HillcrestBlog by "San Diego News Service" (619) 757-4909

"San Diego News Service" covers hard news, features and reviews for local and national print media, and maintains, "HillcrestBlog." Address: 3907 Georgia St., #15, San Diego 92103-3548. Our editor is Leo E. Laurence, J.D., Copy Ed.: Martin Brickson. Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Latino Journalists of California. Call news tips to (619) 757-4909 (days), Nights: (619) 220-8686 (fax also). leopowerhere@msn.com Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

HILLCREST BUS. ASSN. HOLDS "QUIET" MEETING - BUT, WAS IT?

Hillcrest -- The Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) conducted an unusually quiet Annual Meeting last night (10/14/08), but - as is customary with the HBA's history - behind-the-scenes was another story.
This time, unless resolved in negotiations, the HBA is headed for court.
Nine persons were elected to the board, including the return of San Diego News Service editor Leo E. Laurence, J.D.
The election was conducted by an "Elections Inspector," formally appointed by the HBA board. He was attorney Graham S. P. Hollis, Esq., a senior partner of Grace, Hollis & Hanson, LLP of Hillcrest; and the HBA's new legal counsel.
The board voted unanimously to accept the Hollis report on the election results.
Hollis, however, said today (10/15/08) that he had "made a mistake."
The election of Laurence - strongly opposed by vice president Nancy Moors and her partner Ann Garwood - was suddenly in jeopardy.
Laurence's lawful candidacy was even the subject of an unusual pre-election announcement. It seems that someone - unidentified - had challenged the validity of Laurence's candidacy for the board.
HBA executive director Warren Simon made the unusual announcement that, indeed, Laurence "is a qualified (HBA) member and is qualified to be a candidate (for the HBA board)."
"This statement," Simon explained, " is in response to a challenge to his candidacy that has been received." Warren did not identify the challenger, but several board members believed it to be vice president Moors.
"(Laurence's) election was a de facto appointment to fill a board vacancy," said Scott Crowder, a board member who is well-versed on the state's Corporation's code.
"If my election is challenged and is not amicably resolved, I will take this to court and that will cost the HBA lost of money; that could be better spent on community project," Laurence said.
OTHER PROBLEMS BEHIND-THE-SCENES
There was no treasurer's report at the Annual Meeting, which is "a violation of the Corporation's Code," Crowder said.
The excuse was that the books have been taken over by an "outside" bookkeeper, Mary Joseph, who also works for the Business Assessment District. That brings up possible conflict-of-interest issues on the HBA's finances.
Treasurer Morena promised a "full accounting" next month. There are some "problems getting the books together," Morena said.
"(Moreno) had put all the (HBA) money into WaMu (Washington Mutual) - over $250,000 - when (that bank) was about to be sunk. We would have lost over $150,000 in (uninsured) funds," said Crowder.
"She moved the money even after she had been warned against it.
"She (then) moved it to Bank of America a few days before the (WaMu) bank was about to be seized by the federal government," Crowder reported.
"(Moreno) was putting in jeopardy a lot of hard-earned money. It would have been stupid to have it (in an) uninsured account," Crowder added.
"(Moreno) totally fucked up with the (HBA) books. They had to fire Ruth (Harrison, former assistant HBA director) to cover for (Moreno)," he explained.
Pointing out other discrepancies in the HBA finances, Crowder explained that MAD (Maintenance Assessment District, a separate entity) money was also included as part of the HBA assets. That's wrong (and possible fraud).
"(Moreno) has called no Finance Committee meetings for a whole year. She apparently is managing all the HBA finances (reported at about 1/3rd million dollars) on her own.
"This is stupid, stupid, stupid," Crowder emphasized. He is the former HBA treasurer who was replaced by a highly questionable vote of the HBA board.
Under the state' Brown Act, the HBA is required by law to post its meeting agendas in advance. However, there were THREE agendas provided for the HBA's Annual Meeting.
One was posted and included the election of officers for the board.
However, two others were also provided at the Annual Meeting - and therefore may not have complied to the state's Brown Act . They were two other agendas, one for a regular board meeting and another for the Annual Meeting. Both were different, but applied to the same time and place. The discrepancy was never explained.
It was reported that the deletion of the board's election of officers had been requested by vice president Nancy Moors, who has frequently reportedly called herself the president pro tem, although the HBA's ByLaws do not provide for such an office.
Moore and her partner - Ann Garwood, also a board member - desperately wants to retain her vice-presidential post and the enormous powers that she claims to have under it.
When asked about the discrepancies with the three different printed agendas, the HBA's counsel, attorney Hollis, refused to comment to the media.
What appeared to be an unusually, quiet, Annual Meeting of the HBA board, was - in fact - something quite different.
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Copyright, 2008, by San Diego News Service, (619) 757-4909

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