HOA - innapropriate spending?

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To start - I have a HOA. Yeah, I know they kind of suck. It is what it is. Eventually, I'll move and not have one.

Anyway, when reviewing the 2016 financial statement, I found a line item "donation in memory of past board member's mother"

Now, it wasn't a huge amount. But I thought it was really weird. We have an annual meeting next week, and I'm thinking of asking about this, but I also kind of feel like a jerk for doing so. It just seems inappropriate to me. Completely inappropriate. Our subdivision probably has 150-200 homes. It is nice to do things like that to help each other out, I just don't think it's the job of the HOA to do so. It seems weird. It also seemed odd because it was the only time I've seen something like this. So it's not just that they send flowers or something to people to help them get through a tough time (which I also think would be weird for a HOA to do) it's this one person. It just seems odd. Like maybe they should have taken up a collection among themselves or something for it? Granted, it wasn't a TON of money, it's the principle of the thing that bugs me. It seems very.. not appropriate is all I can think of.

Am I over reacting? Is this worth bringing up in the annual meeting? If so how do I do it and not seem like a jerk? 

Sorry if this isn't the appropriate place - I wasn't sure where to ask this question.

Also this is in Ohio if that matters - but it's not really a legal question more of a - does this seem weird to anyone else and what would you do question?

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ikj2718 (Feb. 27, 2017 @ 8:21p) |

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If you want to be hassled by the board for every blade of grass that is 1/2 inch too tall, and fined if you leave your trash can out too long then by all means bring it up.

how much money?

I'd probably just let it lie and not be a jerk about it. I'm assuming it was a nominal amount like $50-100?

Reasonable question though. I'd be annoyed if my HOA was using money on such things that are clearly not its charter. But yeah if its a smallish amount I'd not really worry about it. Pick your battles.

Rather than bringing it up at a meeting in front of everyone, why not pick out one of the board members who doesn't seem like a jerk and just give him a call and ask about it privately? There might be more to the story. Or the board member might tell you (unsolicited) that it was probably not a good idea.

Me, I'd just let it go. HOAs are Satan's tools, and if the only complaint you have with yours is a small one-time memorial donation, then I'd say you've got it good.

I'd let it slide. They do serve for free usually. A thankless task.

Does your HOA use a management company for billing, etc.? If so, contact them and ask the question... much better than going to the board directly.

and it was a totally inappropriate thing for the board to do... unless she was providing some services to the HOA for free (my dad continued to serve as the treasurer for a condo board for a few years after he sold his unit).

Let it slide, most likely the board member was suffering and the board wanted to confirm them a little bit.
You know HOA board members don't get paid right?

ikj2718 said:   Is this worth bringing up in the annual meeting? If so how do I do it and not seem like a jerk?
  You can't. 150-200 homes? Your cut was what? 25 cents? Just keep quiet unless you want a confrontation. This is just common sense. Kind of like not commenting to your neighbour that his teenage daughter is hot.

atikovi said:   Kind of like not commenting to your neighbour that his teenage daughter is hot.
  Wait... You're saying I shouldn't do this?

LaChupacabraj said:   
atikovi said:   Kind of like not commenting to your neighbour that his teenage daughter is hot.
  Wait... You're saying I shouldn't do this?

  Unless you're 16 or 17 yourself, it's not such a good idea. And even then it's not too smart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbsmbCWUNEE



Lol yeah my cut was small - it's the principle of it. It bugs me. I think the whole HOA thing bugs me, and bugs me even more that they feel like they can just spend money however they want. I'm just bitter. I want to be in charge. I don't deal well with authority lol

It was <$200 but not much. Also - it's managed by residents. Also - I don't know that it matters how much it was. If it's wrong it's wrong. I am going to try to get one of my neighbors riled up - that way they can look bad and I can sit back and watch

ikj2718 said:   Lol yeah my cut was small - it's the principle of it. It bugs me. I think the whole HOA thing bugs me, and bugs me even more that they feel like they can just spend money however they want. I'm just bitter. I want to be in charge. I don't deal well with authority lol
  then run for the Board

join the board.

wait for mom to die.

profit!

