By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(June 14, 2018) Former Ocean Pines Association Director and interim general manager – and current board hopeful – Brett Hill last week filed a lawsuit in Worcester County Circuit Court seeking a preliminary injunction because his application as a board candidate was denied last month
The suit names the OPA Board and Board Secretary Colette Horn.
According to the suit, Horn classified Hill “as ineligible due to assessments not paid that were invoiced on a date of May 1, 2018 and deemed past due on May 31st, 2018.”
“Unfortunately, based on the OPA’s Bylaws and polices, as of the close of business on May 15, 2018 you did not meet the eligibility requirements for candidacy to the Board of Directors,” Horn wrote in a May 18 letter to Hill.
Additionally, language in the official candidate application form, available on the Ocean Pines website, states, “A Board candidate must be an owner of record on January 1st of the year of the election and not have unpaid annual charges or vote suspended by the Board as of May 15th of that year.”
A copy of the application, with Hill’s signature, was included in the court filing.
Hill, in the lawsuit, claims Gregory Turner and Mark Mitchell were declared eligible candidate despite a violations of the bylaws, while he was denied. Mitchell has since dropped out of the race.
The suit claims Hill “will suffer immediate, substantial and irreparable injury, loss and damage before a full hearing can be held if the Defendant does not pause the election advertising and ballot creation … [and] Injunctive relief from this Court is required to preserve the status quo until such time as the Court can determine the issues raised on the merits of its claim.”
The suit also claims breach of fiduciary duty, stating, “These fiduciary duties include the duty to abide by the By-Laws and Maryland Homeowners Association Act by properly holding an election of eligible candidates, by honestly submitting all eligible candidates to the Elections Committee and treating all candidates equally and without prejudice.”
Hill is seeking $20,425 in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages, “which amounts, if awarded, will be donated to the Association’s general fund and such further relief as the Court deems proper.”
Association President Doug Parks, on Tuesday, said the issue was referred to Ocean Pines’ attorney.
Meanwhile, Hill also remains involved in a financial dispute with investors and former business associates with whom he was involved during his stint as CEO of FTS Inc., an internet infrastructure company.
A former investor said this week that several former FTS Inc. associates have hired a lawyer and “we are working through the process to go through and analyze everything to determine, basically, what lawsuits we can bring against [Hill], whether it be civil or criminal.”
Another associate, Dee Anna Sobczak, chief operating officer of ThinkBig, said she loaned a large sum of money to Hill and FTS, and that she end up buying most or all of the assets of the company in a bulk sale when the loan could not be repaid.
Hill and Freedom Telecom Services, LLC are also being sued for breach of contract by Michael Mueller, also a former business associate, and the Ford Motor Company is suing Hill and Freedom Telecom Services, Inc. for “large claims.”