Sun City Anthem

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Where Old Las Vegas Signs Go to Die

The Boneyard is Las Vegas...
Treasuring the Past...through it's Unique Art Form.

It's called the Neon Museum, but to those who know Las Vegas, for years it's affectionately called "The Boneyard".

...and if you've never seen it, you are missing an art form unique to our exciting city;  namely,  the fabulous hotel marquees that decorated Las Vegas over the years...that have gone the way of time.

It's where the famous old hotel marquees "go to die", yet remain alive for those who enjoy looking at the glory days of the past.

...and here's an idea of what you can expect once you get there.

Until recently the Neon Museum was closed to the public; but now, tours are available most any day.

With over 150 rescued signs of the past, take a walk down memory lane and feel the presence of The Rat Pack, Louie Prima & Keely Smith, and so many others who made Las Vegas, the "Entertainment Capital of the World" while they performed at these legendary locations.

Over the past couple of years, thank goodness, a number of these landmarks have been restored and line Fremont Street as a reminder of days gone by, but there are so many more for you to see !

The "Boneyard" is located at 821 Las Vegas Blvd. North, just south of Cashman Field.

Admission for Seniors and/or Nevada residents is only $12.00, and is available only through guided tour, Monday through Saturday, starting at 10:00am and closing at sunset.

Here's the tour information.

Check it out...

It's a part of the unique history of our town; and I might add, would be a great spot to see when friends and relatives "invade".

Dick Arendt

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Request for Proposal Bidders Conference Review

Incompetence is Rampant in SCA

At Anthem Opinions we try to keep you entertained by giving you a wide range of topics to read.  Just a fun and informative place!  Periodically we will give some opinions that we have on tough subjects. The end game is that we try to give you the facts so you can make your own decisions on agreeing or not agreeing with our thoughts.  The following post was sent anonymously and after reviewing, we decided to post to keep you more informed. This post is a summary of the recent meeting with the various management companies that took place on Monday 4/15/2013.

Who is more incompetent – RMI or the current SCA board?  It's hard to determine!

The short, so-called RFP bidders conference yesterday morning went OK, but the afternoon session started out as a mess and then became a disaster.  A major embarrassment to all who live in this community – and a clear message why we need a better management company and a better board.

In the morning session Dan Snell introduced the SCA Board members and Committee Chairs who were in attendance, and conducted the meeting in a professional way.  On the head table with him was Jean Capillupo and Mike Carey, RFP work group board liaisons.  Both of who should have stayed home.  Dan was well organized, and he clearly outlined the plans for the day. Then there was a break of about one and a half hours for tours of the community and lunch.
The meeting was to reconvene at 1:00 PM.  The collapse started almost immediately.

A planned slide presentation could not be started because the projection equipment refused to work. Various RMI personnel, consisting of two custodians and an assistant facilities manager, struggled and struggled but made no progress. This was an important meeting with many distinguished guests. Why in the world did RMI fail to check and assure the equipment was operating properly?  They had well over an hour to do so.  And, they never thought to call in their IT personnel for help. This was a huge embarrassment for the board, and a clear demonstration of why SCA needs a more competent and professional management company – whomever that might be.

Dan Snell then tried to recover and keep the meeting momentum going by opening the session where the bidders could ask questions.  But, it was the board’s turn to demonstrate their incompetence and lack of professionalism.  Oh boy, did they do that.
Board members fumbled and bungled and failed to answer even basic questions.

For example, one bidder asked what are the goals of the board for this year?  A competent and professional board would be proud to give a clean smooth answer.  Our board had no answers. Clearly demonstrating they have had no goals since the year began, and do had not even think they need any –- a total lack of professionalism and leadership.  Finally Jim Long said his goal was to implement an archaic and obsolete management system – but offered no agenda on how this would aid the community.  In addition, he mentioned that the board would be working on their goals after the new board members were seated early next month.  Every one of the prospective management companies picked up on the fact that it is already half way through the year, and that made Jim look even more incompetent.

