September 2022 Ocean Pines Progress

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Circuit Court Judge Beau Oglesby presided over the hearing in Worcester County Circuit Court. The proceeding was punctuated by the first ever recorded use of the f-word and the c-word in public by an OPA officer, Horn, who on Aug. 25 was spending her last day as the OPA’s president. Horn used the words on two separate occasions while testifying. She said she was quoting Janasek, who she contended used the profanity

SeptemberTHE2022OCEAN PINES JOURNAL OF NEWS & COMMENTARY 443-359-7527 Enjoy more sunrises. 12 HOTELS 15 POOLS 10 RESTAURANTS opp-front-page-banner-220901-220824.indd 1 OCEAN PROGRESSPINES To Page 3 COVER STORY Bruce Bright OPA Finances ...... Pages 36, 38 Lifestyles ................ Pages 39-41 Opinion .................. Pages 40-41 Captain’s Cove ..... Pages 42-55 Bruce Bright submits closing argument in Janasek case Visit for a Special Report and transcript of the filing

By TOM STAUSS Publisher

Ocean Pines voters elect ‘Get candidatesInvolved’toBoard

The court hearing included a three-plus-hour interrogation of former OPA President Colette Horn by Janasek attorney Bruce Bright, and shorter interrogations of Wheatley, former director Larry Perrone and current director Frank Daly.

Janasek lawyer argues OPA governing docs don’t permit Janasek amenity suspension

Aday-long court hearing in Snow Hill Aug. 25 featured competing theories on whether Ocean Pines Association governing documents permitted the attempt by the Board of Directors to suspend former OPA director Tom Janasek’s access to Ocean Pines food and beverage venues after a much publicized verbal altercation with former Director Josette Wheatley this past May.

~ Page 8 Bringing Christmas home to an Ocean Pines cancer~patientPage40 Colette Horn

The OPA was represented by Megan Mantzavinos, hired by the OPA’s insurance company to represent the OPA and five current or former OPA directors who voted for the Janasek suspension.

Two of the top three candidates in the recent Board of Directors election were endorsed by the ‘Get Involved” Facebook page created by former Ocean Pines Association Director Esther Diller in The2020.two endorsed candidates were Stuart Lakernick, with 1,802 votes, and Monica Rakowski, with 1,603 votes, who finished second and third in the Board election, behind Steve Jacobs, who tallied 1,867 votes. The Get Involved page sent out an endorsement letter to resident and non-resident property owners targeted for receipt on or about the time that OPA ballots were expected to arrive in mailboxes.Jacobs also sent out a direct mail brochure, which arrived in mailboxes a little later than the Get Involved mailing.

Bruce Bright confronts OPA directors Horn, Daly and former director Larry Perrone in Aug. 25 court hearing

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vision is a true art. Knowing you’ve created it with them in a home is one of my greatest satisfactions.


It was Judge Oglesby who in his own questioning of witnesses seemed to undermine the contention that Janasek represents a threat to the safety of Ocean Pines.

– Mike Poole

Judge Oglesby asked Daly why if Janasek was such a threat to public safety that his suspension, lifted days later by the issuance of a temporary restraining order, was limited only to OPA food and beverage amenities.

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– Mike Poole

Janasek also offered testimony that his primary problem with Wheatley was not, as has been widely reported, the fact that she voted for Horn as president in January of this year over Doug Parks, who Janasek said was Wheatley’s friend. According to Janasek, Wheatley has been in the Parks household on at least one occasion to help prepare a meal, and he seemed to suggest that she had betrayed a friend to vote for Horn as president over Parks.


Janasek said his primary problem with Wheatley was what he felt was improper lobbying for her business clients at meetings of the Architectural Review Committee, especially during the time when she also served as the committee’s Board liaison. It was also disclosed that Wheatley, who was defeated in a bid for a Board seat in this summer’s election, had served as Janasek’s campaign manager when he ran for the OPA board several years ago. He was elected but resigned before his term ended. That was a new revelation, suggesting that a frayed personal relationship, perhaps even a fractured friendship, was a factor in the May verbal altercation. Bright used most of his time confronting witnesses to hammer home his main thesis that OPA governing documents don’t give the OPA the authority to ban an Association member from OPA amenities for reasons other than non-payment of annual lot assessments or “active violation” of restrictive covenants as determined by the Board of Directors.ButBright’s argument went beyond that, citing language in the OPA charter that, rather definitively, precludes the OPA from taking action to restrict access to amenities except for the two specifiedQuotingreasons.Section 9 of the charter that reads “there shall be no other preferences, limitation or restriction with respect to the relative rights of the members,” Bright in effect said the Board, in acting as it did in June three weeks after the Yacht Club incident, was acting contrary to the charter’s mandate. The OPA’s main argument, as propounded by Mantzavinos, was a provision in the OPA by-laws, Section 5.13(g), that says the Board “may do any and all lawful things and acts that it deems to be for the benefit of Ocean Pines and the members and residents thereof or advisable, proper, or convenient for the promotion of the interests of said members and residents with regard to health, safety, education, culture, recreation, comfort, andTestimonyconvenience.”byHorn, Daly and Perrone highlighted their argument that Janasek’s behavior that day threatened the safety of Wheatley and others.Wheatley testified that she feared for her life, noting that Janasek’s eyes, normally blue, had turned black during the verbal altercation. She also noted his powerful physical presence, towering over her by a foot or more.

Janasek court hearing From Page 1 To Page 5 to describe Wheatley. Horn articulated the profanity possibly as a way of attempting to persuade Judge Oglesby that Janasek’s behavior was outside cultural norms in Ocean Pines, and especially inappropriate in a family setting. For his part, Janasek, when questioned about the profanity, said he didn’t remember using it but didn’t deny he might have. It is generally agreed by all concerned that Janasek was in an inebriated state when he confronted Wheatley that day at the tiki bar on the outside deck of the Ocean Pines Yacht Club.

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Horn said she was referring to all of the “au thors” over the years who contributed language

Daly said that the ban was limited to venues that sell alcoholic beverages, prompting Oglesby to conclude that alochol was the defining factor. Judge Oglesby then asked Daly why Janasek was not subject to a lifetime ban from all OPA amenities if he was such a threat to OPA mem bers. Daly responded that the 90-day suspension was on the recommendation of Chief of Police LeoPerroneEhrisman.had lobbied his colleague for a yearlong suspension, but ultimately the directors who voted for the suspension went with 90 days, of which about week or so was served prior to the lifting of the suspension through the issuance of the temporary restraining order. Another fact brought out is that it was Chief Ehrisman who came up with the idea that a vio lation of the suspension would constitute a tres pass of OPA property, which in turn could have resulted in Janasek’s arrest. Over the years, it’s been generally accepted that Ocean Pines police don’t enforce the DRs or regulations based on the them, but a no tres pass order might be something the police could enforce.Bright’s case is also in part based on an at tempt to undermine an argument made by Horn that Ocean Pines’ founders, when drafting gov erning documents more than 50 years ago, could not have anticipated every contingency that might justify a suspension, especially the sort of behavior of which Janasek is accused.

With Horn still on the stand, Bright noted that Board resolution M-02 pertaining to amenity us age gives managers of each amenity and desig nated facility “full and complete control” of all ac tivities in the venues, and that “control includes the authority to deny service to anyone acting in violation of club rules and regulations.” Bright also cited Section 7 of that resolution that gives the general manager “the authority to suspend amenity use,” for the same reasons.

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 5COVER STORY Janasek court hearing From Page 3 To Page 7

Bright then cited the Declaration of Restric tions, Section G, that repeated the reasons for amenity suspension, non-payment of assess ments and active covenant violations, found in the OPA charter. Section G of the DRs adds an other reason, non-payment of utility bills for wa ter and sewer service, an odd provision, since the OPA does not provide water and sewer services to members.That’saservice provided by Worcester County.

While he could have argued that both provi sions seem to conflict with language in the charter limiting suspension to failure to pay assessments and active violation of the covenants, Bright in stead noted that no Matt Ortt Company manager or OPA General Manager John Viola took action under M-02 to suspend Janasek. Horn agreed with an assertion that it wasn’t club managers or Viola who took action to sus pend Janasek, but the Board of Directors.

Horn acknowledged that no such language ex ists.Bright then pursued Horn on a quote attribut ed to her in which she said “our founders did not foresee the presence in our community of some body whose behavior falls so far out of the norms that society sets for behavior.”

Bright also cited 5.13 of the OPA by-laws which includes a reference to non-payment of as sessments and continuing violations of the DRs as declared by the Board as reasons for amenity suspensions. He pressed Horn on whether there is any language in any of the OPA governing doc uments - the charter, restrictive covenants, bylaws or board resolutions that “expressly autho rize” the Board to suspend access rights for poor behavior at OPA food and beverage amenities.

With Horn on the stand, Bright was able to coax an admission from her that the OPA charter is not in fact 50 years ago, as it was last amended in 2013. But Horn said the “applicable language” in the charter was 50-year old.


From Page 5 to the charter and other governing documents. Bright then asked Horn about another quote attributed to her in which she said that “our gov erning documents fall short” in providing guid ance on “this [the Janasek/Wheatly] situation.” Horn acknowledged that because of those de ficiencies, she was inclined to amend the charter, the DRs (Declaraion of Restrictions) to give the Board more explicit authority to deal with that kind of Brightsituation.ineffect was suggesting that she was well aware that the Board, in voting to suspend Janasek, was acting outside the explicit language in governing documents and that to give the Board authority in the future to suspend member access to certain amenities explicit enabling lan guage would need to be added.

Mantzavinos on cross examination steered Horn in the direction of quoting Janasek’s specif ic use of “vulgar and vile” language. The c-word and f-word were used, fully expressed, twice by Horn while testifying, appearing on pages 104 and 105 of the hearing transcript obtained by the Progress. But Mantzavinos didn’t leave it there, prompt ing Horn to recall an email after a controversial Board vote in which Janasek is said to have asked Horn “how far up [then OPA President Larry Per rone] in his butt are you?’ That email was followed soon after by Janasek’s resignation from the Board, on the assumption that had he not resigned there would have been four votes available to remove him. On a redirect to Horn, Bright brought into the record an acknowledgment from Horn that action to suspend Janasek came three weeks or so after the Yacht Club incident, suggesting that there was no urgent “safety” concern that required im mediate action. Daly followed Horn on the stand. He testified that to the best of his knowledge there’s been only one other suspension of an OPA member in recent years, resulting from a recom mendation by the Matt Ortt Companies and car ried out by the general manager. Bright coaxed out an admission by Daly that when he proposed the motion to suspend Janasek, he did not cite a provision in the governing docu ments to justify the decision. But Daly said short ly thereafter that the “general welfare” clause in the charter and by-laws gave the Board the au thority to suspend Janasek. Judge Olgesby then entered the discussion. Af ter getting Daly to confirm that MOC or Viola, the GM, had taken no action to suspend Janasek, the judge asked Daly whether Janasek was given “due process” prior to the suspension. Daly’s response was that there was “no rush to judgment” in the matter, but in fact Janasek was given no opportunity to give his side of the story. Daly confirmed that none of the majority direc tors who wanted to suspend Janasek had spoken to him after the incident.

Referring to testimony that Daly had reviewed the video of the incident, Judge Oglesby said that “Daly thought it was a crime,” but law enforce ment [the Ocean Pines Police Department] clear ly disagreed. They didn’t charge him with any thing ... they found there wasn’t even probable cause” to suggest a crime. Judge Oglesby then asked a series of ques tions to Daly that might indicate skepticism that safety concerns had prompted the Board’s action againstNotingJanasek.thatonly food and beverage venues but not others were declared off limits to Janasek, Judge Oglesby asked Daly why the board “was not concerned about the safety of anyone [at the otherDalyamenities]?’saidhesaw in the video “a drunk, out-ofcontrol person bullying and intimidating some

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 7COVER STORY u Janasek court hearing

“My belief is that none of us {who contribut ed to writing the governing documents over the years] felt we needed to restrict [members] in front of small children [who{ use their physical size and posture to send a threatening message to another patron and use the kind of vulgar and vile language used in the verbal attack on that patron,” Horn said. “That’s not something that we would think we would have to put explicitly in our rules. One would expect that people would know you just don’t act that way.”

Jacobs also sent out a direct mail brochure, which arrived in mailbox es a little later than the Get Involved mailing.

On cross-examination by Bright, Wheatley gave the impression that she was unaware that a temporary restraining order had been issued by Judge Sidney Campen prohibit ing enforcement of the Janasek sus pension.That got Judge Oglesby’s atten tion. He asked Wheatley to confirm that she was unaware that Janasek had been allowed back into food and beverage amenities pending a hear ing on extending the TRO. “I simply don’t recall,” she said. “I feel that I was [aware], but I don’t recall.”The TRO remains in effect after the hearing, pending a judgment by the Court.

“promote her customers’ [proposed[ additions” while serving as a direc tor of the OPA. “Yes, I got a little angry [over that],” he Acknowledgingsaid. that she was not a member of the ARC when she at tended meetings, “two weeks after Rick {Farr] was [awarded a seat on the Board of Directors] she became [Board] liaison to the committee,” which Janasek suggested was an improper mingling of board and per sonalThebusiness.formerdirector then became the second witness of the day to use profanity while testifying, telling the Court that he didn’t recall using the terms “fu... bitch” or “fu... cu..” when confronting Wheatley the day of the Wheatleyincident.was the final witness of the day. When prompted by Mantza vinos, Wheatley said that Janasek that never brought his concerns about her attendance at ARC meet ings or serving as Board liaison to the Board for discussion.

Farr said he doesn’t think amending governing documents to create new powers to suspend OPA members from the amenities will be supported by the new Board majority


The Get Involved page sent out an endorsement letter to resident and non-resident property owners targeted for receipt on or about the time that OPA ballots were expected to arrive in mailboxes.

“So alcohol is the controlling or most significant in deciding which amenities would be suspended?” the judge“That’ssaid.correct,” Daly responded. Judge Olglesby then asked Daly why the Board had not imposed a lifetime ban [if directors were con cerned about Janasek’s behavior.” The OPA director said “input from the chief” determined that the most enforceable course of action would be to impose a 90-day suspension. After Daly came Perrone, who confirmed that he had wanted a yearPerronesuspension.said that the board in making its decision had relied on Section 1.36(g) of the OPA by-laws that promotes the “safety and cul ture” of Ocean Pines. Janasek then had his turn testi fying. He said that in his role as a contractor that helps maintain beer lines at OPA venues, he actually “helped out” in 20 to 30 incidents that involved patrons who had im bibed too much alcohol. He told Bright that “none of these incidents” were elevated to the Board of Directors for action. Janasek said that what bothered him more than Wheatley’s vote for Horn over Parks as president was her presence at meetings of the Architectural Review Committee “when she had a company that de signsAccordingbuildings.”toJanasek, she would

To Page 10 body half their size and scaring a number of people” in the vicinity.

Ocean Pines voters elect ‘Get Involved’ candidates

By TOM STAUSS Publisher Two of the three top three candidates in the recent Board of Direc tors election were endorsed by the ‘Get Involved” Facebook page created by former Ocean Pines Association Director Esther Diller in The2020.two endorsed candidates were Stuart Lakernick, with 1,802 votes, and Monica Rakowski, with 1,603 votes, who finished second and third in the Board election, behind Steve Jacobs, who tallied 1,867 votes.

Although Get Involved did not explicitly call on OPA members not to vote for the two appointed directors who were running for three-year terms in this summer’s election, it was no secret that candidates Amy Peck and Josette Wheatley were not on the page’s approved list. Peck came in fourth in the elec tion with 1,451 votes, followed by Wheatley with 1,303. Paula Gray came in fifth with 1,027 votes. At one point during the cam paign, Peck had released a politi cal flier suggesting OPA members vote for her, Wheatley and Jacobs, with Lakernick, Rakowski and Gray crudely Xed out. The flier was panned on social media, but it did indicate that there were basically two competing slates of candidates in the election, with Lakernick and Rakowski endorsed by Get Involved and Peck and Wheatley unofficially supported by the Residents Over Stuart Lakernick Monica Rakowski

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Some critics of what seems like a new Board majority are concerned that it will take advantage to settle the pending Janasek vs. OPA lawsuit on terms favorable to Janasek, perhaps even abandoning the case before the judge in the case renders a decision. There was a hearing on the case Aug. 25 in Snow Hill, with no indication on when a decision might be issued by Judge Beau Oglesby. Newly elected OPA President Doug Parks in a recent conversation with the Progress declined to comment on the prospects of an out-of-court settlement, “out of respect to my colleagues” who might not have considered or reached any conclusion about a settlement. There actually was an opportunity to act on the possibility of reaching a settlement early on the day of Aug. 25, when Judge Oglesby reportedly asked the parties whether there was a chance of that happening. Sources told the Progress that Colette Horn, who at the point was still president of the OPA, told the judge that there was no interest in settling by the OPA. That assertion apparently annoyed some of the directors, who said that Horn had no right to take a position that had not been discussed or voted on by the Board. Some strongly worded email on the matter reportedly was

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“That’s all he would be asking for,” Farr said, adding that he thought Janasek would not go further and seek punitive damages against for mer colleagues for acting contrary to OPA governing rules. While it may well be too late for the Board to reverse course in the Janasek case -- and Janasek of course would have needed to agree to any proposed settlement -- an other issue that will be before the Board shortly goes to the Laker nick-Rakowski campaign pledge about reducing legal fees.

Farr told the Progress that he didn’t think changes in the govern ing documents “would happen,” that there are already provisions in place that allow both the general manager and MOC to take actions including suspensions against rule-breakers at food and beverage amenities.

That issue has to do with amend ing OPA governing documents to explicitly give the Board to suspend an OPA members right to access the amenities for breaking approved rules of behavior.

