I just watched the Arizona CAI lobbyist, Kevin DeMenna, spew forth misleading statements and irrelevant ramblings in support of HB 2441, before the AZ House Government Committee on Feb. 8, 2011, in an excellent example of professional spin. And the committee members bought it, lock, stock and barrel with its 8 – 0 vote. Based on the few questions asked by the committee members, apparently all that counts is the information provided by paid special interest lobbyists, and the statements by informed and knowledgeable citizens are given scant attention.
Were the members sleeping when DeMenna stated at the very start that, “We are are the managers and association boards’ duly elected . . . and what have you.” (That’s a technique in advertising to avoid fraudulent advertising). Obviously, no committee member read or understood my plain language that CAI is a business trade organization not permitted to have HOA members, and that all those “volunteers” do not speak for their HOAs.
I had emailed the committee my detailed analysis of the bill (Analysis of AZ HB 2441, the HOA minority control bill), and wrote again in my 2/6/11 email saying,
However, for years CAI attorney lobbyists have been misrepresenting that they speak for HOAs and is homeowner members. HB 2441 continues this misrepresentation and interference into the HOA CC&Rs contract for the interests of attorneys, and not the HOA or its members. CAI AZ spends more money on lobbyists activities than on its educational programs, which is the stated basis for its tax exemption. (See its 990 EZ).
Apparently, the democratic process previously extolled by CAI means little to them in regard to HB 2441 where CAI supports the position that a minority can take away the private property rights of the homeowners without their consent. DeMenna gave false and evasive replies that the courts will uphold a validly enacted amendment. Section 3.1, Validity of Servitudes, of the Restatement (third) of Servitudes clearly states that covenants are not valid if they are unconstitutional, contrary to public policy or are unreasonable. DeMenna easily misleads the committee with his false analogy of legislature’s frequent interference with contracts across the state in Santa Cruz and Cochise counties, which are not private contractual governments! (More slight of hand). Of course, the CAI lobbyist first slicked them with an admission that HOAs are “in effect, little tiny, mini-governments.”
The DeMenna & Associates Ethics web page proudly states that, “we will consistently uphold the highest standards of personal integrity” and “will always do our best to win.” DeMenna’s conduct before the committee reflects the extent to which he will go to win, and his ethical standards.
In my amicus curiae brief in the OAH constitutionality challenge before the AZ Supreme Court (Gelb v. DFBLS, CV 10-0371-PR) I wrote, justifiably with respect to this astonishing vote,
“It is quite evident that an Arizona homeowner living within an HOA governed subdivision cannot look to the Attorney General, the Legislature, DFBLS, or ADRE for due process protections and the equal application of the laws.”
Source: House Archives. Click on “video” for House GOV, 2/8.