Monthly Archives: September 2014

Parking Lot Closing: Communication Suggestion

2014 09 Lot Close

(Click on photo to enlarge-thank you again for your submissions)

As owners who come and go frequently, it would be helpful to be informed in an equal manner as owners and residents at the property, when the lot will be closed. Many owners have physical limitations that if they were to arrive, uninformed, could cause difficulty if unable to drive to their building.  An email notification or website posting would be appreciated and shouldn’t be too difficult.

At the last meeting on 9/9/14, less than 30 persons were in the clubhouse, and considering joint owners, less than 20 units represented. Regular communication using technology is free, fast, efficient and in 2014, could and should be used. It would not eliminate the requirement to post on buildings in prescribed timeframes, but would serve the majority of owners as an enhancement.

The board and management company are aware that only 30 or so units are occupied full time; all owners deserve to be kept informed whether at VLC or not.   IMHO.

Regarding the Parking Lot: We still want to know how $23,000 was in, and remains in the General Ledger reserve balances while owners were charged $14,500 as part of the 2014 Special Assessment. No answer from the board or Sentry Mgmt. At least we know we have the funds for the next time the paving is needed! 


If you aren’t at the property, you wouldn’t know…

New traffic rules for buildings 1125 through 1141 have been issued and posted.  Again, we were present for the 9/9/14 board meeting and this was not discussed nor voted on. Hopefully, we will all remember to heed the changes, though “ticketing” is probably not enforceable. Can the Domino’s delivery driver be issued a VIOLATION? Thank you to the photographer for sharing:

2014 09 Safety Alert VLC

Special Assessment, Betterment Fee or Desperate Fundraiser?

2014 09 28 Update:  As expected, no response has been made by the BOD or have the minutes where the vote for the back bill for 2013 identified. Besides, it is only the Huttons asking and they are a nuisance!  Well, prior to asking, of course we reviewed minutes posted to the Sentry document repository, and found July minutes which didn’t include any vote on the billing and there was no August meeting; we were present for the September which we recorded and posted and no vote was taken there.

So, there was not any BOD vote or discussion with owners present, but who cares?  The majority of owners voted for the BOD so following rules and procedures shouldn’t matter, right?

2014 09 21 Water Billing Questions

The link above is a letter emailed to the board members and CAM Lucia Stiles with questions many are asking. It is clear that despite statements of “best financial position”, we are broke. The idea to back-bill for the period of June through December 2013 is ludicrous, whether the water and sewer fixed cost allocation was fair or not. (again, we agree that it was not fair, also know no malice was intended when billing was set up but were not given the information last year by the board as it was hush hush and agreed to not discuss with the outsiders/uh owners).

The current board has floundered and acts as more of a sales team than knowlegable business persons, operating a small not for profit. Projecting a positive image, professionalism, unity, and also trashing the repuations of the Huttons will not reduce expenses nor generate additional funds. Last year, it was the “former property manager”. Honest and intelligent evaluation of our current position and adherence to the statutes and governing documents will. To accopmplish this, many changes need to be made of board members and management.  We believe VLC association has owners possessing the skills and backgrounds to serve.

Projection, not prediction: There will be another Special Assessment or Dues Increase for 2015 as we continue to mismanaged. We are looking forward to the board’s justification of the recent Special Assessment by another name; especially the minutes for the meeting this was passed from. Check back.



VLC Board Meeting 9/9/2014 Part 1 of 3

In 3 parts, we have posted the video/audio for the most recent BOD meeting as in our opinions, should always be posted to a VLC run website. Present for the meeting were 28 owners in total, including us and the BOD members seated.  Of those, some were married couples meaning about 16-17 units were represented.  One of the problems noted is the blanket acceptance of what is orally stated at meetings, without further explanation.

We first noted that the new BOD member, Ms. Carol Nelson (who appears to be sharp) was seated at the table prior to any BOD vote being initiated and taken, as if previously agreed to.  (not a big deal but further indicator meetings are not to discuss and debate issues and problems, but presentations)  Next, an owner we’ll call “Mr. G” asked if the BOD knew the meeting was being recorded and is that allowed.  The CAM and BOD stated it was. Many owners have not read the statutes and/or governing docs, or have difficulty with the language, which include owners rights to record.

