents to be in business with Mike. This may be perfectly legitimate.

If you did not physically give Mike a current document with your signature that would have to be dated within the time that GW Inc was operating as a business, you do not have a current contract with Mike as GW Inc. You can choose to do so.

There is no secret path between the expired GWLUA and newly formed GW Inc that legally binds those from one contract onto another without written consent. If there were to be a secret path, legally obtained new updated signatures would be required if for no other reason than to simply recognize that there was a legal change of name and everyone is still on board.

If Mike is legitimately presenting to the county that we are all, each and every property owner here in Greater World, in perfect agreement with him and are all too happy to be out here in experimental Greater World then it would also be very easy for him to show proof of all of the happy campers signatures that are gleefully rejoicing in the line directly behind the Pied Piper.

GW Inc has every single legally binding signature of every single person who is currently contractually bound to them because by now they should realize that just because Mike says what the laws are that they live by, they also surely recognize by now there are actual real laws that you have to follow too. Each signature they have represents that party and no others.

You cannot be legally bound to a contract simply because you reside in a specific subdivision or neighborhoods across the country would be high-jacked by well meaning neighbors that decided they didnt want you making up your own rules on your land. HOA laws specifically state that the signature of each and every single residence that will be controlled by that HOA must be obtained and on file, more than likely on a specific document that states something like....HEY this is you signing paperwork to be in a HOA.

Because Mike knows it is completely impossible to show this proof (since it is quite evident that the majority of us can't figure out why in all the world these GW Inc-ers just figure we are going to bow down and allow them choose who they like and squash out the rest of us) and since Mike knows that if he doesnt continue to misrepresent this authority to the county he loses control of the builds (the county would have to recognize individuals that need permits outside of them) Mike is willing to continue to misrepresent us and everything that is happening out here to protect his investment.

Which I completely understand because I am fighting tooth and nail to protect my investment, but I'm not willing to step outside of the law to do so.

profile-50.pngLaNaeh commented 6 months ago


Some of us have signed something over the years, so I'm trying to demonstrate that there are several avenues that prove both the GWLUA and GWinc are not current legal HOAs. I would go so far as to add that various board member's behaviors have been so egregious, that they should never be allowed to represent this community ever again.

When you sign a contract, you assume that it is legal. If it isn't, that contract may be void or voidable. Our documents are built upon each other, so if the initial document wasn't legally binding, its likely that none of the subsequent documents are either.

I'm accessing this website with an ipad, and some links will open but others are totally unresponsive. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I've therefore given up using the link icon when I compose.

profile-50.pngGillian Fryer commented 6 months ago

I am really thankful for your posts Gillian. None of us singularly could provide the documentation you have so painstakingly presented here. Each and every member of this little village owes you a debt of gratitude. We all have our parts of the story, but none represented from within the prior board itself and certainly not with all the dated proof, documentation, and back up info we have here.

This site is certainly not perfect but since editing is not allowed on the time line, dated posts should serve as, at the very least, our accounting of these happenings known to us prior to and discovered as we researched.

The idea of success in any litigation comes with being better prepared. And in this case not having a specific accounting of signatures at all, valid or not, at any time, would lead one to believe that you were not prepared for litigations. In this case the on hand file of signatures does not exist or it would have been presented over and over again each time Mike needed to file paperwork. In addition to this, new signatures would/should have been added to that specific file or removed as ownership changed. Or on other occasions when wording was changed or updated, there would be signatures stating that those terms had been disclosed and were again, agreeable.

If you have done your due diligence, you would have kept the very most important validly signed business documents necessary to legally and successfully declare your superiority over a group of other people updated and on hand.

I contend, as I always have that Michael Reynolds/Earthship Biotecture does not have nor have they ever maintained a file of signatures with landowners in the Greater World, until possibly GW Inc. And I only include GWI because I am giving them credit for the learning curve.

If they had that documentation it would have been presented and shoved down my throat when I made my literal TEN separate requests for documentation. They dont have what they legally need to say what they are legally stating. They know they do not have to prove this unless someone takes them to court and demands they show proof. This is how they control the community. We are all hoping that Jody's lawsuit opens the floodgates and allows the rest of us an easier route to due compensation. If not, there are more than one of us willing to take the hard way.

What would be really nice is if Mike would man up and be truthful and responsible to all of us and his obligations to this community.

profile-50.pngLaNaeh commented 6 months ago

21 May 2015

Thank you for your patience with me on this… lol I know it must feel frustrating. I myself feel very confused. If the Greater World Community is not a real HOA… how can they collect dues, impose liens etc? I thought I had an obligation and a contract. If laws regarding HOA’s do not pertain to us, because we are not a ‘real’ HOA, then, what are we?
Please clarify, if you can.
Tell Zac to look up and make his praises! - it’s rainin again!
Sent from Windows Mail

From: Nicole Leduc
Sent: ‎Thursday‎, ‎May‎ ‎21‎, ‎2015 ‎4‎:‎47‎ ‎PM
To: Jody Rhines
Cc: Marcus Romano

Hi Jody,
In the interest of transparency, I am forwarding you the clarification email from Amy Duke.

The main points are:

  1. GW does not have a formal HomeOwners Association
  2. In terms of financial records, the Director, Michael Reynolds has not stepped down, so there is no obligation to show you financial records, but Amy is willing to show you what has been documented.
  3. In terms of parking, i owe you an apology as there is not a two week maximum for an oversized vehicle to be parked. in fact, it is against the by-laws of the association to park an oversized vehicle next to your home.
    Please review the information below that Amy sent. I will scan the Bylaws and Articles of Association and send them to you. I am waiting for confirmation that I have the most recent ones.

Begin forwarded message:
From: Amy Duke
Subject: Re: Request For Information
Date: May 21, 2015 at 9:57:49 AM MDT

To: Nicole Leduc
Hi Nicole,
I don’t believe we are a formally recognized “Homeowner’s Association” I don’t know to what article she is referring. I don’t believe we MUST provide this information, but I don’t mind any member inspecting what we do have. The Articles of Association (of the Greater World) state, "
After the Director has stepped down and the Community lands have been rolled out to the Association with legal documents, the books and records and papers of the Association shall at all times, during reasonable business hours, be subject to inspection by any member. The Articles of Association and the Bylaws of the Association shall be available for inspection by any member at the principal office of the Association, where copies may be purchased at a reasonable cost.”
I didn’t keep financial records. I reported bills paid and income at the board meetings, but I didn’t keep a spreadsheet on in. Gillian said she was going to start. We DO have copies of the monthly bank statements. We do have receipts. We do have minutes from the meetings. She may look through the binders of records I have here. They are not in digital form.
No wonder she couldn’t find a 2 week rule on large vehicles being parked at residences. There isn’t one. Large vehicles are not allowed at the residences*. I think no one has a problem with a large vehicle being parked at a home for a couple of days here or there, but they should not be garaged there. That is made clear in the Land User’s Code which I’m sure she knows and has read, since she was able to find her right to request financial statements.

---- I just want to say that I tried on several occasions before buying my home, to make sure the HOA was legitimate, including having a lawyer review before I purchased. But... maybe that 'lawyer' wasn't really a lawyer at all- and so- I was duped at the time of sale by those who did business together- the realtors, title company... others.

profile-50.pngJody Rhines commented 6 months ago