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Saturday, February 18, 2017

TWO ARTICLES WERE ADDED ON FEBRUARY 18.

THE ARTICLES ARE ALL MORE OF THE SHIP WRECK CALLED GOVERNANCE IN WEDGEFIELD


AN OPEN LETTER TO BOARD MEMBER MC MILLIN. WHY NOT JUST WRITE THE BOARD? YOU'LL SEE, BUT IF I WERE YOU - ANY RESIDENT, PARTICULARLY A CANAL RESIDENT WHO HAS PAID THEIR FIRST $400 TOWARD THE PROPOSED DREDGE, I'D WANT AN ANSWER

If you have comments you are welcome to send them to:  wedgefieldexaminerthe@yahoo.com.  Your name, and any identifying information will be removed from the email, and published on the blog.

HERE IS MY OPEN LETTER TO BOARD MEMBER MC MILLIN.

Board Member McMillin,

I respectfully hope that you will answer a question that you created with a comment at a recent board meeting.  You wouldn't answer it publicly at the meeting, but as a member in good standing I believe that I have a right to an answer, as every member does, particularly canal lot owners who are considering a voluntary donation to the proposed maintenance dredge.

BACKGROUND:
At the end of a recent board meeting, during resident comments, Madeline Claveloux, asked board member John Walton how the board could have allowed the spoil site to be neglected to the point that the board had to consider the cost of a controlled burn to clear it.  John Walton had stated during the board meeting that during the last dredge that cleaning up and preparing the spoil site was more costly than the dredge itself.  Claveloux went on to say that she understood that the regular maintenance of the spoil site was included in the grounds contract, and that you had told her previously that all the terms of the previous grounds contractor contract had been met.  Therefore, it would be assumed that the spoil site had been maintained.  You, board member McMillin, stated that everyone at the board table knew why, yet you, nor no one at that board table would say what you all knew, when you knew it, and why the residents were not informed during the regular process of governing openly from the board table.

THE QUESTIONS:
Please tell me, as a resident in good standing, what exactly you knew, who else knew, and when and where the discussion was held to quit maintaining the spoil site?  How could you say that all the terms of the maintenance contract were met, when the spoil site very obviously had been intentionally neglected?

I'll appreciate a timely, respectful response, in writing.

END OF LETTER

Residents, I am not sending this letter.  I get enough abuse from this board.  When I had these questions, from the floor board member Garrison thanked board member Anderson at one point for answering me stating "I wouldn't be as nice".  I had also questioned Anderson about "lost mail", with my questions.  It is nasty dealing with the board, and I will take a nasty unprofessional hit from them as they attempt to cover their tracks, but not on this.  I'm saving my grin and bare it for other items.  I don't do it at this time because I've made my decision about the dredging based on a whole lot of illegal - illegal as in "according to our governing documents", hidden meetings, no discussion at the board table, illegal allocation of WPA funds, etc.  I want the canals dredged, but not under their half baked, hidden action agenda.  Perhaps if you have contributed, or are considering it, you'd want an answer.

RESULTS TO A QUICK SURVEY REGARDING AUDITS. DO YOU REALIZE THAT THE BOARD HAS USED OUR ASSESSMENT DOLLARS TO CONTRACT WITH THE SAME CPA WHO CLOSES OUR ACCOUNTING BOOKS EACH MONTH TO PERFORM THE 2016 AUDIT?

If you have comments you are welcome to send them to:  wedgefieldexaminerthe@yahoo.com.  Your name, and any identifying information will be removed from the email, and published on the blog.

Yes, as our headline states, your board voted to contract with the same CPA who closes our books each month, to perform an audit on himself.  To me it comes down to it being unethical, failure to secure a concrete outside audit/opinion, a poor business decision, and a failure to utilize our assessment dollars in the best interests of Wedgefield.  Quite frankly it looks corrupt!

Corrupt is a strong word, but I stand by it.  It comes at a time that residents have brought me information regarding our financial asset handling by the board, that they don't want discussed on the blog regarding questionable practices, and actions of the board.  As they talked to me about it, they were afraid of back lash from this board.  My advice to them has been to take their issues in writing to the board (let me publish their letters - minus their names, and the board response), stand up during resident comments of the monthly board meetings - ask questions - demand answers.  Most don't follow through.  These residents have told me that individual board members have verbally presented a questionable circumstance to them, didn't find the situation to be ethical, and would take care of it.  Yet, these board members fail to stand up, and bring it to the board table.  Why residents, don't you?

With that said, and your board feeling no demonstrated need to operate openly, honestly according to our governing documents, I found the move by the board to contract with the same CPA who does the books monthly, to audit the same books questionable.  You maybe surprised to know that every time I prepare to write on the blog, that I question my motives.  I question in looking at a topic whether I can be sued for my writing.  So on this issue, having friends outside the association who had worked with audits in their work, I put a quick simple survey on FaceBook, and sought their work experienced opinions.  I got 10 responses very quickly. Here's the backgrounds of the individuals who answered:  2 non profit executive directors, one human resource director, a mid level auto industry manager, finance office worker, manager in major industry, former political aide, a police officer/first responder, etc. All have been involved as volunteers on community boards, and lived and worked in 5 states.