During the meeting, the small group was told that VLC is in the best financial position in a long time. The discussion of elevator repair and only being billed for half was first attributed by Mr. Aliperti to the CAM for her “negotiating skills”.  A correction was added that we will be billed for the full amount (cash flow is the problem). The lack of any finality on the meters was attributed to “waffling” of the lawyers. For the past year, this group has been made aware that a separate and credentialed attorney disagreed and her opinion was confirmed by one we consulted with. Meanwhile, some are benefitting slightly with subsidized water/sewer and all have been billed an additional $1,600 to $1,700 in 2014. Our FREE WATER and SEWER is not really a benefit for many who like us, use their condo for vacations, maybe 40 to 60 days per year.

The recent bill that went out was stated as being “fair”; fair to go backwards to a prior year to reallocate the billing for water and the fixed costs related and that no owners had objected so far. That isn’t what we were told from owners who contacted us – in fact one stated they would pay the usage that wasn’t billed (and isn’t accurate anyway using a monthly estimate taken May or July 2014, not 12/31/13) and was told not to worry about the $20 per month. How bills can be issued backwards, while not billing based on the (illegal?) water amendment is baffling.  It is an assessment, another “Special Assessment”. to try to balance the deficit. If not called one, it seems there isn’t any basis to force anyone to pay this while calling the amendment illegal.

Also, the statement regarding “an owner” challenging the election, which you cannot 60 days after…….never happened. What was requested was to see the ballot supposedly submitted by former property manager, for our unit. Never happened. We have the ONE ballot, pre-printed; he never tried to vote for us. We gave him a POA form, and a proxy for the audit.  That is it. If he were directed to sign the “sign-in” sheet in error, that would be the fault of whomever was volunteering.  It is beyond ridiculous to hear these statements (which are false and stupid) repeated, and know our finances are in the hands of those making them.

As for the limiting of information requests:  It should not be difficult to obtain actual financial info and no policies are in place or forms to request.  Instead, the statutes and docs state we are entitled to review it, as we are ALL equal owners. Instead, past and present BODs have denied information, using attorneys and property managers to do so. (Just accept what we tell you-you elected us!)  Prior to our September visit, I requested the updated legal bills and was provided what appear to be partial.  The response from the CAM was that a cert letter had to be sent. That is NOT what the statutes and docs say. Instead of the BOD studying them, it seems from the meeting the attorneys were consulted again (paid) and the BOD advised to not make any changes at this time.

Regarding the Treasurer’s report: We were impressed by Ms. Nelson for asking the CAM to allow the Treasurer, Mr. Weber to read it prior to her commentary. The numbers Mr. Weber read would lead most of those present to think our finances are great! We have over $225k cash between our 2 accounts! Now what is on the books for reserves? What Special Assessment projects are not done, or return of reserves (35k) not complete?  What bills are being held back (like the unbilled elevator repair); what amount is tenant security deposits, accounts payable, etc…The first and large insurance payment will be due prior to 10/1/14 also. It is more than just the checks written and not cashed that affect the true 8/31/14 balance, such as in my estimated analysis of 3/31 and 5/31.  As for the year end deficit number; that is why we need a FINANCE COMMITTEE. I know we have several degreed accountants and finance persons who are owners and could be reviewing the actual cash position right now; expected amount to recover from Accounts Receivables (review Safe Harbor law) and in the process of preparing the 2015 budget; determining whether another “Special Assessment” will be needed, dues increase, year end expectation, etc.

Hope the sound is okay;  we don’t want to watch it again.

Cape Coral Dining: September 2014

Last night we enjoyed a fabulous, casual dinner at First Round Draught on Del Prado.  Pop was in the mood for meatloaf and mashed potatoes and his meal did not disappoint. We shared the Ahi Tuna rare,  one order of hot wings and their bruschetta. Very noisy there, but glad to see them doing well in the off-season. Too many restaurants have gone out of business since we first came here in 2005.

