Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cedar Run Legal Update

There have been three court appearances since our last blog post.  Nothing major has happened since then, but we are getting very close to resolving all open concerns.

What we do know:
  • There will be an election in May 2015 for the entire HOC board
  • The election will be supervised by a CPA firm to ensure it is administered correctly
  • This same CPA firm will perform a full audit of all financial records, which will show how our money has been handled over the past 2-3 years
  • In the moths leading up to the election, Robert Sher and Jack Shaw WILL NOT BE PAID with homeowner funds

What still needs to be determined:
  • Who the receiver and/or management company will be (it is possible that a management company can serve as both)
  • What authorities/responsibilities will go to the receiver and what (if any) will remain with the HOC board.

In the meantime, if you receive any correspondence from anyone claiming to represent the HOC or Oversight Committee, please bring it to our attention.  Whether it's a mailing, posting on your door or garage door, sign posted on the property, or a phone call encouraging you to attend a meeting or sign something.....it may be a violation of the court's 'Stand-Still' order, and we'd love to know about it.

restoreCR@gmail.com
(224) 544-9058




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Monday, January 5, 2015

Cedar Run Legal Update - Next Court Date 1/08/2015

A Belated Happy New Year from the Cedar Run Concerned Homeowners!

The next court hearing in the Cedar Run legal saga will take place on 1/08/2015 at 10:30 AM at the Daley Center.  If you haven't read the full summary of the 12/22/2014 hearing, you can do so by clicking HERE (we have updated the information since posting, so do consider a second read even if you've already read it).  To view a transcript of the 12/22 hearing, click HERE.

At the next hearing (1/08/2015), we expect that a receiver will be selected to manage Cedar Run up until the May election.  We also expect there to be much debate over what responsibilities will be delegated to this receiver.  The final word on the receiver's authority will have a major impact on what powers (if any) the current HOC board will retain.

Why the Silence form Sher & Company?
There currently is a 'Stand-still' order in place that forbids Robert Sher or the board from sending or posting any official communication to homeowners (which they violated by posting signs about the 12/22 hearing).  This is why no homeowners have received anything (exception being the posted signs) from the 'Master Board' and/or 'Oversight Committee' (aka Robert Sher).  If history is any indicator, we probably would have been barraged with propaganda by now if this order were not in place.


Board Powers Restricted by the Court
This same stand-still order also restricts or forbids the current board from making payments or entering contracts.  We are still waiting to hear more exact details about this specific item, but it is fairly clear that no payments to board members and/or their families are allowed (which pretty much cuts off the oversight committee - Jack Shaw & Robert Sher).

The judge did acknowledge that the property must be maintained and snow must be removed, even during these legal proceedings.  We see no reason that the court would prevent the board from paying for any of these services.

We will post another legal update as soon as new information rolls in.  Please stay tuned!



We'd love your feedback!
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Do also feel free to call us at (224) 544-9058 or email us at restoreCR@gmail.com.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

12/22 Court Hearing - Full Summary

**UPDATE - 12/29 COURT HEARING CONTINUED TO 1/8/2015**
***UPDATE - 12/22 TRANSCRIPT NOW AVAILABLE***
 
We hope everyone had a Happy Holiday, and we appreciate your patience in waiting for this more thorough summary of the court hearing on 12/22.  Click HERE to view the court transcript from 12/22.  Please do also note that as this blog is being posted (12/29), additional developments are taking place in court that may fill in some additional details that were not finalized on 12/22.  **UPDATE - CONTINUED TO 1/8/2015**

First, a brief background of what has occurred in the last few weeks:
(If you want to skip the background, scroll down to the headline 'So What Happened in Court?)

December 9th, 2014, Judge Garcia finally heard arguments from both sides over the question of elections for Cedar Run.  The Sher group's only defense or excuse for not holding elections in over two years was a controversial Bylaw document that they created in December of 2012 to replace Cedar Run's original Bylaws from 1972.  In nutshell, the Judge refused to acknowledge these bogus Bylaws as a binding governing document, and he expressed real concerns over the validity of a board that has operated under them for two years without elections.

Click HERE and HERE for two blog posts about that specific hearing or HERE for a transcript of the proceedings from 12/9.

