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In regard to the Trafalgar Stump Dump fire that was first discovered on July 29, 2018, and produced hazardous smoke for almost a year, the Bella Vista Patriots would like to make a few observations. The owner of the dumpsite, Blue Mountain Storage, never had a permit. The Bella Vista POA, which leased the property for 13 years never had a permit. On April 23, 2008, the Bella Vista Patriots took pictures of Cooper Communities throwing four huge concrete mixing drums off into a ravine at the site. The Patriots reported the illegal incident to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and asked that the dump be shut down. ADEQ did nothing.

In a visit to the stump dump, Governor Hutchinson made the prediction that the cost to put out the fire might be between $21 to $37 million. ADEQ made an offer to the BVPOA administration to take the responsibility to put out the fire if it thought it could do it for less. In defense of POA's COO Tom Judson, he did get the fire extinguished in less than a month and at a cost of just over $4 million.

On COO Judson's arrival, the BVPOA had over $12 million in reserve funds. In a few months, that was spent. And, with the expense to put out the fire, the BVPOA borrowed $3.5 million from the water department. In the real world, that would be against the law. But, there are very few laws that pertain to non-profit organizations.

In desperation for money, the BVPOA held three bogus elections where it kept moving the goalpost so that the unimproved lot owners would have a deal they couldn't refuse. The unimproved lot owners outnumber the improved lot owners almost 2 to 1. The election provided for a $0 increase of monthly assessments to the majority and a $13 a month increase for the minority. The Patriots are currently preparing a lawsuit based on the principle of the "Reasonableness Test." That test questions whether the election was reasonable, fair and equitable?

Embedded in the election ballot is a stipulation that the improved lot owners (not the unimproved lot owners) must pay $2 a month to pay back the more than $4 million the POA spent on extinguishing the fire. There has not been a court order saying that we are guilty of causing the fire. The governor has not declared that we did it. What gives the POA administration the authority to deem that we committed the crime?

I am not going to pay the $2. I know the POA has a policy that, even if a homeowner pays his water bill, if he or she gets behind 90 days on paying his monthly assessment fees he will get his water shut off. When the POA cuts my water off, I will find a way to get around that. But I am not going to contribute one more dime to the "Company Store."

Jim Parsons

Chairman Bella Vista Patriots

Editorial on 03/18/2020

Print Headline: Patriots preparing lawsuit

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