Another example: One bidder asked about how the board desired IT operations – in house, at the management company headquarters or some combination?  Board members sat there dumfounded. It seems they did not even know what IT operations were.  Final answer – “We will get back to you on that later in writing.”

Final example: A bidder asked what the board's expectations are for retaining or not retaining existing staff personnel, and was there a no-hire clause in their current contracts?  If there were such a clause, would RMI waive it?  There was no meaningful response so the bidder later asked the question again. Still no response.  Final answer – “We will get back to you on that later in writing.”

There were a number of other questions asked, and many were not answered. The board just looked thoroughly incompetent.  It would seem all the bidders could do was leave with the valid impression SCA is a mess and really needs help. Of course can anyone help if the board is so deficient they will not accept help? And what makes them think they alone can vet any of the potential management companies?  I doubt they can, but what are they doing about it?  I have heard no mention of hiring a firm, or maybe one of our residents, who specializes in vetting such companies, nor have I heard any board member admit they are in over their collective heads in this (and many other) matters.  Is the fix in?  Is vetting other management companies unnecessary.  Sadly, and especially after Mike Carey's words, I think RMI is a shoe-in.  It's simply too much work for our board to deal with a change in management company.  Besides a new company might straighten out the mess, and find things our board, and past boards, do not want the residents to know about.

Sad isn't it?  And I especially pity our residents, AND the various companies who spent their time and money to come here and involve them in this convoluted process.  Please vote, and vote for Jim Mayfield and Kay Frank.  The incumbents do not deserve our votes, and the fiasco yesterday proves it.



Monday, April 15, 2013

Let Us Entertain You

Thank Goodness It Only Happens One Day A Year

We often get emails from our readers, but this one had to be shared....especially after April 15th.

Dear Internal Revenue Service: 
Enclosed you will find my 2012 tax return showing that I owe $3,407.00 in taxes. Please note the attached article from the USA Today newspaper, dated 12 November, wherein you will see the Pentagon (Department of Defense) is paying $171.50 per hammer and NASA has paid $600.00 per toilet seat. 
I am enclosing four (4) toilet seats (valued @ $2,400) and six (6)hammers valued @ $1,029), which I secured at Home Depot, bringing my total remittance to $3,429.00. 
Please apply the overpayment of $22.00 to the "Presidential Election Fund," as noted on my return. You can do this inexpensively by sending them one (1) 1.5 " Phillips Head screw (see aforementioned article from USA Today newspaper detailing how H.U.D. pays $22.00 each for  1.5" Phillips Head Screws). One screw is enclosed for your convenience. 
It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year. 

A Satisfied Taxpayer 

Our suggestion for 2013....enclose a letter with your income tax return, asking the I.R.S. if this medication is tax deductible.

We're convinced every Senator & Congressman is already familiar with it, and uses it with regularity,  prior to filing their tax returns.
God Bless America !
Allen & Dick
Anthem Opinions

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Employee Seeks Counseling Due to Alleged Harrassment

Is There an RMI "Hostile Work Environment" ?

YES...Say's Community  Association Manager's Administrative Assistant !

Are there internal problems that exist between RMI and their employees?

Are the problems discussed in our community in the past month, true?

We were able to obtain an email sent from Community Association Manager's Administrative Assistant, Lily Cardenas, to Community Association Manager, ROB FELDMAN, dated Friday, April 12, 2013, at 4:08pm. Nothing states this is a private email, and it has already been shared with a number of individuals.

Copies of the email were sent to :

SCA Board

SCA Staff

and two other members of RMI

The contents were SHOCKING.  

As you read this, ask yourself...
IS THIS THE ENVIRONMENT that YOU. a resident, or any individual, would choose in which to work ?