Tomorrow night, we hope to visit another favorite, Ariani’s and see the effervescent Chef Dario.  Besides loving the murals painted by Chef Dario, along the walls, depicting his home country of Croatia, we love his linguini with white clam sauce, chopped spinach, escargot, and staff. One of our favorite servers, Alex (below with dark hair, with Jim) has been studying toward becoming a doctor and will be an excellent one with his people skills and intelligence.



We have been fans of Red’s on Pine Island also and took our son Rob for dinner, his last night before leaving for Afghanistan with the Army (2 years ago).  Thankfully, he returned safely home after completing his Army time.  The 25 cent oyster special between 4 and 6 at the bar was discontinued one year ago and arriving in time to compete for a seat, to have the special was part of the fun. We have found a new oyster restaurant, where they are not a quarter but it is closer and they make smoked mullet spread.


Sakura Japanese restaurant has been one of our favorites for sushi over the past few years. We had a terrific evening there in March, with Rob’s fiance’ Brittany and her family who were visiting from Prince Edward Island.  We wondered why it was so empty and the family was gathered in the back as we were leaving a little before 9, and we were told by our server they were closing early for a family crisis.  On our way out the door, we noticed everything in the bar was covered with plastic (preparation for extermination) and Rob noted a couple “critters” running around the register area, unconcerned by our presence. It was extremely funny to us all as we now knew why we had the place to ourselves, but my uneaten and packaged sushi went directly to the dumpster.  Our chef for the evening was hysterical and we will return again – though we will tell the owners they should have said “don’t come” that night when we telephoned for a reservation.  Below is an example of what can happen if you try sake for the first time or insult the chef, or both. IMG_1923IMG_1920





A beautiful Saturday at our condo….9/6/2014

We arrived last night around midnite to our condo, bringing  Jim’s Father Blair with us for his first visit. It was actually his first commercial air travel. His last airplane trip was to Korea and not pleasurable.  The exit gate to the community was in the open position as we had been told it was for at least one week now and remained so as of Sunday.

Our 1996 Lincoln Town Car was Blair’s prior to his gifting it to us to keep here in Florida. It has only 80,000 miles and will likely last for another 100,000 or so. Since being here, our bumper was damaged by someone backing in to it while in our spot, one side scratch from a auto car wash on Del Prado, but otherwise a great car.

We laughed to find this sticker with Parking Police Captain, Rick Aliperti’s name on it:  IMG_2329

Inoperable?  Our car is registered, insured and it is OUR SPOT.  A book of rules that was mailed out a few years ago, described unsightly cars.  That was laughable too. BOD: You have NO RIGHT to tow our legal vehicle from our spot, for low tires.  It did need a wash and Jim took it to Downtowners, after re-inflating our tires which were low from sitting unused for 3 months.  It is looking beautiful now and as one owner described it: Tony Soprano-ish. (New Jersey, HBO show on Mob if not known-we are Jersey)


Next we took a look around the property as we were told furniture had been dumped for the past 2 weeks outside 1109.  Not a great photo but you can get the “picture”  It was a hospital bed, mattresses and a table. Not our décor or we might have dragged it home.  🙂  We’re heading out to AT&T today to replace my Iphone with the new model which takes amazing photos and video which we will test out Tuesday.


At the elevator, a notice for a 9/9/14 at 8:30 am, board meeting was posted.   As in the past few years, no notice for owners not at the property has been made and the association sticks with the minimum requirement under the laws in Florida: 48 hours notice posted on the property.  It is a ghost town here now (which has always been when we loved it the most) and I checked the “Sentry Website” which is really only a payment portal with some uploaded docs – not posted on there. Some owners have told me they are flexible and would come to VLC for meetings, if they were aware of the scheduling.  We can upgrade/improve our own condo docs to include widespread notification, if BOD members wanted to.  The agenda is as follows: IMG_2330

Sorry for fuzzy. Will replace picture when I have the new camera phone. Included is the appointment of the new BOD member, which we hope will be a legal owner. Also, a discussion on how owners can request information. As many know, 3 times I have requested financial information (which is our right to review!). The first time, I was required to send a certified letter and the responses from Ms. Lucia Stiles were that it was all client privileged. (After paying Jason Himschoot $1,352 to block my obtaining-see legal bill detail). The 2nd was in May 2014 when I was a BOD member and Rick Aliperti and Ms. Stiles would not authorize my receiving copies of legal  bills (which are our right to review-I repeat). She required a certified letter and then provided. Mr. Aliperti then supposedly wrote the Infamous “Public Notice” which will be addressed. It was emailed to owners by his supporter, Marguerite Kisner, using her email address. Strange? Yes.

