HI controversy - Motion to put developer on BOC ballot fails

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- After two and a half hours of commissioner and public comment Monday, with input from its attorney, the Holiday Island Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to deny a motion to put developer Tom Dees on the December ballot for commissioner.

The issue was on Monday's agenda because Dees failed to pay his overdue assessments by close of business on Oct. 17, in accordance with a regulation amendment made by the board in August, in order for his nomination to be valid.

Dees paid his assessments on Oct. 20 and was nominated that night as a candidate for commissioner.

In light of this, a letter by Dr. Terry Bushay, Dees' nominator, and another by Roxie Howard questioned the board's right to deny Dees' nomination. At Monday's meeting, 13 people got up to speak, some of them more than once, most of them in favor of putting Dees on the ballot.

Attorney Tom Morris also answered several questions from the board and the public.

The issues raised were whether the district has the legal right to make nomination and voting rules that are more restrictive than the state's, whether requiring property owners to be current on their assessments and utility bills to be candidates constitutes a poll tax and whether an amendment made in a regulation but not specified in detail on the official election notice is sufficient statement of the nomination requirements.

Howard asked what statutory authority HISID has to create voting regulations, whether being current on assessments to be nominated is a poll tax and also whether HISID's mailing to one homeowner, i.e., the husband instead of including both the deed-holder husband's and wife's names invalidates the election.

"The state laws are broad. If you want to go further than that, you can," Morris said, adding that there is no conflict with state law if the district wants to make nomination or voting requirements more restrictive.

Some property owners disagreed.

"Tom is right; local governments can be more restrictive, but the Supreme Court struck down the voter ID law in Wisconsin because it was too restrictive," said David Bischoff. "You can pass any law you want, but you have passed a more restrictive law, and you can't enforce it."

Bischoff said he has done a lot of research on this issue stemming back to his illegal exaction lawsuit against the district, which was settled out of court.

Morris said the requirement to be current on assessments and utility bills is not the same as a poll tax, which requires all voters to pay a fee in order to vote.

Joyce Lessely differed.

"The recent ruling about the state ID is that it is illegal -- it is a form of poll tax because someone is required to spend money to get a voter ID," she said.

"Assessments are not like ad valorem taxes; they are for the upkeep [of the district]," Morris said. "It's different from being disenfranchised from the right to run for office. If [property owners] haven't paid their assessments, they're not a property owner in good standing. And you're not allowed to use the amenities here if you're not current in your assessments."

Morris said he believes Dees was given "constructive notice" of nomination requirements because the board passed an amendment to its regulations, and it is up to property owners to be informed about what the board passes.

Asked whether he is aware of legal precedent regarding what constitutes sufficient official notice in other instances, he said he is sure that it exists, but he doesn't know what it is.

Asked whether he is aware of litigation regarding credit card companies not giving sufficient disclosure of fees, due dates and other requirements to remain in good standing, he said, "I do know of litigation like that, but I think it's dissimilar [to this]."

Commissioner Greg Davis said, "I've talked to a couple of attorneys who are in complete opposition to [Morris]. Let Tom Dees run, and let the voters speak."

Several people brought up concerns about the district being sued over the issue, for either allowing or not allowing Dees on the ballot.

Chairman Linda Graves said, "I think that if we do this, we set a precedent that if people don't want to follow the rules, we'll get sued. We could get sued either way."

Davis moved and Ken Mills seconded to put Dees on the ballot. The motion failed with, Graves, Ken Brown and David Makidon voting nay, and Davis and Mills voting aye.

Bushay said by phone later he has no plans to pursue the issue any further. Dees said he has no comment.

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  • Does anyone know if the BOC voted to accept the contract with there new attorney---- And did they discuss the Budget which was also on the agenda, or any other agenda items ?

    -- Posted by LITTLE DOZER on Tue, Oct 28, 2014, at 6:19 AM
  • A technical correction:

    "Some property owners disagreed.

    "Tom is right; local governments can be more restrictive, but the Supreme Court struck down the voter ID law in Wisconsin because it was too restrictive," said David Bischoff. "You can pass any law you want, but you have passed a more restrictive law, and you can't enforce it." "

    As I understand it, Bischoff was making a point about the BOC passing its own rules and regulations - which it can - which are different from real, legal, valid, actual, laws.

    Hell, any one of you can "pass a regulation" that the sun will now rise in the west. (Please post on how that works our for you.)

