THE NORMAN MCCULLOUGH HEARING
Norman McCullough was charged with violating our governing documents in his efforts to ask Caren Carrero a question regarding the application of NRS 116 on member rights to comment. This occurred following the 27 May board meeting and resulted in Caren filing an assault charge against Norman for what I assume to have been Norman’s effort to get Caren’s attention. That charge resulted in a public hearing (Norman’s option) held this past week. Below are my views of this matter.
With the information available to the board, one has to wonder why the board made a decision to proceed with a hearing on a charge of Norman having assaulted Caren Carrero at the May board meeting. While there may be legal issues surrounding the basis for the charge against Norman, there is the more profound issue of the credibility of Caren Carrero. The Hearing disclosed that Caren Carrero had previously made other assault related charges, which were either dropped or determined to have been unfounded. While those facts alone do not exonerate Norman in his alleged assault, it does raise a very troubling issue of whether Caren Carrero is able to distinguish an assault from someone merely attempting to gain her attention at a meeting.
It might have helped if members had been forewarned about Caren’s apparent sensitivity issues about being touched. But no one should have expected Caren to carry a “Touch at Your Own Risk” sign on her back. Assuming that the members of the board knew of Caren’s proclivity to allege such charges, they, along with the RMI staff, were presumably “protected” by virtue of possessing this relevant piece of information about Caren’s apparent phobia. Others, like you and me, who were not privy to this information about Caren, were literally vulnerable to being falsely accused of an assault under circumstances we could not reasonably imagine.
Did the board have no interest in protecting homeowners who might venture too close to Caren with a question about her knowledge of the statutes she was asked to interpret for the board? Under these peculiar set of circumstances, where was the board’s admonition at the beginning of each meeting to stay clear of Caren in order that you not be singled out for an assault change in attempting to get her attention. Although it may sound silly, if it were not for what we now know, did the board have a duty to alert homeowners of the potential risk in approaching Caren in what she might perceive to be an assaulting manner, such as a touch on the back or shoulder. Without such a warning from the board, we were all potentially vulnerable to an assault charge.
This all goes to the issue of why the board’s key officers proceeded with this Hearing. Now, to those who believe that the board is an impartial arbitrator in matters like this might wish to consider the following:
As many homeowners know, Norman McCullough has been an outspoken critic of Jack Troia and Roz Berman for their roles in falsifying financial data pertaining to the Villa Neighborhoods. Those efforts, which are actually ongoing, effectively denied Villa homeowners substantial funds that were owed to their reserve accounts. Jack Troia and Roz Berman are believed to have perpetrated that fraud on the Villa Neighborhoods. Further, Roz Berman is the spouse of David Berman, who had filed a defamation lawsuit against Norman McCullough for Norman’s penchant for reminding others that David has an unsavory background and may not deserve our trust.
While Roz Berman and Dan Forgeron had recused themselves from the board’s deliberations on Norman’s fate at the executive session that followed the regular August board meeting, Jack Troia did not. We assume their decision was rendered that same evening and that Mr. McCullough will be notified of the Hearing’s results by mail.
Finally, there is the matter of Dan Forgeron, a board member who filed an affidavit in support of the allegations that Norman had assaulted Caren Carrero. After listening to his statement, it remains unclear to me what Dan had actually witnessed. However, that’s not the problem I wish to address.
I find Dan’s support of Caren’s allegation of an assault very troubling. Regardless of what Dan witnessed, I question the motivation of a highly respected board member getting involved in this matter given Caren’s prior history here of having filed an unfounded assault charge and, based on a recording of the event, her apparent sensitivity to being touched. Those two important factors would seem to make Dan Forgeron’s decision to enter this assault issue suspicious at best. I would certainly question his judgment in doing so as well as his motivation.
Without Dan’s supporting statement, Caren was left with her own statement along with Skyler Jewell, Caren’s Administrative Assistant. Without additional credible support that an assault had taken place, Caren’s allegations might have been easier to dismiss. But with a key member of the board in full support of her allegations, all of sudden her allegations would seem to have merit.
If I were a betting person, I would bet that Dan’s foray into this issue had more to do with board politics than with the facts of the matter. Dan’s testimony, if necessary, would enable the board to secure that noose around Norman’s neck in case he tried to escape the board’s presumed disposition to sanction him.
No one should be deluded into thinking that this Hearing matter would have gone this far had Jack Troia and Roz Berman not initially intended to find Norman guilty of some infraction.
All I can say is that I am greatly disappointed in Dan Forgeron, who no doubt will be remembered not for his good deeds in behalf of the community but for his exercise of questionable judgment in this very troubling episode.
Ron Johnson, 29 August 2010, corrected 30 Aug.
For an overview of the Hearing, including Norman McCullough’s statement and his attorney, Ryan Hamilton’s statement, click here for David Berman’s blog article. http://anthemjournal.typepad.com/davids_anthem_journal/2010/08/the-norman-mccullough-public-hearing.html