Vanyos lawsuit, liens a hot topic in Carefree Foothills HOA

By Curtis Riggs | July 9, 2008

Gemmill resignation takes a back seat
CAREFREE – While discussion about the recall of Town Councilman Bob Gemmill as president of the homeowner’s association was headed off by his recent resignation, there was still plenty to talk about at last week’s Carefree Foothills homeowner’s meeting.

Chief among the topics at the meeting attended by 45 residents representing 25 lots was the recent judge’s decision, which resulted in $103,000 liens being placed on all 76 lots in the subdivision.

Many were upset with the judge’s decision in the John Vanyos lawsuit and the failure of the HOA board of directors to disclose the placement of the liens on the properties.

Vanyos sued the homeowner’s association over refusal to allow him to use his Carefree Foothills (lot 24) property to provide access to nine acres he owns outside the subdivision. The liens are compensation for attorney’s fees per the judge’s decision.

Vanyos sued under the principal his property was landlocked even though he has access to the top of the nine acres through neighboring Sentinel Rock Estates.

Appeal of the judge’s decision was hotly debated at the meeting. Many property owners questioned why the homeowner’s association came out on the losing end when they had two and three attorneys working on the case. Board members told the crowd an appeal would be filed by July 3, a day after the meeting.

“If you do appeal you had better get someone who knows the right questions to ask,” said a property owner who was disappointed in the outcome of the case. “Our attorneys were clearly asleep at the wheel.”

Board member Anders Rosenquist admitted the insurance company the HOA uses “look at cost” when selecting attorneys.

“Why didn’t you sue Sentinel Rock?” Carefree Foothills homeowner Kevin Gonsales asked, adding, “It’s common knowledge you can get access through Sentinel Rock.”

Property owners like Hale Starr complained she could not break up five acres of property in Carefree Foothills with the liens in place.

Vanyos refused to speak at the meeting. When he tried to hand property owners a letter explaining his side of the story at the end of the meeting the neighbors refused to accept it.

One property owner maintained the judge used State of Washington law instead of Arizona law to make his decision.

Another homeowner merely asked the board to enforce subdivision CCRs, which prohibit building a road across a property to provide access to another property.