Richard Doyle, EMHA President

Richard Doyle, EMHA President.

Richard Doyle, El Mirador Homeowners Association (EMHA) President, has been accused of poor leadership, deception and bad faith. He has been President of El Mirador Homeowners Association, Inc. for a long time. How long is hard to say, as the current Board of Directors have all served in differing positions for many years, merely trading titles. New Mexico state law only requires that homeowner associations provide certain information going back five years, and EMHA often does not comply with state law regarding information requests. To force compliance with state costs money, time and effort for the person requesting the information in order to sue the Association, and the Association would spend the homeowner's money defending itself.

Recently, EMHA finally revealed costs to homeowners regarding legal fees for 2020, in the amount of $15,608.24 as Legal Expenses, and an additional $419.78 in Statutory Representation. Most homeowners would expect an explanation for the substantial cost of legal fees, but the EMHA Board does not provide anything in writing to clarify or justify these costs.

To be clear, the author of this article does not believe that the EMHA has benefited from the leadership of Richard Doyle and his friends who make up the Board of Directors and its committees. Wasting money on unnecessary legal expenses is only one reason, but it is a good one. There appears to be no amount of homeowner money Doyle and friends is unwilling to spend to shield individual EMHA Board and Committee members against legal consequences of their actions.


Doyle warns against invasion of "low-income" homeowners

EMHA Newsletter January 2021, page 1, warning about low-income homes and apartments being built in Santa Teresa, NM.

EMHA NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2021, PAGE 1, WARNING ABOUT LOW-INCOME HOMES AND APARTMENTS BEING BUILT IN SANTA TERESA, NM.



The most recent EMHA newsletter warns residents about a number of issues that Richard Doyle considers to be threats, such as proximity of "low-income" people moving into new construction occurring in Santa Teresa and nearby Sunland Park. They also claim that they may need to install gates and cameras. Are low-income persons inherently bad?

The Association goes so far as to employ scare tactics, stating very clearly that their stated outcomes will be specific and negative:

  • "With the construction of hundreds of low-income homes and apartments at the entrance of the Santa Teresa Country Club, we need to be aware of increased vehicular and foot traffic in our community." (The Association seems to imply that people who would live in "low-income homes and apartments" are somehow undesirable or possibly a criminal element. There have been no homes or apartments yet constructed, what they will sell or rent for has not been announced, and the Santa Teresa Country Club no longer exists. Much of the property surrounding the El Mirador subdivision was sold in a tax auction years ago.)
  • "Should we install cameras throughout our community?." (The Association posted signage in December 2019 that the common areas were under 24-hour video surveillance. This was a lie, and they have refused to answer written requests for information regarding the issue.)
  • "Should we look at having gates installed (this will pose a challenge as EMHA does not own Trevino Road)? SEE UPDATE ATTACHED*" (The attached update they refer to has no information regarding Trevino Road or gates.)
  • "The association has been under constant assault for the past two (2) years." (What do they mean by this, exactly? That low-income persons have invaded the El Mirador subdivision? Or are they claiming that "low-income persons" have purchased property within the subdivision?)
  • "We could become just another Doña Ana County unincorporated community where anything goes." (Santa Teresa is already an unincorporated community in Dona Ana County, and none of those things have yet happened in several decades. It is beyond the scope of a homeowner association to be concerned with issues outside the direct area of their subdivision.)
  • "No maintenance of our streets and other common areas." (The Association already does not maintain our streets and common areas, both are in terrible shape.)
  • "Become a part of the City of Sunland Park. Property taxes would increase, with no added benefit to our quality of life or property values." (This statement is completely unsubstantiated by any facts. The Association raised homeowner assessments recently and homeowners have received "no added benefit to our quality of life or property values.")
  • "Hire a management Company [sic] from Phoenix or Dallas to manage our Community." (This statement makes no sense, as it purports ridiculous options and illustrates the fallacious argument style that the Board and Committee routinely engage in, stating something false as if it were fact, and using that as a basis for comparison. Why would a management company be necessary for the Association if Santa Teresa, NM has low-income housing? The Association is not in charge of Santa Teresa. Even if it somehow became necessary to hire a management company, why would it have to be one from Phoenix or Dallas? Dues have already increased with "no guaranteed improvement to our quality of life or property values.")

The Association presents a false argument to the homeowners without even explaining the meaning of their statements. This appears to be a bad faith effort by EMHA President Richard Doyle and the Board of Directors to mislead the membership into believing that a crisis exists and that the Association can somehow stop it. Apparently they don't understand that anyone who owns land in Santa Teresa that is outside the subdivision of El Mirador can do whatever they want without worrying about EMHA.


DOYLE FOSTERS HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT AGAINST A HOMEOWNER

In an EMHA Board of Directors Meeting on March 3, 2020, Richard Doyle, in an act of bad faith, tells Association members that an increase in legal fees, and the likelihood of increased dues, are due to "compliance issues with one owner," which is a false statement.


TYPICAL DUTIES OF AN HOA BOARD

Instead of worrying about a "low-income" invasion of Santa Teresa, Richard Doyle, and all members of the EMHA Board of Directors, are supposed to adhere to a standard of care as defined for fiduciary trustees under common law:

  • Duty of Care: Directors and Board members are required to act in good faith and with the care a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances.
  • Duty of Loyalty: Directors and Board members are required to act in the best interests of the organization, not in their own interest or the interests of other Board or Committee members.
  • Duty of Obedience: Directors and Board members are required to serve the homeowners, in accordance with the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, Bylaws, and other relevant, controlling documents, as well as obey and uphold all laws that affect the organization.


NOT DUTIES OF THE PRESIDENT

Richard Doyle has engaged in a number of questionable acts that one homeowner alleges are not in the interests of the membership nor serve any legitimate purpose of an HOA. For example, Doyle has personally engaged in video and photographic surveillance of a single family within the subdivision, including photographing their property, their vehicle license plates, and the plates of their visitors.

The homeowner contends that this type of behavior is harassing, oppressive and discriminatory, and that Richard Doyle is not acting in good faith in the administration of his duties as President of EMHA. Both New Mexico state law and the governing documents of EMHA exclude bad faith acts from protections normally provided nonprofit corporate Board and Committee members, such as using Association resources to pay individual legal expenses.


Future Legal Expenses

While it is hard to predict the future, it is not uncommon to rely on precedent. The Association's unlawful demand to a homeowner to remove their antennae had an ancillary cost of more than $6,000 (according to Joaquin Tadeo). The homeowner has not yet directly filed suit against EMHA for this specific wrongful act, so those costs are not yet determined.

The Federal Aviation Administration, in an email and telephone exchange Monday, February 1, 2021, finally announced their attention in a pending petition filed by a homeowner against the Association's "drone policy". The petition is now with FAA counsel's office and appropriate action will be taken soon. There is no timetable for this, as can be evidenced by the amount of time from the petition filing, December 12, 2019, and the recent contact from an FAA official, February 1, 2021. It is safe to say that $6,000 in legal expenses for EMHA would be an extremely conservative number for estimating the cost of their drone policy. This also does not take into account the likely suit by homeowner and family for infringing their rights to engage in lawful activity.

The cost of the existing discrimination complaint against EMHA has already been more than $7,000, again according to Joaquin Tadeo. The process is just beginning. Very real costs will be in any federal lawsuit filed by the homeowner against the Association, making the current $7,000 seem insignificant.

Calculating legal costs are a complex matter, but it would be prudent to understand that this issue will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law. Each homeowner will have to assess whether the Association is doing the right thing in this matter, but to determine that will require honesty and transparency of the EMHA Board.