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It's all about the $$$




 A few years ago when I started my search for a condo or townhouse in the Las Vegas area I soon found most of what I was looking at was involved in litigation, more specifically Construction Defect Litigation. At the time I wondered why that was the case. Having now seen the lengths to which the law & lawyers will act in getting communities involved in it, I now understand why. Below is just one example, from a large condominium community in the southwestern portion of Las Vegas, Nevada.

 


Dennis Green-Leon Benzer-Nancy Quon Timeline

July 14, 2003:

Attorney Nancy Quon contacts some Board members soliciting her services for "Construction Defect resolution", and that same day mails a letter to all homeowners mentioning her request to speak to the Board.

 

July 16, 2003:

Anguis & Terry, the law firm retained by the Board through the transition period contacts Nancy Quon informing her that they represent Vistana Condominium Owners Association. Board of Directors follows up a few days later (July 21) reinforcing the letter by Anguis & Terry.

 

July 22, 2003:

Dennis Green, portraying himself as a new homeowner, starts distributing flyers soliciting homeowners to attend the July 23, 2003 Vistana Association Board meeting. He does not, at that time, own a unit at Vistana.


Leon Benzer, on behalf of Benzer Companies Inc., submits bid for a unit for sale at 7107 S. Durango #108 (Building 2). Leon Benzer is also an owner of Silver Lining Construction International, a local construction company. Silver Lining is currently involved in the reconstruction at Pacific Legends Green Valley following construction defect litigation. Dennis Green is President of Pacific Legends Green Valley Owners Association.

Lisa Povill, who will later become the Primary Plaintiff in Nancy Quon's construction defect case, admits in a later phone conversation with Mr. Peitsch to helping Mr. Green distribute his flyers the evening of the 22nd. In later court documents filed by Nancy Quon she mentions meeting with Lisa Povill on this day.

July 23, 2003:


Lucille "Sibby" Mahoney returns a phone call to Dennis Green placed by Vistana COA Vice President Chris Peitsch in response to Mr. Green's flyer. Mahoney claims to be a friend of Dennis Green and says she is herself moving into the community within the next few weeks. Sibby is the wife of Francis Mahoney, listed as an owner of Silver Lining Construction according to Nevada Secretary of State records. She is also the President of her association (Rainbow Creek at Ventana Canyon) which recently went through Construction Defect Litigation. Their attorney was Nancy Quon. Ms. Quon, in later research had listed Mahoney as a reference in the letter which was sent to the Board on July 14, 2003.

Attorney Nancy Quon sends out a letter to all homeowners inviting them to a meeting of on alleged "Construction Defects" at the Desert Breeze Community Center on July 28, 2003.

Dennis Green attends Vistana Association Board meeting w/ attorney Frank Flansburg (and represents himself as an owner) even though he is not a homeowner in the Association. At the meeting he mentions being the President for his homeowners association (Pacific Legends Green Valley) and also a member of Safe Homes Nevada, an group believed to be organized by the Mainor & Harris Law Center (Nancy Quon's law firm at the time).

 



July 28, 2003:

Nancy Quon's meeting takes place. Dennis Green, Sibby Mahoney, and Lisa Povill all attend. Following the meeting Dennis Green strikes up a conversation with Vistana Board VP Chris Peitsch and mentions that he has known Nancy Quon for a long time. Green, Povill, and Mahoney leave the meeting together.

 

July 29, 2003:

Benzer Companies Inc. (owned by Leon Benzer) obtains the unit at 7107 S. Durango #108 according to Clark County Assessors records.