I requested the legal bills prior to this trip and was again told to do a cert letter and that I must copy all BOD members on communications to Ms. Stiles, as that is the “proper” request method. I asked Ms. Stiles and the BOD to direct us to the section in our docs or the statutes that dictates this. What is addressed is the association cannot DENY the info if a cert letter is sent – not that one must be used to request. Ms. Stiles then sent me some of the legal bills. (Hence the Tuesday discussion on how owners must request info on our agenda)  I also suggested they could be posted to the Sentry website (portal) but don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.

Not included were legal bills dated in July and August, nor with detail of the late June continuing discussion with Richard Deboest, Esq from late June. Maybe it was free again?  We will likely have to send a cert letter to ensure we received ALL, not some.  It’s okay though, USPS needs the revenue and we like to throw more money away to stay on top of our finances, right?  Not. The games of “you don’t need to know” continue while trash sits outside a building for 2 weeks, our car sticker was clearly a pathetic harassment attempt and the “security” gate remains broken and open.

If the spirit moves us, we will video the Tuesday meeting and figure out how to establish and link a Youtube posting.  We aren’t Youtube users, but it is free to upload and a suggestion I made in Feb 2014 that received kudos from Mr. Aliperti, but never utilized.  Yet.  Trying to move us forward in to the 2000’s, with technology and communications.  (Not going too well yet)





Current Pres: Rick Aliperti (Updated 10/14/14 – Part 1)

Jim and I had not met Mr. Rick Aliperti prior to Mar 24th, 2014 in person and knew little about him. Jim remembered his visits to Van Loon in painter type clothing and we were aware that his daughter lived there full time and that he had been on the ballot for board election in early 2013 also. He and his wife live full time in Cape Coral and we were told that Mr. Aliperti attended Saturday morning coffee gatherings most weeks at the clubhouse. We reviewed his candidate statement which described him as a battery salesman, and in sales for 30 years or so.

Rick and I had a brief email exchange prior to the election which was insignificant and no opinion of him was formed. Immediately after the 1/28/14, Mr. Aliperti began requesting telephone conversations with me, stating he had a lot of “windshield time”. I don’t and do not enjoy telephone talk, nor like to chat when driving. I agreed to an evening conversation and spent the first 10 minutes being lectured that if “you continue you will destroy the community and Section 8 will take over and the values will go down” and on and on. He also bragged about how good he was with his money and that he paid cash for his condo but had an underwater mortgage too.

Jim was present and could hear most of his statements.  I asked Mr. Aliperti if knew what we paid for our condo. He stated too much.  Yes, and therefore we have all the reason to work to get rid of waste and poor management, don’t we?

I asked him what he knew about the Water Meter cancelation by past president Kisner, the budget being underfunded, the deficit, Chapter 718, or non profit accounting. He admitted nothing. I then asked who he thought he was to telephone me, someone he had never met, who had done her homework and tell her what she should do, pursue, not do.   In a nutshell, he was opposed to my suggestion of having a background check for board members – stated no one would run for the board. Why not? Board members have complete control over finances, operate without notifying all owners of meetings, changes, methods. I volunteered to have my credit, credentials offered.  After discussing one board member whose background was “inflated”, he stated he could not work with a person like me and would resign.  This was Jan 2014.   He didn’t.

Resignation plan #2. 2014_03_27_Input_of_150_and_Million_dollar_resign.  The attached email illustrates the arrogance which has been in all of our correspondence.

Jim and I had flown home to New Jersey the day prior to the election and were returning Feb 1. The reorganization meeting was scheduled for Feb 1 and I had prepared information to bring, as it is my belief all owners were entitled to know what had happened with the Water Meters, the budget and the deficit. At 11:30 am, I received an email the meeting had been canceled for 1:00 pm.  I learned from other owners that it had been decided to cancel it on Jan 31st, though no one felt it was important to inform me.