I am writing this email to inform you that I will be taking the next week off to seek counseling and other methods to deal with the way you have been treating me.  Last night when you called me at  home, and hung up on me during our conversation, it was unprofessional and demeaning and unorganized. Your technical skills with computers and software are not very good, and you dump stuff all the time instead of delegate.  You are a very mistrusting individual and this alone hurts our team.  We never pointed fingers at each other until you came.  Your approach and communication is often verbally and emotionally abusive and demeaning, your temper flares often, and you do not take into consideration mine, or others, workloads.  None of us are perfect in what we do and say, you have been critical of me and torn me down instead of built me up as a leader.  I am beat down, I dread coming to work, and this is why I need time off.  On another note Skyler left because of you, and told me this personally.  Justin also told me that although the finance committee and board wanted someone else in here with a different skill set,  you were treating him the same way you treated me and he was anxious to leave because of your management style.  Please do not contact me during my time off, I will go through HR.
The email was subsequently acknowledged by a vice president of RMI with a follow up to SCA Staff at 8:15pm that same day.  We, at this time, will not reprint the contents of that communique.

Is this the firm that should continue managing our assets ?

Or...should we IMMEDIATELY remove them from any further consideration ?

This issue is quite timely....

... as there will be a bidders’ conference meeting this coming Monday, April 15th in the Delaware Room, Anthem Center. All seven recipients of the recent Community Management Request for Proposal respondents have indicated they will be in attendance.

The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a brief introductory period, after which the seven bidders will break for a tour of the facilities and a no-host lunch.

We will reconvene in the Delaware Room after lunch, which is expected to end around 1:00 p.m. At that time, we will have formal discussion and address recipients’ questions.

The meeting is open to all residents, who may observe but not participate.
As we have previously stated, this employee issue is MAGNIFYING, not subsiding, and rather than involve Sun City Anthem in any way with this delicate issue which has affected OUR RESIDENTS and our resident/monitors at the various Sun City Anthem facilities.... the opinion of Anthem Opinions, we urge Board leadership to IMMEDIATELY remove RMI from consideration of renewal of any management contract.

The time has finally arrived to say good-bye to this firm.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Time for a Change of Management Company ?

A Resident's Comment on the Health & Fitness Meeting
On April 9, 2013 a follow-up meeting was held regarding the matter of the Health & Fitness program.

Below I have reprinted a comment received from resident, Eugene  Federico, who attended this meeting.

Because of the comprehensive manner in which Mr. Federico described this meeting, I feel it is important to share this with all of our readers in light of recent Board Director ballots sent to all association members.

As you read his comments, it has become more than obvious to many residents that this concern is shared by MANY people, in addition to those who have spoken with resident/monitors, who now use the words "hostile work environment" when describing the atmosphere that has been created by RMI Management.

This MUST have a bearing on questioning the renewal of the RMI Management contract, and based on numerous comments, one in which incumbent board candidate Michael Carey, recently stated...

...that if reelected, he would resign if RMI was not awarded our management contract....

One should think twice if a ballot is cast for this particular individual.

It was obvious at the first meeting that he highly favored RMI management opinions over the well-being and work atmosphere of our valued RESIDENT/monitors, and reelecting this man, would appear to spell even greater problems for OUR PEOPLE, as well as, those who use the Anthem Center and Liberty Center facilities

Based on these past actions, in our opinion,  this man has demonstrated  that HE IS NOT WORTHY OF REELECTION CONSIDERATION as a result.

States Mr. Federico:
"Health & Fitness Meeting on April 9th 2013

I attended the Health and Fitness meeting on April 9th.

The meeting failed to shed light on the deficiency of some of the hoist equipment that was purchased .

The person, who was merely a wholesale distributor that sells Hoist equipment, could not answer the pertinent questions with regard to making adjustments to some of the equipment to try and make it more user friendly.

Most of his answers were that he did not know. The consensus was that there were other pieces of equipment to compensate for the deficiencies found in others .

I workout in the gym at Anthem Center 4 times a week . I have been a resident here for 7 years and can attest to the fact that the atmosphere at Anthem Center has totally changed. It has changed from a place that was once considered a very comfortable atmosphere into a hotel style health club. There are trainers all over the gym at all different times. They get in the way of residents, and are trying to sell expensive training sessions.

This is not what most of us signed up for when we came here !

In my view, the committee and the board members who oversee this committee have given too much power to RMI and their surrogates who run the fitness center. We are letting outsiders tell us how to run our business.

