AJ McCormac Full Board Hearing

This information is being published because of member interest in the issue:

AJ McCormac Full Board Hearing

Many Sudden Valley members have had questions about Ms. McCormac’s responsibility for citations issued to her tenant. The bylaws state in Article VI, Section 7. Leasing . . . All occupants of any such lot, by occupying the lot, agree to abide by, and be subject to, all provisions of the Restrictive Covenants, these Bylaws and the Rules and Regulations of the Association, use restrictions, fines, penalties, or injunctive relief promulgated pursuant thereto by the Association or the Board, which govern the conduct of owners and which provide for sanctions against owners, notwithstanding the absence of any such agreement of the tenant set forth in such tenant’s lease agreement.

In other words, tenants are required to conform to Sudden Valley’s Rules and Regulations and violations may result in sanctions against the owner of the property.

The pertinent section in the Rules and Regulations is Section 1.1.4 The property owner shall be responsible for any fine, assessment or penalty levied against him/herself or any family member, tenant, invitee, guest or agent, and shall be mailed written notice of such infractions to their current address of record.

The preceding makes it very clear that Ms. McCormac is responsible for payment of citations issued to her tenant which were issued in violation of the Rules and Regulations.

Ms. McCormac’s tenant was issued 3 citations for speeding, failure to provide information when he was stopped, and obstruction. A fourth citation, considered an extraordinary fine, which was issued to the tenant, was not Ms. McCormac’s responsibility. When Security subsequently learned where he lived, they sent the citations to his address. There was no response to the letters, and so a copy of the notice of violation was sent to Ms. McCormac who is the owner of record of that property.

The tenant appealed his fine and received a hearing by a three member panel of the Board. This panel reduced his fine. He then opted for an appeals hearing before the full Board, minus the three Board members who had heard the original appeal. The tenant didn’t show up for that hearing so the reduced fine was upheld.

Separately, Ms. McCormac appealed the 3 citations that were her responsibility as owner of the property at which the tenant resides. This three member appeals panel, not hearing any new evidence, upheld the citations and fines.

Ms. McCormac then asked for a full Board appeal, which was heard minus the three Board members who had sat on the first appeal. This second appeal was heard on Thursday January 14, 2016 at 6PM in the Fire House. Ms. McCormac laid out her case by telephone. She spoke for approximately 20 minutes and called no witnesses. The Sudden Valley Board then called Sgt. Kevin McFadden of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department. Ms. McCormac then asked Sgt. McFadden a few questions. There has been some confusion about Board members’ questions to Ms. McCormac, one asking if she owned property in

Sudden Valley and two, if Mr. Andrews was her tenant. The Board members asked these questions because Ms. McCormac holds ownership through a corporation and not in her own name. Only the Board members who were part of the panel retired to deliberate in closed session, which is specified in the Appeals Procedures. They deliberated for 35 minutes. They returned for the scheduled Board Work Session at 7:30PM, and then continued their deliberations after the meeting. In all they deliberated for approximately 2 hours before reaching a decision.

The following is a description of the deliberations from one of the Board members on the panel:

The basic tone of the Appeal findings, were that no new evidence was presented and no new witnesses were called. Since Andrews was the original violator, as to the notices of violation issued by SVCA, and McCormac was in Texas at the time and did not a witness the violations, she lacked standing to challenge the validity of the notices of violation. Andrews had received a hearing and requested an Appeal, but did not show to challenge the notices of violation at that opportunity and they were sustained. Once Sgt. Kevin McFadden of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department testified that SVCA Security had legal standing to conduct radar, stop violators, and issue notices of violation, the foundation was laid for the original notices of violation to stand. There was no new evidence offered and the witness, Andrews, again failed to show as a witness. McCormac settled into a personal attack on Sudden Valley and the General Manager, rather than challenging the validity of the notices of violation. The Appeals panel had little choice but to confirm the notices of violation. In the interest of goodwill, two of the three notices of violation were reduced from $100 to $75, with the third notice of violation for speed, kept at the original $75. We also felt that a gesture of goodwill would be to recall the June 10th letter to McCormac, as she seemed enraged by its receipt.

A letter is being sent to Ms. McCormac conveying the panel’s decision.