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Slice $2.00 Loaf $6.50 Dog Biscuits .................................. $2.50 FRESH BAKED BAGLES Plain • Cinnamon Raisin • Sesame Onion • French Toast • Garlic Honey Wheat • Asiago • Everything Everything Wheat • Rye Marble • Egg • Pumpernickel Poppy • Berry Sundried Tomato • Cinnamon Crunch 1 Flagel (weekends only) .............. $1.40 Bagel ………..............................…. $1.40 Half Dozen Bagels …..........……… $8.00 Dozen Bagels …............….......… $14.50 Cinnamon Crunch Bagel ….....….. $1.90 N.Y. Kaiser Roll ……............….. 75 cents Portuguese Roll ……........…….. 75 cents Knot Roll ................................... 75 cents WHIPPED CREAM CHEESES Plain • Light • Veggie • Light Veggie Walnut Raisin • Almond • Scallion Scallion & Tomato • Chive • Olive Spinach & Cheese • Nova Spread Seasonal: Crab, Pumpkin, Strawberry Plain Cream Cheese 1 lb. …......… $6.40 Flavored Cream Cheese 1 lb. ...... $7.90 Nova Cream Cheese 1 lb …………$10.90 All prices subject to change Open for Curbside Service Please call ahead to place your order We’ll bring it out to your vehicle 410-208-0707 Limited Seating Indoors Hours Wed - Sun 6 a.m. - 2 p.m. Closed Mon & Tues 410-208-0707 exchanged among the directors, but there appears to have been no dis cernible fall-out from Horn’s opposi tion to a settlement. The Aug. 25 court hearing turned out to be an all-day affair. Among carry-over directors, Horn and former Vice President Frank Daly are adamant supporters of continuing the lawsuit, with Daly telling a local on-line commentator that with so much money already invested in the case, it doesn’t make sense to abandon it when the judge is relatively close to making a deci sion on the merits. Parks and Farr, the new presi dent and vice president respective ly of the OPA, were both opposed to Board action taken against Janasek that in turn resulted in his filing a lawsuit against the OPA.

“For us to make changes in the documents “would make us referees” in matters best left to management to handle, he said. “We don’t need to be involved in that.” He made it clear he opposed the Board action suspending Janasek for 90 days that in turned triggered the lawsuit against the directors who had voted to remove him.

Farr said that because he believes the former Board had no authority under the governing documents to suspend Janasek, he personally would be in favor of reimbursing Janasek’s legal expenses.

“It was all personal,” Farr said, citing Daly, Horn and former Di rector Larry Per rone as harbor ing a strong bias against Janasek. “At the end of the day, it was Josette who ap proached Janasek at the tiki bar,” Farr said. “What Rick Farr happened wasn’t physical, it wasn’t

OPA attorney Jeremy Tucker would be very involved in reviewing drafts for amendments. Will the new Board majority op pose the expenditure of OPA funds to amend certain governing documents in response to a single incident that garnered a lot of attention? That remains to be seen, but at least four directors may not be will ing to proceed with amending the governing documents because of the expense involved and because it’s being driven by a single incident.

Farr in a recent interview with the Progress said at this point it’s too late to reach an out-of-court set tlement before the judge issues a de cision on the merits. If the decision is adverse to the OPA, Farr suggest ed there would be little likelihood of an appeal by a Board majority. If Janasek prevails in the case, then Farr said he believed Janasek would ask the OPA to cover his legal ex penses in bringing the suit.

14 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022 S E P T 2 3 - J A C K W O R T H I N G T O N S E P T 2 4 - E N D L E S S E M B E R O C T 1 - B I L E N K I D U O O C T 7 - T B D O C T 8 - O T T O G R U N D M A N O C T 1 4 - G T R 8 P M - 1 1 P M O C T 1 5 - E N D L E S S E M B E R O C T 2 1 - J A C K B A N N O N O C T 2 2 - D U S T N B O N E S O C T 2 8 - M O N K E E P A W O C T 2 9 - W O R T H I N G T O N **STARTING SEPTEMBER *19TH... *STARTING SEPTEMBER 19TH... OFF-SEASON SPECIALS EVERYDAY & OWEEKLY FF-SEASON SPECIALS EVERYDAY & WEEKLY ENTERTAINMENT** ENTERTAINMENT** L V U I LC I V E M U S I C 447 - 7 P M D A I LY LUNCH S PECIALS 1 2 5 1 3 O c e a n G a t e w a y , O c e a n C i t y , M D 2 1 8 4 2 ( 4 1 0 ) 3 9 0 - 5 9 9 8

OCEAN PINES violent, it was verbal and a bouncer handled it, escorted him [Janasek] off the premises.” He also said that Wheatley sought and obtained a protective order against any contact with Janasek and that that should suffice. “She made it out that she feared for her life [after the incident],” Farr said. “I don’t buy that. There was no pushing or shoving. But if she in fact believes her life was in danger, it was up to her to seek a protective order. If she wants to move forward on that, have it extended, then she should do it on on her dime, not ours.”Farr said that the Board’s involvement in the matter should have ended once she was advised that she should contact the Ocean Pines Police Department and file a complaint.Instead, Farr said, certain directors decided they wanted to make an example out of Janasek once they learned he was the involved in the tiki bar “Neverincident.wouldhave happened had it not been Janasek,” Farr said. What’s changed on the Board is that he and Doug Parks are not alone in that belief. At the Aug. 13 annual meeting of the Association, Elections Chair Carol Ludwig recognized Elections Committee members Robert Windsor, Mary Anne Whitcomb, Jeannie Pennington and Joseph Peloso, and said the committee “spent six hours” on Thursday “opening ballots and trying to make sure every ballot counted.”Alongwith the traditional paper ballots, it was the first year of online voting.Horn in her address to property owners said the hybrid voting of on-line voting and traditional paper ballots was a “ the new directors – now the work begins,” Horn said. “I look forward to working with all ofLorayou.”Pangratz, a member of the Bylaws Committee, used the public comment period to thank the current Board and outgoing directors for their volunteer service. “I still encourage each of you to continue to volunteer – if you feel led to – whenever you’re ready,” she said.She congratulated all the candidates who ran and wished the winners well.

“It will be a mighty task, but I’m sure you’re all up for it,” she said.

I will say that many people came out of the woodwork these last few weeks, thanking me personally for my service and acknowledging all the positive accomplishment for this Board,” she said. “You can see in the numbers, the five years that I’ve been on the Board, things have turned around from a serious deficit to a very happy financial position. “I am confident that the additions to the Board will help us continue that trend,” she added.

‘Get Involved’ From Page 13 September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 15

“We are all equally valued as volunteers, bringing a wealth of diverse perspectives,” she said. “I’d like to ... again thank each current director, our new directors, and each resident for giving their time [and] talent, and giving up family time to commit to [making] and keeping Ocean Pines a happy place for each of us.” Horn echoed Pangratz’s sentiments and thanked outgoing Directors Larry Perrone, Wheatley and Peck for volunteering to serve Ocean Pines.“People say that it is a thankless job [but] it’s not entirely thankless.

Pangratz called for positivity going forward and said “communication and transparency” were key. She said all volunteers are valuable, whether they are full-time or part-time residents, have years of business experience, or are a stayat-home mom or a caregiver.

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In his commentary, Reynolds quoted an unnamed “informed source” who said during a closed session of the Board June 9 that Parks “said he believed Janasek would ‘do it again’ and ‘I’ll put money on it.’ During that closed session, a Board majority voted to suspend Janasek’s food and beverage amenity access for 90 days.

“I have a concern that a Director has divulged information from a closed session meeting in direct violation of a duty to confidentiality that Di-

whether former director would be a repeat offender

OPA president said he told colleagues he ‘couldn’t predict’

Parks was a no vote on the June 9 suspension, in open session asserting that the OPA had no authority to exclude a member from OPA amenities except for reasons spelled out in the governingParksdocuments.saidhe found it ironic and hypocritical that “unnamed sources” were used to misquote him in a closed meeting of the Board.

Two additional “informed sources” said they do not recall the exact language Parks used, but that Parks definitely had suggested Janasek “would do it again,” Reynolds said. Parks said the reporting in Reynolds’ commentary was incorrect. “This is nothing new; it goes with the territory,” he said in reference to Reynolds’ pot-stirring. “This isn’t my first rodeo,” adding that he was not surprised when he read the Reynolds commentary.“I haven’t read the forum for five or six years, but this commentary showed up in my email, I guess using an old email address Joe had on file for me,” Parks said. The newly minted OPA president said he was asked during the meeting whether he thought Janasek would commit some offense in the future, to which he said he responded that “I can’t predict the future,” adding that he said Doug Parks he wouldn’t “place a bet” one way or the other on whether Janasek would be a repeat offender sometime in the future.

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By TOM STAUSS Publisher Newly anointed Ocean Pines Association President Doug Parks said a recent commentary by Joe Reynolds, administrator of the Ocean Pines Forum Website, incorrectly reported on a comment Parks made in a closed June 9 Board of Directors meeting about the possibility of former Director Tom Janasek engaging in another verbal altercation at the Ocean Pines YachtSuchClub.anevent occurred in May of this year in a profanity-laced encounter with former Director Josette Wheatley. The incident resulted in a 90-day suspension from OPA food and beverage amenities for Janasek, who went to court and succeeded in overturning the suspension through a temporary restraining order. After an Aug. 25 hearing in Worcester County Circuit Court on the merits, the case is awaiting a decision by Circuit Court Judge Beau Oglesby.

Parks elected president by acclamation

After an at-times frustrating year in the minority with Farr, during which he and his colleaguewere outvoted on controversial issues, such as the recent attempted suspension of former Director Tom Janasek from OPA food and beverage amenities, Parks returned to the presidency.Aspresident, he told the Progress he intends to try to get the Board to work as a team, well aware that directors are not always going to agree.Should that objective fail to materialize, Parks will be in a dominant position if he’s able to keep Farr, Lakernick and Rakowski together as a cohesive unit. The group definitely was united during the organization meeting. In the days prior to that meeting, there was some behind-the-scenes maneuvering to see if newly elected director Steve Jacobs, the top vote-getter in this summer’s election, would have the votes to assume theSourcespresidency.tell the Progress that he had three votes, including his own, one short of the four needed, with support from former OPA President Colette Horn and former Vice President Frank Daly. However, the newly formed majority bloc of Parks, Farr, Lakernick and Rakowski wanted Parks as president, and in the end Jacobs was notWorkingnominated.against Jacobs’s candidacy was the fact that he’s a newly elected director and Boards over the years have tended to elect second or third year directors as president. In one of his first duties as president, Parks announced Board liaisons to advisory committee in an Aug. 29 email to the Progress.

The appointments are Aquatics, Daly; Architectural Review, Horn; Budget and Finance, Rakowski; Bylaws and Resolutions, Jacobs; Communications, Jacobs; Elections, Farr; Environment and Natural Assets, Parks; Golf, Daly; Marina Activities, Farr; Parks and Recreation, Parks; Racquet Sports, Horn; Strategic Planning, Lakernick; and Search, Lakernick.Lakernick’s appointment as liaison to Strategic Planning is ironic and somewhat politically charged, as he was denied membership on that panel this past year by a vote of the bloc that then controlled the Board, Horn, Daly and former directors Larry Perrone, Amy Peck and JosetteParksWheatley.andFarr were out-voted in their efforts to see Lakernick appointed to the committee. Horn cited some campaign literature found in a Yacht Club restroom promoting Lakernick’s candidacy to the Board last summer as a reason for disqualifying him from committee membership, a pretext that Lakernick at the time said was ridiculous.While there’s a rule against campaigning for the Board on OPA property, Lakernick said he was not campaigning and was unaware of how a flier ended up in the a restroom Lakernick asserted he was a victim of Board majority bias against him,Now he’s Board liaison to the committee on which he wanted to serve.He later applied to serve on this year’s iteration of the Search ComAdvisory committee liaisons named; Lakernick named to Strategic Planning and Search panels, to which he was denied membership by majority vote of the Board this past year

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The election of three new members to the Board of Directors resulted in both a change in leadership and meeting dates and times for the Ocean Pines Association’s governing body. With a longtime director returning to the position of OPA president and a shift in the majority voting bloc, monthly Board meetings will now be held on Saturdays at 9 a.m. During an Aug. 25 organizational meeting, Director Doug Parks was elected by acclamation to serve as the OPA president once again. Parks, now in his seventh year as a director, has served as president multiple times. He is joined by Rick Farr in the officer ranks as vice president, and newly elected directors Stuart Lakernick as secretary and Monica Rakowski as treasurer.

By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer

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“I’ll just be honest with everybody, weekday Board meetings cut in the middle of a work week and most people cannot attend,” Lakernick said. He argued that Board meet ings have always been on Saturdays until recently. “That’s the tradition that we’ve had from the beginning,” he said, adding, “You can definitely gather more folks on a Saturday ei ther online or in the building.”


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Please contact me at 410-208-1704 for a one-on-one complimentary, no obligation consultation or attend our seminar. Call for times, date and location mittee, well aware that he would be blackballed once again by a Board majority. He was, but now he’s the committee’s Board liaison. Two directors who joined in the votes to keep Lakernick off these two committees, Peck and Wheatley, were defeated in their efforts to win three-year terms on the Board this summer.Hadeither been elected, the of ficers for the coming year no doubt would be persons other than the ones chosen during the organiza tional meeting. In another case of everything old is new again, the directors voted 4-3 to hold their monthly Board meet ings on Saturdays, generally the third Saturday of the month with a few adjustments to accommodate a director’s scheduling conflict and for holidays.Throughout the years, directors have shuffled Board meeting days and times like a deck of cards, with every new set of directors sure they will get more participation by trying a different day of the week or time or Lakernicklocation. suggested meetings be held on Saturday mornings, with Horn, the outgoing president, lob bying for Wednesdays at noon and Jacobs proposing a split meeting schedule of Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons of alternat ingAllmonths.three directors proffering the varying meeting days and times suggested that their proposal would generate improved member atten dance.Lakernick made a motion to hold Board meetings on the third or fourth Saturday of each month be ginning at 9 a.m., the option that ul timately passed. Lakernick, Parks, Farr, and Rakowski were in favor and Horn, Jacobs, and Daly were opposed, preferring the Wednesday schedule instead.

Lakernick said the issue is really one of the availability of people who have not retired to be able to attend the meetings. “I’m in the middle of my business day on a Wednesday. It’s difficult to get there. And I’ll be honest with you. I’m not the only one.”Horn disagreed, saying meetings haven’t been held consistently on Saturdays in the past, at least since 2012, but rather days and times have changed frequently.

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Jacobs said his proposal to alter nate the monthly meetings between Saturdays and Wednesdays would allow the Board to “get a pretty good read as to attendance.” He said the Board can argue about whether one day is better than the other but the idea is to expand the opportunity for people to participate in the meet ings. He said alternating meeting days “just sorta makes sense and this way no one feels displaced. “ Lakernick said that would be too confusing for members. He said consistency would be a virtue.Saturday meetings were a sta ple of Ocean Pines governance for most of the earlier decades in Ocean Pines.Jacobs responded meeting days would only have an impact on 20 to 35 members who attend Board meetings. “We’re not talking about hundreds of folks being displaced be

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Horn cited concerns about burdening OPA staff with attending Saturday morning meetings. “That’s 11 weekends of the year that are going to have as many as six of our staff members work ing and I think that is a big ask.” Parks said he doesn’t think there is any one particular time that would guarantee the maxi mum amount of member engagement and partic ipation. “I think we stick with a level of consisten cy and we move forward.” He said he has served on the Board for many years and he questions the need for so much staff at Board meetings. “We are perfectly capable of addressing a meeting on a Saturday without a burden to the staff,” he said.

Committee chair Carol Ludwig at the annual meeting presented election results only, which actually had been released earlier in an OPA press release.

9 31

When it came time to set the actual meet ing dates after his motion was approved, it was Lakernick who asked for the first meeting to be pushed back a week. He said he is officiating at a wedding on the third Saturday of September and requested holding the meeting of the fourth Saturday instead.

Actually, Lakernick’s initial motion had called for meetings to be held either on the third or fourth Saturday of every month. Parks shut her down saying “that’s fine. I think it’sItcircumstantial.”wasn’tclearwhether Horn meant her com

cause we have the meeting set on a certain date,” he said, adding that using social media, meeting notices, and posting the meeting schedule for the full year the OPA can provide adequate notice to members.Horninitially said data on Board meeting at tendance and comments she has received from members supports holding meetings mid-day on a weekday. “Since we have had good attendance on the weekday lunch meetings I’ve gotten feed back from the community of people who are sit ting on their computers all day and find that’s it’s more convenient for them to participate with the hybrid format.” She was willing to support alternating meet ings between Saturday mornings and Wednes days at noon. She said that would accommodate people who can attend on the weekends and those who find it easier to participate during lunchtime on a work day. Daly said either way Board meetings will have to be adjusted in November and December around the holidays. Parks supported Saturday meetings, saying when the attendance data was collected hybrid meetings were not available. “I’d be very much interested in some level of consistency and seeing how much more atten dance we get based on the fact that they can have the option of attending the meeting virtually rather than having to be there in person,” he said. Rakowski asked if the Board could reevaluate after six months and alter the meeting schedule if attendance seems to be off.

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A source told the Progress that Ludwig will post an election report, presumably containing all the details that so far have not been disclosed, on the OPA Website by Sept. 9.

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Previous chairs of the Ocean Pines Election Committee, when delivering the results of Board of Directors elections at the annual meeting of the Ocean Pines Association, have provided an election report, containing such details as the number of ballots that went out to the OPA membership, the number of ballots returned, and the number of ballots dis qualified because the voter erred in filling out the ballot. That didn’t happen this year, however.

