Bob Robella is determined to take down the Village Seven Homeowners Association board of directors. Even if it means spending every dollar of his savings doing it.
He’s tired of being told to keep his garage door closed, his trash cans out of sight, his dogs on leashes, his fence painted an approved color.
Robella want you to believe the Village Seven HOA is run by a rogue board of directors out to abuse its 843 homeowners, especially retirees like himself.
The HOA, however, says it is being harassed by Robella.
They describe him as a bully and someone who doesn’t think rules apply to him: he moved into a covenant-controlled community, refuses to pay annual dues and ignores the rules.
Now, a Colorado Springs judge believes Robella is being ”frivolous and vexatious” in his dealings with the HOA. Frivolous and vexatious?
Robella alleges the board has illegally raised dues, selectively enforced covenants against him and is trying to take his home and run him out of the neighborhood.
His war with the HOA includes a small claims lawsuit he filed against the board in February 2008 seeking payment of $350 he said it cost him to paint 100 feet of privacy fence a barn red color after it was bleached out by sprinklers watering neighborhood-owned green belt and common areas.
The HOA countersued for $571 in back dues, fines, interest and administrative costs. But the HOA offered to waive all the fines if Robella simply paid $96.30 in back dues and agreed to restain his fence an HOA-approved color. Robella agreed and settled the case in front of Magistrate Daniel Winegrad.
Here’s the fence before and after Robella painted it:
Sounds reasonable, right? Not to Robella, who responded by dropping off a “few” paint chips for the HOA to consider. A “few” as in 251 chips!
As for settling the back dues, Robella sent the HOA a check for $155. He said it was his share of the back dues and his annual assessment. Only problem, the annual dues are $250. So he still owed another $191.
And he informed the HOA he no longer was liable for fines or dues because he had transfered ownership to a friend in Florida. And he wouldn’t provide her address.
Not surprisingly, the situation escalated. The HOA told Robella the rules prohibit breeding of dogs in the neighborhood — he raises Springer spaniels. And it cited him for walking his dogs off leash on Village Seven common areas.
Here is Robella and his dogs:
Then came warnings that covenants require garage doors to be down and trash cans kept out of view.
Robella admits he is guilty of the rules violations and defends his actions. He claims he is victim of a conspiracy. He said his neighbors love his dogs. They don’t care if they run free on his Congenial Place cul de sac. And he will debate for hours whether HOA rules can prevent off-leash dogs on common space.
So he was shocked to learn last week that he had lost his small claims court. In a big way. Read the decision of magistrate Winegrad and it’s obvious what he thought of Robella.
“(Robella) has persuaded the court that (he) had no intention of complying with the agreement when he signed it,” Winegrad wrote. “He had engaged in a continuing pattern of frivolous and vexatious activities which have resulted in substantial expense to the (HOA) including the attorney fees which the (HOA) now seeks to recover.”
As if to underscore his opinion, Winegrad then awarded Village Seven a total victory by ordering Robella to pay those fees, resulting in a judgment of $2,393 plus $23.99 in court costs.
Robella is furious at the judge’s decision and insists he will appeal. And he will fight the counter suit filed by the HOA in district court. That suit has dramatically raised the stakes and the cost of settling for Robella.
And it will make it virtually impossible to sell his house. The house is tagged with a “pending lawsuit” warning flag. He said real estate agents will steer clients clear of the house until the lawsuit is resolved.
Stick around. This one is far from being resolved.