At a brief hearing on December 17th, the Judge had asked both sides to work out an agreement over how to make up for the two consecutive election cycles that were skipped and how to govern Cedar Run until a proper election is held.  In the interim, the HOC (aka 'Master Board') was forbidden from making any payments to board members or their families, from making announcements or mailings to homeowners, or from entering any contracts.  No agreement was reached about how to handle the election and governance of Cedar Run, so both sides then had to argue their respective cases in front of Judge Garcia on December 22nd.

Using this blog, we had strongly encouraged homeowners to attend this December 22nd hearing to hear what Judge Garcia had to say. In response to this, the Sher group posted the following signs at the entrance/exit of Cedar Run and at the clubhouse.



Notice that the sign written in Spanish has a great deal more content than the sign written in English.  The Spanish sign translates to "HISPANICS, The future of Cedar Run is at risk! We need your support on Monday 22nd at 7:30am. We will reunite at the club house to go to court. It's very important that you accompany us! Your house could be at risk or even have a high and excessive payment."

In addition to posting these signs (which violated the court order that forbids announcements of any kind), the Sher group also spent the weekend making phone calls exclusively to Hispanic homeowners and urged them to either accompany them in court or head to to the clubhouse and sign a petition.  As reported by concerned Hispanic homeowners who received these calls, they were told that "ALMA is suing the [Cedar Run] Master Board, and you might lose your home if you don't sign a petition or show up in court" (Many things wrong with this claim, one being that ALMA has nothing to do with the lawsuit in question).  Other homeowners reported that they were told that the court transcript of the December 9th hearing that was posted on this blog was a FAKE.........Dirty politics and manipulation at their worst!



So, What happened in Court?

Here are some highlights, followed by longer explanations on each point:

  1. Contrary to the Sher group's signage, the future of Cedar Run was not decided on December 22nd, 2014, but it will be decided by the homeowners in May of 2015 (pending an official order confirming the election time-frame).
  2. There will be a receiver appointed to manage Cedar Run (pending an official order).  The receiver's authority is likely to be finalized at the 12/29 hearing. **UPDATE - CONTINUED TO 1/8/2015**
  3. Full financial audits/reviews will be conducted of the past three fiscal years, and results will be made available to all Cedar Run homeowners.
  4. Temporary order restricting payments and forbidding announcements extended until election (possibly expanded).
  5. The Judge stated quite clearly that nobody will lose their home as a result of the court's decisions on this case.
  6. Caryn Shaw unsuccessfully tried to SILENCE THIS BLOG.  Judge would not agree.

1. Future of Cedar Run
The primary reason that the courts had to get involved is the fact that there has been no annual election for the Cedar Run Homeowners' Corporation (aka HOC, aka 'Master Board') for two consecutive election cycles.  The only elected (not appointed) director on the HOC board that is currently serving an unexpired term is Barbara Shaw.  Effectively, the entire board (except for one director) could have been turned over by a vote from Cedar Run homeowners by now.  We were deprived of that opportunity.

So here we are at the end of the year, awaiting a final order for an election.  If an 'immediate' election via a 'Special Meeting of the Members' were to be held, it likely wouldn't happen until sometime in mid to late February----proper notice, planning, nominations, arranging for auditors to supervise, etc.  Three months later (in May), the HOC (per the real bylaws) must then conduct an annual election, which should probably also be supervised to the same extent as the Special Meeting.

For these reasons (although it's not etched in stone yet), all parties seem to have agreed to a May election that will cover the ENTIRE HOC board of Directors.

2.  Receivership

Since it is quite clear that the bogus bylaws that the Sher/Shaw HOC board have followed for two years (which differ greatly from the real bylaws, serve the interests of Sher and his closest supporters, and contradict state law) are illegal, there are serious concerns about whether or not the current HOC board can be trusted to operate any longer.  That said, pending the judge's final order, a receiver will be appointed to manage Cedar Run.

The only question that leaves is......what authority (if any) should the current HOC have, in light of the above concerns?  This item is probably the central point of the court hearing today (12/29). **UPDATE - CONTINUED TO 1/8/2015**

3.  Financial Audits
With the legitimacy of the board questionable at best, concerns have also arisen regarding their handling of homeowner funds.  Co-mingling HOC funds with phase funds, back-door payments to employees/homeowners who don't want to report their income, board members forgiven on their assessment payments, delinquent owners allowed to 'work off' their assessment debt, shoddy bookkeeping, improper reporting of taxable vs. non-taxable revenue, fraud risks associated with the direct handling of assessment payments.......this list can go on forever, but these are just a few concerns that could be uncovered by a thorough audit.

