Letter to Members

Letter to EWUA Members

  • The current Secretary/Treasurer of Eastsound Water Users Association, Carol Anderson, along with fellow Directors, Jim Cook and Ron Claus, are asking the Members to recall Teri Nigretto, Jim Nelson, and Leith Templin for acting in bad faith.
  • The General Manager, Dan Burke, and the majority of the Board, led by Teri Nigretto and Jim Nelson, continue to refuse to allow the Treasurer of the Board to access the financial records of the Association.
  • A culture of secrecy has been adopted –
    1. The Board has formally refused to disclose information that State law requires the Association to produce when requested.
    2. The Board has held multiple closed sessions and a “closed working session.” During each of these, the Board has taken actions via votes.
    3. A subset of the Board takes actions without the authorization or knowledge of the full Board.
  • The November election should have been for three seats but was only for two; and, rather than halting the election and redoing it to include the third seat, the Board decided to continue with the improper election to elect two directors. They, then, appointed the third, which precluded the members from being able to vote for this third director.  Once the director (Jim Cook) was appointed on December 5, 2023, he was not allowed to participate in Board deliberations or votes until January 16, 2024. Only after Leith Templin was appointed to a fourth open seat and could add to the majority vote was Jim Cook allowed to participate as a director.  Leith was openly critical of the prior recall effort and vocally protective of the Board at the time, so she was a candidate favored by the General Manager and the Board members who support him.
  • The General Manager has requested the removal of Ron Claus as a director.
  • There has been no investigation of abuses described in the forensic report of last year, despite written assurances by the Board that all the recommendations made by the forensic accountant were implemented.
  • The General Manager was not asked to repay money he had taken without authorization. In fact, his compensation was increased in 2024 by at least $50,000.
  • A new set of bylaws are being proposed. This new set shifts power away from the Members (as the owners of our co-op) and to the Board and GM. The Board intends to implement these without a vote of the Membership, which is required by the Articles of Incorporation.
  • In violation of RCW24.03A.585 and the traditional duties of the Association Secretary, the Board has told  Secretary Carol Anderson that meeting minutes will be taken by staff.

Concurrent to this, Farm to Market LLC, a Member of EWUA, challenged the flawed election process in Court. The numerous problems with the election can be found in the complaint to the Court. The Election Challenge court documents can be found here.

Additional lawsuits are likely to be filed against EWUA in the near future. These multiple suits have or will likely soon ask the Court to:

  • Redo the very flawed election,
  • Compel the EWUA Board to comply with State law on transparency,
  • Revoke the proxies the Board deceptively solicited from the Members,
  • Revoke any changes in the bylaws they intend to make without a vote of the Members, which is required by the Articles of Incorporation, and,
  • Hold the General Manager and several current and former directors for malfeasance of Member money.

Rather than resign or adopt good governance practices, Teri Nigretto, Jim Nelson, Leith Templin, and Mike Cleveland are directing the Association attorneys to spend as much Member money as necessary to protect themselves and the General Manager. They also seem to be unconcerned about the Members’ rights to elect their representatives onto the Board.  Conducting a new election would cost a fraction of what it will take to aggressively respond to the request made in the pending case for a new election.  It seems to be easy to spend other people’s money rather than evaluate the costs of the various options.

The Board has not yet invoked its Directors and Officers insurance.

If you do not want your water rates to go up to fund the Association’s lawyers instead of water delivery, then contact the directors who are not representing you well and encourage them to resign or to settle the pending case. Alternatively, sign the petition to recall the rogue directors, voting to remove those who have failed in their fiduciary duties and who have acted in bad faith.

See the attached recall statement from directors Carol Ann Anderson, Jim Cook and Ron Claus which was submitted at the Board meeting on March 20. 2024.

We will post more details in the near future. Thank you for reading.