Community Update 11-4-21
Community Update from your Board of Directors 11/4/21
Dear Community Members,
We have several important matters to update you on, so please take a moment to read through all the information below.
The 18 Chanticleer Pears were planted in the four medians on Darien Club Drive. They are a great enhancement to our subdivision, and we thank the City of Darien.
On Saturday, October 30th, Darien Club hosted our first “Trunk or Treat” Halloween festivities. Kids and adults shared in the fun which included a Petting Zoo, Pony Rides, Food, Drinks, Treats, and Costume Parade. Halloween spirit was alive on Darien Club Drive. We welcome all the families that joined in the festivities, and we thank the Social Commission and Neighbors who worked to put this event together. Thank you also to the generous families that donated treats of all kinds for the kids as well as the adults. The event was a great success.
Also, note that effective November 1, 2021, Real Manage is our new Property Manager. You should have already received a mailing with information. If not, please contact Real Manage. Our community representative is Mark Parlanti. He can be reached at 866-473-2573 or by email at Darclub@ciramail.com. Please see our website for this information as well.
Design Manual Revisions & Survey Results:
On Monday, you received a Notice for our upcoming Board Meeting on November 8th. The Notice is posted on the Website along with the Revised Darien Club Design Manual Rules & Regulations for your review and final comments.
All design manual changes considered the following factors:
- Darien Club Governing Documents/ Declaration
- State and Local Requirements
- Property Value Improvement
- Rules and Consistent Enforcement
- Survey Results
While the majority of the changes were consistent with survey results, legal factors defined other results.
Specifically, through advice of legal counsel, we have learned that the Design Manual is in conflict with the Declaration with respect to fence rules.
It is important that the community understand the following:
- The Declaration is the document that supersedes all other governing documents including the Design Manual Rules & Regulations. The Design Manual Rules & Regulations cannot remove rights granted in the Declaration. Therefore, inconsistencies in the Design Manual have been corrected to be consistent with the Declaration, specifically fencing rules.
- The Design Manual Rules also must comply with all local, city and state regulations.
The Board has done all due diligence to assure that it has met its fiduciary responsibility with the rule revisions through complete legal review and has received a written legal opinion from Keogh & Moody, Counsel for Darien Club, on the conflicting language in the Design Manual Rules and the Declaration with respect to fence rules.
This is no longer a matter of board opinion, community opinion or survey votes. Darien Club and the HOA cannot legally remove fence rights granted to Owners through the Declaration. In fact, the Board would NOT be meeting its fiduciary responsibility if it did not restore this right to Owners. Further, noncompliance with the Declaration could lead to legal jeopardy for the HOA.
Moving past this, we would like to summarize the survey results.
93 Homeowners completed the survey accounting for 56% of all Owners. While we were hopeful to hear from all homeowners, we were very pleased to have over half of the Darien Club Owners respond. Respondents advocated for change to over half the categories. There were strong opinions across the board and on all sides of each category.
Here is a summary of the Survey Results. Please note that some respondents left some questions blank so not all will total to 93 votes:
Solar Shingles: 64 28
Solar Panels: 23 68 (Note: DCOA must comply with Illinois law)
Detached Structures Guidelines: 59 34
Detached Structures No Approval: 25 67
Perimeter Fence – Pools 47 44
Fences for Darien Club Borders 62 30
Fences for Safety 32 60
Fences – All 28 65
Mailbox Choices 39 53
Mailbox Colors 23 70
Celebratory Signs 70 23
Political Signs 33 60 (Note: DCOA must comply with Illinois law)
Landscape Screen 52 39
2.5” Caliper trees 63 28
Restricted Wetland Maintenance 68 25
Landscape Rocks 60 32
The Board is proud to have surveyed the community to hear its opinions. This is the first time Darien Club residents have been surveyed and asked for input. No other Board has ever asked residents to weigh in on any decisions it has made. While the Board has the authority to change the Design Manual Rules & Regulations, this board went above and beyond to hear Owner opinions.
With the revised Design Manual Rules & Regulations, the current Board’s primary objective is to allow broad enjoyment to all Owners of their home and property while maintaining Darien Club aesthetics. Many Owners through the survey or other commentary noted that the Architectural review/approval process has been difficult, cumbersome, and unfair in the past. It is this Board’s goal to improve the process and to work with homeowners to achieve their dreams to enhance their home, landscape, yard, and other amenities. Rather than being a heavy-handed board with respect to architectural improvements, this Board intends to work with homeowners to approve their improvements and visions while still maintaining the design integrity of Darien Club. This should not be the difficult process it has been historically. Ordinary maintenance and landscape replacements do not require approval.
