Contact 13 Investigates
HOA Hall of shame president facing state charges
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- When the man we dubbed president of Contact 13's HOA Hall of Shame stuck his tongue out at Darcy Spears, we were all surprised. But we never could have imagined what would come next.
Now, Joe Bitsky is accused of using his HOA as his personal piggy bank. And even we couldn't believe what the state uncovered.
Joe Bitsky: Get off the property now. Get off the property!
Darcy: Will you talk to us, Joe?
Joe: Get off the property! No!
Darcy: You won't talk to us?
Joe: No! No! Get off the property! Shut off the camera!
It seems clear Joe Bitsky doesn't want to talk about what's in the Complaint for Disciplinary Action filed against him and his wife by the Nevada Real Estate Division.
Two years ago, Joe Salvatore, Cathy Aja and two other homeowners in the Autumn Chase HOA in North Las Vegas filed a complaint with the Nevada Real Estate Division accusing their board of multiple violations of state law.
"Nobody can do anything without his approval. And if he doesn't like you? Forget it!" said Amie-Jo Dinsio in November, 2010. She's one of the four homeowners who filed the complaint.
Now, the state has formally accused Joe Bitsky and his wife, Barbara, of "failing to act in the best interests of the association for reasons of self-interest, gain and revenge." Bitsky himself is accused of "incompetence and intentional wrongdoing." And both are charged with "willful and intentional misuse of association money."
"Joe, when you read this, what did you think?" Darcy Spears asked homeowner Joe Salvatore.
"Oh my God! I just couldn't believe the charges -- the things that were charged on the credit card," he answered.
State records show Bitsky got a credit card in the association's name back in 2003. Based on the homeowners' complaint, the state examined records from December 2006-2010 and found in that period the Bitskys "used the association's credit card approximately 137 times to enrich themselves."
"I was just floored when I saw Friendfinder.com. I was like, you've got to be kidding me!" Salvatore said, laughing.
State records show three payments to Friendfinder.com: an online adult forum for meeting people, finding love, and porn.
"We were just flabbergasted," said homeowner Cathy Aja.
The state found lots of charges to Talenthunter.com and another social network called Thenamesdatabase.com.
There were also several payments for the "As Seen on TV: Hercules Hook."
And the ABS diet online: for those six-pack abs and a lean, sexy body, as well as a 30-day supply of Instaflex supplements.
And it doesn't stop there.
"They went to an amusement park in Arizona on our dime," notes Aja.
They also rented a car in Austin, Texas and took a vacation at the Hotel Huntington Beach.
"Using our money to pay for their lifestyle," Salvatore says, shaking his head.
It looks like they treated their cars a lot better than their homeowners. The state found dozens of expenses for gas, car washes, auto parts... even a Shamwow.
The state also confirms something residents have long-suspected -- the Bitskys were dipping into HOA funds to pay their personal utility bills from cable to gas to power.
"All of it makes me angry," says Aja.
In 2007, the state found the Bitskys using HOA money to pay taxes on property they owned in Yuma, Arizona.
They bought stuff in online auctions, paid for Netflix and made multiple trips to Walmart and Food4Less.
As for the multiple security cameras mounted along the front of the Bitskys' home, that's something else the state says the Bitskys had no right to spend homeowners' money on. It's something we brought up in our first report and something Joe Bitsky tried to defend.
"It's not mine," Bitsky said in November, 2010. "It belongs to the association, thank you."
"But it's mounted on your personal, private house," Darcy Spears pointed out.
He pauses, frowns, then asks, "Is there a law against it?"
Yes, Joe, the state says there is.
Other expenses the state questions are Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Cugino's Deli.
The state says the Bitskys even used HOA money to try their luck with Publishers Clearinghouse.
Adding insult to injury, Joe Salvatore points out that, "There's at least five late fees, with interest!"
The total amount the state attributes to the Bitskys' "willful and intentional misuse of the association's credit card" is $8,665.59. They're also accused of using funds from the HOA's operating account for their own personal use, bringing the total to nearly $10,400.
Darcy : Why does your association have no money, Joe?
Joe Salvatore: The Bitskys are spending it all. Plain and simple.
Hellen Murphy, the third board member named in the state's complaint, isn't charged with misusing homeowners' money, but is accused of other violations, including "supplying false and misleading information to the state" and "concealing facts and documents."
We paid her a visit too, but she didn't answer and didn't return calls.
Contact 13 obtained a copy of the Autumn Chase board's answer to the state's complaint, which the state rejected because it was submitted past the deadline.
It's nearly 200 pages and gives some insight into what the board's defense will be at the Real Estate Commission hearing next week.
Bitsky claims he used Friendfinder.com and the other social networking sites to find homeowners who'd abandoned their houses.
He claims they reimbursed many of the other expenses, but the state says there are no financial records to back up his claims.
Because of the mess the state says the Autumn Chase board has made, homeowners are truly left holding the bag.
Their monthly dues are likely to at least double and they say they'll have to hire a property management company to sort everything out.
The hearing scheduled for Aug. 14 could result in fines and the board members being removed from their positions.