Before Ocean Pines Association members get too excited over the prospect of finding real dirt via a forensic audit of the association’s finances, they should consider a variation of what is known as Hanlon’s Razor rule of reasoning. It postulates, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
In this case, the more appropriate way to put it would be to “assume mismanagement before misconduct.”
As eager as people might be to find a smoking gun that proves various boards of directors conspired to deceive the public, it is unlikely such a thing exists.
A more probable conclusion of this audit would be that the association’s huge losses of the past years were the result of terrible decisions permitted or inspired by a system impaired by political loyalties, grand ambition, egotism, arrogance and personal animosities on the board and among association voters themselves.
While it is true that some thievery did occur, and more probably will be found, this will hardly add up to the nearly $2 million that the current board now has to make up with its increase in assessments.
As for the matter of what did various board members know and when did they know it, it makes little difference at this point if the goal of association members is to see this mess cleaned up.
They can continue, pointlessly, to seek some degree of self-vindication by fighting the old battles just to prove they were right, or they can allow the current board and management work to establish a more accountable and efficient structure of governing and operating.
Conducting a forensic audit is the right thing to do, but association members must get over the belief that this or any other board is or was out to get them. Similarly, this and future boards must accept that the easiest way to mollify an angry population is to flood them with information — over and over and over.