Paul Carroll's Fine

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Carroll Story
#1 Davis Sterling Due Process
#2 Davis Sterling Arbitrary & Capricious
#3 Davis Sterling Fine Policy


  Paul Carroll has signed a statement that the following article is, to his best belief and knowledge, true.

Italics and different colors added to text for emphasis! (For those of you who have requested the printed form, it will be printed in Black and White.

Paul Carroll alleges the following:

Paul Carroll, a member of our association claims that as a result of a Nov 8, 2013 meeting with the board, he and his wife were fined $2100.00 for three questionable architectural violations that were never addressed prior to the Nov 8, meeting. The $2100 excessive fine was based on the current Board's convoluted and preposterous use of our Schedule of Monetary Penalties.  It is clearly stated on the Schedule of Monetary Penalties that:
"after 4 previous fines have been assessed and the violation remains uncorrected, a fine of $500.00 may be assessed and an additional fine of $100.00 for every seven days thereafter that the violation is not corrected."

Paul Carroll did not have any previous fines on the current issue. Your Board made the decision to impose a fine on Paul Carroll and his wife, and at the same moment impose 18 previous fines. It's a nifty way to make money for the Association but where is the logic or precedent? Is it legal? Do you want it to happen to you?

Basically if you are a member of Florin Mobile Estates Homeowner's Association and you are fined by the Board, you could be hit with previous fines without ever having a previous fine...uh... previously...  Does that make sense?

In an effort to be fair the Board has been, and will continue, to send courtesy letters to residents informing them that there are potential violations to the CC&Rs.  The courtesy letters are not part of "due process" required by California Law.  Due process is required to begin the paper trail that eventually could result in a fine to a resident. A pre-requisite to imposing a fine is a proper notice of a hearing.

The Board needs to follow due process under current California law and our CC&Rs  in order to legally fine a resident.

Here is Paul Carroll's story:

On July 26th, 2013 Paul received a letter that almost complied with the due process requirement.(Select the #1 DS Due Process link to the left to read the requirements of due process."DS" stands for Davis-Sterling, the California act governing HOA's).  Although the date and time of the hearing is included in the letter that was sent to Paul the CC&R that Paul was allegedly violating was not included.  Instead it states: "To date it seems the project is not complete". Our CC&R's require that a detailed alleged violation needs to be included in the hearing letter. The word "project" is not detailed.

The date for the hearing was scheduled was Aug 2, 2013 at 6 pm. Paul was in Iowa at the time on vacation and sent a written statement (as required) advising the Board that he could not attend the meeting and would not be back in California until early to mid September.

The Board then sent another NOTICE OF COMPLIANCE HEARING and once again did not detail the alleged violation.  The letter referred to a "clean-up project" and "construction". The date for the hearing was to be  Sept 30, 2013 a Monday.

Paul has had a long standing commitment on Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays of every week that keep him away from home.  He also has a long standing commitment on the first Thursday of every month.  He once again complied with the requirement and sent a written statement that he could not attend that hearing. He was not available because he was not available.

Here is where it gets interesting.  On Oct 7, 2013 Paul was sent a violation letter stating that he had "items" on the west side of his property and therefore was in violation of the CC&R's storage rules.  He had some sticks on the west side property line of his property in the very far back of his property.  It was difficult to spot. There was no mention of any other violation.  The sticks, it turns out were actually in his back fence neighbor's yard.

The sticks mentioned above were on the west side of his property.  One more step to the west of his property is his neighbor's driveway.  The neighbor's driveway is shown below. The neighbor was not sent, and as far as Paul knows, has, to date, not been sent, a violation for improper storage of personal items. Was Paul targeted?  Do others get a pass?
d1 d2
The storage CC&R article states:  Storage of personal property on any Lot shall be entirely within garages, sheds and enclosed storage areas or out of sight from the street.
The home above belongs to Sharon Drago who is currently running for the Board.  The photo does not show how much junk is on her driveway. Sharon allegedly has a history of violating the CC&R's and a vote for her is a vote to turn our community into a hoarder's paradise. How could the Board ever suggest cleaning up another resident's home using the "Storage" rule with her driveway loaded with personal items and junk? She supports the Board's decision for the Paul Carroll's ridiculous fine and even appeared in Court with Bob Reinaldo as a show of support for the Boards fine.

Time to introduce another concept of State Law.  Fines cannot be Arbitrary  and Capricious.  Please select link "#2 DS Arbitrary and Capricious" above to read the law. There are many storage violations in our community that are not addressed and during the time of Paul's alleged violations, no fines were assessed to other residents for storage or architectural violations.