Keep in mind that while Robert Sher was extremely critical of the previous HOC board for performing a annual  'Compilation Report' (a less rigorous financial review)  in lieu of a full audit, Sher's board has done NOTHING in terms of having a certified, independent party review the financial records and write up its findings.

4.  Order Restricting Board Activity
While the details of this order will be inextricably linked to above issues (i.e. receivership), The Judge made it fairly clear on 12/22 that the current board will not be allowed to represent itself as speaking on behalf of the association.  That means no more propaganda mailings or notices posted on garage doors that claim to be from the HOC, 'Master board', 'Oversight Committee'.  Pending a final order, it will likely be the receiver who will have exclusive authority to speak for the HOC.  What is clear (again pending a final order) is that Robert Sher and Jack Shaw will no longer be paid with Cedar Run homeowner funds!!

5.  Nobody Losing Their Home
In recognizing that there were many Cedar Run homeowners in the courtroom, Judge Garcia actually allowed a brief Q & A to clear up any confusion that homeowners may have about the court proceedings.  One homeowner asked the judge to directly address the assertion by the Sher group that our properties could be 'at risk' (presumably lost) as a result of the court's decision.  The Judge stated that the issue being decided will NOT result in anyone's home being taken from them.
(see transcript page 29, line 20 through page 30, line 9 AND Page 31, line 12-18)

6.  Caryn Shaw's Objection to This Blog
In response to comments made by opposing counsel about the Sher group's spread of misinformation (like signs telling Spanish speakers that their home is at risk), Ms. Shaw accused the authors of this blog of also spreading misinformation.  She accused us of misrepresenting the Judge Garcia's orders.  She was referring specifically to our blog post from 12/9, where we announced his decision regarding the election.

Caryn Shaw argued that we incorrectly stated that Judge Garcia had ordered an election when he hadn't.  She was partly right on this account:  Our initial blog post did state that an election had been ordered.  However, within a few hours time, we had corrected it to say that the Judge had thrown out the HOC's motion to dismiss them from an election order.  The Judge responded to Caryn's complaint by saying that although he hadn't ordered an election at that point, he had made it clear that he will order one as soon as other details are finalized.

Caryn also contended that we inaccurately stated that a T.R.O. (Temporary Restraining Order) was in place.  While we did initially say this (again corrected within hours), there was 'Stand Still' order in place, which although technically not a T.R.O., basically had the same effect as one.  The Judge dismissed this as a matter of semantics/jargon

In fact, the judge was much more concerned with the misinformation and scare tactics practiced by the Sher/Shaw group (such as telling unit owners that their homes are it risk) than he was about any of Caryn Shaw's objections to the blog content.

(see transcript page 30, line 14 through page 31, line 11 for the full conversation)

Judge Garcia alluded to blogs like this one as an avenue for people to exercise free speech and he noted that they are "encouraged, because they provide more information." (see transcript page 17, line 10 through page 18, line 10)

Closing Remark.....
We'll conclude this long-winded summary with one more response to something Caryn Shaw said in court.  After apologizing for a few of her misstatements and reminding the judge that she is a new attorney, Caryn wanted to make a point of saying that her and her family truly care about the people of Cedar Run. We'll leave that one for the homeowners to decide, but we'd like to point to the example she gave to support that statement.

Caryn Shaw stated that her sister, Anne Shaw, had worked for NO FEE (aka FREE) when she represented the Sher group in the summer of 2012 during their hostile takeover of the Cedar Run Board.  Caryn claimed that her sister's motivation was to help the unit owners of Cedar Run, and that's why she worked for no fee. (see transcript page 32, line 2-9)

Now take a look at the following check images for 'Legal Services from May through September [of 2012]' totaling $33,255.81.



NO FEE, YOU SAY???



Please stay tuned for details on the 12/29 hearing.  **UPDATE - CONTINUED TO 1/8/2015** We'd love to hear from you with any questions or feedback.
restoreCR@gmail.com
VM/Text (224) 544-9058



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Monday, December 22, 2014

Court Hearing Today

Apologies for the delay in updating the blog. It was an active day in court today.