 

July 30, 2003:

Board is served with Nancy Quon's class-action construction defect lawsuit filed on behalf of 5 units. The "Primary Plaintiff" in this lawsuit is homeowner Lisa Povill. Here are a list of the parties represented by Nancy Quon:

Lisa Povill (7123 S. Durango #214)

Cheryl Bernard (7119 S. Durango #311)

Mary Gabriel (7143 S. Durango #214)

Mary & Richard Simpson (7163 S. Durango #310)

Eli McClinton (7151 S. Durango #108)

 

July 31, 2003:

Vistana Condominium Owners Association Board files a construction defect lawsuit as a reaction to Nancy Quon's lawsuit. Since the law in this area were set to change on August 1st (allowing the builder a *right to repair* before entering into litigation) and the lawsuit filed would not protect all homeowners it was thought by a majority of the Board this was a correct action in response. Such lawsuit will be dismissed if Nancy Quon's lawsuit can be stopped, and the Board will start working with Rhodes through a mediation process agreed to in mid-August to fix some of these problems without litigation.

 

July 31-August 2, 2003:

Dennis Green, Cheryl Bernard, various other homeowners, and individuals claiming to represent Mainor & Harris (Nancy Quon's law firm) gather signatures from the community for the recall of the entire Vistana Board of Directors. The intent of the petition was to recall the ENTIRE Board and put a 3-person committee into place while new election were to occur.

 

August 2, 2003:

Unit at 7107 S. Durango #108 is deeded over from Benzer Companies Inc. to Dennis Green (Clark County Recorder Book #20030811 Instrument #02398). Terms of the deed is that there is no downpayment for a $126,000 loan (the price paid by Benzer in obtaining the unit from previous owner) with $1,000 payments for 126 months.

Dennis Green delivers the recall petition to Board Vice President Chris Peitsch. The petition at that time did not have enough signatures to call for a special meeting.

 

August 13, 2003

After research by Mr. Peitsch on the backgrounds and other investigations of Nancy Quon, Leon Benzer, and Dennis Green many of these connection are put together. Such information is filed in court records later.

 

Mid-August (exact date unkown)

Mark Kulla of the law firm Spilotro & Kulla begins representing Nancy Quon in a Temporary Restraining Order against Quon by Anguis & Terry (Vistana attorneys). Kulla, the Resident Agent for Benzer Companies LLC and is also a (perhaps now former) Owner/Manager of Silver Lining Construction according to Secretary of State

Dennis Green files lawsuit against Vistana Condominium Association Board because, in part a recall meeting has not been called. Mr. Green's petition does not have the needed valid signitures to call for that meeting at the time of the filing however.

 

August 14, 2003

Benzer Companies Inc. purchases another unit in Vistana, 7167 S. Durango #209. To this day this unit has not been deeded over to anyone else. However, it should be noted that Sibby Mahoney has not yet moved into the community. In her July 23rd phone conversation with Mr. Peitsch she stated she was buying a pre-owned unit and it would be closed on within the next few weeks. This unit fits that description

 





Vistana was a target for this happening for two reasons...

1) Its size. When fully built out Vistana will have 732 units. When you compare it to even many of the other large condominium association in Las Vegas it is huge. Doorsteps mean dollar signs to Quon.

2) The change in the law. As for August 1, 2003 the law was set to change in the state of Nevada dealing with construction defects. The biggest change has to deal with the fact that under the now current law the developer could come in and fix claims before litigation was to take place. This, of course, would cut down on the amount awarded in a court decision or settlement.

Doorsteps mean dollar signs to construction defect lawyers, so it’s not surprising the lengths which they will go to promote or defend their lawsuits. Should you have any problems they often won't be allowed to be remedied while this goes through litigation, a process which could take anywhere by 2 years to a decade. At the end of the process the attorneys involved will take their cut of the money and leave the rest for the association to fix all of the problems. What happens if there is not enough money left over? Your assessments are raised to take care of the rest.

So how do a class of five individual units throw an entire 600+ unit community into Construction Defect Litigation, ruining resale opportunities and values as well as equity values and refinancing opportunities? The answer is this is what the law allows! If the Vistana Board voted to enter into litigation the issue would then go to the Association's members and a two-thirds vote in favor of litigation would be needed. However, in this case all that was needed was 5 unit owners. Five!