Heights leaders respond to allegations PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:34
Perrysburg Heights leaders responded Wednesday to allegations that have prompted a review of the neighborhood association's status as a charitable organization.
Programs at the community center were halted last week after the Ohio Attorney General's Office notified the association it received five complaints that the organization was being mismanaged.
The most frequently mentioned allegation is that President Jesse Spier has a conflict of interest as leader of the board and a renter of the community center for his Toledo Sport and Social Club, and that the board violated its bylaws in the way it conducts meetings.
Several claim that proper notification was not provided to some board members before a meeting in which Anita Serda was removed from the Perrysburg Heights Community Association board. One complaint also mentions that a board member with a conflict of interest as a relative of Serda should not have been allowed to vote to remove her.
Spier and Treasurer Jason Craig refuted claims of improper conduct within the group.
Both classified the relationship between the Perrysburg Heights Community Association and Spier's club as mutually beneficial, as the group was responsible for about 65 percent of all rentals of the community center in the last year, according to Craig.
Spier joined the board last fall and became president this summer following the resignation.
He said that his business does pass along an increased rental cost to the clients who participate in the club's various sports leagues, but that he never received any benefit as PHCA president. He also insisted he's never received priority over other renters, and that he would abstain from voting on any issue that could involve a conflict of interest, such as a motion to alter rental rates.
Spier provided rental records to the Sentinel that show he paid the going rate for renting the community center, documents he plans to also send as evidence in the investigation.
Another allegation suggested by more than one complaint says PHCA has been ignoring its obligations to the community by not offering its typical summer programs. Craig insists it's precisely the opposite, as the group conducted youth sports clinics and other events, even posting pictures on the organization's Facebook page.
Activities only ceased at the community center last week when notice of the investigation surfaced.
Spier provided to the Sentinel a copy of the group's bylaws, which he said have been "loosely" adhered to since they were established in 1991.
"It took until probably the fifth month of me being on the board for me to actually receive a copy of the bylaws," he said. "They've barely been used at all in any effort," and records of any amendments to them since 1991 are not available.
"I'm not trying to say that we don't want to follow the bylaws, it's just that we didn't" in the past, Spier said.
In an effort to adhere to those rules more in the future, they recently appointed board member Kristie Koester as historian, who will keep track of records.
Craig said the meeting during which Anita Serda was voted out was actually called for by her and her daughter Stephanie Serda, former executive director of PHCA, in an attempt to remove him from the board. That's when he called for an executive session that led to Anita Serda's ouster.
The group plans to provide what items are available as well as evidence that refutes claims made in the allegations to the attorney general's office. Spier said any actual violations will be treated as a "learning experience" by the board in an effort to do better moving forward.
"If the Attorney General tells us we didn't have a good system and we have to develop one, good. We're going to be better off for it," he said. "If (the investigation) uncovers some deficiencies, we'll work on them."
PHCA was originally expected to produce all records and documentation by Tuesday, but Spier said they were given an extension until mid-October.
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 September 2013 10:49

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