Two OPA members took opposing positions on the issue during the Public Comments segment of the Moremeeting,concerned about OPA staff than whether or not the meetings are convenient for members to attend, former director Amy Peck said that holding Saturday meetings would be a burden for OPA employees. Like Horn, she also argued that the data showed meetings during the weekday had the highest attendance. “Many of our staff live outside of Ocean Pines and asking them to work a long day, go home and then return in the evening is burdensome. Asking staff to give up 11 Saturdays to attend meetings when they have already given so much to the community is not the right thing to do,” Peck said. However, she said having the staff at meetings presenting reports and available to answer ques tions is what is helpful. Member Dutch Oovsteen encouraged Satur day Board meetings. “Who holds a meeting on a Wednesday in Ocean Pines?” he asked, adding “That was the biggest joke ever pulled on the peo ple.”Directors opted to seek input from Viola before selecting a meeting location. While some direc tors suggested using the golf clubhouse meeting room, Horn pointed out that meetings there could interfere with paid banquet uses. Another option is the Assateague Room at the Community Cen ter, but Daly pointed out that parking there could be a problem because the Farmer’s Market is held SaturdayParkingmornings.wouldalso be an issue if meetings are held in the Board Room in the Administration Building on Saturdays. Parks also recommended holding at least two Town Hall meetings on specific topics to be deter mined during the Board year. Horn was hesitant about saying the Board will hold two Town hall meetings. “There’s no reason in having a Town Hall meeting unless there’s a purpose for the meeting. To have a town hall meeting for the sake of fulfilling a two-meeting requirement that we set for ourselves doesn’t make sense to me. I think it’s something that we should certainly be open to, but I think they need to be topic driven. “ Parks agreed that town meetings need to be topic-driven and noted that all the past Town Hall meetings have been. That’s why he wasn’t ready to name the topic, time, date, or location at the orientation meeting. He said the Board should so licit Town Hall topics from the OPA membership.

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ment as a joke or a barb, or perhaps some of both.

“I think since the motion was the third Satur day, it’s interesting the person who put the mo tion forward is already objecting to the first third Saturday,” Horn said.

Lakernick and General Manager John Vio la could be seen on meeting video chuckling at Horn’s comment.

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But Clifford broke the relative silence on Ocean Pines social media by posting a graphic containing the initial press release by the Matt Ortt Companies about the fatality and a graph ic of the company’s area restaurants, implicitly calling for a boycott of Ortt restaurants, including the Ocean Pines Yacht Club. That’s when Wheatley, who reportedly has ad ministrative privileges on the ROC page, took the opportunity to verbally attack DeAngelus.

oming in fifth in the Ocean Pines Associa tion Board of Directors election could not have been a pleasant experience, and for mer Director Josette Wheatley indicated her dis pleasure with it on a recent post on the Residents Oversight Community (ROC) page. The displeasure took the form of criticism of Matt Ortt Companies partner Ralph DeAngelus, who had engaged in a public dispute with Wheat ley earlier this year at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club over the handling of a much publicized ver bal altercation involving Wheatley and former Director Tom Janasek.

She then joined with the critics who con tend that DeAngelus should be disclosing more about what he know about the car in his garage. DeAngelus has said very little, on advise of coun sel, but he has said that no employee of the Matt Ortt Companies was driving the car at issue the night Gavin Knupp died. “Stop the cover-up and allow Gavin’s family to heal,” Wheat ley concluded in her post. One responder on the ROC site slammed her for taking the position she did. “Shame on you for this post,” said ROC member Linda Gale. “It should be deleted or other wise redacted. It attempts to conflate in a very dangerous manner two events {the Janasek incident and the Gavin Knopp fa taility] that do not have a relevance to each other. [Or] if they do, it isn’t in the public domain. “What right does she [Wheatley] have to [de fame] a successful business in our community? {Wheatley] attempts to defame the business [the Matt Ortt Companies]. It is also mean-spirited and betrays the author’s attitude on losing the OPAGaleelection.”saidthat after reading Wheatley’s post, she was “quite happy” that Wheatley wasn’t elect ed to the Board this summer. “Leave a police matter to the police,” Gale con tinued. “This kind of post is only useful in ruining the reputation of the business and possibly incit ing violence, which is so prevalent in our country now.”

24 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022 OCEAN PINES thru Oct. 27 10-15-22 Josette Wheatley To Page 26

Wheatley takes parting shot at DeAngelus

DeAngelus has been criticized on regional so cial media based in Salisbury, but Ocean Pinesbased social media, including Esther Diller’s Get Involved Facebook Page, Sherrie Clifford’s ROC page, and Joe Reynolds’ Ocean Pines forum Web site and message board, had contained relatively little content related to the Knupp fatality. The same is true for the OPA’s own Facebook page.

Former OPA director criticized for ‘conflating’ Janasek incident with Gavin Knupp fatality

The Board of Directors with Wheatley vot ing with the majority recently attempted to ban Janasek from Ocean Pines food and bever age amenities, which resulted in him filing suit against the OPA and having the suspension lifted until at least a scheduled court hearing Aug. 25.

“I experienced being accosted at the OP Yacht Club this summer. NO safety there I assure you. I had to place a peace order against Tom Janasek for my own protection. Very sad,” she said. “Ralph is only looking out for his drinking buddies. Very disappointed in his behavior. #justice for Gavin.”

Wheatley’s post on the ROC page also invoked another controversy, DeAngelus’ role in notifying local state police that a car that might have been involved in the tragic death of Ocean Pines teen ager Gavin Knupp had been parked in the garage of his West Ocean City home.

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At one point during the re cently concluded election cam paign, Wheatley suggested that the OPA should put the Yacht Club contract out to bid, an idea that went nowhere with her col leagues on the Board. A screen shot of the posts on the ROC page obtained by the Progress does not indicate that Wheatley responded to Gale’s critique.Wheatley did, however, offer support for naming the OPA’s skateboard park in White Horse Park after Gavin Knupp, a suggestion made by his father, Ray, in the posted conversation obtained by the Progress. Ray Knupp suggested that the skateboard park should be improved with profits from Yacht Club and named in hon or of his son. Gavin Knupp was an avid skateboarder. Gale, too, supported that suggestion.

Board likely to meet monthly at Golf clubhouse, Farr says

The farmers and artisans market is held on Saturday mornings, and most of the parking spaces in White Horse Park and around the Admin Building and Community Center are occupied at that time. There usually has been sufficient parking available at the golf course parking lot and Clubhouse Drive whenever meetings have been held at the golf clubhouse. Farr said that as part of a plan to make OPA member interaction with Board members friendlier and more accessible, there will be a half hour or so of social interaction before the planned 9 a.m. start of meetings, starting on an every-other-month schedule. He called it a coffee social.

By TOM STAUSS Publisher Veteran watchers of the Board of Directors might see some differences in the way elect ed leaders conduct business in the comingNewlymonths.elected President Doug Parks told the Progress recently that one of his objectives for the year will be to reduce friction among the directors, and to handle differences that do occur professionally. He said he wants to be inclusive, giving ev ery director an equal opportunity to participate in decision-making. Parks and the OPA’s new vice-president, Rick Farr, didn’t al ways feel the inclusiveness this past year or two, when another majority bloc controlled the board agenda and policy-making. Now the roles have flipped, and Parks and Farr are part of a new majority that could control the agenda and policy-making if it so chooses and can remain unified. “Doug knows how to run a meet ing, knows Roberts rules,” said Farr. “I’m anticipating a real good year ahead.”Farr said that a majority consen sus is forming in favor of holding monthly Saturday morning meet ings at the Golf Clubhouse meet ing room. The problem with having meetings on Saturdays either in the Administration Building board meeting room or the Community Center’s Assateague Room is compe tition for parking.

Every-other-month before-meeting socials, quick response to questions during Public Comments to highlight a different way of conducting OPA business

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OPA members have often complained in recent years that

The unbudgeted capital expenditure will have no effect on the OPA’s operational bottom because it will come out of the OPA’s re placement reserve. The expenditure would have been budgeted in the next budget year, so the longer term impact of the approval on the replacement reserve balance will be nil. In support of the purchase, Police Chief Leo Ehrisman said three Chevy Tahoes became available when a police agency in Virginia or dered 50, but was only able to pay for 47 because of budgetary con straints. Ehrisman said there’s a line of police agencies vying for new vehicles and supplies are often too short for the demand, adding the last two times he tried to bid the manufacturer said the SUVs were not“Theavailable.reason that I requested this special meeting ... is because if I don’t do it now, I start back at ground zero in September to prepare for February’s approval” of the budget,” Ehrisman said. “It’s a very extensive period of time, and the fact that we only order two or three at a time puts us at the bottom of the list,” he said. u

newly elected member of the Board of Directors called on the Ocean Pines Association to “do better” by its police department during an Aug. 23 special meeting, held for the purpose of ap proving a previously unbudgeted expenditure of $158,000 for three new police vehicles.

Lakernick calls for better pay for Ocean Pines police officers Board approves $158,000 expenditures for three new police cars

From 26


Saturday meetings

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Director Stuart Lakernick called for the Board to make “an actual commitment that we will do better by our police department” in the future. “The car is one aspect, but the pay is the big aspect,” he said. “You want a career cop, make a career commitment to them.”

Association President Colette Horn said that increasing pay to re tain police likely be part of the next budget process.

“I think we all agree that retention and recruitment is a huge chal lenge, and this board has an opportunity to impact that,” she said. It will be a multifaceted approach, including better bay, benefits and take-home vehicles for some police officers, as occurs regularly in other local police departments. During the Aug. 23 special meeting, the Board voted 6-0 in favor of buying three new vehicles at a total cost of $158,000. Director Frank Daly was absent from the meeting.

questions asked in the Public Com ments segment of Board meeting of ten go Thereunanswered.willbeagreater attempt to answer questions on the spot when they’re asked, Farr said, with a greater commitment to get answers to questions to members as soon as possible if they’re not available at BoardAnswersmeetings.toquestions not imme diately responded to will be provid ed at the next Board meeting, Farr said.

Newly elected director and OPA Treasurer Monica Rakowski told the Progress at the annual meeting in early August that one of her ob jectives as a new Board member will be to improve communication with property owners. Farr revealed one way that will happen.

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Police cars From Page 27

Ehrisman said the Tahoes would help jump-start a take-home vehicle program that’s essential for police retention. He said Ocean Pines lost four officers in less than six months to neighboring agencies that offered signing bonuses better benefits.

“The issue today is the cost, the opportunity, and the timing .... does it have to be done today? My opinion is yes,” Ehrisman said. “If this passes ... it fulfills my obligation to be able to implement” the take-home policy.

Tucker said online voting helps cut costs and increase participation. “And it’s very easy to use,” he said. “For those who did vote by electronic transmission, thank you. We hope to see [online voting] continue to grow over the years.”

Jeremy Tucker’s legal report delivered during the Aug. 13 annual meeting of the Ocean Pines Association avoided any ref erence to the most prominent legal issue of the past year, the Richard Farr vs. OPA case that resulted in a defeat for the OPA and the even tual seating of Farr. Tucker barely mentioned another case fac ing the OPA, litigation initiated by former OPA Director Tom Janasek over a Board of Direc tors-impose suspension of access rights to cer tain OPA amenities. He said he couldn’t talk about it because it’s a pending case, but he mentioned that his law firm, Lerch, Early and Brewer, was not handling it for the OPA. It was farmed out to another firm by the OPA’s insurance company, Tucker said. Tucker told property owners attending the meeting in person or virtually that his firm has worked with the OPA since 2016, with special ists in human resources, litigation, and tax is sues.Tucker is a general counsel, offering legal advice to the Board of Directors, reviewing con tracts and proposed changes to OPA governing documents, among other duties, In looking at the Association’s recent accom plishments, Tucker said, “From my perspective, I think this has been an extraordinarily pro ductiveAmongyear.”the key accomplishments were the passage of 28 amendments to Ocean Pines by laws, and the implementation of electronic vot ing.“I think approximately 1,000 members voted electronically ... that is a great number for the first year out,” he said. “In my experience, that means more and more people over the years will start voting, and that’s a wonderful thing.”

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Asked by Director Doug Parks what impact the purchase would have on the overall reserve percentage, Viola said it would only be a fractional im pact. “It shouldn’t move the needle from where we’re at,” Viola said.

“There’s not a police agency I’m aware of that does not offer a take-home policy ... so this is huge for us,” he added.

During annual meeting, OPA attorney focuses on efforts to pursue delinquent property owner accounts

Tucker said tennis and pickleball court ren ovations and the introduction of a water taxi service were also positive additions that Lerch, Early & Brewer contributed to. “All of these things have been very practical [and] productive ... for the community,” he said. “Sometimes people can’t see the tangible things and those are absolutely tangible achieve ments.”Oncollections, Tucker said the current and previous Boards approved an “aggressive, dil igent pursuit of unpaid assessments” that has continued to be effective. That includes $74,000 in unpaid assess ments this year and $929,737.28 in total, since 2016.“That is a wonderful number that we’re

Director Rick Farr asked why the purchase wasn’t part of the last bud get, and Ehrisman said there were two reasons. One, he budgeted conserva tively because of looming state mandates requiring body cameras for police, and two, many other agencies “upped their game” last December and Janu ary with offers of bonuses and take-home cars. Asked about the disparities between Ocean Pines Police and other agen cies, Viola said Ocean Pines officers receive 401k benefits and he has been working to close the gap in pay between neighboring agencies. The Asso ciation does not qualify for the federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System, also known as LEOPS, because it is not a municipality.

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There may also be a cost savings, as Ehrisman said the vehicles were al ready outfitted with about $9,000 in police lights and computer equipment that are the standard for modern police cars. “The prices that we have now on these three cars are fully equipped [and] ready to go,” he said.

“They have take-home cars, they have insurance policies, and they have a pension,” he said. Ehrisman said take-home cars help off-duty officers respond quicker in case of an emergency, and they can deter crime by being visible in a neighborhood. He said county police are getting about five-to-six years on take-home cars, which is longer than shared vehicles that can see three shifts each day.

Tucker avoids Farr case, barely mentions Janasek litigation

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General Manager John Viola said the purchase would come out of re placement reserves and would help spread out milage and extend the life of other vehicles in the police fleet.

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“The problem is, those who do pay have to cover the cost of those who don’t,” he said. “So, it is very import ant that everybody pays. That’s your lifeblood that pays many of the bills, pays staff [and] pays for turning the lights on here ... we think that that’s an important thing to continue to do.”Tucker said he could not com ment on the pending Janasek litiga tion but noted the insurance compa ny “picked up coverage of that” and appointed a separate legal counsel to handle the case. “Overall, we believe that this has been a pretty positive year,” Tuck er said. “I think the Board has ... worked hard together and achieved a lot.“It has been our pleasure to work with the Board [and] we’re excited to work with the new Board,” he added.Two of the victorious candidates ran on a platform of reducing le gal fees, “frivolous” laws suits and wasteful spending.




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Horn said the Strategic Planning Committee, through the release of a communitywide survey, led an effort to create a new long-term plan.

Also on the subject of member engagement, Horn produced weekly “President’s Columns” that ran in a local newspaper and on the Asso ciation website, social media, and in the week ly e-blast. Subjects have included the history of Ocean Pines; biking, swimming, and golf course safety; the health of area waterways; and Associ ation“There’sfinancials.alot of messaging out there on social media that’s very negative, and I felt most peo ple really experience Ocean Pines as a wonderful place [and] a very positive place,” she said. “Our financial results reflect that, and the business of Ocean Pines is being run very successfully. You get a lot of value for your dollar, and so I felt we really needed to get that message out.”

“We hope that that will improve each year our turnout for voting,” she said.

Changes in Declaration of Restrictions regulating short-term rentals may go to membership this month

cean Pines Association President Colette Horn highlighted financial success, mem ber engagement, and a forward-looking Board of Directors during her annual presenta tion on HornSaturday.saidthe Board approved a historic $100 assessment reduction this year, along with trans fers from retained earnings of $650,000 for the re duction, $350,000 for roads reserves, and $60,000 for new T-docks at the Yacht Club Marina.

During the last year, Horn said the Board in troduced – and membership approved – 28 chang es to Ocean Pines bylaws. The changes included clarifications about Board candidate eligibility, petition and referendum requirements, and no tice for meetings.

er and improving morale. And we also have dis covered what a visionary he is,” Horn added.


“That resulted in the top priorities being re vealed as safety, maintenance of infrastructure, and community appearance and aesthetics,” she said, adding a formalized strategic plan is in the works.Horn said a major focus as Association Pres ident was to increase member engagement and improve positive messaging. During her tenure, the Association introduced hybrid meetings “as a way of increasing member access to Board meetings.” She also added infor mation to Board meeting agendas to “help mem bers participate in the meetings meaningfully.” Horn said meeting attendance appeared to benefit, equaling the average (mean) attendance of the last decade, and exceeding the median at tendance figures.

“What we learned about him as we worked with him is what a wonderful team leader he is, and his effectiveness at bringing our staff togeth

In a followup interview, she itemized areas that she believes demonstrated his vision for Ocean Pines, “to take it to the next level of excellence.”

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 31OCEAN PINES u Horn

“After that, I believe Aquatics is next,” she said.

Regarding development of a high-performance management team, Horn said that Viola focused on bench strength and cross-training of staff to ensure continuity.

By TOM STAUSS Publisher

Although her report to the Ocean Pines Association membership during the Aug. 13 annual meeting didn’t itemize the rea sons, it was evident that outgoing OPA President Colette Horn holds General Manager John Viola in high esteem, calling him a visionary.

“I’m thrilled to see that we are getting more and more member engagement, and that the vir tual environment is really helping,” Horn added. Horn said there was a minor controversy about dates and times for Board meetings, but statis tics showed that, since 2013, more people on aver Horn calls Viola a visionary

“This is data that I think can be used to make decisions about future meeting scheduling,” she said. “If our goal is to increase member engage ment, we want to pay attention to when ... mem bers show up to meetings, and I think this data is valuable for that reason,” she said.

Horn said it’s the Board’s job to approve large expenditures that are part of each budget. Re cently, that has included initiatives related to drainage and beautification, and improvements to the Police Station, Racquet Sports Center and GolfAmongClub. the most important Board duties, Horn said, is employing a general manager. She cited the hiring of John Viola as perhaps the Board’s most significant accomplishment of recent years.

“We did authorize the hiring of a consultant to help us with that, and we were able to accomplish that,” she said.