Mr. Aliperti telephoned the former property manager two days later after I would not answer a telephone call from him. He asked the former manager if he would like to return to the property and the manager emailed me that I should speak with Mr. Aliperti.  I spoke with him by phone and he was proud to tell me he had canceled the Feb 1, Sat meeting.  He then proceeded to tell me about his successful work selling golf cart batteries for commission only and that we needed to know if the water meters from Master Meter, were “the best in the business”. Yes, they are and they were also paid for, and the replacement/repair zero cost. If in another 10 years, you wish to go shopping,  knock yourself out!  Our association was broke, had been overbilled in some areas for 2013, didn’t collect thousands of dollars in water and free and immediate was best in VLC business.

We were returning to New Jersey for our children, my full time job as a Revenue Agent/auditor and our homes, rental property, etc on Feb 5th. Guess what date the meeting was rescheduled for?  Feb 6th at 1:00 pm. I requested it be moved to 5:00 or so, to allow me to attend by Skype or phone. Pam Decraene replied that they decided to keep it at 1:00pm. Not attended: Cathy Hutton #1.

Many suggestions were submitted by me, most pressing for an immediate review of the budget which by Feb was clearly not sufficient. After firing the maintenance man though in Nov 13, the cleaning is way under budget! Other suggestions were to open communications to all through a website and that email communications discussing VLC business by board members and the property manager, were owner business. I established a separate email address for use when 2 or more board members (a quorum with me) to be used, and not any of my personal accounts. Mr. Aliperti established a new account also.

Within the first few weeks, it seemed to me that Mr. Aliperti either did not understand the water meter issue or was dragging the process out as long as possible, with the assistance of CAM Lucia Stiles and Pam Decraene.  Paul Weber and Brenda Hallihan were in support of individual meters prior to the election but the waters were muddied with confusing information spread. A Water Committee was selected from among full timers, or winter residents by Mr. Aliperti to make recommendations.    As I complained that the process was being dragged out and making the situation worse, while increasing legal fees (review posted legal bills-exhausted or nearly exhausted 2014 budget of 6k for the year by thee lection meeting), Mr. Aliperti wrote slam emails about me and continued to complain that I would not call him by phone. 2014_02_15_RA_Cathy_wont_call_me.  He also dictated that questions from me must be sent in advance, which contradicted statements that phone calls were best, as emails could mislead. 2014_02_07_Submit_questions_in_advance_to_Aliperti.  Most persons we know prefer to put things in writing.

Prior to owner meetings in late February, Aliperti and Decraene notified other board members that they had solved the issue together. Mr. Aliperti declared that canceling the water meter contract in Nov 13 (planned since April 2013 per Ms. Kisner’s emails with no replacement company contracted ).   2014 02 16 Rick and Pam solved_Big House.

Mr. Aliperti, through Pam Decraene requested and received a written opinion from the attorneys Feb 20th stating that the existing water amendment was illegal, to include in presentations at a Feb 26th special meeting  (I was not informed of the Feb 26th meeting by Aliperti – not attended-Cathy Hutton again)  and a Feb 27th board meeting.  2014_02_17_Need_Attorney_Letter.  The opinion was provided (more legal bills) 2014_02_20_Legal Opinions and Mr. Aliperti and Ms. Decraene presided over the meetings, with Ms. Decraene making a presentation that clearly convinced those present of the evil intentions and incompetence of the terminated water billing company and former property manager.  Copies of bills from 2012 water usage were passed out ( she purchased in April 2013 and obtained – legal fees were paid to block my request for 2013 bills in 2013. ??? )  The bills showed at least 3 meters running backwards.   Jim and I have a son who is a New Jersey water meter technician and presented to the board, an article posted on the meter manufacturer’s website, and other articles on how meters can be turned backwards.   Please google “Leesport Case Study from Master Meter” if interested.  Meters are sealed for a reason and when a meter is counting down, not up, read up on how this occurs.

Mr. Aliperti sent in writing, to owners, that I was accusing owners of stealing water.  Sigh……..Meter seals to be discussed later.  I like to stick to the facts; hence not one on one phone calls.

See Part 2……