Contact 13 Investigates
Homeowner threatened after HOA Hall of Shame report
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- In the story you're about to read, you'd think we're writing about countries on the verge of war. But the factions in this case all live in the same community.
It's a homeowner association, not a battlefield, but as Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears reports, the play for power has taken a threatening turn.
"Never thought in a million years I would ever be here talking to Channel 13 about our house," says Jennifer Grill incredulously.
She and her boyfriend, Steve Adams, relocated to the northwest valley neighborhood of Appaloosa Canyon from California earlier this year.
And right away, they say the HOA put a target on their backs.
"We got our first letter from the HOA about two days after we purchased the house," Steve says.
What started out as a series of notices of violation for -- among other things -- the particular shade of white that Steve and Jen chose to paint their garage door and their front door has escalated into threats of violence.
In fact, it's gotten to the point where they've had to install security cameras at their own front door.
It all follows a Contact 13 HOA Hall of Shame report in May on Appaloosa Canyon.
For that story, we went to question HOA President Patti Deschaine about all the violation letters Steve and Jen were getting.
Patti: He got one letter!
Darcy: Actually I have five.
Patti: No! He's a liar!
Darcy: I have copies of them in the car.
Patti: You know what? He's a f*&^%n' liar!
And she didn't stop there.
"This is terrible! He's a terrible man and I hope he rots in hell!"
"I'm a Christian person and when I hear somebody say that somebody should rot in hell with a specific name to it, I am very offended and they should not be on the board," said homeowner Dennis Bleifuss.
He and 41 other neighbors have signed a recall petition to remove Patti and her husband, Roger -- who's the HOA vice president -- from the board. It came up in their June 19 meeting, which Jennifer recorded on her iPhone.
In the meeting, Steve said, "The day after the news aired, I had about 12 people show up to my house that said they'd been afraid to confront this board...
Patti: Oh, stop it.
Steve: I'm not lying to you. That's why people signed the petition. People didn't sign the petition because I forced it down their throats, guys. People signed the petition because they came to us.
Former board member Janet Kaufman is one of them.
"It would be nice not to persecute these people for moving into a community and standing up for themselves."
She says she never could have expected what happened to Steve and Jennifer.
"They walked into a hornet's nest."
Steve, who is now a board member himself, got two, anonymous, typewritten letters in the mail. They've got no return address and are filled with expletives and threats.
The first one says "go back where you came from," "look out your backyard often and make sure your doors are locked."
Darcy: What did you think when you opened up this letter threatening harm to you and your family?
Steve: After I received the letter I was a little shocked that that's how low they stooped to try to go after somebody.
He filed a police report. In it, the officer notes that the letter was "poorly typed, and it appears as if the author was drunk or under the influence of something."
Steve has since reported a second letter to police which says "get off the board. Take your f*&^%$# mouth and get the hell out of our nice subdivision... You and yours are the things we hate and will make your life here a living hell."
Darcy Spears called the Deschaines to ask if they knew anything about the threats.
"You guys have no idea who sent those threats? You don't care who sent those threats? What do you think about the fact that they were sent? I'd be happy to show them to you if you'd like a chance to review them. You don't want to see them? What about the recall petition? What do you guys have to say about it? I just really want to get your side. I'd like to schedule an interview where we can come and sit down and talk and..."
Roger Deschaine cut Spears off saying neither he nor his wife had anything to say.
Steve brought the letters up in the June 19 board meeting.
"Since this has happened I've received death threats from a person that I know you guys know who it is," he said to the Deschaines in the meeting.
He vowed to work with police to find out who sent the threats.
Then Patti made a promise of her own.
"And just to let everybody know, Roger and I have no intention to run again," she told meeting attendees.
Steve has a message for whoever is sending him threats.
"Instead of sending threatening letters, why don't you do something for the community? Why don't you run for the board and try to make changes instead of coming after people that are trying to make the changes?"
Police have advised Steve and Jennifer to get restraining orders against both Deschaines and the person who sent the letters. Problem is, that person didn't sign their name to their threats.
As for the recall, the management company will be sending out a ballot and if enough people vote, Patti and Roger Deschaine could be out of office by the end of August.
Steve is also working with the management company to finalize a complaint about the Deschaines that will be filed with the Real Estate Division Ombudsman's office.
If you have a complaint against an HOA that you think belongs in our Hall of Shame, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.