A more complete summary will be posted in the next day or two, but here is the short version:

While no orders were actually entered, the conversation between the judge and the attorneys did spell out a few things that will likely pan out in the next week or so.

Again, to be clear, nothing was ordered by Judge Garcia today, but the attorneys for both sides will be negotiating the conditions upon which Cedar Run will be governed until the election, which will most likely occur in May of 2015.

The May election date is not etched in stone, but it appears to be agreed upon pending the resolution of other items. What is also fairly clear at this point is that there will be a receiver assigned to take a certain amount of responsibility/authority from the board and/or Oversight Committee.  How much authority has yet to be determined, and will likely be debated by the attorneys and presented to the court at the next appearance.

We will conclude this summary by saying that we are glad to hear that this very blog was mentioned at the court hearing today, and we are proud of the notoriety. We would like to thank Ms. Caryn Shaw for giving us the feedback that proves that this blog HAS made a difference in refuting the misinformation being spread by the Sher/Shaw group.

Stay tuned!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cedar Run Homeowners Strongly Encouraged to Witness Court Hearing

The next court date regarding elections and the disposition of Cedar Run leading up to those elections will be Monday, December 22nd at 10:30 AM.  If you've ever thought about heading downtown to witness the court proceedings in person, THIS IS THE TIME TO DO IT!

The courthouse is located at:
Daley Center
50 W. Washington, Rm. 2601
Chicago, Illinois 60602
(312) 603-5415


We believe that the judge could make an important ruling that will outline the details of the election and how Cedar Run will be operated until such an election.  A great showing of concerned homeowners would send a message to the court and everyone in the courtroom that Cedar Run homeowners care about their community. It will help underscore the need for the court to act swiftly in restoring the rule of law in Cedar Run.



There is no better way of truly understanding Cedar Run's legal crisis than to WITNESS IT FIRSTHAND  and be the FIRST TO KNOW how the judge rules.

So grab your Cedar Run knapsack, and head on down to the Daley Center on Monday!

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In the meantime.........

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cedar Run Legal Update - Next court date: 12/22/14

***UPDATE to 12/16 blog entry below***

We have now obtained a copy of the court transcript from December 9th, 2014, when the court denied the Sher group's attempt to avoid an election.

The official court transcript can be found HERE:

The Central Theme - IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BYLAWS

Caryn Shaw, youngest of the Shaw sisters who only recently passed the bar exam, is now appearing in court to represent the Sher group.  Anne Shaw is either too busy campaigning to become a Chicago Alderman, or she doesn't have much faith in the Sher group's case.

Basically, Caryn tried to argue that Sher and the Master Board have the right (under state law) to completely repeal Cedar Run's Bylaws and subsequently replace them with the bogus Bylaws written in 2012.......all without following the amendment procedures in the REAL Bylaws.  A majority of the proceedings involve Judge Garcia explaining to her that it cannot be done and that her logic is (at best) completely off-base.

At one point (page 9, line 9), Judge Garcia even refers to one of Caryn Shaw's arguments as "demeaning".

On page 17, line 11, Judge Garcia states that the Sher group's motion to dismiss the case to compel an election  "......is absolutely, unequivocally denied."

Judge Garcia also indicated that he was quite disturbed by the fact the the Sher group has been functioning for so long, on a bogus set of bylaws, with no elections. 

What's Next?
Motions for a T.R.O. (Temporary Restraining Order) have been filed that will probably look to restrict the board's (and Sher's) power since they have CLEARLY operated ILLEGALLY.  They will likely try and specify how the election should be announced & handled.

The next hearing date on these motions is December 17th.  We will post something on the blog as soon as we have new information.

**********UPDATE**********
12/18/14 - The next hearing date will be Monday, December 22nd at 10:30 AM.  If you've ever thought about heading downtown to witness the court proceedings in person, THIS IS THE TIME TO DO IT!

The courthouse is located at:
Daley Center
50 W. Washington, Rm. 2601
Chicago, Illinois 60602
(312) 603-5415


We believe that the judge will make an important ruling that will outline the details of the election and how Cedar Run will be managed until such an election.  A great showing of concerned homeowners would send a message to the court and everyone in the courtroom that Cedar Run homeowners care about their community. It will help underscore the need for the court to act swiftly in restoring the rule of law in Cedar Run.

So grab your Cedar Run knapsack, and head on down to the Daley Center on Monday!
************************************
HERE is a link to the court docket.