Mr. Federico, based on your commentary, we hope you will tell your friends and neighbors about this experience, and if they too have similar concerns....

DO NOT VOTE for the reelection of MICHAEL CAREY.

Reelecting this man would surely more than magnify the current problems that have been exposed.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Time to Close the Book on the Tax Issue

The Whole Story About the I.R.S Case 
Against Sun City Anthem

For a considerable period of time, Sun City Anthem has dealt with an income tax issue that has plagued our community. Recently this matter was settled with the IRS, and having that issue behind us, has brought considerable relief to all residents.

Whether it cost residents $100,000 or $1,000,000, the fact remains that it cost our association an unnecessary amount of money; had the income tax return been completed properly under Revenue Ruling 70-604, it should not have cost any of us one single cent, and that any sum paid to the IRS could have been used for a much more productive purpose.

Who is to blame for this unnecessary expenditure?  Does it matter who was responsible?  That is for you to decide, but if you feel that there should be accountability, who would that person or persons be?

As Harry Truman's plaque on his presidential desk stated, "The Buck Stops Here," and that "buck" belongs to the person or persons who made the incorrect decision that cost the Sun City Anthem community an unnecessary expense.

But....who was that person? Who was the culprit(s)?

Rather than blame a board candidate, a candidate's spouse, or their friend, and create even greater controversy about "he said, she said"; we in turn, would rather examine this matter from an OBJECTIVE point of view, taking the high ground, rather than spewing hatred between neighbor and neighbor.

The ultimate responsibility therefore rests with members of that particular board of directors, the individuals who provided an auditor, the information to complete our 2007 return. 

Lately there seems to be some kind of movement to blame others for the problem; that there were "whistle blowers" who should be held accountable.

Once again, that is for you to decide, but before any of you come to any specific conclusion, we did a bit of research with a time line that should be closely examined in order to make an intelligent decision.

We urge you NOT to accept any writings elsewhere where personal conflicts of interest may arise; instead, look closely, and be adult in making that determination...if it matters to you at all.

So, if this does concern you in any way, here is a time line of just what took place following the filling of the 2007 income tax return.

Although discussions regarding the validity of returning the excess funds to residents started several years prior....

...on August 21, 2009 a planning workshop was conducted by then association president, Jack Troia.  During that session, it was stated that as of December 31, 2008, Sun City Anthem had a substantial balance of "income not taxed" under IRS Revenue Ruling 70-604, the section of the IRS code pertaining to homeowner association filings. 

This was the history of the cumulative Build Up of Funds presented at that meeting.

2004----909,000  (CC&R's amended to conclude Asset Enhancement Fee)

As you can see, this fund continued to grow year after year.

Let's now examine the section of Revenue Ruling 70-604 that applied.
(Sun City Anthem is considered a Condominium management corporation.)
"A condominium management corporation assesses its stockholder-owners for the purposes of managing, operating, maintaining, and replacing the common elements of the condominium property.  This is the SOLE ACTIVITY of the corporation and its by-laws DO NOT AUTHORIZE IT TO ENGAGE IN ANY OTHER ACTIVITY."

"A meeting is held each year by the stockholder-owners of the corporation, at which THEY DECIDE what is to be done with ANY EXCESS ASSESSMENTS not actually used for the purposes described above; i.e., THEY DECIDE EITHER TO RETURN THE EXCESS TO THEMSELVES or TO HAVE THE EXCESS APPLIED  AGAINST THE FOLLOWING YEAR'S ASSESSMENTS."

"Held, the EXCESS ASSESSMENTS for the taxable year OVER AND ABOVE THE ACTUAL EXPENSES  PAID OR INCURRED for the purposes described above ARE NOT TAXABLE to the corporation, SINCE SUCH EXCESS, in effect, HAS BEEN RETURNED to the stockholder-owners."
There does not appear to be any ambiguity as to how excesses are to be treated; either GIVE IT BACK, or REDUCE THE FOLLOWING YEAR ASSESSMENT.