Horn said that Viola had a vision on how OPA financial informat5ion would be presented to the membership, with greater transparency.

“The really good news ... is that the hybrid model is yielding very good turnout, overall, at meetings,” she said. “These are people ... who are committed to showing up and getting the facts for themselves, observing for themselves how the Board makes their decisions, [and] hearing directly from our general manager each month about our financials affairs and the progress be ing made on the many initiatives that are being paid for by your assessment dollars.

Horn said challenges for the new Board in clude state legislation related to reserve contri bution levels, Ocean Pines legislation related to restricting membership privileges for continu ing violations to restrictive covenants, the South Gate firehouse, and a new strategic plan. “I congratulate the new directors ... and look forward to working together as a team to address these and the many other initiatives that the Board is involved with,” she said. touts OPA’s successes in annual report to members

“Over the last several years, we employed John Viola. We found ourselves in 2019 with a vacancy that needed to be filled and we had a very dire financial situation at that time,” she said. Horn said Viola initially came on as a volun teer. In April 2019 he agreed to a two-and-a-halfyear contract, and last February he signed a twoyear contract extension, with an option for a third year.“The results speak to his value as a general manager,” Horn said. “What he brought to the ta ble and what motivated us to seek him out ... are his credentials as a CPA, an MBA, [and] many, many years of financial and business experience.

On the human resources front, Horn said the Board for several years was “focused on bringing our HR practices and our compensation into com pliance and into line with the marketplace.”

age attended hybrid meetings scheduled during the workday (38) than in-person only meetings scheduled on workdays (24), work nights (13) and weekends (22).

“We also made a decision to do some revisions to the Declarations of Restrictions. We have re ceived the message loud and clear from the mem bership that they have concerns about the impact of short-term rentals on quality of life in our var ious sections,” she said. Horn said the latest batch of changes would go to membership for a vote, likely in September.

“Again, you will be assisting us in making some revisions that are meant to improve quality of life,” she Speakingsaid.ofvoting, Horn said the introduction of online voting in the 2022 Board election was “a very successful change to our voting procedure,” bringing the Association into the 21st century.

“Perhaps the most significant accomplishment was the golf course, how to bring the golf course to where it should be,” she said. “It was a three or four-year project of strategic investment,” includ ing green and fairway improvement and a new golfHornclubhouse.”saidthat

Cites golf course upgrades as most significant example of a vision becoming reality

“On his own, he executed monthly improve ments in reporting well beyond what governing documents require,” she said.

Viola has a similar vision for the racquet sports, including new pickleball courts.

“All of that leads up to preparing a set of financial statements that we render an opinion on that gets presented at the annual meeting today,” he said.“Congratulations to the Board, to staff and everyone – the Association is in a very healthy position,” he concluded.

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Viola From Page 30 During the Aug. 13 annual meeting, Chris Hall of UHY LLP, formerly the TGM Group, said his firm is hired to audit and render an opinion on the Association’s financial statements, which are made available online each year.

Finally, Horn said that Viola has had a strategic plan in his head for the OPA, but not yet fully developed on paper.

Improvements to the Mumford’s Landing Boat Ramp were recent ly completed by the Public Works Department. Public Works Manager Nobie Violante said a new gangway, bumpers and boards were put into the structure in July.

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“Everyone has been really happy with it,” Violante said. “It took a lit tle longer than we anticipated to get the materials, but other than that everything went well.”

“We put new walkways from the Fisher added throw rings for safety, in case someone falls into the water. “The walkway was pretty shaky before, so we basically rebuilt it,” Violante said. “All in all, our main tenance team worked on it for about a month.”Afterthe work was finished, Vio lante said Fisher sent a note letting him know how pleased everyone was with the finished product.

Working with the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, Viola will be delivering a strategic plan in the coming weeks for review by the Board of Directors, Horn said.

“He also is working on bringing compensation packages for employees in line with the local market,” she said.

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Auditor offers assurances on accuracy of audit report

John Latham from the Marine Activities Advisory Committee said his group conducted a community survey earlier this year, asking for input on various projects and needs, and the Mumford’s Landing Boat Ramp was a major concern. “[There] was a safety concern at top of the fixed dock to the floating dock. They used to be wood, and we replaced them with galvanized alu minum so they will hold up better,” he said. “We also put new boards on the floating part and new bumpers all the way around it.” He said Marina Dockmaster Ron the Mumford’s Boat Ramp regard ing the hand railings, pier walkway, side rub rails, and lack of safety ring,” Latham said. “Our committee shared the findings with [General Manager] John Viola, and he re viewed and worked with his leader ship team to gain the proper approv als to upgrade and make needed repairs.”Latham said he and the other committee members were also hap py with the results. “The project was recently com pleted, and it is a very nice improve ment for our community,” he said.

Hall said the report also talks about responsibilities of the auditor and management.“Asauditors, we’re required to assess risks, document our understanding of internal controls, and ... test procedures to render an opinion on the set of financial statements that are presented,” he said.

“Our committee will continue to en courage community owners to share ideas and we will work to help make recommendations to the OPA Board.

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Mumford’s Landing boat ramp gets major renovation

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“The very first paragraph talks about our opinion, and it says, ‘In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all ma terial respects.’ That’s a clean, unmodified opinion [and] that’s the highest level of assurance that any independent accounting firm can give on a fi nancial statement,” he said.

Hall said the review process starts each April with a test of internal con trols, including sample counts of inventory onsite in Ocean Pines. In late May and early June balance sheets and income statements are tested, and in July financial statements are prepared and reviewed.

Hall said the most important part of that document is the audit report.

The committee remains very excited to help make recommendations for the betterment of the entire commu nity.”

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“We could actually put anything out there,” he said. “You can grow vegetables or grass, or anything that can be done with hydroponics.” He said the planters help filter the water by pulling nutrients out of the pond through their roots. “With the algae growing, and fe ces from the ducks and geese con taminating the water, this will help to clean some of that out,” he said. “And they create a habitat and a ref uge, providing structure and cover for small fish, tadpoles, frogs and turtles.”Theplanters also help beautify the“There’ extra added bonus with the color, and they attract pol linators and birds, so it’s its own lit tle ecosystem and habitat,” Howard said.Howard hopes to build new plant ers this fall that he said would be cheaper and lighter. The plants will need time to take root and grow over the winter. If everything goes as planned, they will be put into the North Gate Pond next spring. He would also like to see floating planters in Bainbridge Pond. uFloating planters in the North Gate pond

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loating island planters in the North Gate Pond in Ocean Pines could be the first of many in the community. Installed as a pilot program by Public Works, the planters benefit the pond and local wildlife and provide an aesthetic pop to the Landscapelandscape.Supervisor Tony How ard said the idea came from a pesti cide certification course. “We take regular courses to keep our pesticide license up, and they were talking about how floating plants can make an environmental impact by cleaning the water, and I thought it was something we could make,” he Howardsaid.used aquatic grasses in the first planter, along with some irises for color.


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General manager cites completed projects on time and on budget in addition to reversing $1.6 million operating deficit

“I definitely wouldn’t mind doing it,” Howard said. “It beautifies ev erything with all of the color, and there’s so many benefits from it. It’s not just cleaning the water, it’s cre ating an environment for all kinds of wildlife, and you’re getting more beautification out of it because you can plant whatever you want. There are so many different plants out there that will work. It’s endless.”

John Maniatty, VMD • Ali Lovins, DVM • Justin Maniatty, VMD

“The team, across the board ... [is] operating on full cylinders,” Viola said.Viola said current initiatives in clude installing cheaper and more efficient drainage pipe liners, con tinuing the bulkhead and dredging programs, landscaping and beautifi cation efforts, improvements to the North Gate Bridge, improvements for hybrid meetings, new T-docks at the Yacht Club Marina, improve ments to the Racquet Sports Cen ter, and facility maintenance at the Yacht Club, Golf Club, Swim and Racket Club, and Mumford’s Land ing Boat Ramp. All those efforts, Viola said, were thanks to a constructive Board, a dedicated and dialed-in staff, and the expertise of volunteers includ ing committee and other Association members.Hespecifically thanked Marvin Steen, Frank Brown, Ted Moroney, Marty Clarke, Joe Reynolds, Pete Gomsak, and members of the Bud get and Finance Committee. “I’ve been very fortunate that they have answered the call,” he said. “They have truly helped me when I reached out to them. “We’re not just about good fi nancial numbers,” Viola continued. “The team, the Association [and] the Board, we have achieved projects and initiatives, and they show up in theForfinancials.”questions about the presen tation, Viola again referred to the email address for general questions and concerns. “If anybody has any questions ... send us [an email] after this at info@ and the team will give you more detail on it,” he said. With a new two-year contract in hand with an option for a third year as the OPA’s general manager, Viola made it clear that he still has goals and objectives he wants to accom plish.In the immediate future he has said he intends to bring a proposal for an Administration Building up grade to the Board for approval, in cluding a new state-of-the art Board room with the latest in audio-video equipment and enough seating to accommodate OPA members. The proposal will call for the ex tension of the building in the direc tion of White Horse Park. He is heading up a task force that will be working on a new Southside firehouse and also will be delivering an updated strategic plan for Ocean Pines by the end of the year.

“Back then I remember thinking ... it was the worst of times, but I truly believed that the best of times were coming,” he said. At the time, the Association had a $1.6 million deficit and many other issues, Viola said.

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Viola had been the chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee and was called up for a larger role.

“At Bainbridge, right now, a lot of the water is green from the algae blooms, so the planters should help with that,” he said. If the early pilots continue to have success, there could be many more in the future, all over Ocean Pines.

General Manager John Viola took a stroll down memory lane during the Aug. 13 annu al meeting of the Ocean Pines Asso ciation, recapping how the OPA took an operating deficit that reached $1.6 million and turned it into an operating fund surplus in excess of $2 million the last two fiscal years.

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Viola, in his report to the mem bership during the annual meeting, said it was “a tale of two Associa tions” when he came on as a volun teer chief financial officer in 2017.

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 35OCEAN PINES

Viola recaps successes of recent years

“Our bulkheads, drainage, dredg ing and road programs needed to be jumped started. [And] we needed to implement a new plan,” he said, adding there was a need for a foren sic audit and a compensation study. He said there was also a call to improve request for proposal prac tices to get better bids for big proj ects, and to outsource food and bev erage operations. All of that has since been accom plished.Starting in 2019, when Viola took over as general manager, the OPA formed work groups and restart ed the drainage and bulkhead pro grams, commissioned an employee compensation study, made improve ments to Board meeting videos, and transitioned to NorthStar software and a new website. “After a $1.2 million budget defi cit from the prior year, we closed April 2019 with a $130,000 positive variance,” Viola said. “You could see back then ... that the ship was start ing to turn in a positive way.” To help offset issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Association secured federal Pay check Protection Program funding, installed community-wide safety protocols, and brought in several major construction projects on time and under budget including the new Golf Club, cart barn, and a modern ized Police station. In 2021, the Association contin ued to navigate through the pan demic with a successful communica tion plan and a budget favorability of $1.275 million. With that success, the prior-year deficits were finally erased.That year also saw new drain age projects, improved Golf Course maintenance, a jump-started roads program, beautification efforts, the introduction of the virtual Ocean Pines Academy, and the launch of new customer service efforts cen tered around the info@oceanpines. org email address. Food and beverage operations set new records, strategic planning efforts formally began, and a new playground and new Craft Club building were completed and opened forInuse.2022, Ocean Pines produced a record-setting budget favorabil ity and a record-setting $100 as sessment reduction. New pickleball courts were opened, the Golf oper ation became favorable, Aquatics and Recreation and Parks programs thrived, Marina slips had a waitlist, and infrastructure improvements and beautification efforts included the North Gate Bridge and mailbox es and pedestals. The OPPA also debuted online voting and hybrid Board meetings and began codifying a strategic plan.


so far, golf has been the leader in net operations, in the black by $450,419, followed by beach parking ($440,607), aquatics ($340,437), Yacht Club ($282,177), marinas ($248,380), pickleball ($57,192), Beach Club ($134,061), Clubhouse Grille ($38,324), ten nis ($15,546), and platform tennis ($11,112).Compared to budget for the year so far, golf operations lead the pack with a $126,890 positive variance, followed by aquatics ($99,041), the Yacht Club ($78,891), the Beach Club ($40,127), pickleball ($17,853), marinas ($11,771), beach parking

The positive operating fund sur plus for the year through July re sulted from revenues over budget by $497,695 and total expenses under budget by $35,114.


The Clubhouse Grille is negative to budget for the year through July by The$2,072.numbers represent solid per formance for all the amenities.

Reserve summary -- The July 31 reserve summary indicates to tal reserves of $9.159 million, down from $9.385 million in June and $9.624 million at the end of May. The replacement reserve balance as of July 31 was $6.32 million, with bulkheads and waterways at $1.378 million, roads at $704,588, drainage at $805,353, and new capital at a negative $49,439.

The Yacht Club was the top pro ducer among the amenities in July, with a $132,807 operating surplus.

For the first quarter of the fiscal year, however, all amenity depart ments are in the black, many by siz able amounts, and all but one are ahead of budget.

According to a financial report by Controller/Director of Finance Steve Phillips, the July positive variance to budget resulted from revenues over budget by $97,819 and expens es under budget by $20,620.

36 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022 OPA FINANCIALS OPA records another operating surplus in July Positive variance to budget was $118,439, for the year so far $532,809


The Recreation and Parks De partments, funded both from use fees and lot assessments, had a par ticular good month in July relative to budget, with a $35,609 positive variance.

By TOM STAUSS Publisher The Ocean Pines Association recorded a $118,439 operat ing fund surplus by depart ment in July, bringing the cumula tive surplus for the first quarter of the 2022-23 fiscal year to $532,809. July exceeded June’s operating sur plus by more than $100,000.

The Beach Club followed with an $85,575 surplus, aquatics netted $74,257, golf $73,367, and marinas $23,087.Other amenities with positive earnings for the month included beach parking ($18,785), the Club house Grill ($9,532), and tennis ($452).Recording operating deficits for the months were platform tennis (-$2,914) and pickleball ($1,041). Relative to budget, aquatics was the top performer for July, with a $24,819 positive variance, followed by the Yacht Club’s $17,960 positive variance. Marinas were ahead of budget by $9,125 for the month, and the Beach Club’s positive variance wasFor$2,839.theyear

Source: OA Director of Finance/Controller Steve Phillips ($9,482, platform tennis ($7,532) and tennis ($1,107).

For July, all amenity departments except for pickleball and platform tennis were in the black. Compared to budget, it was more of a mixed bag, with tennis, aquat ics, Beach Club, Yacht Club, and ma rinas exceeding their budgets, while pickleball, platform tennis, golf, Clubhouse Grille, and beach park ing were under budget.

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Phillips said Ocean Pines has about $54 million in total fixed as sets, with a net book value of rough ly $24 million.

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“There’sstudy.... new legislation adopt ed in Maryland requiring a reserve study. We believe we’re ahead of the curve, but of course we’ve got to dis cuss the legislation with [the Budget and Finance Committee], present ongoing monthly reserve analysis to them, and we’ll get their feedback and guidance,” Phillips said.

New state legislation mandates HOA reserve studies; OPA already has one, and it shows healthy reserve balances

Viola said almost half of the overall budget favorability was driven by amenities. “We are moving forward,” he said. “It’s all because, I believe, of the in vestments [we’ve made], ... wheth er it’s an investment in an outside company [Matt Ortt Companies] or the infrastructure, which we cer tainly have done and seen at Golf [and] Racquet Sports, and we will see with the [Yacht Club] Marina.” The latter was a reference to re cently installed t-docks, which he believes will stimulate business at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club by area boaters.

At the end of the last fiscal year, on April 30, the Association had $4.769 million in replacement reserves, $536,000 in bulkhead reserves, $687,000 in drainage reserves, $150,000 in new capital re serves and $5,000 in road reserves. By April 30, 2023, Ocean Pines projects to grow the total number to $7.195 million, including $5.98 million in replacement reserves and $355,000 in road reserves.

“Of course, that’s going to sub ject to change as we come in each month,” Phillips said. In a five-year look forward, Phil lips said the Association projects to have 26.4 percent of full funding for general replacement reserves as of fiscal 2023, and 26 percent by fiscal 2028.All of that, he said, is based on numbers from the recent DMA re serve

In Golf, for example, he said growth happened specifically be cause the OPA addressed deferred maintenance at the Golf course. He also cited efficiencies in ex penses, reallocation of funds, and benchmarking for the overall suc cess, as well as “a constant review by our team” [that] helps me and helps all of us to make decisions, so that we “don’t become a runaway train,” he said.

38 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022 OPA FINANCIALS

Viola, Phillips detail strong OPA finances

General Manager John Viola and Finance Director Steve Phillips teamed up on Aug. 13 during the annual meeting of the Ocean Pines Association member ship to present the annual financial report at the Annual Meeting. In the report, each detailed out how the OPA went from $1.6 million deficits in 2018, to record budget fa vorability in the last three years. In a summary of the audited fi nancial results for fiscal year 2022, Viola said the OPA’s operating fund produced a $1,912,712 excess of rev enue to budget. He said “organic revenue growth” helped produce that number – a re cord in Ocean Pines.