“All4DarienClub” Detrimental Effect on Darien Club:
In closing, we would like to address a difficult matter that the Board has done its best to maintain professionalism with. The Board has dealt with many inappropriate actions by the All4DarienClub organizers. It is imperative to directly address gross misinformation, misconduct, and unethical activity by these members.
In total transparency, the All4DarienClub Organizers include Laurie Camp, Pat Coutre’, Dan and Deb Marszalek, Linda Pecora, Adele Mitchell, and John Pastore. Four of these individuals are former Board members. A significant portion of their “marketing campaign” is focused on Board transparency, yet they fail in this regard as they only solicit certain members of the community and hide behind a logo, a fake address, and a deceiving email campaign. Back in August this group circulated a petition to the Darien Club Owners that included statements that were not truthful, all of which were addressed in the last Community Update. Certain members of this group purposely mis-informed community members on a multitude of items to cause disruption to our community. The former Board members of this group know and understand how Rules are changed under the DCOA governing documents, yet they misled trusting Owners on the facts, stating that current Board members were not meeting their fiduciary responsibility, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
This group has sent threatening, disrespectful, and untruthful letters filled with accusations to the Board Members. They have attempted to submit expenses for their meeting which the HOA has no obligation to reimburse per legal counsel, yet they believe they are entitled to such reimbursement and use of your assessments. They have gone so far to have an attorney write letters to the Board Members to bully and threaten the Board. The activity of the All4DarienClub organizers has resulted in significant legal expense to the association. From their petition to their special meeting, to their threatening and accusatory letters, to their attorney letters sent, they have racked up thousands of dollars in cost to our HOA as all these items must be reviewed by legal counsel when fiduciary responsibility is being questioned. This year, we will have unprecedented legal expense as a result that could have been better spent on more critical needs of Darien Club.
We are asking members of the community to disenfranchise this group. Their special meeting had attendance by 49 Owners (including the organizers). On a cursory review, we believe the group consists of less than 30 Owners (18% of the community). The damage done by this small minority of Owners to our community is unacceptable. The costs incurred by the association because of their activity is devastating. This group continues to consistently email blast our Owners. The behavior of these former board members is unethical and detrimental to the well-being of Darien Club. For example, after the Board allowed their Special Meeting despite the fact that signatures were solicited using untruthful statements, this group broke the rules of the Special Meeting by discussing matters not on the agenda including the upcoming election, who may be up for election, and how they intend to vote the current Board Members off and present their own “Slate of Candidates.” It is obvious that their lack of control and wanting to regain power is their primary objective. We have learned that these former board members were uncooperative with owners during their tenures. Whether or not you agree with fences, these former Board members continued to unjustly enforce a rule that REMOVED YOUR RIGHTS GRANTED BY THE DECLARATION. Do not let anyone remove your rights. Certainly, some of these organizers aspire to run for office at the upcoming election. This Board strongly asks that you consider the behavior, lies and detrimental activity of this group when casting your vote in the upcoming election. The Board is currently reviewing the date of the election with legal counsel and will mail the Notice of the Annual Meeting along with nomination form based on this date.
The Board would also like to make the community aware of a number of serious issues that occurred recently that has this board on high alert. First, someone created an email address using a Board member’s name and sent an email to Oak & Dale requesting a $7,900 check be cut and express mailed to an unknown vendor. Oak & Dale believed the email was sent from the Board member and prepared the check. It was caught by another Board member when a signature was requested. In addition, it was found out that the HOA Gmail account was compromised. A former board member that participates in the All4DarienClub group unethically continued to receive auto-forwarded emails from this account long after their tenure and without informing current Board members. More disturbing, the HOA Website was hacked, and an event was posted with details for an upcoming legal meeting. While all details related to these events are not yet known, some are, including who had access to these databases and information.
Despite these disruptions, the Board has continued to focus on its work. We will continue to move forward. We ask our community members to move forward. Do not let a disgruntled group of owners fog your mind, tell you what to write on a survey, or cast your vote for you. Think for yourself. Ask your own questions. Do your own research. The current Board members welcome a conversation from any and all Owners. John Becker is a resident of Darien Club for 27 years and happy to have a discussion. Alan, George, and Daniel have dynamically different backgrounds and are happy to have a discussion. Community members that speak Hindu can contact Sara Vaince so there is clear understanding with no confusion of facts.
We welcome your calls,
Your Board of Directors – John Becker, Alan McNea, George Battaglia, Sara Vaince, Daniel Carnet