Having studied the ruling in detail, even finding a court case where a homeowners association was subsequently penalized (the Mission Heights Case), and a subsequent article written by our then auditor, Gary Porter, where it indicated that this section of the IRS code, if not followed, COULD PRODUCE A SUBSEQUENT TAX ISSUE, a letter was composed by Tim Stebbins to the Sun City Anthem Board of Directors. 

This was a FACT FINDING mission, and conducted on behalf OF EVERY RESIDENT for their BENEFIT.

We have a copy of the letter from then Association Treasurer, Shirley Cheri, to Tim Stebbins dated September 11, 2009.

Here are the pertinent contents of that letter sent to Mr. Stebbins.
"This a response to your letter of August 27, 2009 where you SET OUT YOUR CONCERNS that a vote of the membership is required to adopt a Resolution utilizing the tax benefits of electing to use Revenue Ruling 70-604."

..."Gary Porter, IN HIS OPINION, cites TAM 9539001 in SUPPORT of the board of Directors adopting Revenue Ruling 70-604---IT DOES NOT REQUIRE A MEMBERSHIP MEETING."

"I have read all of your statements and it appears that you are misinterpreting the rulings.  WE DO NOT CARRY OVER SURPLUS FUNDS YEAR AFTER YEAR.  Each year is accounted for when the tax return is prepared."

"There is NO REQUIREMENT to ask unit owners TO VOTE ON DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS.  In our Association it is impractical because the tax return is due before the annual meeting."

"I am UNAWARE of any IRS RULING to support the reference you made to quote the Adams Kessler Law Firm.  GARY PORTER, of Porter and Company, is a recognized National authority on HOA tax and his opinion CLEARLY SUPPORTS THE BOARD SIGNING THE ELECTION as they are empowered by the State of Nevada to act on behalf of its members."


"Please rest assured your concerns are UNFOUNDED."
As one can see, there are inconsistencies between the actual written law and the letter from Ms. Cheri to Mr. Stebbins.  No documentation for her statements were presented to Mr. Stebbins verifying what was written to support her position, and there is NO RECORD that, to our knowledge, of any that exist.

Mr. Stebbins, confused, then wrote the IRS for CLARIFICATION of the matter.  He asked two questions in his letter:

a. Just who is to decide the distribution method: return the excess assessments or apply them against the following year?

b. Can the distribution of the excess assessments be withheld so as to build up a reserve of tax free "working capital?"

He subsequently received a return letter from the Department of the Treasury dated November 2, 2009.
Approximately 7 months later, SUN CITY ANTHEM was AUDITED based on what was believed to be an incorrect filing.

Within a short period of time following the SCA audit, the IRS also AUDITED SUN CITY SUMMERLIN under the same revenue ruling. 

Though both circumstances were different, nonetheless, BOTH WERE AUDITED for the SAME IRS CODE VIOLATION.

Was there a connection, or was this a coincidence?  That question will always remain unanswered.

But where all is considered, does that make Mr. Stebbins a problem maker or a problem solver? A bad guy or a hero?

This matter has now been resolved and CLARIFIED, costing Sun City Anthem a total of approximately $140,000.

Subsequently all residents WILL hopefully, NOW BE RECEIVING excess distributions back in one form or another; and if this problem REAPPEARS, there leaves little doubt as to the manner in which it must be handled according to the law.

When all is said and done, and the facts are fully digested, it appears that without this man's dedication and persistence, this problem would have in all likelihood, magnified itself due to the INCORRECT ACTIONS of the BOARD MEMBERS whose decisions ultimately caused the problem

Does that define a whistle blower or a person who, as result of his inquiries, forced a Board of Directors to correctly file their taxes?

Regardless of your opinion, the result is evident.

Excess dues payments, as a result of these inquiries and audits, will either HAVE TO BE SPENT the following year, or RETURNED in CASH or in the form a REDUCED ASSOCIATION DUES the following year.

Mr. Stebbins MADE THE EFFORT to solve this problem internally, was rejected, and  through his efforts, the PROBLEM WILL HOPEFULLY NEVER OCCUR AGAIN.