Golf led all amenities with a $336,610 positive variance, followed by a $198,777 positive variance for Aquatics, a $194,547 positive vari ance for combined food and bever age operations, an $80,500 positive variance for Beach Parking and a $37,860 positive variance for the Marinas.Intotal,

Viola also looked at the prior-year results compared to fiscal 2022. Total excess of revenue in fiscal 2021 was $1,445,897, compared to $1,912,712 in fiscal 2022, for a $466,815 posi tive variance, year over year. “That’s big,” Viola said. “I can’t guarantee, down the road, that we’ll constantly have that [favorability]. Obviously, there’s a limitation to the capacity in everything that we have with our amenities in Ocean Pines, but we are favorable so far ... for this year.”Ina breakdown of where the an nual base assessment went in fis cal 2022, Viola said actual results showed $239 went to Police, Fire and EMS and $457 went to all other operating departments. Net ameni ty profits subtracted $173 and new capital added $5. Elsewhere, $226 was transferred to retained earnings, $195 went to general replacement reserves, $25 went to bulkhead reserves and $21 went to new capital reserves, to make up the $996 total. The $996 number was cut by a re cord $100 in the current fiscal year budget, thanks to efficiencies, Viola said.Phillips detailed the operating fund performance over the last six years, from 2017 to 2022. That started with back-to-back deficits in fiscal 2017 and 2018 ($369,539 and $1,247,691), fol lowed by surpluses of $115,795 in fiscal 2019, $481,849 in fiscal 2020, $1,355,634 in fiscal 2021, and $1,912,712 in fiscal 2022. Phillips said deficits totaled about $1.6 million before the turnaround. “You can see, the next four years ... has been certainly a different trend,” he said. “The accumulat ed operating fund balance ends up being $3.1 million, and you can see that in the audit report, which is now online [and] available for any body to access and look at.”; Phillips said operating fund trans fers in 2022 included $650,000 for the assessment reduction, $350,000 for road reserves and $60,000 for MarinaProposedT-docks.transfers include $75,000 for mailbox pedestals, $75,000 for pickleball court repairs and another $350,000 for roads. “We would still have a pretty siz able balance of about $1.5 million after that,” Phillips said.

“And we spent a lot of time sitting in my office talking about a lot of different things,” Donahue continued. “He was a very, very dear friend of mine. Unfortunately, Mr. Chinn is not able to be here, because he passed suddenly.”

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 39LIFESTYLES

“We are so thankful for the incredible amount of school supplies the Ocean Pines community donated to support this event and its mission to prepare local children for the school year and reduce the burden on families with low income,” Cranford said. “Thanks to supporters like those who contributed to this event, GOLD is provid ing school and grade-specific supplies for over 400 local students identified as needing a help ing hand. Together, we’ve helped these students toward equitable education and allowed them to blend in with their peers.”

Jarmon said 169 backpacks were donated, along with scores of loose school supplies.

Donahue said he also made pancakes during a special annual breakfast for Recreation and Parks“Thatstaff.was just on him – it was not part of the Kiwanis. He wanted to do that for all that we had done for him,” she said. “He also made sure that we were in compliance [and] everything was good to go with the health department. He would come in very early in the morning to make sure every thing was ready to go.

The backpacks and supplies will be donat ed to local schools through nonprofit Worcester County GOLD, which collected the items on Saturday.Recreation Program Supervisor Kyle Jar mon organized the Back to School Bash on be half of the Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department.“Theevent went very well, and I thought we had a great turnout,” he said. “For a first-time event, it was nice to see so many people come out, drop off supplies, and just have fun.”

Since 2003, the Sam Wilkinson Volunteer Award has recognized local people who dedicate their time and talents to help others.

and Parks Director Debbie Dona hue said about 150 people attended the event, which included games, water slides and moon bounces for children.

Donahue said Chinn was a dear friend who al ways helped and always listened.

Ralph Chinn posthumously given volunteer award

Donahue said the 2022 award was already slated for Chinn, before his passing last August. “So, we went ahead and decided that, even though he couldn’t be with us, we were still going to give it to him,” she said, adding she would ac cept the award on his behalf and make sure his widow, Wilma, received it. “I loved him dearly,” Donahue said.

“For 25 years, Ralph was a proud, active mem ber of Kiwanis,” Donahue said. “There, he was involved in running the club and served as presi dent … he served [on the] board of directors [and] he found time to be an advisor to many club pres idents over the years.” Donahue said Chinn volunteered during Ki wanis events that coincided with Ocean Pines Community Center events. “You could find him all the time making pan cakes in the kitchen. And if you never had one of Ralph’s pancakes, you missed out,” she said. “He did all of our events – our Breakfast with San ta and our Breakfast with the Easter Bunny. He was also at all the hot dog sales, spaghetti din ners, Concerts in the Park, boardwalk car raffles, and Salvation Army [events].”

“If you needed a volunteer, he was always there,” she said. “No matter what I asked him to do, no matter what it was for – if it was cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the flattop, reading a book to my kids – it really didn’t matter. He was always in here, helping us doing whatever was needed.” She said Chinn volunteered in the food pantry at a local church and helped prepare their holi day meals and aided with bingo events.

ore than 160 backpacks, plus a large amount of school supplies, were col lected during the inaugural Back to School Bash held Saturday, Aug. 27, in Ocean Pines.Recreation

Along with annual school supply donation drives, Worcester County GOLD provides finan cial aid for housing, utilities and food insecuri ty, and items for children and vulnerable adults through its Emergency Financial Assistance Program.Worcester County GOLD’s “VAULT” stores basic items for children (diapers, wipes, cloth ing, and infant items) and vulnerable adults (hygiene bags, food bags, and clothing). Housing assistance is applied to prevent eviction, secure a rental, or for emergency shelter. Utility assis tance is applied to prevent the disconnection of, or reconnect utility services like water, gas, oil, andAdditionalelectricity.programs include summer ac tivities for at-risk youth, Thanksgiving turkey meals, and Helping Hands for the Holidays.

Ralph Chinn was a ubiquitous volunteer in Worcester County for many years, work ing both with the Kiwanis Club of Great er Ocean City-Ocean Pines, and with the Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department.

Worcester County GOLD is currently seek ing businesses and organizations to sponsor the upcoming 25th Anniversary Gala scheduled for Oct. 7 at the Ocean City Fontainebleau Resort. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


Cranford said all requests for help come from trained social workers on the front lines of com munity needs. Worcester County GOLD part ners with the Worcester County offices of Social Services, Board of Education, Health Depart ment, and Maryland Access Point. GOLD also provides immediate aid while the partnering agency works to establish long-term solutions to prevent future emergencies.

On Aug. 13, during the annual meeting of Ocean Pines Association property owners, Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Director Debbie Do nahue posthumously named Chinn as the recipi ent of the 2022 Sam Wilkinson Volunteer Award.

Local students benefit from ‘Back to School Bash’

“That was a lot more than I expected. Be ing a first-time event, it’s hard to have a good gauge on how it’s going to go, so it was nice to have this be the result. There’s going to be a lot of kids getting a lot of good stuff,” he said.

The award also honors the memory of its namesake, 8-year-old Sam Wilkinson, who died in a tragic water accident in Ocean City. Sam played soccer in Ocean Pines and his fa ther, Bob, was a volunteer coach for Ocean Pines Recreation programs. The award was established to recognize a volunteer within the Recreation and Parks Department.

“We’re very happy to have supported such a worthy cause, and we know Worcester County GOLD will put those supplies to good use,” she said. “For our first event, this was very success ful.”Worcester County GOLD Executive Director Nicholas Cranford said the increased cost of ba sic needs, including school supplies, continues to squeeze Worcester County residents. Because of that, annual donation drives are vital to the success of at-risk students in the county.

“Honestly, my mind is blown by the whole thing,” Jarmon continued. “I didn’t expect it to be that big of a turnout. And I can’t wait to see what kind of improvements we can make in the future, to make it even bigger next year.” Donahue said she was grateful to everyone who attended the event, and especially to those who donated supplies.


The 1983 film plays over and over, all day, said Josh, who was wearing a T-shirt with the phrase “I triple dog dare you,” from the movie.

anta Claus was in town Saturday evening, Aug. 27, merrily riding in the front seat of a shiny Ocean Pines fire engine and arriving at the home of Josh Alton. The 17-year-old, diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Ewing Sarcoma last July, after doctors discovered a baseball-sized tumor was crushing his spine, sat in his wheelchair, smiling at the Ocean Pines police cruiser that drove down Sandyhook Road first, followed by the fire engine.

Nobody can resist Santa Claus, and Christmas is Josh’s favorite holiday. He watched the jolly elf step down out of the truck, carrying a stack of neatly wrapped presents, and walk toward him as friends and family gath ered around, clapping and snapping pictures.

Carols played and wreaths and strings of lights were hung on the house, courtesy of Kendall’s Christmas Lights in Ocean City. Inside, there was a nine-foot tree.

Phillips contacted Kendall’s Christmas Lights and made sure freshly baked cookies were at the celebration, as well as gifts for Josh. The Ocean Pines Fire Department quickly agreed to transport Santa, and Pohland said she was happy to be involved.

Bringing a favorite holiday home to an Ocean Pines cancer patient

By SUSAN CANFORA Contributing Writer S

The idea to celebrate Christmas four months early was Mrs. Alton’s.

In the front yard of the Alton home was a giant inflatable snowman.

Santa handed him the gifts, and the two chatted as they posed for pic tures and the crowd – some who walked to the Alton home, others who drove and parked on each side of the street – broke into a chorus of Jingle Bells on a hot August evening.

He was eager to greet his guests, many wearing Santa hats, most dressed in red, including Danielle Pohland, who owns the popular Snowball Stand in Ocean Pines, and who drove the business’ truck to the Alton home, where she handed out free snowballs in a variety of flavors from rainbow to cherry to watermelon.Santaordered polar punch flavor, joking it was appropriate on a warm evening, especially since he was buttoned into a heavy Santa coat.

“Are you Josh? I’ve been looking for you,” Santa, played perfectly by Bill Ettinger, asked and Josh, still beaming, nodded.

“When Melissa called me I said ‘Absolutely,’” Phillips said. “One of the things I love about this community and being involved in so many different events like this, or fund-raisers or gifts for kids or after fires we have had is, this community, without even thinking, just jumps to help. I think a lot of times people want to help but they don’t know how to help. For me, it’s thatJosh Alton and his sister Jayden.

Little ones stood at Santa’s feet, looking up at him wide-eyed, as he prom ised, “I’ll see you at Christmas.”

Doctors have told the family Josh’s cancer can’t be cured, his mother, Tara Alton, wrote on the GoFundMe page, created to raise money to help the family with expenses. But they are determined to enjoy life with Josh, who, at the Aug. 27 festive occasion, told a visitor chemotherapy didn’t work, so clinical trials are next.

“What do we do all day on Christmas Day?” his father, Jason, asked him and Josh said, “We watch A Christmas Story.”

Tears, love and prayer at ‘Christmas in August’ event for 17-year-old Josh Alton

40 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022 LIFESTYLES

She casually told her friend, Melissa Escham, that she’d like to have a small celebration since her son has been sick and burdened by testing and treatments and the family has been traveling to Children’s National Hospi tal and caring for him. Escham talked to Colby Phillips, a Berlin resident and former Ocean Pines Association department head known for going out of her way to help anyone in need, and for, each year, mailing individualized letters from San ta to anyone who asks.

Throwing in Oktoberfest for the adults is a win-win!“Players of all skill levels are welcome to join in the fun, and some of the area's best play ers will be there battling it out on the courts at this year's event,” Aiken added. Registration is $40, and the registration dead line is Sept. 26. The tournament will be held outdoors, and there is no rain date. No refunds or credits will be given if there is a rain-out. Tournament organizers will post the full tour nament schedule, including match start times, two weeks prior to the tournament. Organizers will break out age/skill brackets accordingly about three weeks prior to the tour nament.Toregister online, visit “tournaments” in Pick leball Den at For more information, contact Aiken at pickle“Weprideourselves on a well-run tournament, with the help of tournament director Sara Aiken and Pickleball Den, this year's tournament is sure to be a success,” Donahue said. “Kathy Noble and Darryl helped start this annual event last year and we are so glad they did. They are still there, helping to answer questions with their knowledge from last year. “We want all the participants and their fami lies and friends to enjoy the tournament, and the full experience that Ocean Pines has to offer,” she added.Organizers are also seeking sponsors for the event at three different levels: gold ($1,000), sil ver ($500), and bronze ($250). For information on sponsorships, contact Donahue at ddonahue@

After a successful debut last year, organiz ers are hoping to keep up the momentum – and the fun – with the second annual Oktoberfest Pickleball Tournament, Oct. 14-16 in OceanAlmostPines.250 players took part last year in what was the first pickleball tournament with cash prizes held on the Delmarva Peninsula. The event will also feature food and beer ven dors.“The Oktoberfest Tournament gives mem bers and visitors an opportunity to compete at the coolest, nicest racquet facility on the shore,” Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Director Deb bie Donahue said. “The Ocean Pines facility is growing each year and this tournament is a ter rific opportunity to meet players of all skill levels and from areas as far as North Carolina.” Tournament Director Sara Aiken said the sport of pickleball helps build friendships and community.“Tournaments take these relationships to the next level,” she said. “Cheering for family, friends, and partners – as well as watching the players in action – can be entertaining and riveting.

At Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., he had spinal surgery to release pressure on his spine but hasn’t regained use of his legs.The problem started last summer.

Pine Tones Chorus invites new singers

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 41LIFESTYLES

Josh had been having back pain for weeks. He was working at Baja Amusements near Ocean City and started losing his balance. Worried, he called his mother, who took him to the hospital. Doctors transferred him to Children’s. On Aug. 18 this year, his mother posted on the GoFundMe page that doctors would not continue chemo therapy “as there is nothing more they can do with it.”

strength in organizing and commu nication,” Phillips said. “It got bigger than it was intend ed it to be,” a smiling Mrs. Alton said, as she stood by her son’s wheel chair, watching the crowd spill into the family’s driveway, front yard and onto the street. “This is really fun,” Josh said, telling a guest he felt pretty well that evening, that he had taken a nap and was ready for what he calls “peopling.”Hisfavorite snowball flavors are watermelon with ice cream and sour apple, he said, as his 21-year-old sis ter, Jayden, walked over with a San ta cap for her brother. “We are really close,” Alton said about Jayden who stood behind him, ready to fit the cap over his brown hair.“I haven’t had a haircut. My hair is growing back from losing it during chemotherapy,” he said, running a hand through it, as Jayden pulled the cap on.

“There are things we can try to prolong life (including trials) after these infections clear up and only if he decides … we are planning to live life to the fullest for him and with him. We are heartbroken and crushed, but clinging to the little mustard seed of faith we have that God can heal and is still in the busi ness of performing miracles.

“Either way, we know God is in this 100 percent and that He holds Joshua ever so close,” Mrs. Alton wrote.The community is, too. By the end of August, $19,728 of the $50,000 goal on the GoFundMe page had been raised and the emotional support at Christmas in August was strong.Asmall circle of friends and family gathered around Josh to pray for him and he began to cry. His mother pressed his head against hers and pulled him close. The crowd began to sing “Silent Night,” then Phillips asked everyone to make a circle for group prayer, a plea for serenity during a confusing and dif “There was a lot of emotion. This was about giving Josh and his fam ily a moment to put aside the pain and the hurt of the struggles they are going through. This was about letting Josh feel the love.” ficult“ you, buddy” someone called. “We can do this. We love you.” “I don’t know the Altons,” Phil lips said afterward. “I just met them through this event but we have a lot of close mutual friends. Santa bringing gifts for Josh.

The chorus welcomes potential new members to come and join the singing any Thurs day in September starting the 8th. Both ladies and gentlemen of all parts, soprano, alto, tenor and bass, are invited.

The chorus also sings at various community events such as Arbor Day and Worcester Veterans Memorial ceremonies. For additional information, phone Dave Holloway 1-610-213-7472 or June Todd,Funding443-880-3922forchorus activities comes from patrons as well as the Worcester County Arts Coun cil, Maryland State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. These organizations are dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.

The chorus will be singing a variety of songs, preparing for the Fall and Christmas holiday season.ThePine Tones have been presenting concerts in the Spring and in December for more than 35 years. This year’s Christmas holiday concert will be on Friday evening, Dec. 9, at Atlantic United Methodist Church, in Ocean City.

Oktoberfest pickleball tournament set for Oct. 14-16

On Thursday, September 8, at 1 PM, the Pine Tones Chorus will begin their weekly rehears als, at the Ocean Pines Community Center.

42 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022 Many Satisfied Ocean Pines Customers SERVING DELMARVA 888-ZWEEMER We Accept All Major Credit Cards 10% Off Any Job CallMustSpecialsSpringOurAboutpresentcoupon15%Offfor All First Responders & Active Military Must present coupon • Stone • Millings • Patching • Black Top • Tar & Chip • Seal Coating Residential • Commercial • Licensed andWePOTInsuredHOLES?FillThem! Spring is in the Air • We do More than Just Paving CallSpecialsFallOurAbout Fall Is HereFall is Here - Let’s Not Forget to Maintain Our Driveways Before Winter Comes!

eading a transcript of the day-long hear ing on the Janasek vs. OPA ‘amenity sus pension’ case is not for the faint of heart. While it’s always a risk to predict with certainty how a judge will rule based on a hearing, and the transcript that recorded it in detail, propo nents of the OPA position in the case should not be feeling confident their position will prevail.

And let’s not forget that in the days following the incident Janasek sent her an apology and ad mitted to anger issues. None of this makes the case for an authentic safety concern for the OPA membership.

Much of Bruce Bright’s labors in court focused on the heart of the case: Language in the OPA charter that limits member suspensions of amen ity access rights to non-payment of assessments and active violations of restrictive covenants. He coaxed admissions out of the OPA witnesses that they had not considered this provision in voting to suspend Janasek. Beyond that, though, there is language that expressly says the OPA can’t impose additional restrictions and limitations on members’ ameni ty rights. Neither the OPA attorney nor any OPA witness made any attempt to refute this power ful and relevant restriction on Board authority.


Ponder that for a second or two. Would it not be possible for Janasek, if he so chose, to be three sheets to the wind prior to a visit, let’s say, to the Ocean Pines golf course? The racquet cen ter? The Sports Core pool? The Beach Club pool? He could easily be transported to any of these amenities while under the influence.