    Since HISID is not a REAL city it stands to reason cannot pass any actual laws, they can only pass their own "make believe" rules/regs -------------- which these, the anointed and self proclaimed rulers of Holiday Island, have NO LEGAL POWER TO ENFORCE.

    Now remember; that is ONLY according to the AR ATTORNEY GENERAL and the AR SUPREME COURT, and what could they possible know that our own BOC would not have infinitely more knowledge and experience in ?

    Our own "Attorney Graves" and her loyal lackeys appear to have reached an entirely difference conclusion, and thus the HI monarchy rules supreme.

    -- Posted by Truth or Consequences on Tue, Oct 28, 2014, at 8:56 AM
  • I was at the meeting yesterday and I can tell you Mrs. Bischoff put Tom Morris to shame. She had more actual facts with the paperwork with her to back up her statements. Mr. Morris could only look at Ms. Grave and say he thought what the boc was doing was correct. Several questions were ask of him and his only response was he thought something or the other.It is no wonder Graves wants to keep Morris as the attorney.

    -- Posted by property owner on Tue, Oct 28, 2014, at 9:14 AM
  • One BOC member openly voiced his disappointment that I hard raised the issue of the BOC failing to notice the second listed property owner on the deed (more often women than men) when they are required by Statute to notice "each" property owner. I found the BOC's past practice not only to be outside the State Statute but also to be a policy of openly minimizing women property owners and openly putting men property owners ahead of women property owners.

    It should be no surprise that only one women is a BOC member. Listen to recorded meeting for exact details. The BOC member talked about what he called my "number five" -- unwilling to even voice my written complaint in the meeting.

    "Each" in the Statute means "every" homeowner needs to be sent a notice. If not, the election can't be legal. Sometimes the second listed homeowner is not a husband and wife. Sometimes it is another family member.

    HISID had a chance to address and resolve this issue when I first raised it, at the time my husband got his Notice in the mail. It has now been raised first in e-mail and second at the BBOC meeting.

    It appears to me that the BOC supports an effort to disenfranchise voters in Holiday Island. If someone is disabled and is not current on their assessment or utility bill, the BOC meeting made it clear that they will be denied the right to vote. That is a POLL TAX unless HISID is a "club" instead of a "government."

    As I understand the BOC comments, if your water bill is not paid you can be denied a right to vote in the election of BOC members, BOC members who wrote the regulations about voting.

    I believe that State of Arkansas needs to step in and protect voters from the Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District Board of Commissions written voting laws which has instituted a POLL TAX which they have now determined to leave in place.

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Tue, Oct 28, 2014, at 9:34 AM
  • Very sad article you posted.

    The BOC has welcomed me to Holiday Island by:

    1. Saying in the BOC meeting, if people don't like things at Holiday Island they should move.

    2. Openly making fun of the issue I raised for the meeting, and not even telling folks what it was but calling it my "number five" in the meeting.

    3. Requiring a poll tax (that I be current on assessments in order to vote.)

    If board members do not like it that we, the homeowners, express ourselves about their actions, then perhaps they should LEAVE the board.

    Roxie Howard

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Tue, Oct 28, 2014, at 4:41 PM
  • I applaud all those at the meeting and especially those taking the podium. This is some of my observations.

    1. 3 member of the board had already made up they're mind, not to allow an exception for Tom Dees. They were so quick with they're no vote, it would seem they had discussed prior to the meeting.

    We all know discussing anything outside of a called meeting violates SID "Rules & Regulations".

    2. I am in agreement that the paying of water bill and assessment in order to vote, violates election laws, and would be considered a poll tax!

    I believe these BOC election rules were aimed at Tom Dees, knowing full well of how dirty they did him when he assumed turned back lots to help sell, then the BOC tried to collect assessments from him.

    3. 3 Commissioners on that board should be removed. They have come to a point that even they believe they are unstoppable.

    Makidon, telling everyone not to vote for Grudik.

    Brown, telling everyone to move if they don't like it here. What he fails to understand, it isn't H.I. people don't like, it's him.

    Grave, saying I don't know why everyone wants to sue us. She said we were suing ourselves, but I would tell her, not if criminal wrongdoing is found.

    Kelly wanting to acquire a loan, thinking everyone would be sucked in.

    The loan then would give them the ability to raise assessments to the maximum for that year.

