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UPDATE: Village of Providence HOA board responds to claims of misuse of funds

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Village of Providence HOA board members are defending their actions and facing some recent rumors head-on following several complaints made by a resident upset with the HOA's response to her concerns.  (watch resident claims below)

"My biggest concern is that it maintains its attractiveness, that it reflects the wonderful community of which it is," Village of Providence resident Angela Sommerset stressed. "I want to make sure that I have kept my property as immaculate as I can."

Sommerset told WHNT News 19 she has taken those concerns to her Homeowners' Association to no avail.

In addition, Sommerset claimed  residents have seen an increase in HOA fees.

But HOA board members paint a different picture of the dispute and the upkeep inside Providence.

Monday afternoon HOA board members provided WHNT News 19 with data showing there has not been any increases in HOA fees for several years, a fact that disputes what  Sommerset told WHNT News 19.

Sommerset has also publicly raised concerns over transparency. She continues to ask where are the dues going?

The HOA also provided WHNT News 19 financial records and can account for every dollar spent, board members said.

"They release their financial records annually at their annual meeting," Huntsville City Councilman Will Culver said. "I'm working with them to see if they will maybe do it more regularly."

"We want it to be that we all stick together, to have the same goal, to be treated the same," Sommerset added. "It's about a pride that I have for my neighborhood."

The HOA board says because of the confusion over the last few weeks with false information and rumors, they will hold a community wide meeting to go over the financial accounts and review what projects they are funding. A date has not yet been set for that meeting.



    • Angela R. Sommerset, M.D.

      The complaints are 1. Some neighbors are cited for parking issues, while others go untouched. 2. Conflicts of interest in my opinion, especially if the builder is your developer and the HOA president is your accountant 3. HOA president doesn’t even live within our neighborhood. 4. Trees, especially along the area of our town homes are not trimmed and hanging over the roof tops. 5. Weeds are growing between the shrubs of the town homes that pay more in association fees than our homes 6. Certified letters as stated in our CE &R are mailed without a response in writing 7. HOA told an employee of mine that they were moving last week. I certainly had not received notice of this, and neither did my employee or her neighborhood. 8. Covenant member cut my grass so deeply 3 weeks before the hard winter freeze without my permission, was caught taking pictures of my home by 2 female neighbors, and our HOA and covenant committee was notified without even a letter or call of apology. Is this enough ?
      Angela R. Sommerset, M.D.

      • Kenny W. Whitley

        Re number 8: A half truth is a lie. It was not winter. Her original complaint before the city council was that a neighbor had cut her lawn; now, she says “grass.” In fact, her grass between her sidewalk and her curb was cut to the same height as mine because it looked bad and she was unavailable, so my lawn service cut that small amount at my request, thinking she’d appreciate it. The rest, the great majority of here lawn was untouched. When I learned she did not appreciate it I immediately called and apologized profusely, and she responded graciously. I also volunteered to have with her permission that small span plugged and over-seeded at my expense when my own lawn receives that service; she said that was fine. You decide what the truth is.

      • Angela R. Sommerset, M.D.

        Well, I think we have all figured out who cut the grass, the lawn, or whatever. This, unfortunately, should not be the flavor of a community. People come from all walks of life, experiences, etc. No one, not even myself, has the right to think for another or defile the property of another. I came home, after a call from Turf Keeper, who requested that the grass be kept longer than was typical for a last chemical application before winter. Mr. Whitley did not know this, because he does not live with me. All of the prior work and applications done by Turf Keeper were ruined because of his failure to first ask, or communicate how he felt about my grass. I received no citation etc., so he decided to be judge and jury which is wrong. Whether I hire a surveyor, or anyone else to service my property, it is my business ! Anyone can speculate. Neighbors sometime disagree. That is OK. Let the disagreeing parties work things out.

      • Kenny W. Whitley

        Re number 8, part two. Sommerset had a surveyor nail markers in the PUBLIC street in front of her house aligned with her property side borders, and pronounced that nobody could park between them because doing so threatened her security. There is no law against photographing a house, as Google will certainly attest. The pics I took were to show how her contiguous neighbors had to park to meet her illegal demand, and to show why one neighbor had to park to avoid school bus traffic making turns there. Sommerset’s house was incidental. You decide who the offending party was.

      • Kenny W. Whitley

        All I decided to do was try to be a good neighbor. This had nothing to do with covenant issues. This is like the many neighborly things we had done for one another over the years. I had her small strip cut to the same length as my grass, as it is today, thinking she was away after I tried to contact her several times. As a resort I am being pummeled with half truths and stupid claims like “defiled.” I made an effort to “work things out,” apologized, and offered to repair her strip of grass, something she accepted graciously but left out of her accusation entirely. Did she forget? That apology and offer were accepted, THEN for heaven knows what reason, Sommerset conjured up her accusation leaving out facts and twisting motives. I wish her well!