Bright will be bringing this point home in a closing brief.~ Tom Stauss

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 43 3 3.5 0

For starters, an out-of-town lawyer hired by the OPA’s insurance company is going up against Bruce Bright, a local attorney whose re cord against the OPA in prior suits is 3-0. He’s already obtained a temporary restraining order lifting the former Board majority’s suspension of Janasek’s right to access OPA restaurant venues, pending the court hearing held Aug. 25. TROs are not routinely issued; there has to be some serious heft in the arguments made on its behalf, and this one was issued more or less on the same day Bright went down to Snow Hill to ask for it, months ago. So, the temptation to raise that unblemished record to 3.5 to 0 is well nigh irresistible.


Reading the Janasek tea leaves

Of course, a layman’s point of view does not override the professional judgment of the police who presumably viewed the same videos and de termined no law had been broken.

Judge Oglesby also asked a couple of ques tions of witnesses that went to the question of whether safety of the OPA membership is a valid reason to suspend Janasek’s amenity rights.

If OPA member safety was truly in jeopardy, why was the suspension only in certain venues but not in others?

Then Judge Oglesby asked, if Janasek posed such a threat to the safety of the OPA member ship, why was he not banned for life?

Former President Colette Horn spent more than three hours on the witness stand. While there’s no evidence in the transcript that she cowered under Bright’s questioning, suffice it to say that Bright made all the points he wanted to make, and he has OPA governing documents on his side, especially the charter. Horn’s argument on her behalf and her co-de fendants essentially is that Janasek’s verbal as sault on former Director Josette Wheatley this past June is a direct assault on the safety of OPA members, and that continuing to allow Janasek unfettered access to OPA restaurant venues where alcohol is served poses an unacceptable risk to the membership. The argument is an uninspired one. Yes, Janasek’s language directed at Wheatley that day was crude and uncalled for. But apparently not so inappropriate and beyond the pale that Horn declined to utter these offensive words in their full, unvarnished glory while on the stand. Not just once, but twice did the awfulness of the f-word and c-word make it into the hearing tran script.Apparently this vile language is inconsistent with the elevated “culture” and sensitivities of those who live in Ocean Pines, but not too deli cate for the confines of the courthouse in Snow Hill.Wheatley’s performance as a witness stands out for its oddity. She described how during the verbal altercation with Janasek his normally blue eyes had turned black, and for this reason, and his towering presence, and perhaps other rea sons, she fears for her physical safety when in Janasek is in her personal space. She’s entitled to that point of view. But is it rational? Maybe, maybe not, but in any event she continues to have a protective or

Another oddity: Wheatley didn’t seem to know that a TRO had been issued allowing Janasek to continue to visit the OPA’s restaurant and bar venues this summer. At one point she said she thought she knew it had been, then she said also said she couldn’t recall. But the issuance of the TRO against enforcement of the ameni ties suspension certainly explains why she might have seen Janasek out and about this summer. Judge Oglesby according to the transcript not ed that the Ocean Pines Police Department de termined that no crime had been committed in the incident, nor was there “probable cause” for a crime. The judge said he respected the fact that one of the OPA witnesses, and also a defendant in the case, Frank Daly, had viewed the videos and thought a crime had been committed.

der in place that precludes Janasek from her im mediate presence. Janasek, by the way, agreed to it, which suggests he has no particular interest in engaging with Wheatley.

Daly’s response: Alcohol is available only at the Yacht Club, Beach Club and Golf Clubhouse.

Here, too, the response was anemic: The Board majority took the advice of Chief of Po lice Leo Ehrisman, who told the directors that any no-trespass order beyond 90 days would be unenforceable. That, apparently, was the chief’s judgment call and not unreasonable. But it’s also beside the point, which is: A 90-day suspension is a relatively short time-out for a purported threat to the health and safety of the membership.

Some random correspondence on justice for Gavin Here’s a small sample of correspondence from readers about last month’s coverage of the Gavin Knupp hit-and-run fatality.Unfortunately, there have been no reportable developments in the case, which isn’t too surprising, especially if forensics are involved. Investigations take time, and investigators investigate multiple cases at the same time. The time lag and absence of any meaningful updates are understandably frustrating for those who want justice for Gavin.

By TOM STAUSS/Publisher

Rota Susan443-880-3953KnottCanfora410-208-8721


The Ocean Pines Progress is a journal of news and commentary published monthly throughout the year. It is circulated in Ocean Pines and Captain’s Cove, Va.

An excursion through the curious by-ways and cul-de-sacs of Worcester County’s most densely populated community


If the forensic report comes back negative, investigators should issue a press release to that effect.

Frank frankbottone@gmail.comBottone410-430-3660

Maybe do a little clean-up to compensate for the initial blunder.


Tom stausstom@gmail.comStauss443-359-7527

44 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022 OPINION

Last month’s defense of DeAngelus was based in part on his voluntary disclosure to investigators that a car that was parked in his garage might have been involved in the hit and run fatality of Gavin. He could have withheld that information but chose not to. Seems like an principled and ethical thing to have done. Had he not disclosed the presence of a vehicle in his garage through his attorney, would investigators have ever have learned of it? Hard to say, but perhaps not. It’s disheartening when a press release issued by the state police seemed to suggest that investigators had discovered the car in West Ocean City. They didn’t discover anything. They were told by DeAngelus’s attorney that the car was there and would be towed to the state police barracks at the convenience of the authorities. Investigators couldn’t or wouldn’t wait: They raided the DeAngelus household instead and left with the vehicle. Presumably a forensic investigation either occurred or is awaiting a report from a lab somewhere.

The Progress “defense” was also intended to stand athwart of massive group-think on social media designed to malign and defame members of the DeAngelus household and a company that he and his partner and associates have spent years in building. The rumors were sickening in scope and malice. Early on there was bogus “reporting” that DeAngelus had been arrested, that he assisted a young man living in his household to abscond to Mexico or parts unknown, or that perhaps DeAngelus could have been driving the vehicle that killed Gavin. Exclusive reporting by the Progress quoted DeAngelus to the effect that no one in his household had left the area; all were working locally as they had been prior to Gavin’s tragic death. And that no one associated with the Matt Ortt Companies had driven the vehicle at issue. That’s what DeAngelus said, perhaps more than his attorney would haveNonepreferred.ofthose assertions have been refuted by any credible source. The volume of spiteful commentary on-line without fact was moblike in its ferocity. Conclusions were reached, hatchets and nooses made ready, calls for boycotts ran amok. Sure, DeAngelus knows more than he’s telling, but that’s based on attorney’s advice. No one at the Progress or on social media has insights into the dynamics within the u


From Ron Kurtz of Ocean Pines: Here is my question [about the Gavin Knupp investigation]: Why is there never any mention of eye-witnesses in the investigation? Who was driving the car Gavin was in? Where is the suspect’s mother? Were there other cars in the road during the time of the accident? Seems like pretty basic stuff, so am I missing something? Thank you. You’re not missing anything. These are all legitimate questions. Many more questions could be asked of investigators and those possibly involved, but the likelihood of any answers anytime soon would depend on what investigators are able to determine and prosecutors present in court, assuming this case even goes to Investigatorscourt.and prosecutors are generally going to keep a tight lid on what they say publicly. When they don’t, sometimes what they say in a press release is not’s misleading, or omitsJusticecontext.takes time. In the absence of hard facts, speculation, gossip and conclusions without real evidence abound.Thatisn’t helpful. It doesn’t bring justice for Gavin any closer to reality.Here’s an opinion from someone who, while not exactly anonymous, didn’t identify himself or herself (or themself) by name. Normally, such anonymity results in and deserves a quick deletion. Exceptions can be made on occasion. From waddy ... I just finished reading your thinly veiled “good ol boy Eastern Shore style defense” of Ralph DeAngelus in the August edition of “OCP Progress.”If,as you imply that DeAngelus is an upright pillar of the community, then why does he stop short of just saying who owns or was driving the car in question that was hidden in his garage? He knows who was driving that car just as you do, yet he is dodging, hiding, and deflecting in order to protect the person who drove that car that night and hid it in a garage that has no recent history of housing cars. Yet, your defense of him is just more of an injustice to the family of GavinWhenKnupp.Imoved here I was told to expect more of the same of an old school network down here (like the embarrassing fiasco that is the OP Board of Directors), so I wasn’t surprised to read your piece on page 41 when the Matt Ort Company took out a full page ad on Page 2 ... hope you sleep well ... The Knupp family has not since July 11. The publication is not the OCP Progress, it’s the Ocean Pines Progress, but let’s not get caught up in picking nits. FYI, that ad on Page 2 was placed by the Ocean Pines Association, not the Matt Ortt Companies. Progress editorial content is not influenced by those who do or don’t place ads. We’re in business, yes, but our editorial content is not for sale. Jumping to conclusions is never a good idea. If your facts are wrong, your conclusions are probably going to be wrong as well. A “good ol boy Eastern Shore style defense” of Ralph Angelus? Let’s unpack that. Ocean Pines is a community of mostly come-heres. Half or so of the homes are owned by non-residents, and many residents are retirees who have found happiness in Ocean Pines away from the urban rat race. Applying the term “Eastern Shore good ol boy” to the average Ocean Pines resident seems off the mark. Even if anyone associated with the Progress was born and raised on the Eastern Shore, why exactly is that a negative? Some native Eastern Shorepersons are known to the Progress and guess what? They’re the salt of the earth. Some come-heres import their snobbier attitudes from wherever they came from. Ocean Pines has been known for its Ocean Whiners for decades. Occasionally it’s deserved. Anyone who has problem with good ole Eastern Shorepersons and networks in general might consider packing up and moving to more compatible environs.

If it comes back positive, that is, if a known individual is linked to the vehicle that killed Gavin, it could form the crux of a prosecution of the person driving the vehicle.

*** With a notable recent excep tion, Ocean Pines social media haven’t joined in the social media hysteria cited in the aforementioned commentary. It was disheartening to see a re cent “post” on the Resident Over sight Community’s Facebook page that implicitly called for a boycott of Matt Ortt Companies restaurants in theWhyarea.else include a graphic of MOC restaurant logos alongside a MOC press release that tried to offer support for DeAngelus after the ini tial social media deluge?

Our system of Justice is based on a presumption of innocence, which seems to have been subsumed by a rush to judgment by those who pre sume “facts” that have not yet been proven, or in this case, even alleged by   investigators and prosecutors.

Opportunities to cut legal expenses

DeAngelus household. Despite wad dy’s assertion to the contrary, the Progress has no knowledge of who was driving the vehicle that night or whether the DeAngelus garage has any recent history of housing vehi cles.Wonder where waddy gets his in formation.Human beings being the flawed creatures that we, there is bound to be speculation on what happened that night, and who might have been responsible. But the inherent danger of speculation is that, for some, that speculation will harden

Frank Daly recently told the Progress that OPA Counsel Jeremy Tucker told him that the charter cannot be easily amended, that powers and priv ileges given to OPA members in the charter can’t be diminished or attenuated by amendment. That would suggest that the OPA is more or less locked into the charter as it’s written, al though of course it’s always possible that Tucker is wrong and the charter can be amended by sim ple majority vote of the Board of Directors, with out concern about possible diminution of rights and privileges afforded OPA members.

Here are a few suggestions: Watch for the decision by Circuit Court Judge Beau Oglesby in the Janasek vs. OPA case and look for ways to avoid unnecessary legal expense in the aftermath. If the judge delivers a decision favoring Janasek’s position that OPA governing documents do not permit and explicitly exclude suspending an OPA members for reasons other than assessment non-payment or active violation of restrictive covenants, accept that outcome and don’t waste money on an appeal.

Patiently explain to the membership that while OPA governing documents do not allow a suspension for reasons other than those two, the Matt Ortt Companies do have procedures and policies that allow for egregious violators of cer tain norms to be escorted off the premises. These policies do call for suspensions under certain, rare circumstances. Moreover, Gener al Manager John Viola has the power under a board resolution to suspend amenity usage as well.That he’s reluctant to use that power is re freshing.Astrict reading of the OPA charter would seem to disallow even those modest powers, but let’s avoid the expense of having a lawyer resolve the apparent contradictions. After the charter explicitly spells out two justifications for suspending amenity usage -non-payment of annual assessments and active violations of restrictive covenants -- Section 9 says that “there shall be no other preferences, limitation or restriction with respect to the rela tive rights of the members.” The charter is like a constitution, supreme among the governing documents in setting pol icy for the OPA.

COMMENTARY Two of the three successful candidates for the Board of Directors this summer ran on a list of agenda items formulated under the banner of the Get Involved Facebook page, an influential social media site founded in 2019 by former OPA Director Esther Diller. Among the objectives that candidates Stu art Lakernick and Monica Rakowski identified were reducing legal expenses and frivolous law suits. They were fully transparent in making the pledge, and they’re both in a solid position to make it happen.

Director Rick Farr essentially said as much in a recent interview with the Progress. He wouldn’t make such a statement if he was not reasonably confident that a majority of directors would join him in that effort. Citing the Janasek-Wheatley incident as an example, Farr said that Wheatley’s concerns are covered by a protective order that precludes Janasek from her presence. Farr says it’s her re sponsibility -- and should be on her dime -- if she wants to extend the protection beyond six months.Rewriting the governing documents to go be yond the protective order is overkill. It’s unnec essary, given that it should be clear to anyone paying attention that Janasek, as unfortunate as his behavior was that day at the tiki bar, is not putting the “safety” of the OPA membership at risk when he visits an amenity. He apologized to Wheatley by the way, admit ted to some anger issues, said he would get some help, and that should have been the end of that.

Perhaps at some point when tem pers have cooled and more facts are revealed by authorities, DeAngelus will come forward and tell more of what he knows. Until then, it’s un derstandable that he would follow legal advice and let the investiga tion proceed, however long that takes, and, yes, it does seem like it’s taking a very long time.

The action by a site administrator to pot stir by posting a screen shot from another site based somewhere other than Worcester County was badWhat’senough.even worse is that a for mer OPA director responded to it by making irrelevant remarks about DeAngelus, invoking a completely unrelated incident at the Yacht Club involving herself. At least one member of the ROC site was not happy, accusing the for mer director of conflating two unre lated matters and expressing a de gree of elation that the director was not elected to the Board of Directors this summer. That pushback was commendable.

OPA involvement in this affair never should have happened.It’sclear from reading a transcript of the Aug. 25 court hearing that the judge in the case is skeptical of the threat-to-safety argument as well. As the judge more or less said, if safety is such as issue why not impose a lifetime ban? Or extend it to amenities besides the Yacht Club, Beach Club, and Golf Club? Quite so. By avoiding a tedious, time-consuming re write of the governing documents, the OPA will avoid unnecessary legal expense and will allow the Board to focus on more pressing issues, such as the proposed replacement of the Southside firehouse.Sure,Directors Horn and Daly won’t be too happy if a Board majority ends efforts to amend the governing documents, but elections and co alitions among directors do matter. And, yes, it really is more fun being part of an effective ma jority. ~ Tom Stauss Life in the Pines From Page 44 into “fact.” The supposed “facts” get repeated and amplified on social me dia, and people are targeted. That isn’t justice.

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 45OPINION

To avoid unnecessary legal expense, however, it’s an issue that can remain unresolved for now. It’s not as if there is great urgency to amend the charter. Language in the charter hardly keeps anyone up at night. The newly reorganized Board of Directors can also avoid unnecessary legal expense by aban doning an effort under way this past year to amend governing documents such as the declara tion of restrictions, by-laws or Board resolutions to expressly give the OPA the right to suspend a member for behavior such as that exhibited by Tom Janasek earlier this year. Former OPA Presi dent Colette Horn is very much in support of this effort to transform the Board into behavior po lice. Director Frank Daly probably agrees With the election of Lakernick and Rakowski, this effort might (and should) grind to a halt.

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September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 47 CAPTAIN’S COVE CURRENTS

Wilder reported only one issue with a proposed post since the new forum has been on line, and in this case the post was edited by the writer and posted by Wilder. Hearn said the CCGYC has multiple means of affording members an op portunity to comment on Cove affairs, including public comments at month ly property management team meetings and Board meetings.

Berger complaint hearing postponed

There’s been no decision yet on when the complaint hearing will be re scheduled.

Birckhead lawsuit: Waiting for a hearing date

Indigo Golf lawsuit ‘on hold’

CCGYC President Tim Hearn announced during the Aug. 29 Board of Di rectorsHearnmeeting.saidthat CCGYC and Indigo Sports attorneys had agreed to an audit of financial activity on behalf of the Cove by Indigo from October of 2021 through March of this year, when CCGYC canceled the operating agreement with Indigo and moved to in-house management of its financial affairs.During those six months, Indigo had not provided monthly statements to CCGYC, the Cove’s property owners association, and Hearn said there were concerns that up to $1 million in Cove funds were unaccounted for or missing.Theaudit, initially to be paid for by CCGYC, is not an indication that the suit necessarily will be settled out of court, Hearn told the Cove Currents. He said the association would attempt to collect costs of the audit as part of the litigation “down the road.”

By TOM STAUSS Publisher Captain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club’s lawsuit against Indigo Golf to recover up to $1 million in unaccounted for funds and to obtain finan cial records from the first six months of fiscal 2021-22 is “on-hold,”

Hearn’s motion to declare Ward’s complaint invalid passed unanimously.

The Cove association is represented by Mathew J. Weinberg of Inman and Strickler of Virginia Beach. Board dismisses complaint about message board Cove association member John Ward isn’t happy with the new member message board on the revamped Cove Website, and he filed a complaint that was considered by the Board during its Aug. 29 meeting. Ward’s complaint contends that content is censored and that the message board does not pro mote unfettered commentary by the membership.

Parties agree to conduct independend audit

Hearn said the Cove is attempting to find an independent auditing firm to conduct the audit but so far has struck out, with many local firms unable to take on work of this nature.


Hearn in response said the forum is free, available, and that policies governing its use was put together by the management team and approved by Cove attorneys.

Lake Ernie Improvement Committee created

A hearing scheduled during the Aug. 29 Board meeting to consider pu nitive action against Cove member Larry Berger for alleged harassing and abusive behavior towards Cove employees was postponed until sometime after an Aug. 31 hearing in Accomack County District Court regarding a protective order against him by Cove Senior General Manager Colby Phil lips.Hearn recommended the continuance and it passed unanimously, but not before Majerus made it clear that any decision by the court on a protective order was not binding on the Cove Board.