Was my genuine concern motivated by Wedgefield politics, or would it be a concern of reasonable, experienced business people?  Here is the actual survey, and the quick results.  I removed the names of the responders for their privacy.   

I'm conducting a survey that I hope you will help me with. A simple yes, or no will do, but if you have comments that will help. My home owners association has contracted with the CPA that does our financials monthly, to do the annual audit. Is it legal, and ethical for the same firm that performs the accounting month after month, to perform the annual audit?

1) No.... what's the point then? What's the checks and balances and accountability.

2) It may be legal, but it doesn't provide any checks and balances . Anyone with half a brain would see the conflict. The audit is useless and they should save the money.

 3) Could be like the inmates running the jail, but is an audit legally required?


4) I'd never do it. You would never have an unbiased, second party opinion.


5) No way!


6) No conflict of interest no check and balance.


7) I think it is legal, but it is dangerous. I would not go along with it.


8) No


9)  It's a conflict!

10) No The monthly review should not be done by the same person who is doing the annual audit.

Doesn't look to me like my concern is "Wedgefield politically motivated"!  Looks to me like prudent, responsible people would question this move.  Why aren't you?  Why aren't individual board members who are holding information surrounding our questionable finances and our governance speaking out from the board table.  In regard to the board I think they are afraid to challenge in our behalf, and some are just plain corrupt. 







Thursday, February 16, 2017

EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, "WEDGEFIELD APATHY" HITS MY HOUSE TOO



Yesterday the rumors of the sale of the golf course and houses being built on the old golf course, were icing of the cake of apathy at my house.  Common sense told me that there would have to be hearings etc., to brake the PUD, and yet, I thought for a moment - so be it.  

Usually, the rumors would have spurred me to investigate, and charge forward on a journey to save Wedgefield -  the beautiful place we selected to call home 13 years ago.  As I drove out later, saw the Wedgefield tractor on the vacant lot, broken stone wall under the lame/redneck sign announcing dues were past due, I felt that there was no saving, or bringing Wedgefield back.  We've been on a long run by this board to cheapen it.  When our vice president writes a glowing "state of the union" in the Wragg that has people laughingly saying "where does he live?", I reflect back to the point that some on this board have been driving this reckless train for 6 - 9 years on tracks  that have no direction except their individual personal agendas.  Little of what they do is discussed openly, regularly, or voted honestly, and openly.  They openly jeer at anyone who asks questions, and asks for documents to prove what they are doing.

We have a half baked, illegally processed dredge in motion, brought about and sustained by false claims of judgements/rulings, forged documents, unwritten legal opinions, and a vote after the fact by the board to partially fund.

ARC fails to enforce our governing document restrictions on property maintenance and improvements.  

Our grounds chair has failed to mow vacant lots to the neglectful heights of five feet last summer, but announced last month that he'll mow dormant lots now, to meet the contracted number of mowings, before the new contract starts.  Why do we have to live like this?  Yes, the same grounds chair that stated from the board table, "that we were getting a lower class of people living here because people were having to rent their homes, because they are unable to sell them."  The same grounds chair that said the board knew why the spoil site was neglected, but wouldn't  say what, and when, the board knew.  Unfortunately, under this board, this is our governance at its best!

There are a lot of houses for sale in Wedgefield.  Some have sold, at reduced prices.  You hear from newer residents "this isn't what we were told.  We wouldn't have bought here if we had known."  Where have our standards gone, when the best we can say is that the Christmas decorations, and the luminaries were beautiful?  I'm sorry to see some of the listings for sale.  People who might have helped make a difference - pull us out of the decline are leaving.  We've determined in our household that we will maintain, but not improve - no updating, because we won't realize the effort in the sale of our home.  I'd like to leave it all behind, and move with the others.  I'd like to live in a place where I feel a board respects my commitment to my home, and community, and doesn't treat me as though I'm too dumb to know what they are doing.

Please wake up, and get to the meetings.  Write the board.  Review transactions.  Stand up at meetings, and ask questions.  Don't just ride it out in apathy.  Apathy shouldn't live in Wedgefield any more.  It left its temporary visit to my house this morning. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

HAS THE GOLF COURSE BEEN SOLD? IS IT TRUE HOMES ARE GOING TO BE BUILT? RUMORS

The rumors I heard, and others heard, cannot be verified.  I checked the WPA website to see if there was a posting there.  No posting.  I talked to a few more people.  Some hadn't heard, others had heard of a sale, and that homes would be built.

One credible person checked transfer of property records.  Nothing there!

It would seem that if it was sold and houses were going to be built on it, that we would have been noticed for a meeting/hearing, because the PUD would be broken.  At last months board meeting we were told that the WPA attorney had been asked to stay on top of any movement that would indicate there were attempts to break the PUD.

We are left with rumors, and wondering.  Suggestion - take time and attend the board meeting next Tuesday.  Let the board know you care, and would like updates.  