  • Jewel

    My thoughts exactly, @Bob. We *get* that her HOA is not responding to her, but WHAT are her specific concerns about the area? the properties? the common grounds? Kinda missing a key piece to the story…

  • Angela R. Sommerset, M.D.

    Hi Jewell. I replied to Bob’s question and hopefully this will answer the concerns. Thanks :-)

  • Bill B.

    It appears that Ms.Sommerset has a status problem. You noticed she had to put “M.D” after her name. I guess she feels that should carry some kind of special status. It’s just like a retired Colonel putting their rank after their name.
    Sure she’s proud of her accomplishments but it doesn’t have a place in these issues.
    Oh, by the way…..if you don’t like HOA’s move to the county!!!!

  • Tim

    I am glad that as President of my HOA, the biggest issue I have to deal with is residents putting out their large debris pickup a week early. Maybe next time I will alert the media to the situation.

  • Amanda

    Seems to problems with HOA in general. Some may have great HOA. I live in the county. We have a HOA and they’re horrible. Nothing is enforced. Also our residents have been cutting the grass at the front entrance, which is not their responsibility. What do you do when you keep calling and they never send anyone out to cut it. Our dues actually did go up, when it was stated in covenants they wouldn’t. I could honestly go on and on. WHNT should be checking out our HOA in Bristol Creek.

  • Jim

    I was a member of the HOA as a positive standards committe member in my neighborhood in Atlanta and I had the responsiblity for enforcing covenant rules to 3 separate areas in our subdivision. This included ensuring people mowed their grass, kept the weeds at bay, didnt leave their trash out after pickup, parked in their driveways, etc.. HOAs and covenants are there to keep a neighborhood looking nice and presentable. You run into situations as with the MD and Mr Whitley on a regular basis. People get into situations that are unbelievable at times. Hopefully the HOA and mediate this issues between these neighbors so that they can coexist peacefully…

  • Sean Bickel

    Some of the statements in the article kind of explain why someone would want an audit of the accouting. The HOA dues did not go up is sort of true, they added a one time fee though to cover monitoring of the pool to prevent people from using it who don’t belong. So it is kind of an accounting gimmick to say fees haven’t gone up in years. The annual statements are summaries of the fees that have some wiggle room in how they presented. For example if a neighbor pays a fine for violating the HOA covenants when the HOA collects instead of showing them as an income on the financial statement they deduct them from legal fees.

    • Sean Bickel

      Also, should add that the financial committee presented in the above video doesn’t manage the financial records for Providence. I wish they did or would want that head-ache. I know two of the people on the committee and trust their financial judgement completely but, they work with the financial records given to them by the HOA managament company. The complete records are kept secret from members of the HOA because no member of the HOA has a vote in the HOA management under the current by-laws.

      • Brian

        Your statements regarding “secret financial documents” contradict the documents that govern the HOA. You say you trust their judgement yet call them stooges?

      • Sean Bickel

        I didn’t call anyone stooges. The finance committee can only work with the data presented by the HOA management company. The records that company keeps are kept secret from HOA members. And yes that does contradict the documents that govern the HOA. The HOA members should have access to them but are denied access to them. I approached the HOA management company to get access to the documents and was told it would cost $120 an hour to retrieve them and it was made clear they would limit what I would have access to and when I asked how much time it would take I was given the guesstimate of ‘significant’ amounts of time.

      • Sean Bickel

        Not sure what you mean by ‘so now’, this is a constant with the HOA management company. But yes, there is a history of hiding HOA documents from HOA members, which then comprise the comittees. And they make it very obvious they are not interested in what you even pointed as how the documents should be governed by the HOA. As an HOA member(which includes volunteer committee members) You can not get access to financial records from the HOA unless the HOA management company feel they are appropriate for HOA members to see. I get the sense you are fishing for some piece of information, you don’t have to beat around the bush. Just ask.

  • Brian

    Or some may just not understand accounting. Their ignorance (and accusation of “gimmicks”) doesn’t mean there is fraud. To say accounting statements have “wiggle room” in how they are presented is point in fact.

    • Sean Bickel

      Yes, I was paying the HOA $944 every six months a year ago and now I am paying $962 every six months, but because of ‘their’ ignorance of accounting my fees have not gone up in years.

      • Kenny Whitley

        The increase was due to Comcast increasing their charges, I think. We can get that again at the meeting that was promised. Perhaps they can explain to you the way internal controls work, too. Throwing terms around that have legal underpinnings, absent a clear understanding, can be really risky. And as for the guy that was critical of the use of “MD,” well she earned that and ought to be proud of it. Just like us old Colonels, retired. We got along for 8 years and likely will again one day.

  • Jaqui

    Can channel 9 come to lake forest and ask the same questions? Zero transparency, zero accountability, no written contracts for vendors. Including HOA mgt co who are spouses of board members.

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