As you know, I’m currently the Interim Board President and Publicity Chair for Pine Mountain. As crazy as this sounds, I enjoy both positions.
Since July 15th, when the new board was put into place, a lot of the stress, here on the mountain, has disappeared. We have a board that isn’t afraid to make decisions, do research and figure out what’s best for not only Pine Mountain but its residents and landowners. People are volunteering. People are happy. People have come together for the common good. Yea, I know we have a few that have other opinions – that’s ok, it’s their right. Just remember – you can provide someone a magic carpet and they’ll complain about the color and pattern. Don’t let it bother you.
When we took office, we knew a day would come when members of the old board would stand up and fight back. And that day is here. I have to ask: Why? What would be gained to stop production? What would be gained to stop progressing forward? What would be gained….(fill in the blank)?
All I can come up with … is personal gain. And who would personally gain anything to stop the new Interim Board?
I know, these past few months have been a whirlwind of events. The 2016-2017 stopped the annual Membership election – remember, Ray Hollowell was at the helm of our Nominations Committee. Ballots were mailed out. Members voted. Votes came in. Ballots were placed in a sealed envelope and placed in the POA Office safe. Never to be opened. Imagine that! Now, think about that for a moment.
The sitting board refused to step down. The sitting board refused to accept the annual votes. The sitting board refused to attend meetings. Well, except for those meetings that Ray Hollowell wanted an item voted on – in his favor.
Let’s consider for another moment: Ron Phillips was elected as President. As President, he put structure to the monthly meetings. He put order and strategy to every meeting he chaired. People in attendance were extremely pleased because the year before the sitting President’s health prevented him from conducting a ‘proper’ meeting. I believe the only reason we managed to get through that year was because Ron Phillips was Secretary and he kept Max Butler on track – the best he could. But each time I think of our Board of Directors for 2016-2017 – my thoughts go to how GREAT that year started. Then something went wrong – Ron Phillips not only quit, but moved off the mountain. The board spiraled downward completely out of control.
We had board members that were delinquent. We had board members refuse to attend meetings. Remaining board members struggled. It quickly became apparent that not one board member attending the meetings had any idea what our governing documents said. Obviously, not one could refer to any document – not our Articles of Incorporation; our Covenants and Restrictions; our By-Laws and especially the NC Governing Statutes 47F or 55A.
All these documents clearly state – if you do not have a quorum you can legally cut the quorum requirement in half at each meeting until which time you have a quorum to conduct business.
Each and every document states if you do not pay your annual assessment charges (dues) you are not only “not” a member, but you are punished by not being allowed to vote, have privileges or services. And in some cases, disciplinary actions can be charged against you. If you read 47F, you’d read how each person that is faced with a fine or suspension of privileges or services, a hearing shall be held – thus allowing them an opportunity to be heard and to present evidence and receive notice of a decision.
Now remember … I said “It quickly became apparent that not one board member attending the meetings had any idea what our governing documents said.” We do know one board member knew… Ray Hollowell. He purposely called other board members and told them the meeting had been canceled – so they wouldn’t show up. He purposely detained actions that required board approval that would allow Pine Mountain to function. He purposely derailed every avenue that would be a benefit for Pine Mountain. Is there a law against that? I’m glad you asked — yes there is!! 55A-8-31 Director conflict of Interest. Other violations: 55A-8-30; 55A-8-42; 55-8-40; PM By-Laws, Article IX; PM C&R, Part 3, Article I, Section 7 and 55A-8-08.
If you go back a few months – to March – the 3 Board members in attendance, finally agreed with the Town Hall folks to move forward. Once Ron Phillips and Ray Hollowell got wind of this, action was put into place to cancel out, recall, rescind, void, etc. everything that happened in that meeting. They discovered this was a very easy task. But the repercussion came back to bite.
When you understand that any positive action for Pine Mountain was refused, the votes were voided, the sitting, inactive, board refused to leave – the members of Pine Mountain decided it was time to take matters in their own hands.
A petition was created, signed and agreed upon by more than the required 10%. A Special Member’s Meeting was called. Two agenda meeting. 1. Remove the old Board. 2. Elect a new Interim Board. Simple.
Notifications were mailed to everyone. Since all governing documents (Pine Mountain and the State of North Carolina) stated that only paid members can vote – only paid members received additional notifications and proxies in case they couldn’t attend.
Everything was by the book!!! Each and every step along the way.
Sixty-five Pine Mountain Members were physically in attendance. Quorum requirement: 10%. Quorum achievement: 32%
Please note: It took 45 minutes in an unairconditioned room, in July, everyone was hot and sweaty. No one complained. No one became angry. Everyone was patient.
Everyone signed in. Paid Members were identified. Delinquent owners were identified. Only Paid Members could vote – it’s the law.
Removal of Board Members: 51% required in attendance. Received 63%
Election of New Interim Board: 42 votes required per person. Members identified for the election each received anywhere between 60-82 votes.
The old board steps down, the new board steps up. Members of Pine Mountain start volunteering for committees, the whole mountain is active. Things that have laid dormant for years are now coming to life.
Two months go by. A document has been mailed. Basically, A Motion for Declaratory Relief by Hollowell. In this document, he’s claiming:
- He didn’t vote. He did vote. He voted against the removal of the 2016-2017 Board of Directors.
- He’s stating it was not announced that his votes would not count. But that’s what it already says in Pine Mountain’s Covenants and Restrictions, Pine Mountain’s By-Laws and NC G.S. 55A. What more does he want???
- He’s claiming he was “deprived” of his right to vote. Huh???? He deprived himself by not paying his dues. No one stopped him from making payments.
- He’s also saying he was “directly harmed” by being removed from the board. What??? Where’s the proof? Doesn’t the word “harm” mean: physical injury, especially that which is deliberately inflicted????????
- He again states he was “deprived” of his right to vote for the new Interim Board. So, if he did vote to keep the old board on, why did he not vote to fill any vacancies? Me no understando.
- WoW – you’re not going to believe this… He’s claiming to be the supermajority of votes. No, he lost that when he refused to pay his bill. His entities are the supermajority landowners.
- He’s claiming that the old board? No, the “Moving Defendants” (lawsuit – not Pine Mountain concern) will “suffer immediate and irreparable injury” if the new Interim Board is allowed to stay in place.
So, there you have it folks!!! Ray E. Hollowell, Jr. wants the new Interim Board of Directors removed and replaced with the past non-working board.
Meeting will be held in Burke County Courthouse, Courtroom #1, Morganton, Monday, September 18th at 10 am. Estimated length of the hearing: 35-40 minutes.