HROA Election - Starwood's Parting Gift

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George Schiro

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Oct 20, 2017, 7:32:32 PM10/20/17
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Does the recent HROA election in Harmony make sense to you? It did to me, until I received a screenshot from someone on facebook (see 1st attachment). I took a snapshot myself from within the HROA manager's office (see 2nd attachment). As you can see, they both show the same handwritten ballot totals. Together they tell an interesting story.

I also hand counted votes from Starwood(78) and from Meritage Homes(61). All of these developer votes (139 total) were designated for these 3 people exclusively:

    Steve Berube

    Jeanine Corcoran

    Jason Meisel

In other words, the former developer and its #1 builder in Harmony filled-out their ballots together - exactly the same way - 139 times.

Here are the total votes (from the attachments):

                        Dev  Res

    Steve Berube        237   98

    Jeanine Corcoran    255  116

    Samuel Flores        94   94

    Kerul Kassel        133  133

    Kenneth LeCompte      3    3

    Jason Meisel        149   10

    Richard Wachter     126  126

    Cynthia Wagner        9    9

    Oraine Williams     103  103

 

The "Dev" column includes developer votes. The "Res" column includes votes from people who actually live here.

Top 3 (by developer):

                        Dev  Res

    Jeanine Corcoran    255  116

    Steve Berube        237   98

    Jason Meisel        149   10

 

Top 3 (by residents):

                        Dev  Res

    Kerul Kassel        133  133

    Richard Wachter     126  126

    Jeanine Corcoran    255  116

 

Obviously, the developer and its builder colluded on this election to get "their" folks seated in Harmony, contrary to the will of the people. But who are their folks and why?

I don't know Jason Meisel, but I was among the 10 Harmony residents who voted for him.

I don't know Jeanine Corcoran either, but apparently many of my neighbors do.

I do know Steve Berube. I know he's been involved with the Harmony CDD for a long time now. I also know Berube tried to get elected to the HROA previously. Perhaps the developer didn't vote that time (Berube lost).

From Steve Berube's own bio (see 3rd attachment):

    Appointed to Harmony Community
    Development District (CDD) in 2009

Who appointed Berube to the CDD in 2009? That would be Starwood, the now former Harmony developer.

So, by casting its 139 votes, Starwood has once again appointed Steve Berube to another board in Harmony. Should we wonder why? What is it about Steve Berube that Starwood likes so much? Could it be that Berube has consistently voted with the developer and perhaps less so with Harmony residents over the many years he has been involved with the Harmony CDD? As it left Harmony, it looks like Starwood gave Steve Berube a "thank you" gift.

Also from Berube's bio:

    As such, I have been a steady attendee at nearly every
    CDD and HROA meeting held here since I became a
    resident, and over time, came to sit on both boards
    gaining years of experience and insight over more than
    a decade here. I remain the only resident to have sat
    on both of your local government boards.

    If elected, I will hit the ground running and use my
    experience to maintain Harmony as the premier community
    it has become.

Berube repeatedly touted his years of experience as a board member, yet when asked very specific and pointed questions about HROA fees by one of our mutual neighbors, Justin Kramer, Berube seemed to stumble.

Kramer started with:

    I was going through the minutes of HOA meetings and I
    can't find an instance where you voted against a fee. I
    could have sworn that you had at some point but the
    only instances of fee increases I can find, your vote
    is in favor, even proposing a fee on the Design
    Applications.

This was the beginning of a very lengthy exchange posted on facebook between Kramer and Berube (Kramer also posted a link to the full 3 page exchange in the Harmony Nextdoor group. It's since been removed and its author would seem to prefer that it not be made public. If anyone would like to see the full document, ask Justin Kramer. I also have a copy available upon request.)

Kramer and Berube went back and forth at length with Kramer even providing several excerpts from CPA reports and HROA bylaws showing how Starwood apparently skirted its obligation to Harmony residents.

Berube's final response:

    I wish you would have brought this to my attention
    previously as I would have gotten into it-which I will
    now. If accurate, getting the Developer to honor that
    obligation might be challenging.

And Kramer concludes:

    I think in the end, it is concerning that you have
    looked at these budgets, voted on these budgets, and
    are asking to continue to do so without understanding
    these budgets or the rules of the HOA fully. You are
    wishing that I had brought this up earlier but I am
    wishing that board members would have understood this
    before voting to increase my and your fees and thus
    enriching the developer by reducing their fees.

Although I personally voted for Jason Meisel, I think he should do the right thing and step down from the HROA board. I'm sure he doesn't want to be known as someone who had overwhelming support only from the former developer of Harmony while those with far more support from residents were intentionally sidelined from the HROA by the developer.

Likewise, Steve Berube should also step down and let Kerul Kassel and Richard Wachter take their rightful places on the HROA board.

Unless Berube wants to be forever remembered as someone who stood alone with the developer and against the will of the people in Harmony, he should do the right thing, right away.

 

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Steve Berube.pdf
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