The Estates at Turtle Run Homeowners Association Board has received criticism for failing to hold its annual election mandated by the bylaws on December 7, 2022.
The majority of the board is being criticized for delaying elections and neglecting homeowners’ interests by other board members and residents. Additionally, the board has not met since October 2022.
For the election to occur, at least three members of the Estates at Turtle Run HOA must agree to hold the meeting where voting will occur. The members must then sign a letter and send it to Benchmark Property Management, certifying their approval to conduct the election.
Only directors Skip Carney and Lloyd List have returned the required paperwork as of press time. President Christopher Kapish, Vice President Lance Morgan, and Director Howard Seiler have yet to sign off their approval.
On May 26, Carney sent a demand letter to other board members, urging them to agree to hold the election. He said residents discussed taking legal action against the board and starting recall petitions.
He fears insurance would not cover any lawsuit against the board, which could endanger himself, his assets, and his family.
“We do not want to create any negativity within the community by initiating petitions and recalls,” Carney wrote. “I want to make it clear that I am not the reason for the delay in scheduling the annual meeting and the election….”
Residents of The Estates circulated another letter in June. Overall, direct criticism of Seiler was minimal. However, homeowners aired much of their criticism at Kapish and, to an extent, Morgan.
Seiler said he does not know much about the situation, claimed everybody on the board has their own agenda, and stated other members are trying to drag each other down.
He did not explicitly state whether he would agree to sign the paperwork but denied receiving Carney’s demand letter.
Neither Morgan nor Kapish responded to multiple emails and phone calls.
Kapish served on the Turtle Run Community Development District (TRCDD) Board for over 25 years. He lost reelection to the special district to James “Rob” Shipe. Morgan’s wife, Patricia, ran against incumbent Zaida Karnegis. Patricia lost her election.
TRCDD board members accused Kapish and Morgan of hostility. Kapish and Morgan accused other members of Sunshine Law violations — claims denied due to lack of merit.
Now, Kapish is coming under fire for allegedly clinging to his remaining power. According to the neighbors’ letter, multiple residents of The Estates have asked Kapish when the election meeting will occur, but he refuses to answer.
“I think it’s derelict of duty,” said resident Debi Devlin. “There should be some accountability there.”
Another resident, Ric Riley, said refusing to hold the election deprives him of his rights as a homeowner who pays dues to the HOA.
“I have the right to speak up and speak out regarding the community,” Riley said. “We shouldn’t have to go to court or sue somebody for [the HOA] to do their responsibilities.”
On July 10, Shipe’s lawyer, Jeff Albert, sent a letter to the Estates at Turtle Run Board of Directors asking for records about the election and other actions.
He continued, saying the failure to hold the election violates multiple HOA bylaws. According to Shipe, Benchmark received the demand letter on July 18. As of press time, he received no comment.
Perry Nagel, property manager for the Estates at Turtle Run, did not return multiple phone calls.
Residents have continued asking Kapish when the election will be, going to TRCDD meetings to confront him directly, where he regularly attends and participates in public comment.
But, residents and board members note he is silent about the election and tries to intimidate them.
At the July 31 meeting, Kapish started staring and winking at Karnegis. She directly replied to him, “Don’t wink at me. That is disrespectful.”
After the incident, Karnegis told Coral Springs Talk, “I felt uncomfortable, and I believe that it was an attempt to intimidate me.”
Since May, residents state that Kapish allegedly sent out three letters from the HOA and the Turtle Run Foundation, one of which they received in August. The letters contain a series of grievances and criticisms.
The claims against the board led residents to ask about their legal remedies. Two attorneys gave general background on the law.
According to Jeff Kominsky, managing partner for LS Carlson Law Florida, each HOA has different requirements for establishing meeting quorums and general operating rules. This is due to differences in their bylaws.
However, they are all subject to numerous rules and regulations outlined in Florida Statute Sections 617 and 720, which outline meetings, elections, and fiduciary duties, among other regulations, responsibilities, and duties.
For an annual meeting to occur, there has to be a quorum met through in-person or proxy votes. Property owners can pursue legal options through statutory or contractual mediation in civil court if an election does not happen. E
lection disputes can arise when a person declares their candidacy and no election is held. However, they have 60 days to dispute their claim. Still, there are procedural limitations in election-related litigation. Jane Bolin, PeytonBolin Property Law partner, said property owners can send a demand letter stating they will seek arbitration. She said this would be an election dispute and require arbitration from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Despite the hostility, Carney hopes at least one of the remaining board members ultimately agrees to hold the election and let the homeowners’ voices be heard.
“Whoever wins and loses is not the point here; the point is to have an election,” he said. “I think our goal here is to give the HOA back to the homeowners.”
- Bryan has a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and earned his masters in geosciences from Florida International University, where he focused in atmospheric sciences. His interests include weather, entertainment, and municipal government.
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