I-Team: HOA Drama Caught on Tape


by Dana Fowle
Aired March 14, 2016

A quiet, DeKalb County neighborhood off of Flat Shoals Road is cozy with its bungalows, townhomes and single family houses. But, neighbors say, their new homeowners’ association president has created tension.

“I’ve lived 10 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. It could be a reality show,” said Lauren Hise , a Brighton Village homeowner

Brighton Village Board Treasurer Derick Montegomery chimed in, “I’m exhausted and tired and very frustrated.”

Many residents and some board members also blame the property management group, Sentry Management, for the new tension which spilled into a recent meeting.

In an audiotape, you can hear Sentry representive Caren Brown challenges board member Brianna Gage who has pushed back at how the community is being treated.

“Do you want to see me outside Brianna? Let’s go,” yelled Ms. Brown.

Board treasurer Derick Montgomery was there.

I said, ‘We’re professionals. We are not going to engage in a fistfight wth a property management who is on the clock and we’re paying her to be there’.”

So how did it come to this? The installation of a security gate opened the neighbors’ eyes to just how closed off they feel they are to the management of their community. Even the HOA treasurer, the man in charge of the finances, says he no longer has a say in how the money is spent.

The treasurer says Brighton Village shelved an $80,000 gate proposal because they didn’t have the money. But then after new board leadership arrived, he says, a gate was going in and the price was going up.

“And we’re now at $135,000,” he told the Fox 5 I-Team.

Alarmed Montgomery sent a letter warning his neighbors “no decision was voted on by the board.” Neighbors chimed in wanting to know more.

“We want to see the contract. We want to see the financial,” said homeowner Zakia Funchess

The Fox 5 I-Team has tried to talk to board president Michael Pillow about the mounting tensions since he took the post. When I asked him, “Can we talk to you about the ill will between the board and some of the neighbors,” he kept walking.

Neighbor David Thompson sums up what we heard again and again.

“There just hasn’t been a lot of transparency.”

Residents say they were told the bylaws give the president a lot of power to make unilateral decisions.

Fed up they gathered signatures to call for new board elections, but they poured out of that packed meeting furious, again.

“They humored us by giving us the meeting that we had a right to and then at the last moment threw it in our face that we needed half of the members which is half of the homeowners to vote in order to get anybody off the board,” said an obviously furious Lauren Hise

Neighbor Brian Sheffer said, “We thought we had the votes.”

He placed blame for the community not knowing more about how the process was supposed to work.

“Our property manager, our board, the lawyer we’re paying to be there right now.”

We tried to chat with Sentry Management, but they instead called the police on us.

The community told me at the meeting to vote off the board, they finally asked the current members to just step down from their volunteer positions so they could start over. We were told, one board member said she would, but not the president.

And finally, the neighbors say many of the board positions – including the president’s – are about to expire, so they will hold new elections. But they want all spending to be on hold until that happens.

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43 thoughts on “I-Team: HOA Drama Caught on Tape

  1. Those gates are a false sense of security lol
    The only real way to have a secured gated community to the best it can be is with gate, paid security operating said gate 24/7, and a camera or two.

    You will never have true security though as anyone can just walk in from any direction other then said gate if it has video cameras.

  2. HOAs are great for people who understand the benefits. They go wrong when simple minded folk think they've bought pvt property and the THINK they can do whatever they want.
    HOA homes are not pvt property. They come with rules and regulations. You sign a contract when you buy one.

  3. General Knowledge for All: You are not obligated, under Normal Human
    Law, to pay HOA fees, regardless of living within an HOA-oriented
    community. The house you bought is yours and yours alone, and NO ONE can
    force you, on your own property, to leave nor can they barricade you
    from entering; they do not have any right, whatsoever, to demand you
    give money to anything other than your own bank account; they have no
    right to enter onto and/or into your own property, at any time, unless
    granted permission by you. The HOA is nothing more than extortion. You
    have the Normal Human right to deny signing HOA documents, however you
    please, and that can NOT be used to keep you from your residence. The
    HOA does NOT control you nor your family, nor anyone you have staying at
    your home; they cannot deny you the freedom of having a basketball hoop
    in your driveway, or building a pool in your backyard, or even having a
    barbecue. If your voice has to be voted in for you to be heard, that is
    not a promising nor prospering place to live.

  4. A lot of conflict of interest…if HOA wants to run a community then I believe that these representatives should come from outside the community not within. For instance, your neighbor is on the board and have a beef with you then they could and likely will make your life hell and want you out…too much drama

  5. I currently live in an HOA in Missouri. A very nice townhouse type of condo with attached houses. The HOA monthly fee covers building insurance, yard work, exterior maintenance and trash pick up. But after 2 years its become clear that there's quite a few members who feel the rules dont apply to them.
    I'm active on the architectural and landscape committees. It amazes me how some owner wants to paint thier garage door green or plant a tree to shade their patio in a common area. Sometimes they just do it without asking and the association has to fine them. Plus the offender has to pay to restore the yard back to its original condition.
    One owner drives a semi tractor trailer and thought he could park it at the entrance of the subdivision. He got away with it for two months. His truck killed the grass and shrubs. When he was told to move his truck out he wanted the association to pay for a private parking spot on a remote lot.
    Then he was fined for the damage he did to the common grounds at the entrance. He refused to pay. Then he stopped paying his assoc dues. Now the association is in the process of putting a lien on his property. He's also liable for the associations legal fees. By the time its over his entire investment will be wiped out just because he didnt want to abide by the rules.
    When he bought the condo he signed an agreement that he understood the bylaws.

    I'll never live in an HOA of this kind again. Its a constant struggle to keep the idiots in compliance.

  6. Organization that have power like goverment?
    Can fined someone or house owner because of silly regulation that almost looked like in made by law goverment
    Bwahahahhaha only in USA

  7. Bunch of crybabies. They live in a gated community with better homes than a lot of us can afford. Fire that fat piece of crap from sentry and get your stuff together residents!

  8. H o a all of them all of them need to be outlawed the word free country does not exist if you live in Ho a they do not work well I have not seen one posting of anyone saying they live in an h o a and they're happy contented and are treated respectfully

  9. Can't believe people are stupid enough to buy into an HOA!!! You are saying you're too stupid to make decisions about your own home when you get into a HOA

  10. why is the world would anyone want to buy a home and be told what they can and cant do in there own home??? i have seen things like you cant have 2 cars park in the driveway at the same time. who the hell makes up these rules for your home. also seen them tell people that they cant fly the flag wow really

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