Three days after Xmas on Dec. 28, 2017, L A. columnist and strident homeowner rights activist Donie Vanitzian died at the hands of her husband of 35 years, Tom Foster. She was 67. It was a murder-suicide incident according to the police. Foster was charged with murder and plead “Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity.” The case is still pending with a series of pretrial conferences scheduled for a number of years now, which I believe must be related to his insanity plea.
Please note that criminal court records are accessible by the public either at the courtroom or remotely by means of computers at the courthouse. This April 22 another pretrial conference is scheduled and I am hoping someone can drop by the courthouse and access the minute/orders and bring us up to date.
The January 2018 British Daily Mail article, describing Foster as “a former British nightclub tycoon,” depicts their relationship.
Many long-time advocates will remember Donie Vanitzian (1950 – 2017) and her strident, outspoken activism displayed in her emails, in her L. A. Times column, Associations, and in her texts: Villa Appalling!: Destroying the Myth of Affordable Community Living, Vanitzian and Glassman (Villa Appalling Publishing 2002); California Common Interest Development — Homeowner’s Guide, D. Vanitzian (Thomson-West Legal Publishers, Series: The Expert Series (2006).
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I worked with Donie from 2006 – 2016 on CLRC ‘s rewrite of the Davis-Stirling Act and in defending her, when she called from time to time at wits end, against attacks by the Evil Empire attempting to remove were LA Times column and to discredit her in general. We fought like hell, along with Elizabeth McMahon (AHRC), to get a member’s bill of rights included in the rewrite but failed. I admired her and had respect for her knowledge and energizer bunny activism. We chatted in private. She had a JD but kept on failing the Bar exam and I understood why. She did not accept the establishment’s version of justice and the judicial process. She had those to-the-point views and criticisms of the Evil Empire and its loyal followers.
In 2006 with her help pretending to be doing research as an adjunct professor, I was able to get a copy of the 400+ page, 8 ½ x 11 The Homes Association Handbook, TB #50 at a cost of $180. We split the cost. You will not find this document anywhere, not even on Amazon.
You can read the Jan. 7, 2018 L.A. Times tribute to Donie by Andrew Khouri. “Champion of Homeowners’ Rights”
In memory of Donie’s dedication to justice, fair play, and to protecting homeowner rights, I would like to list a number of events that I had recorded as a Commentary over the years, and revealing a number of incidents that I had occasion to record.
· Realtors: Are they protecting buyers or the HOA? (May 2006)
· Common Interest Developments – Homeowner’s Guide (Thomson-West) (Oct. 2006)
· Homes in HOAs are Lifetime Collateral for HOA Survival (Oct. 2006)
· AB 1921: The CLRC recommended HOA special interest bill (Jan 2009)
· Why is CAI member firm of Adams Kessler allowing criticism of LA Times HOA column? (Oct. 2011)
· Is there a CAI game plan to rewrite HOA CC&Rs to restrict member voting powers? (Feb. 2012)
· LA Times column: protecting your HOA property (Nov. 2016)