By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Here’s a status update on Walker Lake Association, the Shohola, Pennsylvania, community that has been attempting to charge lake access fees to nearby residents who are not members of the lake association.
Owners of property in Maple Park have deeded access rights to Walker Lake, and the Walker Lake Landowners Association (WLLA) believes it has the right to charge property owners with lake rights $325 per year.
In a previous legal case, a judge ruled that Maple Park property owners are not obligated to pay such fees, because the WLLA has no legal authority to collect them.
When homeowner Alan Sherer did not pay $325 to WLLA, someone apparently summoned a PA State Police officer to eject him from the beach at Walker Lake. Sherer reportedly showed his property deed to the Officer, who then left him to enjoy the beach.
For more details, and the back story, see a below for a reprint of an IAC post from January 19, 2018.
Walker Lake trying to squeeze neighbors
Long history of battles
Wed, 09/19/2018 – 1:47pm
FRITZ MAYER, The River Reporter
SHOHOLA, PA — Allen Sherer lives in one of about 60 homes in Maple Park. All of those homes have deeded rights to use a beach on Walker Lake. In 2013, the Walker Lakeshores Landowners Association (WLLA), which is a homeowners association for Walker Lake, acquired the beach by accepting it as a donation from the man who formerly owned it. In exchange, WLLA agreed to cancel a court judgment declaring that the owner, Charles Swezy, owed WLLA some $5,000. Walker Lake is adjacent to Maple Park.
The WLLA board apparently believes their ownership of the beach trumps the deeded rights to the beach and lake, and they believe they may therefore charge Maple Park residents $325 a year to use the beach, even though a judge has ruled in a separate case that WLLA has no authority to do so.
On August 12, Sherer was enjoying the beach when Pennsylvania State Police officer appeared and told Sherer he was not allowed to be on the beach and asked to see his driver’s license. According to Sherer’s account, he refused to hand the officer his license because he was not driving a car. Sherer had his deed with him, and he told the officer this was a civil matter, if WLLA wanted to keep him from using the beach. The state police officer left the beach and did not return.
HOA, condo, co-op corruption, theft, & fraud roundup (Jan. 2018)
January 19, 2018
MONEY MISSING FROM WALKER LAKE ACCOUNT
Wed, 01/03/2018 – 1:13pm
SHOHOLA, PA — Amelia and William Pearn received a bill that says they owe the Walker Lakeshores Landowners Association (WLLA) $325 for a “Lake Assessment” and $50 as a “Membership Fee” for 2018. But that is a direct contradiction to a decision made by Judge Joseph Kameen in the Court of Common Pleas, saying that the Pearn’s home is not located in the Walker Lake community and is not part of the WLLA, and therefore is not subject to any assessment or fee except a $10-a-year maintenance fee.
The ruling, which came last year, was part of a seven-year legal battle the Pearns waged against WLLA, which cost the couple thousands of dollars. In the fall of 2017, a lawyer for WLLA moved to withdraw the association’s appeal of the decision, and the judge accepted the withdrawal. That meant that his previous ruling stands—and that should have been the end of the matter. Amelia, who keeps a detailed website about the issue at http://www.shoholapa.com, declared victory. Then the bill came.
Amelia lives in a neighborhood called Maple Park, and is not the only homeowner there who has been wrongly billed for assessments and fees as being part of the neighborhood next door. But it appears there are bigger problems facing the WLLA and its board.
A treasurer’s report dated November 18, 2017, after an audit of WLLA’s books by the accounting firm Zavada and Associates, which is posted in Amelia’s website, says, “…it appears that there has [sic] been numerous unauthorized cash withdrawals from the WLLA checking account totaling at least $22,000 in 2016, over $21,000 in 2015 and over $44,000 in 2014 for total of at least $87,000 for the years 2014 through 2016.
MORE THAN 100K MISSING FROM WALKER LAKESHORES ASSOCIATION ACCOUNTS
By Bill Cameron (Pocono Record)
Jan. 07, 2018. Posted at 1:00 PM
A financial audit has brought to light more than $123,000 of homeowner funds missing from a private community in Shohola. The findings have prompted State Police to dig deeper into the dealings of Walker Lakeshores Landowners Association.
“We are investigating the possibility of misappropriated funds,” said Corporal Shawn Smith of State Police Blooming Grove. “We’re working with attorney Thomas Farley, who is the solicitor, and the District Attorney’s Office.
“It’s a preliminary investigation at this time. We just received some paperwork from attorney Farley, and we’re reviewing that now.”
HOAs can and do spread their dysfunction and abuse to their non-HOA neighbors. The bizarre story of Maple Park homeowners, Amelia and William Pearn – well documented at shoholapa.com – is a textbook example.
After a 7 year legal battle, a Judge finally ruled that the Pearn’s home is not in Walker Lakeshores Landowners Association (WLLA), and that the Association can only bill Maple Park residents $10 per year for easement access to the lake they never use. But WLLA keeps sending bills for $375 to the Pearns every year.
Incredibly, WLLA has sued more than 100 property owners over the past several years in an attempt to force them to pay lake maintenance assessments.
In the meantime, following the death of the lake association’s long-time President-Treasurer, a new Treasurer has been appointed. WLLA’s books have just been audited, and now the association is under investigation for “numerous unauthorized cash withdrawals” exceeding $123,000.