PROVO A Woodland Hills resident appeared in court Monday accusing a property owners' association of collecting money for services he claims it hasn't provided in nearly three decades.
In 4th District Court, Todd Rupper explained Woodland Hills Property Owners Association was formed in 1973 and residents paid assessments to the association for basic services including walkways, sewage lines and police enforcement. Then, in 1979, Woodland Hills incorporated and assumed those municipal responsibilities, he said, but WHPOA kept collecting payment for those services. Rupper said it's time for the practice to come to a stop, he said.
"This has been going on for 30 years," Rupper said. "In my argument, this should be a dead dinosaur."
Rupper filed lawsuit against WHPOA in 2006 and requested summary judgment in the case Monday.
WHPOA attorney John Richards denied Rupper's assertion that the homeowners association is taking money for undelivered services.
"WHPOA ... affirmatively alleges that it is in cooperation with the city to facilitate and provide adequate services to its members," he stated in an opposition to motion for summary judgment.
Between 2000 and 2006, WHPOA collected $373,000 from residents in assessments, Rupper said, and passed $332,000 over to the city. He said that situation is tantamount to "double taxation."
WHPOA charges a yearly assessment of $150. He said the fee rate is determined behind close doors, which could be considered taxation without representation. And as a former member of Woodland Hills City Council, Rupper said he knows the city's budget is mismanaged so there is a tendency among city officials to think "We're small, we're poor, we need the money."
Woodland Hills Mayor Toby Harding declined to comment on Rupper's statements about city officials but he disagreed with his double taxation assertions, saying WHPOA simply collects an assessment for its services.
In April 2006, Rupper sent a letter to WHPOA requesting resignation of his membership but was told he would still have to pay assessments because covenants and restrictions attached to his property. Rupper has not paid and a lien was placed on his property.
In court Monday, Judge Samuel McVey lifted the lien on Rupper's property but said he would not grant summary judgment because of the case's complexity.
"To use the vernacular, I'm not going there today," he said.
McVey said he would set a trial date later.
As Rupper and WHPOA's attorney left the courthouse, they said they hope to resolve the conflict without going to a trial."I am hopeful for some settlement before that time," Richards said.