 

ikj2718 said:   It was <$200 but not much. Also - it's managed by residents. Also - I don't know that it matters how much it was. If it's wrong it's wrong. I am going to try to get one of my neighbors riled up - that way they can look bad and I can sit back and watch
  Wow, so glad you're not my neighbor! 

Getting upset over a few bucks, then throwing another neighbor under the bus, cause you don't want the grief?
Or because you don't want to privately ask a board member?
Tip OF the Day-
    MOVE somewhere else

Red55 said:   
ikj2718 said:   It was <$200 but not much. Also - it's managed by residents. Also - I don't know that it matters how much it was. If it's wrong it's wrong. I am going to try to get one of my neighbors riled up - that way they can look bad and I can sit back and watch
  Wow, so glad you're not my neighbor! 

Getting upset over a few bucks, then throwing another neighbor under the bus, cause you don't want the grief?
Or because you don't want to privately ask a board member?
Tip OF the Day-
    MOVE somewhere else

  If I owned a HOA property, I'd want all my neighbors to question spending -- except the ones who want to increase it.

ikj2718 said:   Lol yeah my cut was small - it's the principle of it. It bugs me. I think the whole HOA thing bugs me, and bugs me even more that they feel like they can just spend money however they want. I'm just bitter. I want to be in charge. I don't deal well with authority lol
  
You know what they are going to see: someone who never attends any meetings, doesn't volunteer, and then wants to question their decisions after the fact. 
You want to be in charge, run for a seat on board. 

skarydrunkguy said:   join the board.

wait for mom to die.

profit!

 

  the donation wasn't to the mom or mom's family. it was to a charity in her name. no profit happenin'
 I found a line item "donation in memory of past board member's mother"

JaxFL said:   
ikj2718 said:   Lol yeah my cut was small - it's the principle of it. It bugs me. I think the whole HOA thing bugs me, and bugs me even more that they feel like they can just spend money however they want. I'm just bitter. I want to be in charge. I don't deal well with authority lol
  
You know what they are going to see: someone who never attends any meetings, doesn't volunteer, and then wants to question their decisions after the fact. 
You want to be in charge, run for a seat on board. 

  Bad HOAs don't want you at their meetings, volunteering nor asking questions.

irate_retro said:   Rather than bringing it up at a meeting in front of everyone, why not pick out one of the board members who doesn't seem like a jerk and just give him a call and ask about it privately? There might be more to the story. Or the board member might tell you (unsolicited) that it was probably not a good idea.

Me, I'd just let it go. HOAs are Satan's tools, and if the only complaint you have with yours is a small one-time memorial donation, then I'd say you've got it good.

  
I agree with this. Don't bring it up at the next meeting unless you are a regular at the meetings and complain about expenses often. If you're not a regular, but you want to start questioning things, let this event be your motivation to start attending more meetings and see how the whole process is run. Talk to a board member or two (outside of the meeting). You'll either decide that you think you can do better and run for the board yourself, or that the board is run well and its not worth your time to question this stuff, or that it's so messed up that you want to move sooner rather than later.

By all means, question stuff that your HOA does that you don't like. But maybe the donation in memory of the board member's mother isn't the VERY FIRST thing you should question. You'll be known as "that guy" forever.

ikj2718 said:   Anyway, when reviewing the 2016 financial statement, I found a line item "donation in memory of past board member's mother"
 

Was it a charity? If so which one?

Does your community budget for charitable giving? or sponsor causes?  

I know of some senior communities that do.

The larger question isn't the $200 they wasted on flowers (I think this is totally unethical btw) since as you pointed out it 25 cents per person, but what else they are wasting money on. If they are gifting each other gifts, I'd say that embezzlement and misappropriations are highly likely.

ikj2718 said:   Lol yeah my cut was small - it's the principle of it. It bugs me. I think the whole HOA thing bugs me, and bugs me even more that they feel like they can just spend money however they want. I'm just bitter. I want to be in charge. I don't deal well with authority lol
 

 
I wouldn't make an issue of it, it is a small amount.  They are being transparent and not trying to hide it. 