Paul received a non-dated letter from Association President Bob Reinaldo.  It offers Paul the option to choose a date for a hearing that he (Paul) would be able to attend.  At the bottom of this non-dated letter Bob Reinaldo introduces the concept of retroactive fining.  Bob Reinaldo wrote"  "At this hearing the board [sic] will have the option of fining you retroactively back to April 12, 2013 which was the first time you were notified in writing that your property was not in compliance with our CC&R's."  As stated above the  April 12th letter was a courtesy letter and cannot be counted as a prerequisite to due process.

Paul was sent a final letter setting a date for a hearing and once again mentioned "clean-up project and construction".  When Paul and his wife attended the hearing the Board, for the first time, specifically mentioned 3 violations. 
1. A stick or board was on his front porch extending from eves to his porch.
2. There were some small electrical boxes showing and
3.  His steps were a pile of wood. 

The steps in question are redwood steps that are behind a small gate and per Paul are county approved.  The other two alleged violations were fixed the very next day. 

On Nov 18, 2013 Paul was sent a letter fining him $2100.00 for the alleged violations listed above.  The fine was a first fine with 18 previous fines imposed at the same time. It is possible to do previous fines after the fact?
Previous means previous no?

Paul Carroll did not think so and reached out to the Association attorney Deon Stein.  He also filed a small claims action against Bob Reinaldo and Thomas Morla (Board member in charge of violations) thinking that both Bob and Thomas were working outside the law and therefore not representing the Board with the actions listed above. The judge in that matter told Paul he needed to sue the Board not individual members.

Incredibly our association lawyer Deon Stein responded by sending a letter to Paul and offered in part: ..."If a meeting between you, me and one or more of the directors would be helpful in achieving resolution of this matter, I am willing to arrange such a meeting and will participate in the meeting at no charge to the Association... "

Bob Reinaldo responded to the generous offer from the attorney by sending in part the following:
Deon Stein:
> I am writing this email to you in response to Paul Carroll’s letter to you dated February 9, 2014 where he requested a meeting at 4:00pm on Thursday, February 20th,, with you, himself and Robert Miller, who was to represent the Board. I have telephonically surveyed the Board members and a solid majority of the Board do not want this meeting, I REPEAT “DO NOT WANT THIS MEETING TO TAKE PLACE.” If at any time in the future the Board feels some meeting with you is required then it will be with the full Board, unless the President or Vice President have been authorized by the Board to speak on their behalf. No Board member, except the President, Vice President or Office Manager has the authority to speak or represent the Board unless the President or Vice President has specifically indicated to you that the representative has the approval of the Board. Consequently, the meeting scheduled for February 20th with Mr. Carroll should be cancelled and if it is not cancelled there will be no Board representative from FME at this meeting. Again, no Board member has been authorized to meet with you on February 20th. As I have previously informed you this is purely an administrative matter and if it ever becomes a legal issue then your counsel will be requested. Thank you for your for past and future involvement with FME. BOB REINALDO, PRESIDENT, FMEHOA...

The property shown below in our community was in pitiful condition prior to the April 12, 2013 courtesy letter to Paul Carroll and no changes were made until a month after Paul Carroll's $2100.00 fine. The owner of the property  was not fined and although he was sent a hearing notice, did not attend a hearing.  Currently this property has a very unkempt lawn and a piece of plywood over one of the windows.

Paul Carroll's home is shown below. The bricks to the left of the first photo belong to his neighbor Sharon Drago (mentioned above) who is apparently exempt from storage violations and is running for the Board of Directors.

During the April 17, 2014 open meeting of our Board of Directors, Thomas Morla, head of Violations,  made the statement (verified in the minutes) that the lawsuit with Paul Carroll "has been resolved".  That statement is not true. Paul has since received a letter from the Board President Bob Reinaldo informing him that another $500.00 had been added to his $2100.00 fine. 

A letter dated 5/19/2014 informed Paul that the back of his home needed some work.  In order to see the back of Paul's home the annomomous (and therefore illegal) complainant had to wade through the piles of trash on his neighbor Sharon Drago's driveway and squeeze next to the Italian Cypress trees in order to get a glimpse of his backyard.  Did that same complainant notice that piles of personal property on the driveway is a clear violation of our CC&R storage rules.

Once again Sharon Drago is apparently exempt from the HOA storage rules.

 If you don't want this to happen to you then DON'T vote for:
                                         Brian Benner
                                         Thomas Morla
                                         Jill Fanning

This Site recommends Mark Gervais as a write in candidate.
Reminder:  You do NOT need to vote for 5 people!

  Don't vote for Sharon Drago unless you think her ongoing exemption from     CC&R violations is fair to the rest of the residents.