The Board of Directors approved the creation of a new Lake Ernie Im provement Committee to work on issues related to a decline in the lake’s water levels. Residents whose properties abut the lake will be invited to join To

CCYGC Director Mark Majerus reported during the Aug. 29 Board meet ing that the Board is “waiting on a hearing date” in the Birckhead et al vs. CCGYC and CCG Note litigation. CCGYC’s response to the suit is posted on the Cove’s Webite, in the legal folder, Majerus said.

What Ward and other critics apparently don’t like is the policy in which General Manager Justin Wilder prescreens posts for misinformation or of fensiveWildercontent.givesthe poster the opportunity to edit content that runs afoul of thatCovepolicy.president Tim Hearn said the forum is free and available to all, and he asked Ward if he could produce any example of a post that had been censored.“No,but it’s more than that,” Ward said, with Hearn suggesting that Ward shouldn’t make “third party accusations” he couldn’t back up. Ward said he wasn’t doing that, and that board should proceed with dis missing his complaint so he could appeal it to Virginia’s HOA ombudsman.

Page 49

“We’re continuing to look and may have to branch out further afield [for bids],” he said.

Under the agreement negotiated by the lawyers, it will now be possible to obtain the requested financial information sooner, Hearn said, acknowl edging that bank statements for the six months at issue have not yet been turned over to the association by PNC, the bank used by Indigo.

It’s more accurately perceived as a way of expediting the case, Hearn said, because the financial information sought by the Cove association would have been at issue during the normal discovery process in the case and likely would have been court-ordered at some point.


Pelino as Cove secretary is responsible for the proper conduct of Board To Page 51

License # 2705001772


team to proceed with awarding Boblits Enterprises the Marina Club roofing contract at a cost not to exceed $400,000.

Lake Ernie From Page 47 Lake Ernie is both aroundwhoresidentsalrecreationpondretentionstormwateraandassetforliveit.

Hearn said the committee is being formed to consider how a successful resolution to the problem would be defined, and what homeowners who live near the lake want. Options include just leaving the situation as is or having the Cove asso ciation do repairs.

All rights reserved. © 2022 Benjamin Franklin Franchising SPE LLC. All Rights Reserved. Each location is individually owned and operated. the group, which will also include property management team and Board members.Hearnduring the Aug. 29 Board meeting said the situation is “complicat ed” and is at least partly caused by a collapsed pipe. There are also issues with a dam structure that is supposed to regulate water levels in the lake.

The Board meets via Zoom periodically between regularly scheduled meetings or makes decisions via email. Called consent agenda items, ac tions taken are announced at the next Board meeting.

Election ‘misinformation’ criticized Hearn and Cove secretary Pat Pelino highlighted examples of what they termed misinformation about the Cove Board election currently under way.

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Hearn said that if residents who live on the lake want remedial action taken, they will need to share in the cost, probably by paying $200 per year into the community’s waterfront reserve, now used for canal dredging ex penses.Majerus said the lake essentially is a stormwater retention pond that residents use for recreation. Ownership by individual homeowners extends out into the lake, he said, and the association has an interest in ensuring that Lake Ernie continues as a stormwater retention pond.

Consent agenda items noted

Hearn disclosed that the contract with Boblits had fallen through and that management would be seeking new bids.

Consent Agenda items noted during the Aug. 29 meeting: A motion to approve Colby Phillips, Dana Massey, and Timothy Hearn as trustees of 401-K plan. Also a motion to authorize the property management

Hearn said issues include wrong information about where filled-in bal lots should be sent and how to properly fill in ballots. “This has never occurred before. It’s not necessary and should be [an] easy [process].” Hearn said.

The Board voted unanimously to create the committee.

50 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022 CAPTAIN’S COVE CURRENTS

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 51

Hearn said there would be a cost to print those envelopes, but that the suggestion was a “reasonable solution” to owners sending their ballots to a wrong address.

“Let’s try it for a year,” Hearn said.There are two open positions on the Board this year and one alter nateSixposition.candidates are competing for the open positions Two sitting directors, Pelino and Mark Majerus, are among those competing.Theyhave an edge, as developer/ declarant CCG Note, is likely to cast its votes for them. Since 2012, can didates preferred by CCG Note have typically won seats on the board. Other candidates include Mi chelle Mathews-Kalinock, Anjali Chatelle, Guy Siebold and Frederick G. Tract GeorgeIII. Finlayson, a former CCGYC director and president, is running for the Board alternate po sition.Elections results will be an nounced at the annual meeting in November. There have been two candidate forums showcasing the candidates, with audio available on the Cove’s Website. ‘Misinformation’

Acknowledging that the mail can be slow with ballots not showing up until a week or more after they’re sent to owners, Pelino says the CCGYC will send out a new ballot to those who say they didn’t receive one.She advised patience, adding that CCGYC members who don’t have a ballot by Sept. 9 should request a re placement.Director Frank Haberek suggest ed that beginning with next year’s election, the Board consider includ ing with election materials a pre-ad dressed return envelope.

From Page 49

CAPTAIN’S COVE CURRENTS elections, and she expressed her unhappiness with communications that mislead property owners and could result in their ballots not be ingOnecounted..way for a ballot to be dis qualified is sending it to the Marina Club rather than UHY in Salisbury, sheIfsaid.aballot is sent to the wrong place rather than to UHY, “you can’t request a new ballot,” she said, mak ing it clear that any such request will be “We’redeclined.notdoing it now, and we haven’t done it before,” she said.


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That suggests that some capital items in tier one may not be funded in Cove2022-23.association president Tim Hearn said that total food and bev erage revenue “from all sources” is projected at $1.252 million, and that continues to exclude banquet reve nue reflecting current policy to keep the Marina Club banquet room open for weekend dining.

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September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 53CAPTAIN’S COVE CURRENTS To Page 55

Hearn said after detailed analysis the property management team de termined that closing the club to the membership in order to accommo date banquets “would not be worth it,” but that only applies during the summer months when the club is busiest, according to Phillips.

That’s based on $1.252 million in gross revenue, $428,471 cost of sales, and net income of $823,707 before payroll costs, promotion, equipment rental, entertainment costs and oth er Theexpenses.draft budget indicates a food and beverage surplus of $156,778.91, or 12.52 percent of total revenue.

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Although there had been some in dication that better food and bever age numbers would lessen the need for a $100 assessment increase, Hearn said the latest drafts contin ues to use the $1,500 number as sessed on 2,944 dues-paying lots in Captain’s Cove. He said that levy would be seven percent higher than the current fis cal year, and is very much a reflec tion of inflationary pressures in the economy.Thedraft budget also continues the policy of charging modest fees for Cove member play of the commu nity golf course.

According to Phillips, Tier One projects include $400,000 for the Marina Club roof, $150,000 for a new Town Center pump room and bathrooms, $150,000 for Starboard Street improvements, $200,000 for new roads in Section 3, $350,000 for building a new mail pavilion, and $120,000 for canal improvements at Blackbeard Road. Some of these projects have been delayed because of difficulties in ob taining bids.

Property management team makes recommendation to raise the dues to $1500

The increase was recommend ed by the property management team, and was not a surprise. It was telegraphed as a recommendation during an Aug. 10 budget review meeting, the third such meeting conducted by Cove management.

Crammed into the hour-long bud get review meeting Aug. 10 was a detailed departmental review, with a focus on food and beverage and golf.Senior General Manager Colby Phillips also unveiled a list of capital improvement projects organized in three tiers, with tier one most like ly to be funded in the 2022-23 bud get. She said that “we have about $1 million to spend on capital projects,” less than the estimated cost of tier one projects that total $1,370,000.

In its current iteration, the bud get shows $4,621,103 in operating expenses, $480,000 in funded depre ciation expense, $465,000 in amorti zations costs, and $166,236 in inter est expense, for total expenditures of $5,756,339.Thedraft budget anticipates net cash flow or operating surplus of $555,867, on total revenue of $6,312,206.Separate from operations is the capital budget, and here important decisions are pending.

Board approves $100 increase in annual assessment

She suggested that it’s possible that the food and beverage team would recommend a change in the banquet policy for the months before and after the summer months, The latest food and beverage numbers reflect a significant change from the second budget meeting in July, when the team had projected a $100,000 loss for food and beverage nextAfteryear.more analysis and massag ing of estimates, the team converted that deficit into a $150,000 surplus, mainly by tweaking revenues, Phil lipsThesaid.initial draft budget was too conservative in projecting revenues, she said, and that after new Food and Beverage Manager Charlie Getz looked closely at the numbers, an adjustment was made.

The objective is to allocate cost of food and beverages to about 40 per cent of revenue, she said when the new numbers were released.

Tier two projects include $10,000 for a Zero-turn mower, $25,000 for Lake Ernie engineering, $20,000

Cove President Tim Hearn said during the Aug. 29 Board meeting that the decision to raise the as sessment $100 was separate from a decision on the proposed 2022-23 CCGYC budget, which will be con sidered at a later Board meeing.


Some of that will come from some higher prices at the Marina Club, reflecting inflation in food costs.

However, at the Aug. 10 budget review meeting, numbers were pre sented that suggests of food and beverages sold might be as low as 34.22 percent of gross revenue.

By TOM STAUSS Publisher The Board of Directors of Cap tain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club formally approved a $100 increase in the base lot as sessment during the Aug. 29 Board meeting. The increase goes into ef fect Oct. 1, the start of the 2022-23 fiscalTheyear.increase raises the assess ment from $1,400 to $1,500. Invoic es for the first half year installment of $750 will be mailed shortly.

54 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022 CAPTAIN’S COVE CURRENTS

By TOM STAUSS Publisher An Accomack County General District Court Judge in an Aug. 31 hearing lifted a protective order that had been in place for several weeks against Captain’s Cove resident Larry Berger as requested by Captain’s Golf Golf and Yacht Club Senior General Manager Colby Phillips.Berger through his attorney Lynwood Lewis had asked the court to reopen the case after the court issued a protective order and extended it twice following an incident at a July 25 property management team meeting, during which Berger was seeking information about Cove association advertisingDissatisfiedexpenditures.withPhillips’s answer, Berger ad vanced on the table where Phillips was seated and, according to two Cove association directors present, grabbed the microphone from her and continued to voice his opinion. The two directors are Mark Majerus and Pat Pelino, who after the Aug. 31 hearing did not back off what they said they saw at the July 35 meeting. Berger and his supporters disputed that ver sion of the incident in court and in later com ments to the Cove Currents. In particular they are contending that Berger didn’t grab the mi crophone from Phillips’s hand but rather from a microphone stand on the table in which Phillips wasPelinoseated.told the Cove Currents that the micro phone was mounted on a stand on the table, and that Phillips had the microphone in her hand when Berger grabbed it from her. Phillips reportedly was given an opportunity to view a video of the incident presented in court during the Aug. 31 hearing and declined to retract or amend her recollection of what had occurred. She later said that both Pelino and Majerus said they saw Berger take the microphone while her hands were on it.

Birckhead also said the judge said “members should not be in the same personal space of Board or management members.” According to Birckhead, the judge said that members should be “encouraged to get involved in association meetings” and recommended that “all Board members and all management staff be present at meetings to be able to provide mem bers with answers to their questions and that Mr. Berger should not have had to wait as long as he did to get an answer to a question.”

The Board statement issued on Sept. 2 said the Cove directors were “discouraged by the Ac comack County District Court’s August 30, 2022, decision to revoke an in-place protective order for Colby Phillips, Senior General Manager, CCGYC, against Laurence Berger. Mr. Berger is a member of the Captain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club com munity.“Ms.

Pelino said LGL stands for Larry Going Last but that she wasn’t in the room when one of Berg er’s witnesses might have referenced it. She said that the acronym might refer to a staff consen sus that Berger should be called on last to ask questions during public forums, adding that she doesn’t recall the term being used in court.

Birckhead also said the judge stated that “Mr. Berger was exercising his right to inquire [about] expenditures and ask questions at meetings. He shared that he thought the protective order was also intended to keep Mr. Berger away from monthly meetings to give the board a reprieve.”

“As a witness, I wasn’t allowed in during much of the hearing,” she said.

Phillips regarded the incident as threatening to her and an invasion of her personal space. She went to court to seek a protective order and ob tained one, with two extensions. Berger did not attend those hearings nor contest the protective order.That order was removed at the Aug. 31 hear ing by Judge Joseph Blair, who said the incident did not meet the legal test for a protective order.

To Page 57 From Page 53

Dispute arise s over whether microphone was ‘grabbed’ out of Phillips’s hand

Phillips and her supporters differ that justice was“Nobodyserved.but me saw the rage and anger in Mr. Berger’s face when he came and towered over me to make his final comment. I know how I felt in that moment and it’s one I do not want to ever feel again. Being the mother of two daughters, it’s up to me to show them to stand up to people who bully. And I will continue to do so,” she said.

The statement said the CCGYC Board “is dis

2022-23Courtbudget lifts protectiveBergerorder

While he acknowledged that Phillips might well have uncomfortable or intimidated by Berger, he ruled that was insufficient to justify the continu ation of the protective order. Teresa Birckhead, in court during parts of the Aug. 31 because she has been subpoenaed to testify on Berger’s behalf and had attended the July team meeting in person, recapped her recol lection of what the judge said in an email to the Cove Currents. “The judge explained that the action did not warrant a protective order. He stated that mem bers have every right to ask questions about their POA expenditures because that is their money. He also suggested that the Cove provide a sepa rate table or podium with a microphone just for the members,” she said.

Tier Three projects include $80,000 in for Town Center playground equipment, $25,000 for Cap tain’s Corridor signage replacement, $125,000 for golf cart barn replacement, $1 million for Town Center building replacement, and $1.2 million for Seaview Street improvements. During the recent management team meeting, Phillips presented data from area homeowner as sociations showing that the assessment in Cap tain’s Cove is still relatively low since it includes access to all the amenities, with the exception of a modest per-round fee to play the Cove golf course.

Majerus in a statement acknowledged that he had not seen the video reviewed in court but that “my memory [of what transpired] stands as previously stated. The judge validated that there was hostility [directed at Colby].” He said a board statement in support of Phil lips would be forthcoming. Pelino told the Cove Currents that she was “absolutely” adhering to her previous statements about what she saw during the meeting of July 25.“I was there, seated at the table. I had the same line of sight that Mark [Majerus] had. Lar ry’s back was to everyone else. We had a different vantage point. We had clear view of table. The microphone was on its base, and Colby had her hands on it [when Berger grabbed it],” she said.

Phillips, under federal, state, and local laws, has the right to a hostile-free work envi ronment. As a private club, CCGYC holds its members and employees to a higher standard of behavior and accountability. As an employer, CCGYC strives to provide a workplace that does not include unwelcome conduct, including ag gressive and inappropriate behavior, public hu miliation, verbal abuse, disparaging comments, whether in person or on social media platforms.”

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 55CAPTAIN’S COVE CURRENTS for a Marina Club replacement pizza oven, and $10,000 for a replacement golf course pump house. Some of these items might make it into the 2022-23 budget because of their relatively modest costs.

According to Birckhead, the judge “told Colby that in her position she has to deal with the pub lic daily and even when the public disagrees with her. He then gave examples of reasons to file a protective order and this situation did not war rant one. He then dismissed the case.”

Birckhead also said the judge suggested that the Board and staff refrain from assigning de rogatory acronyms to community members and that “LGL” was insulting to Mr. Berger.

Birckhead also forwarded to the Cove Currents an email from Chris Berger, Larry Berger’s wife. According to Chris Berger, “the judge closely viewed the videos along with Ms. Phillips and it showed the microphone was never grabbed away from anybody. It was free standing on its own base on the table, no hands on it. Ms. Phillips hand was resting on the table clearly away from theInmicrophone.”heremail, Chris Berger said that “after viewing the video, Ms. Phillips was asked if she wanted to change her testimony or the complaint. She said no. In rendering his decision the judge found the evidence did not support the complaint and ruled accordingly. Justice was served.”

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Hearn said that Board members Pelino, Maje rus, and Haberek will be working with Director of Security and Operations John Costello, along with others, to provide information to members “about new security measures and action items to deter future harassment.”

Second foreclosure auction in four months set for Sept. 23 in Captain’s Cove

There is a possibility that Berger could lose his right to use Cove amenities as a result of the hearing, and it remains to be seen to what extent he will resist that.

To avoid a lien being placed on a property, which normally occurs when an assessment hasn’t been paid within a year, Majerus said property owners need to come forward and attempt to work out a payment plan. General Manager Justin Wilder is the member of the Cove’s management team who handlesMajerusthat.said property owners should be aware that liens on properties “can really hurt some one’s credit score,” and he said he hates to see that happen. If everyone who owns property in Captain’s Cove would stay current with assessments, an nual charges could be 30 percent less than what they are currently, Majerus said. “Non-payment hurts everyone who is current,” he Duringsaid. the Aug. 29 Board of Directors meeting, Cove association President Tim Hearn provided details on the scope of the accounts receivable is sue. heartened that some members have recently be come hostile toward our employees (receptionists, wait and security staff, and various managers).

“As data gets populated into the software, we’re able to track who’s current, who’s late, and whether the delinquent property is a home or un improved lot,” Majerus said.

“If a lot has a house on it, the owner is more likely to pay delinquent assessments,” he said. “It’s more challenging if there’s no home,” but in any event the Cove association will be pursuing bad debt Majerusaccounts.saidthe Cove has $6 million to $8 mil lion in accumulated bad debts on its books, “that we’ve never cleared after 50 years.” Some of that debt is probably noncollectable, but the associa tion has taken some action to collect debts even from former owners.

A factor contributing to the accelerating pace of collections activity including foreclosure sales is new internal software that better tracks pay ment of dues.

The Cove has always tracked delinquent ac counts to some degree, but the new software gives the Cove association greater “insight” into the status of properties, Majerus said.


