Vail Daily letter: Is that transparency?
So many people in Eagle-Vail seem to want to be outraged by governance issues these days but are being shielded from an issue that should cause them legitimate pause. The recently reconstructed Property Owners’ Association board has agreed to settle a matter regarding the non-payment of dues by a community member that has lasted for close to 10 years. This community member has argued during that time that a “defect” in the declarations document filed in 1992 with the county left his property off the list of properties that were included in the Property Owners’ Association — hence his rationale that he did not have to pay dues to the Property Owners’ Association. Never mind that every other property around him was included in the list and that the defect — which has since been rectified — was clearly a clerical error. When approached about this matter in the past, this community member responded each and every time with threats to sue the Property Owners’ Association on the grounds that he believed the declarations were not filed properly. The time and energy of elected officials and community staff has been spent on this matter over the years, as well as legal fees paid out of the Property Owners’ Association’s coffers — property owners’ dues monies.
Why should this outrage anyone? The recently elected members of the Property Owners’ Association board have voted to approve a settlement with this community member to close this matter. Kudos for bringing it to resolution. But in doing so they agreed to terms in the settlement that do not allow the details of the agreement to be known to us as residents. A settlement in general implies that the Property Owners’ Association accepted something less than what was owed in past dues, penalties and accumulated legal fees — fine, that’s how matters like this often get handled. But for a group of people who ran a collective campaign for seats on the Property Owners’ Association by touting their desire to improve the transparency of local governance and to unite the neighborhood, how does sealing such a settlement live up to that promise?
And the real reason this is important is because the community member at the root of this secret settlement is Carl Luppens, a current candidate in the Eagle-Vail Metro Board election. The tag line for his campaign is “transparency, accountability, integrity.” These are just good sounding words to Mr. Luppens. His dealings over the years on the matter of his dues could not be described by the use of these words. How does someone refuse to pay their dues by claiming they are technically not part of the community have the stones to ask to represent those same people (and more) whom he cost money over these past several years? Eagle-Vail residents should demand to know the terms of this settlement and to get a decent answer as to why it was agreed to not have them be public to begin with. And please don’t vote for this man unless this is the kind of person you want to have representing you.
If you know all the parties involved, the whole thing smacks of political cronyism — shocking that would happen right here in little old Eagle-Vail.