As for being in charge, get on the board and good luck but know that it is a thankless goat rodeo.  You have to listen to endless stupidity and occasionally deal with some real critical issues.  If this is your only issue with the HOA just keep quiet 

Unsigned letter.

TravelerMSY said:   I'd let it slide. They do serve for free usually. A thankless task.
  
In my experience people run for the HOA board because they have an agenda, not out of the goodness of their hearts.

ganda said:   
TravelerMSY said:   I'd let it slide. They do serve for free usually. A thankless task.
  
In my experience people run for the HOA board because they have an agenda, not out of the goodness of their hearts.

  I've seen the opposite, but it was a small building without any outsourced management.

Have you looked at the CC&Rs for your HOA? Might be worth a gander to see what the board is entitled or not entitled to spend money on and how much if they are.

^^^ Agreed.  Bylaws usually allow latitude to the board regarding how much they can spend and what they can use it for.  I wouldn't waste any time on it.  I would spend my time preparing to sell and move where you don't have someone dictating what you can and cannot do in your own home.

Man, obviously most of you guys have never served on an HOA board. I was so happy when someone else wanted to be president, this was after years of trying to find others to volunteer for board positions. Lots of complaining about the choices I made, very little in the way of actionable help though. As several others said, it's a terrible thankless non-paying job.

Ha!  Agreed..  I've tried to pass the flag at the last two meetings and no one wants it..  I just quit having meetings   I do still keep up the finances etc..

A buddy of mine actually sold his condo and moved back to Dallas to get out of HOA duties. Nobody else would step up. In a small building with 6 units!

You choose to live where there is an HOA/COA. Attend their meetings, run for the board or move. You choose none of these so keep quiet and pay your fees on time.

ryoung81 said:   Man, obviously most of you guys have never served on an HOA board. I was so happy when someone else wanted to be president, this was after years of trying to find others to volunteer for board positions. Lots of complaining about the choices I made, very little in the way of actionable help though. As several others said, it's a terrible thankless non-paying job.
It's worse than thankless. I was a trustee of a newer building, very well run, low condo fees. Because all my neighbors knew I was a trustee, they would complain to me about even the silliest minutiae and blame me when they didn't get what they wanted. When I suggested any of them serve as a trustee the next term, none of them wanted to do it. 

snnistle said:   ^^^ Agreed.  Bylaws usually allow latitude to the board regarding how much they can spend and what they can use it for.  I wouldn't waste any time on it.  I would spend my time preparing to sell and move where you don't have someone dictating what you can and cannot do in your own home.
For sure, the prudent financial decision is to sell your house and pay 8%+ of your home value in transaction costs to avoid a $1 charitable donation imposed by the HOA.

You have to pick your battles, OP.  Gal I work with is a flat out racist and also a shop steward of our union.  I am of a different race and a minority where I work.  ( I'm caucasian)  I thought about filing a formal complaint with the company, but in the end, it is me that would suffer the consequences.  I would win the battle but lose the war.

i see an increase in Dues in your subdivisions future

I am house shopping right now and on top of the list is "no HOA". It is my personal fight against such things as HOA. Many people just "live with it cause it's everywhere". Or "it's such a small amount, just pay for it". Wrong is still wrong doesn't matter the amount or that everyone is doing it. Or "it's for the poor/the sick/homeless/needy children/cancer/poor country/etc/etc/etc/etc"...... it's still wrong to force me to pay for it. Making me feel bad so I would pay for all the craziness they can think of. Many of you will say I am cruel and mean, but I have seen people turning it into a business trying to make you feel bad so you will donate/pay. I hate how kids get kidnap and force to beg at the corner because IT WORKS.

I suggest to ask and get them to remove it from the list of mandate fees. It is wrong to force you to donate in their name.

WorkerAnt said:   I am house shopping right now and on top of the list is "no HOA"
  any luck?

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