Please call, text, or email with any questions or comments.

restoreCR@gmail.com
VM/Text (224) 544-9058

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In the meantime.........

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Do so by entering your email address and clicking the "Submit" button on the upper right-hand portion of this web page (where it says 'Follow By Email').  You will be notified any time a new blog entry is posted.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Verdict is.....ELECTION--> YES!!

On December 9, 2014, Judge Rodolfo Garcia of the Cook County Circuit Court Has DENIED THE SHER GROUP'S ATTEMPT TO AVOID AN ELECTION!

The judge also refused to recognize the  bogus bylaws that Robert Sher has been using to justify his actions.

WE HATE TO SAY WE TOLD YOU SO BUT......
All smugness aside, we the Cedar Run Concerned Homeowners who have brought you this blog have stated all along that Cedar Run was due an Annual Meeting (election) in 2013 and 2014.  We have stated that Robert Sher's excuse for not conducting these meetings has NO LEGAL BASIS WHATSOEVER.

We have also given a multitude of reasons why the bylaws Sher created in December of 2012 were (and still are) illegal --  Sher never followed procedures to amend the real bylaws; He never recorded the his new document with the county; Most of it contradicts state law; It was developed & implemented in secret; and the list goes on....

These two issues were finally presented in a court of law, and the verdict confirms what we've been saying for almost two years!! That Robert Sher is NOT running a Legal and Proper organization!

Details of the Ruling
We are still waiting to hear more details such as:
  1. Exactly how many director positions will be up for vote
  2. How the election will be noticed and supervised to ensure fairness/accuracy
  3. When the election is likely to take place
We will update this section as details roll in, so please check back.

What we do know is this:
  • Cedar Run's original bylaws from 1972 are still the true (and only) bylaws for Cedar Run
  • These bylaws clearly state that an annual meeting must be conducted in May of each year to elect/re-elect four directors.
  • Since there were no annual meetings in 2013 and 2014, Cedar Run must call a special meeting (election) to fill any director seats that would have been available in both of these two skipped elections (possibly more due to past resignations).
 What To Expect from Robert Sher:
  • Expect him to read this blog and do something to try and make our predictions appear wrong.
    • Thanks for reading, Robert! Don't forget to subscribe!
  • Expect him to continue denying that an election is required, citing the same excuse about 'Dissolution of the Corporation'.
    • The courts have never accepted this excuse, as we knew they wouldn't.
  • Expect him to continue saying that the very lawsuit that about the election is part of a conspiracy, funded with your money, to try and take over Cedar Run and 'steal' all of the money that he has 'saved you'.
    • Short answer, it's NOT!  It's a counterclaim to his efforts to sue the old board.  NO HOMEOWNER MONEY used to fund it.
  • Expect him to call another one of his 'Homeowner Meetings', where he will give us another fancy Power Point presentation and try and twist the facts to suit his narrative.
    • No matter what he says, the court does not support his position on the bylaws and election.
  • Expect more and more Clubhouse parties, car registrations, ice cream socials, grand opening celebrations, etc......anything to give Sher and his disciples more face-time with homeowners, and expect to be solicited for signatures or proxies at these types of events.
    • YOUR money once again being used to solicit YOUR political support. 
  • Expect even more aggressive attempts by Sher to smear, intimidate, and discredit anyone who opposes him.  He has already tried to name names and incite hatred, falsely accuse people of being racists, and describe them as criminals and conspirators of evil.
    • Their only crimes were their public opposition to Sher's policies that are now proven to be ILLEGAL in the eyes of the court.
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In closing,  this ruling may have taken months longer than what we'd all hoped for.  But this is still a Landmark ruling that could have a major impact on Cedar Run.  Cedar Run homeowners will finally have their chance to decide how they feel about their community under the rule of Robert Sher.  WE DESERVE OUR RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION!

If you haven't done so, please don't forget to visit our ACTION page.  Feel free to leave a comment, voicemail,  text, or email with any questions or concerns.

restoreCR@gmail.com
VM/Text (224) 544-9058


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Please subscribe to this blog
Do so by entering your email address and clicking the "Submit" button on the upper right-hand portion of this web page (where it says 'Follow By Email').  You will be notified any time a new blog entry is posted, and you will NOT receive any Spam email for subscribing, and the authors of the blog will not be given your name or contact info.