    Graves is already yelping, "raise the water/wastewater bills.

    This election is already set in place and the deck has been stacked. They took care of Mr. Dees and they will keep adding to they're rules until only those they approve can run for the BOC.

    I hope the church stays out of this election that cost another candidate the last election....or so it is rumored.

    The continued money drain by the golfing facilities is increasing with purchases, repairs or lease of equipment not needed until the deficit has been reduced.

    Why in the world do we need a golf pro? A receptionist could do the same job at a much lessor salary. The more then $100,000 dollars rumored to be Mr. Stories salary and perks. He denies it, but lets see his IRS filing for the last few years. Of course his job isn't about being a pro, it's about being buddies to those golfer wanting they're playpen protected. So with 3 members of the board and pressure from the Old Coots (Mr. Browns Group) and others his job is secure.

    The biggest travesty of any board since Mr. Dees turned over Holiday Island is about to occur. The rules regarding elections. In my opinion they will have those on the BOC they wanted in just a few short days, and they know no one can stop it.

    How sad such a beautiful community with so many nice people are being held captive

    -- Posted by Concerned Person on Tue, Oct 28, 2014, at 8:55 PM
  • The Arkansas Supreme Court clearly stated, only days before the meeting, that there FOUR requirements in the Arkansas Constitution for voting -- and that voter ID was not included. Guess what? Being current on assessments is not included too. HISID's imposing of voting restrictions is not supported by the Arkansas Supreme Court or the Arkansas Constitution. HISID's bullying homeowners is immoral. The BOC members have tried to restricting voting. They should resign.

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Tue, Oct 28, 2014, at 9:02 PM
  • GRAVE's MUST GO AND MAKE IT PAINFUL. SHE IS A TOTAL WASTE OF EVERYTHING.

    Why vote it will just be another F'ing golfie.

    After Graves comment:

    Chairman Linda Graves said, "I think that if we do this, we set a precedent that if people don't want to follow the rules, we'll get sued. We could get sued either way."

    I wish someone would sure her and put her in her place.

    -- Posted by roger40 on Wed, Oct 29, 2014, at 12:40 PM
  • Above should have read:

    I wish someone would SUE her and put her in her place.

    -- Posted by roger40 on Wed, Oct 29, 2014, at 1:14 PM
  • Quoting roger40: "Chairman Linda Graves said, "I think that if we do this, we set a precedent that if people don't want to follow the rules, we'll get sued. We could get sued either way.""

    It was the BOC who did not follow the rules - not Mr. Dees. The rules for voting in a SID are set by Statute. The BOC had an obligation to follow those laws. Those statutes say that a homeowner may nominate one person. The Statute places no conditions on the nomination. The BOC is in error to believe they codify restrictions on voting rights.

    Just this month an Arkansas Supreme Court Opinion made it clear that even the State Legislature cannot add additional requirements for voting.

    Anyone wishing to file a complaint about an election is able to file it at the State Board of Election Commissioners in Little Rock, Arkansas. The complaint form is available online. You can file the complaint for free.

    The homeowners are not powerless and the BOC is not the great and powerful Oz.

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Wed, Oct 29, 2014, at 3:32 PM
  • O.K.

    Here's the deal.

    Everybody wants someone else either sue or file a complaint against the boc, but you don't want to be the one. This cannot be a few people fighting the system. WE have to be united. I for one have been sitting on my backside applauding what the Bischoffs did. I finally attended a meeting of the boc. It is NOW time for all property owners who are not happy to step up to the plate or SHUT UP. Do not set back and tell someone else what needs to be done. I am willing to have a meeting at my house or where ever to start something. If you really want to make a change GET INVOLVED. I know it is a problem for non residents, but please make an effort. It is your property and your rights being stomped on.

    -- Posted by property owner on Wed, Oct 29, 2014, at 6:07 PM
  • I have just been informed that the Election Commissioners in Little Rock may not do SID elections, only State and Federal. Folks can contact me.

    Being held hostage by the BOC needs to end. They are supposed to represent the homeowners not bully them.

    Roxie Howard

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Wed, Oct 29, 2014, at 7:16 PM
  • Roxie,

    Welcome to Holiday Island!!! It's so nice for Mr. Dees to have a new audience; same story for MANY years...........Hope you and your husband enjoyed your visit with Mr. Dees today. As close as it was to noon, too bad he didn't take you to lunch or did he?

