MOORESVILLE, NC (WBTV) – Townhouse owners in a Mooresville community say they are desperate to gain control of their homeowners association after the person left in charge of the HOA was charged with threatening residents with a gun and harassing them.
The community developer maintains full control of the HOA due to community pledges and shows no signs of wanting to allow residents more representation. Developer rights could last until 2039.
“We’re sort of trapped, and that’s what’s very frustrating,” Kathy Caputo Worek told WBTV.
Several residents sat down with WBTV for an interview about their predicament at Waterfront at Langtree in Mooresville. More owners said they were afraid to speak on camera due to the tense situation with the resident owner’s representative on the HOA, Paul Harraka Sr.
“The name-calling only got progressively worse,” Chris Collins said.
“He gets mean and starts insulting me and telling me I’m not smart,” Ellen Scherr told WBTV.
Neighbors described having to call the police and engaging in threatening behavior, such as driving closely behind walkers and demanding proof of ownership in the neighborhood.
Harraka’s next-door neighbor successfully filed a no-contact order against him, after video showed Harraka threatening to use a gun and “put a bullet between (his) eyes”. The judge ordered Harraka to stay away from his neighbor and not talk about it on social media.
Another Waterfront resident also sought an order, and Harraka filed his own non-contact cases against other residents. None of these requests have been granted and Harraka is awaiting a hearing in a case left open.
While most neighborhoods with an HOA could simply hold a vote to remove a member of council, residents of Waterfront in Langtree do not yet have that ability.
That’s because the promoter, JRN Investments (which recently changed its name to JRN Development) maintains “special registrant rights” that essentially allow full control over who sits on the association’s board.
JRN is controlled by Richard (Rick) Admani, who also heads several other development entities across Piedmont.
Waterfront’s covenants make it clear that JRN has the right to “elect, appoint or remove any officer or member of the Association’s Board of Directors” during their term of control.
Waterfront residents interviewed by WBTV believed that day would come sooner rather than later based on statements made by the homebuilder when considering buying in the community.
“As soon as they finish building the townhouses that were planned, the developer would then turn the community over to the HOA,” Worek told WBTV.
This option exists. According to the covenants, the developer’s rights could expire five years after all lots have been built or ownership has completely transferred from the developer.
But JRN still owns undeveloped land right in front of the community entrance and all of the Waterfront common areas. If all assets are not transferred, the promoter’s rights do not expire until December 31, 2039.
In response to an email from WBTV asking when JRN intended to release developer rights, Admani wrote “JRN Development will fully comply with the registrant rights expiration scenarios as originally presented. .”
“Why is JRN holding back from liberating the neighborhood? What is he afraid of by giving us control of our funds? Worek said.
The control of HOA funds is what has sparked much of the tension at Waterfront.
Residents who spoke with WBTV worry there was financial mismanagement, particularly because they weren’t given a detailed account of income and expenses.
Emails WBTV obtained from residents show that when townhouse owners complained about the expense and lack of transparency, Admani told them to speak to Harraka.
“Red flags should go off for anyone. Where does our money go?” says Cody Kaufman.
Harraka granted WBTV access to the Waterfront community Facebook page where Harraka’s posts clearly show he oversaw the funds, although he tells WBTV that Admani or the board has the latest. word.
Harraka collected resident owners’ signatures on a piece of paper to create a backing for installing a door. A $26,000 deposit was paid, but the project to build a door hit a brick wall.
An email provided by Harraka to WBTV shows that a Mooresville official incorrectly told him the gate would not need a permit. The mistake was made because, according to the city official, since 2008 the city has never received a request to add a gate and turn a public street and area into a private development.
The town hall finally refused the permit.
Residents have also complained about the money spent on a substandard playground and dog park that are attached and separated only by a fence.
A lawyer working with some of the owners wrote a letter to Admani listing nine different grievances against Harraka, including breach of fiduciary duty.
The letter also included a signed statement from a landscaper claiming that Harraka had tried to involve him in a plan to overcharge the HOA to save money on his personal landscaping bill.
In response to WBTV’s questions about HOA expenses, Harraka shared one of his Facebook posts on the community page listing the purchases and saying he paid out of his own pocket and was waiting to be refunded. Harraka denied any allegations that he was defrauding the HOA.
State law requires HOAs to provide all financial and other documentation upon request. But a photo of a yellow notepad with expenses written on it is all waterfront residents have received.
WBTV obtained emails from the company managing the HOA and a local CPA who was to manage some aspects of it, distancing themselves from Waterfront and ending their relationship.
After WBTV began searching for answers, Harraka was removed from the chart.
A statement from Admani said “after receiving reports of multiple allegations of improper communications made against him, he was immediately removed from his duties as HOA.” Harraka maintains that he quit and sent WBTV multiple emails showing he was not removed or fired.
Residents were able to apply and interview for the position on the HOA board vacated by Harraka, but they recently received an email from the board controlled by Admani stating that “the board has decided to choose someone internally to fill the vacant position on the board of directors”. There are currently only two board members, neither of whom are residents of the waterfront.
In an email to WBTV, Admani wrote “We have had NO concerns from the initial inception of the HOA until today with the accounting records or expenses of the HOA.”
Harraka and Admani claim that “the overwhelming majority of HOA residents are fully satisfied.”
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