By Sherry Gros
Freelance Writer for Highland Park Mobile AL
Welcome law abiding HOAs and Nonprofits! Thank you for reading my article this beautiful morning. I think it’s safe to say you can throw your bylaws and articles of incorporation straight out the window today, in Mobile County at least.
Hpca, Inc and Sherry Gros is awaiting a decision from the Honorable S Wesley Pipes of the 13th Distict Court in Mobile Alabama. If it carries with the Courts that anyone can set up shop in their neighborhood and proclaim themselves an HOA by mob rule then every nonprofit corporation in Mobile County is working too hard to abide by their existing bylaws. Kindly dismiss your Board of Directors and everyone go home. The only deciding factor in ruling your neighborhoods is who has the most intimidating, arm twisting group of people.
Backstory. Skip it if not interested and continue below outside the colored box. Let me explain. Highland Park Subdivision, Mobile Alabama in 2019 a newsletter was distributed from a neighboring HOA stating they wanted to “merge” the subdivisions and make mandatory dues upon the households. Their mailing address is in their subdivision, their name is Lakeview HOA with some variations, their active members in 2019 were one interim President from Lakeview Subdivision, Their insurance carries their HOA name and designation, their business tax number is thier name and address and HOA designation. They managed, by hook, to recruit Highland Park Subdivision residents. The newer ones that moved in after this HOA group raised up in 2015 had no idea they lived in Highland Park because they were told they lived in Lakeview and that they owed $100.00 a year to the HOA. If anyone questioned this they were told, “Oh Oh it is a voluntary donation but we know you love the lake in the neighborhood and would want to help us save it.” Once you pay the donation you are considered a member of the HOA, under their insurance at least. There is nothing in Lakeview covenants that gives them any rights to the lake as a matter of fact Lawsuits from 1968 and 1972 shows just the opposite. HPca v Realty Inc.
My husband, Arthur, has lived in this neighborhood since 1995. His late wife lived here since 1986. Arthur and I were married in 2014 and I have resided in Highland Park Subdivision since that time. After we were married I went through the household records to set up my own way of managing the finances. I admired the way the late wife kept meticulous records in such good order. She was a woman after my own heart in that respect and I was appreciative that she left things the way she did. Many of us were raised to believe we should leave a place better than we came to it. I subscribe to that notion. I never came across anything over the years that even suggested any payments were made to an HOA or neighborhood club of any kind. But in 2015 signs went up in Highland Park that said, “ASSociation Dues” So I asked my husband, “Do we belong to an HOA.” He told me no. He told me over the years he remembered a group of individuals who would march through the neighborhood and get people riled up over joining an HOA. He told me most people ignored them others beat them back to retreat. They never came to anything and that I should ignore them too. His exact words were, “Do not get involved with them.” But as is woman’s nature sometimes, I did not listen to my husband’s admonition and I bit the apple. To be fair to myself and what drew me to the situation, I thought I was helping. You see, to my mind, this little group did not understand the administrative documents and I having a BA in Environmental Studies, which trains in government, policy, law, and the environment plus my many years in nonprofit administration — I was going to help them understand. Because obviously this was a simple misunderstanding.
After a lot of noise from the HOA over the years, in 2018 I finally contacted the Lakeview HOA President, at the time Ed Williams, and after a brief conversation in the email below dated May 30, 2018, I stated to him, “
“If I were you I would at the very least sort out what properties you are responsible for under your covenant. The property description is in your covenant. My property is not described in your covenant. The physical boundary markers are still in place. The markers divide Lakeview East (Highland Park Subdivision) from Lakeview West. The covenants between the two are different. Changing the name cannot blend covenants.
I got interested in this issue because there are neighbors around me that are being judgmental, snarky, and snide (although it’s probably just their personality type anyway) because they “think” I should pay association dues. I wish to get the facts out there and put down the un-neighborliness of this topic as someones is trying to wrest 100.00 out of my pocket and if challenged in court could get costly for everyone.
I want the facts to be straight. Kindly inform your group that it may be that not all the people in this neighborhood owe association dues but that you are looking into it so that a mob mentality does not grow out of this error of thinking. I appreciate your thoughts on this matter.“
Ed Williams tactics right from the start were to call meetings, belittle and berate me publicly at these meetings, and more. He molded their narrow minded groupthink not to any form of governance or mission but rather to mob rule by inviting evryone and anyone to “vote” on issues involving private property.
As I am sitting here typing this article, one of the “Group Leaders”, Allen Helms releases this post on NextDoor:
This is mob rule in Mobile Alabama. To hell with Alabama Corporation Law or any other law. Just get your numbers up, make up your rules. The sooner the better after all these guys have been getting away with breaking the law according to them for 30+ years.
We will appeal any decision that does not uphold the rule of law: i.e., our Articles of Incorporation, our bylaws, and any lawful recognition as a corporate body to function within the legal parameters.