    All you geniuses in these comments are so amusing. Mr. Dees himself used to stand and proclaim what idiots Eureka Springs were for their meetings. I guess he wants to one up them so he has orchestrated what self edifying chaos he can.

    As you posted on October 28th:

    The four qualifications:

    (1) U.S. Citizen

    (2) An Arkansas Resident

    (3) Eighteen years of age

    (4) Lawfully registered to vote in the election before voting in an Arkansas election.

    "These four qualifications set forth in our state's constitution simply do not include any proof-of-identity requirement." Arkansas Supreme Court.

    HISID's false belief presented at the meeting that they ADD voting requirements so long as they do not conflict with Arkansas law appears to fail the test here.

    I think you need to get busy and contact Carroll County Election Commission to conduct the BOC election!!! Now, do you want the whole state of Arkansas included, or do you want to restrict it to the voting district that includes Holiday Island and Beaver. Get ready because NRHIPropertyOwner will probably be the first of many to blast you for excluding Holiday Island property owners living outside Arkansas and maybe the Holiday Island voting district. NRHIPropertyOwner will be VERY upset since he resides in Missouri and more than likely is not a registered Arkansas voter.

    Keep up your public display of ridiculousness------we outside Holiday Island LOVE the entertainment!!! Keep thinking the day will come when the naysayer group will get laryngitis or one/all of your small commenting group will grow some balls and run for commissioner; guess it's easier to sit on your computer and type, type, type and complain, complain, complain!!

    Keep coming up with brilliant solutions. I am amazed that people would honestly think someone who has not paid Carroll County taxes (check it out online) and at best was delinquent on his Holiday Island tax is your choice for a solution.

    -- Posted by QUITURBITCHINHI on Wed, Oct 29, 2014, at 7:34 PM
  • QUITURBITCHINHI - Thank you for multi-jurisdictional update. I can see why expensive law suits are the way things get done when folks are unable or unwilling to sit down reason together.

    I was not aware that Mr. Dees taxes were unpaid.

    It is nice to know people keep track of my whereabouts. If I get lost, someone will be able to help me.

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Wed, Oct 29, 2014, at 8:14 PM
  • QUITCHURBITITCHINHI

    First of all let me explain to you I don't give a **** whether Mr Dees has paid his County taxes. I care only what is happening at H.I. I have a feeling you sir or madam that you do not even own property here. At least there are people that are concerned enough to at least try to come to some kind of solution. If all you have to do is spy on people then you need to run for the board. They need "people" like yourself.I will be glad to meet you in person and continue this conversation. If you cannot contribute something intelligent don't try. There are property owners trying to get some things changed whether it is good or bad we will be the ones to suffer.

    -- Posted by property owner on Wed, Oct 29, 2014, at 9:07 PM
  • roxielynn

    Let me apologize for some of the people in the Ozarks we are not all like Quitchurbitchitin.

    -- Posted by property owner on Wed, Oct 29, 2014, at 9:13 PM
  • property owner,

    Thank you. I have discovered some very nice people.

    Mr. Dees, who I did see briefly today, has never once been rude to me. He did show me some written history of Holiday Island. I like nature, and I like history. His wife was also kind to me the day I went to her rummage sale. (I guess no one was stalking me that day since no one wrote publicly about my whereabouts that day.)

    Perhaps someone should set up a Holiday Island blog so nice folks have a place to come together and share their experiences.

    I went past the Welfare Office today -- I mean the Country Club -- where golfers get welfare from homeowners paying assessments while roads in need of work do not get paved. The BOC appears to openly support the welfare system with deficit spending. They defiantly tell homeowners if they don't like it -- to move. They appear arrogant and high-minded.

    Roxie Howard

    -- Posted by roxielynn on Wed, Oct 29, 2014, at 10:15 PM
  • -- Posted by roxielynn on Thu, Oct 30, 2014, at 6:32 PM
  • It has become very obvious that an organization needs to be started to follow the actions of the BOC, understand the state statutes, and take actions to pressure the board or replace them. This will take the efforts of several people to start such an organization and some money for website development and hosting. Once an organization is available and has a decent sized membership, we can take action as a group. I'm afraid this is the only way we can salvage what is left of HI and the investment we have made there. I would be willing to help if others have a similar interest.

    -- Posted by Larryh on Sat, Nov 1, 2014, at 12:01 PM
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