Home Owners Associations are known for often having petty squabbles that are ultimately meaningless but somehow blow up out of proportion and get taken far too seriously.
In some cases, they involve not just several page long complaint letters, but even threats of violence and members fearing for their lives.
Gilbert, Arizona’s Home Owners Association is now threatening legal action against social media posts that criticize them, hoping to scare them with fines out of publishing such posts and making critical remarks against them.
After a recent election, the board proposed a social media policy restricting opinions about the board on Facebook.
Due to strong opposition from the community, the proposed policy was quickly tabled.
As ABC 15 reports, Ashley Nardecchia, a member of the Val Vista Lakes community and admin of their private community’s Facebook page since 2019, received a letter from a law office representing the board asking her to remove “any content that frames certain members of the board in a negative light,” or whatever they deem to be “disparaging, speculative or defaming to board members,” citing past incidents where posts accused board members of “altering or manipulating votes in annual elections and that board members purposefully retaliated against members in the association.”
Of the disputed content, there were “disagreements about how certain members of the board run the board, where they’re spending our money, things of that nature,” said Nardecchia.
“They are asking me to basically censor the speech of the 650 members that belong to that page.”
Nardecchia is being threatened with $250 daily fines in addition to having her access to community amenities revoked if she doesn’t agree to censor this content.
At least eleven residents have received similar letters from the law firm, paid for by Home Owners Association fees.
Another ten year resident of the community and former board member Keith Faber was among the recipients of these letters.
“Clearly it’s an overreach by the board,” he said. “The board has no right to restrict free speech on a private Facebook page. It’s improper and they need to address, and maybe there should be some resignations.