Majerus said the association would much pre fer if property owners clear their delinquencies, especially within a year after they first appear because it’s easier to work out payment plans. Af ter a year, properties are turned over to attorneys for collections, liens are imposed, and it’s more difficult to work out arrangements, he said.

he Captain’s Cove property owners asso ciation, through its law firm Pender and Coward of Virginia Beach, will be conduct ing a foreclosure auction of delinquent properties in the community on Thursday, Sept. 23, in the Marina Club banquet room beginning at 10 a.m.

By TOM STAUSS Publisher T

The auction, initially scheduled with 21 prop erties for sale, is the second foreclosure scheduled in Captain’s Cove in four months, the previous one held in June. Occasionally properties are re moved from the pending sale when property own ers bring their delinquent accounts up-to-date by paying past due annual assessments and associ atedThefees.quickening pace of foreclosure auctions will continue, Cove Director Mark Majerus told the Cove Currents in a recent interview, with the objective of significantly reducing bad dad ac counts in Captain’s Cove.

The Sept. 23 auction includes mostly unim proved lots but also what appear to be homes, including those assessed at $316,600, $200,700, $204,900 and $195,600.

When conventional efforts fail, the process even tually leads to foreclosure, he said, a process that can take up to three years to complete.

Sometimes there are no bidders for individual properties in a foreclosure auction, in which case the Cove bids to protect its lien interests and eventually obtains title to the property.

Captain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club’s purpose is to enhance the quality of life of its members and community by maintaining communal spaces and upholding its Covenants, Declarations, and By-Laws,” the statement concluded.

Tim Hearn, president of the Cove association, added his comments to the official Board state ment.“The board has been made aware of the judge’s ruling in Accomack County court to not extend the protective order against Larry Berger,” Hearn said. “While we are disappointed that the exten sion was not granted, the prior three protective orders which were issued against Larry Berger acted as a deterrent against additional abuse and harassment from him towards Colby Phillips during the time periods of those Protective Or ders.”Hearn then added what he called a “personal note” to the discussion. “It is very disappointing to learn that commu nity members Kathy Brainerd-McNally and Tere sa Birckhead testified in support of Larry Berger at court. Their testimony influenced the judge in some manner, as his comments which stated that a person in Ms. Phillips’ public-facing position needs to have tougher skin in order to deal with some hostility, was aligned with their comments of support for Mr. Berger,” Hearn said. “Personally, when thinking of Ms. McNally’s and Ms. Birckhead’a behavior, I am reminded of former Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s quote: ‘There’s a special place in hell for wom en who don’t help each other,’ especially when confronted with hostile behavior such as what occurred from Larry Berger towards Colby Phil lips.”

Berger’s attorney, Lynwood Lewis, is a Dis trict 6 state senator representing Accomack and Northampton counties on the Eastern Shore and parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach and Mathews County on the Middle Peninsula of Virginia. Be fore that he was a delegate with a somewhat smaller area of representation. He’s a resident of Accomack County. Lewis could be a formidable presence on behalf of Berger in any complaint hearing should Berger retain his services.

With the protective lifted, Hearn said the Board will be moving ahead with rescheduling a complaint hearing on the July 25 incident against Berger that had been postponed from the Board meeting held on Aug. 29.

There are about 500 owners of unimproved lots and 38 homeowners who owe the associa tion in excess of $1500, Hearn said, and there are about 450 former members of the associa tion who owe approximately $2.8 million “ac crued and reserved” over 40 years.

CCGYC will be introducing policies, procedures, and protocols in the coming weeks to improve the workplace environment and increase the safety of our members and community. “Captain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club is commit ted to creating an environment of encouragement and support within an association of neighbors and employees who work together to promote respect, caring, community, family, and friends.

“We’re getting more aggressive on collecting bad debts,” Majerus said of the Cove association.

By writing off this $2.8 million from the bal ance sheet and reserve, “the net effect” is zero, Hearn said.

“Our attorneys have tried to track down for mer owners,”and a portion of these bad debts can be bundled as salable assets that collection agen cies will buy and then attempt to collect the bad debts, he “Nothingsaid.has happened [on that option yet],” he said, but it has been authorized previously by the Cove association board.

The directors unanimously voted to remove what Hearn called these “stale items” from the balance sheet.

Protective order From Page 53


Senior General Manager Colby Phillips presented the latest iteration of the floor plan for a new Town Center building during the Aug. 22 property management team meeting. Fischer Architects of Salisbury added a walkin cooler/freezer on the left side of the building just below the outdoor picnic area, accessible by road for eas ier resupply. The rest of the floor plan is the same as in previous versions.

• New signs are needed along Captain’s Corridor and the Town Center Grille, as well as other ame nities and some that currently have no signage at all. Hearn said that tier one, two and three capital projects total more than $3 million, while the Cove col lects about $1 million annually in funded depreciation and in 2022-23 is projecting a $550,000 operating surplus, which means that it will To Page 61

Town Center floor plan

• A continuing failure of a con nector ditch between Chincoteague Bay and Bass Canal on Blackbeard Dive is creating soft spots in the ground and could lead to the cre ation of sinkholes, Phillips said. A new canal flushing pipe is proposed as a tier one project, Phillips said, at an estimated cost $120,000.

• Completion of a new road in Section 3, Mutiny Drive, is un der review, with Director of Roads and Maintenance Jimmy Giddings working with Vista Engineering to determine wetlands issues. The ob jective would be to pave the entire length of Mutiny Drive.


• The Marina Club Mailbox pa vilion and dumpster pad project has received bids, with the management team waiting on two more.

The solution may be to hire a project manager from Salisbury or Virginia Beach to work on individ ual projects or a series of projects, Hearn said. General contractors Project manager option may help with contractor reluctance to travel to Captain’s Cove will have subcontractors with whom they routinely work, which should expand the talent pool, he said. Senior General Manager Colby Phillips reviewed three tiers of pro posed capital projects during the Aug. 22 property management team meeting, following up on a list and cost estimates unveiled during the third budget review meeting earlier in August.Phillips said that most of the projects included “place holder cost estimates” rather than hard bids. She announced that the task force working on a floor plan for the new Town Center building has tweaked the floor plan. She presented it in a graphic during the meeting. The addition of a walk-in cooler/freezer accessible from outside appears to be the only change from previous versions of the floor plan. She also announced that:


PicnicOutsideArea Screened Porch Dining Area CommunityReceptionRoom Bait/tackle Walk-inCooler/Freezer OvenPizza Prep/kitchen Men’sRR MechanicalRoom Beer/WineGrille/BaristaWomen’s RR SimulatorGolfRoomOrStorageMovablePartition

Winning bid for Marina Club roof not under contract, Hearn says

By TOM STAUSS Publisher lthough the Board of Direc tors finds a $400,000 bid to replace the Marina Club roof is acceptable, the contractor who submitted the bids has not signed the contract to begin the work, and the contract has fallen through, Cap tain’s Cove President Tim Hearn an nounced during the Aug. 29 Board of DirectorsApparentlymeeting.the distance need ed to travel to Captain’s Cove to do work is a deterrent, Hearn said. This is not only project in which the Cove has had difficulty in at tracting competing bids, Hearn said.

Evidence of deteroriated roof conditions in the Marina Club, especially in the area of the indoor pool.

• The $25,000 in proposed engi neering costs for Lake Ernie would be earmarked to design a new out fall pipe to replace the one that’s failed and most likely causing water levels in the scenic lake to recede.

• The existing pump house on the golf course is starting to dry rot and needs a new outer shell. The pump house houses electrical pumps for course irrigation.


Well aware that local social media is where some residents go to vent and raise issues, Senior General Manager Colby Phillips said if Cove residents want answers to their questions and solutions to issue, they should reach out to management team leaders.

He said the Cove balance sheet currently indicates about $700,000 in reserve account funds, about three times what the latest reserve study in dicates should be funded in the current fiscal year.

Management team meeting

Some of these items might make it into the 2022-23 budget because of their relatively modest costs.

Earlier, ballots were sent out using a bulk mail rate, but 180 of those bal lots were returned because the addresses did not coincide with the official address in the U.S. postal system, Wilder said.

Tier Three projects include $80,000 for new Town Center playground equipment, $25,000 for Captain’s Corridor signage replacement, $125,000 for golf cart barn replacement, $1 million for Town Center building replace ment, and $1.2 million for Seaview Street improvements.

Management team requests direct contact

But if property owners don’t receive ballots because of continuing deliv ery problems, they should contact him and a new ballot will be sent out, Wilder“Justsaid.bepatient, especially for those who live out of the area,” he said. It might take the post office up to a week to deliver out of town ballots, he said.

Wilder said that as long as ballots are postmarked no later than Oct. 28, they will be counted in this year’s election results.

CAPTAIN’S COVE CURRENTS take three or four years for all the projects on the list to be funded.

According to Phillips, Tier One projects include $400,000 for the Mari na Club roof, $150,000 for a new Town Center pump room and bathrooms, $150,000 for Starboard Street improvements, $200,000 for new roads in Section 3, $350,000 for building a new mail pavilion, and $120,000 for canal improvements at Blackbeard Road.

After complaints that some property owners did not receive ballots in this summer’s Board of Directors election, General Manager Justin Wilder announced during the Aug. 22 property management team meeting that 180 ballots would be sent out using first class mail.

Phillips itemizes area POAs annual charges

Some of these projects have been delayed because of difficulties in ob taining bids.

September 2022 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 61

The solution will be to resend them first class, he added, which should guarantee a better delivery rate.

In the case of the Marina Club roof, even obtaining bids does not guaran tee the work will be done in the immediate future.

Noting that some team leaders don’t monitor social media, she said the best way to raise issues is by contacting her personally or other team lead ers, depending on the issue.

Acknowledging that it’s looking increasing likely that the annual assess ments or dues will be raised $100 of seven percent in 2022-23, Phillips during the Aug. 22 property management team meeting presented data on what other property owner association charge their members in annual as sessments.Incontrast to Captain’s Cove charging $1,500 to include all amenities and reduced golf rates, the Ocean Pines Association charges $896 with amenities ala carte, including $630 for an annual family pool membership, $1600 for individual and $2500 for family golf, and $420 for individual and

Returned ballots to be resent

Tier two projects include $10,000 for a Zero-turn mower, $25,000 for Lake Ernie engineering, $20,000 for a Marina Club replacement pizza oven, and $10,000 for a replacement golf course pump house.

From Page 59 To Page 63

Senior General Manager Colby Phillips gave a shout-out to team efforts to coordinate the recent STEM crab feast.

Management team meeting

$655 for family memberships in golf and tennis.

Revenue from renter guests very healthy

• Director of Roads and Maintenance Jimmy Giddings reports that fall dredging will await the end of the summer fishing season, as boat ers coming in and out of canals would interfere with the dredging boat. “We’ll start up in October,” he said. Previously, he had indicated that there should be no issues with the dredging boat this season.•Itwas confirmed that there’s no money in the draft 2022-23 for Seaview Street improve ments and that the capital reserve fund doesn’t include enough funds to pay for it currently.

nounced during the Aug. 22 meeting. That compares to $2,205 to $3,890 depending on the boat size in Ocean Pines, $1,218 plus $8 for ramp usage at Somers Cove Marina, and $350 per month with a three-month minimum in Cape Charles, Va.

Left to right: Colby Phillips Julia Knopf

Seaview Street improvements have a place-holder estimate of $1.2 million, and is a Tier Three project. Cove association President Tim Hearn said the association collects about $1 million annu ally in funded depreciation and operating sur pluses, and these show up on the balance sheet as a reserve fund balance. Hearn said that it will take three or four years to pay for identified Tier One, Two and Three projects. [See separate article in this edi tion of the Cove Currents for details on identi fied capital projects.]

Committee chair awaits new updates from Internet companies

Hearn said there were two or three Cove residents who have been incessant critics of Cove management, and that “we’ve gotten to a level that we haven’t seen before” in Captain’s Cove, in several cases resulting in personnel obtaining protective orders against critics.

Bay Creek in Cape Charles has an $1,668 annual charge including pools, with a $10,000 buy-in for a golf membership plus $125 a month. Phillips also presented a chart showing that 2022 inflation rate is 7.9 percent so far, one of the factors cited in the need for a dues increase in 2022-23.

There’s been no confirmation that either company competing for business in Captain’s Cove submitted progress reports in August

As of Sept. 1, no status reports were forth coming.Alsoduring the members forum segment of the Aug. 22 property management team meet ing:•

Phillips details proposed boat slip rates

Phillips presented data for pool usage at the Cove pools this summer through Aug. 15 that shows that renter guest revenues, from homes that are rented out short-term, exceeded that of member guests by a significant amount.Short-term rentals are those brokered through Airbnb and similar com panies.Forthe year through Aug. 15, short-term renter guest income was $34,440, compared to $14,530 in member guest income, according to Phil lips.

uring the Member Forum portion of the Aug. 22 property management team meeting, Digital Technology Committee Chair Dawn Wagner said that as of that day, there was nothing new to report on the status of improvements needed to bring high speed Internet to Captain’s Cove. Two companies, Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority and Charter/Spectrum, are competing for business in Captain’s Cove, with ESVBA generally thought to be ahead in laying fiber optic cable in the community and ahead of the competition in gaining customers. ESVBA laid cable along Captain’s Corridor from the front entrance to the back entrance last year and has signed up customers as a re sult.Wagner said that both companies had prom ised to provide monthly updates to her on their progress in Captain’s Cove, and that she is awaiting reports from both companies and is hoping to have them by the end of the month.

• Senior General Manager Colby Phillips in response to a question said that a working group recommended that the mail pavilion lo cated near the Town Center pool on Captain’s Corridor be relocated to a site at the Marina Club parking lot because of its central location. not far from the current location. Another factor is convenience for mail car riers, she said, so they can deliver mail to two locations rather than three. But in the future, as Captain’s Cove con tinues to build out, both Phillips and Hearn said that the old campground, now called Cove Commons, would eventually be used as a third mail pavilion site in Captain’s Cove.


The Board also is expected to announce some beefed up security at the front reception area in the Marina Club, where Phillips has her office, in coming weeks.

“Julia (Knopf, the Cove’s director of market ing) did the crabs,” Phillips said, and Knopf reported when asked to comment by Phillips that so far $3,000 had been raised through the silent auction with another couple of hundred dollars possible once final calculations are in.

“A lot of the comments are (equivalent} to graffiti in a restroom,” Hearn said “and our em ployees have a legal right not to be targeted” by theIncritics.response to another question, Phillips said that Cove security personnel often are the first responders to medical emergencies in the community, having been training in basic emergency medical procedures, of life-saving importance pending the arrival of local ambu lance crews.

• In response to a comment from a resident that those who post messages on local social media need to learn to be more polite, avoiding negative comments about Cove management, Phillips said she agrees. It’s also been a concern of late to members of the Board of Directors, who recently enacted a new pre-screening policy for the posting com ments on the Cove Website’s member forum.

62 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022 CAPTAIN’S COVE CURRENTS

Glenn Riddle charges a $3,000 annual assessment that includes pool us age, with families paying $4,400 and individuals paying $3,300 for golf.

The current rate of $420 for a boat slip rental in Captain’s Cove would be increased $80 to $500 under the buidget draft under review, Phillips an

From Page 61

Section/Lot: 1-0855, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A10100085500 Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 7-0196, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A60100019600 Assessed Value: $204,900.00

Section/Lot: 1-1252, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A10100125200 Assessed Value: $5,000.00

TERMS: Minimum Bids will be announced prior to the start of the auction on the date of sale. Announcements made at auction time take precedence over any print, electronic, or verbal information, including but not limited to the Minimum Bid. Successful bidder will be required to deposit with Trustee a deposit (non-refundable) in an amount equal to the lesser of $5,000 or 10% of successful bid in cash or certified funds at time of sale, with the closing to occur within thirty days of the date of said sale. Written one-price bids will be accepted for any of the properties pursuant to the terms set forth in Va. Code § 55.1-1833. There is no warranty relating to right, title, interest, or the like in this disposition. Property is being sold pursuant to Va. Code § 55.1-1833, and title will be conveyed pursuant to statute and subject to all liens or encumbrances as provided in said statute. All information for review by appointment only. Notwithstanding the Minimum Bids announced at the time of sale, the Trustee reserves the right to accept and/or reject all offers. Time is of the essence. Other conditions may be announced at the TRUSTEE:sale.

September 23, 2022, 10 A.M.


Section/Lot: 2-0186, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A20100018600 Assessed Value: $10,000.00

Section/Lot: 2-0278, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A20100027800 Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 2-0327, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A20100032700

Section/Lot: 1-0467, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A10100046700 Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1284, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A30100128400 Assessed Value: $72,000.00

The following properties will be auctioned:


Assessed Value: $10,000.00

Section/Lot: 2-0337, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A20100033700 Assessed Value: $10,000.00

Section/Lot: 9-0166, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A50400016600

Section/Lot: 3-1440, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A30100144000 Assessed Value: $316,600.00

Section/Lot: 1-0849, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A10100084900 Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 1-0848, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A10100084800 Assessed Value: $600.00

Section/Lot: 1-0847, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A10100084700 Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 2-0298, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A20100029800 Assessed Value: $10,000.00

Section/Lot: 2-0399, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A20100039900 Assessed Value: $10,000.00

Assessed Value: $195,600.00

Assessed Value: $10,000.00

Section/Lot: 2-0443, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A20100044300 Assessed Value: $10,000.00

To be held at the Marina Club in Captain’s Cove Subdivision 3323 Dock Ct., Greenbackville, VA 23356

Section/Lot: 7-0193, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A60100019300 Assessed Value: $200,700.00

Section/Lot: 2-0278, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A20100027900 Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 2-0336, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A20100033600

Section/Lot: 1-0853, Captain’s Cove Tax Map No. 005A10100085300 Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Pender & Coward, P.C., 222 Central Park Ave., Virginia Beach, VA Phone: (757) 490-6261 Email:

64 Ocean Pines PROGRESS September 2022

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