Sunday, February 12, 2017

WELCOME TO WEDGEFIELD

IS THIS REALLY NECESSARY?

HOW CAN THIS BE GOOD FOR ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO SELL THEIR HOMES IN WEDGEFIELD?

OF COURSE ASSESSMENTS ARE PAST DUE, THERE AREN'T ANY PENALTIES APPLIED UNTIL MARCH 1!  MORE OF YOUR BOARD'S ADAPTIVE (?) GOVERNANCE!

Friday, January 27, 2017

FROM THE SUN NEWS - JANUARY 27, 2017



Wedgefield Plantation’s new owner seeking buyer, assessing other options

The owner of Wedgefield Plantation Country Club in Georgetown continues to seek a buyer for the closed golf course and its many affiliated amenities as it continues to assess its options with the property.
Paramont Capital of Phoenix, Ariz., acquired Wedgefield and two other Grand Strand properties late last year after foreclosing on a defaulted loan to Wedgefield’s former owner, Ray Watts, a real estate developer and owner of Apex Homes who splits time between the areas of Charlotte, N.C., and the Strand.
According to Gary Roberts, who is involved in Wedgefield as vice president of business development for Coldwell Banker Chicora Real Estate, one sales contract for Wedgefield lapsed in the past two weeks and was not extended, and negotiations have begun with a new potential buyer.
Roberts said the lapsed contract involved a local builder and architect, along with an additional investor.
“We’re looking to sell for sure. We’re looking at all options right now,” said Paramont chief financial officer Kevin Wolfe. “We’re kind of testing the waters to see what’s out there and looking at all options. No decisions have been made.”
WE’RE LOOKING TO SELL FOR SURE. WE’RE LOOKING AT ALL OPTIONS RIGHT NOW. WE’RE KIND OF TESTING THE WATERS TO SEE WHAT’S OUT THERE AND LOOKING AT ALL OPTIONS. NO DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE.
Paramont Capital chief financial officer Kevin Wolfe
In addition to about 175 acres at Wedgefield, Paramont also acquired through foreclosure about 70 acres at Island Green Country Club in Myrtle Beach that formerly comprised the Dogwood nine, which closed in 2005 to drop the number of holes at Island Green from 27 to 18, and some property at the Sun Colony multifamily housing development near Colonial Charters Golf Club off S.C. 9 in Longs. The Island Green property is zoned for single-family homes.
“It’s tough to say what we’ll do until we complete our due diligence and see what we have in all these locations,” Wolfe said. “It’s the same status on all three.”
Wedgefield’s golf course has been closed since June when Watts said business was too slow in the summer to warrant continued operation. He said he hoped to reopen in the fall, but the course has yet to reopen and is now in disrepair, as there has been no upkeep for several months and damage including downed trees remains from Hurricane Matthew.
Another course Watts owned and closed in June, Island Green Country Club, also remains closed and has been foreclosed on by its lender.
Redevelopment options at Wedgefield are limited. It is part of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) that requires much of the property to remain green space, though not necessarily a golf course. Extensive redevelopment would require rezoning. “We are aware there are development restrictions there,” Wolfe said.
Watts purchased Wedgefield in December 2013 from the Marlowe family, which had acquired it out of bankruptcy.
Wedgefield is a 7,034-yard Porter Gibson and Bob Toski design that opened in 1972 on the site of an old rice plantation. Watts' purchase included a manor house, guest cottage, several buildings including one that contains a snack bar and another that houses the golf pro shop, a swimming pool, maintenance barn, restaurant that seats more than 100, and two tennis courts.
Watts renovated the Manor House but it has been closed since June, and the golf course would require investment before it reopens.
Jacky Walton, president of the Wedgefield Plantation Association of homeowners, said he and several residents have been cutting grass, weeds and bushes on parts of the course to “keep things in a little bit better manner than what they had been at one time,” and residents cleaned up Wedgefield’s entrance following Hurricane Matthew.
“We would still like to see it operated as a golf course from the standpoint of beautification and recreation, that’s what we keep hoping for,” said Walton, who estimates the HOA encompasses about 370 homes, including 69 condos.
WE WOULD STILL LIKE TO SEE IT OPERATED AS A GOLF COURSE FROM THE STANDPOINT OF BEAUTIFICATION AND RECREATION, THAT’S WHAT WE KEEP HOPING FOR.
Wedgefield Plantation Association president Jacky Walton
Walton doesn’t know what support the golf course would receive from residents if it were to reopen. “It goes back to whoever is looking into purchasing it and what they can actually offer the residents,” he said. “The marketing side is what will convince the residents – if they will offer some type of a package.”
Roberts’ father is a Georgetown resident and the two have regularly played Wedgefield for many years.
“I’d love to see somebody take it over and put money back into it and bring it back as a member course and get the members back involved the property,” Roberts said. “We need the local community to support it. The [Georgetown County] planning commission, property owners, HOA and county council – if they all work together we can save Wedgefield, in some form.”
Alan Blondin: 843-626-0284, @alanblondin