Kingsbrooke Resident Alleges Discrimination, Fraud in HOA Board Election

| October 12, 2014 | 0 Comments | News

Satellite image of Kingsbrooke.

Plaintiff Hicham Sbihi is suing the Bristow Kingbrooke HOA and its management company FirstService Residential, D.C. Metro of Fairfax, Virginia in the Prince William County Circuit Court for allegedly holding an unfair board election and discriminating against him due to his nation of origin. Attorney Daniel A. Harvill, PLLC of Manassas is representing Sbihi in this litigation.

According to court documents filed on Oct. 3, 2014, Sbihi, who was born in Morocco and is both Arab and  Muslim, alleges that, “upon information and belief several of the board members for Kingsbrooke have an agreement among themselves to prevent ‘foreigners’ from attaining board positions.”

Sbihi ran for HOA board office in 2013 but was not successful in that election. However, during that time, he gained knowledge of the election process. Thereafter, the HOA board decided to enforce the bylaws more strictly.

Sbihi decided to run again in 2014, but his bid was met with resistance. First, Sbihi was nearly disqualified from running for a position based upon incorrect information about his payments being current with the HOA.

Then, during the 2014 election, when Sbihi was ahead in by-proxy votes, the election process was changed. The sitting board interrupted the May 14, 2014 election meeting, determining that according to the Kingsbrooke HOA bylaws a quorum of 25 percent of Members or combination of Members and by-proxy votes was required to elect candidates to the board. However, when Sbihi first ran for office in 2013, no quorum was required.

As a result of a quorum being deemed necessary by the sitting board, the election was rescheduled for June 11. Rescheduling the election allowed all candidates more time to acquire more by-proxy votes in their favor.

When the election meeting reconvened on June 11, Sbihi’s opponents returned with 47 by-proxy ballots, many of which were either not completely or not properly filled out. Sbihi and his attorney believe that during that time, the other candidates, Jim Hollis, Glen Hoyer, and Rebecca Keith, acted in concert to campaign against him, and that they received assistance in that cause by FirstService Residential

Moreover, the plaintiff alleges that many of those by-proxy votes that were cast for candidates Hollis, Hoyer and Keith should have been disallowed because the forms were not properly completed. Additionally, it is the belief of the plaintiff that “several homeowners had not given their authority to anyone to cast the homeowner’s vote.”

The plaintiff’s court documents also allege that “several homeowners’ votes were altered to give the votes to Hollis, Hoyer and Keith improperly when the homeowner did not actually vote for all of said individuals.” Dates on the by-proxy votes are also being called into question.

Meanwhile, by-proxy ballots cast for Sbihi on May 14 were not counted even though they should have been according to the community bylaws.

The plaintiff is alleging that the two defendants, Kingbrooke HOA and First Service Residential acted in violation of the Virginia Fair Housing Law, and of the Federal Fair Housing Act in applying discriminatory practices by excluding a resident based on his nation of origin from participating in community government.

The plaintiff is seeking $200,000 in compensatory damages from Kingsbrooke and FirstService jointly, and an additional $350,000 jointly from the defendants in punitive damages.

A representative of FirstService Residential said the company had “no comment” about the case. Likewise, a representative for the Kingsbrooke HOA said it would be inappropriate to comment on the pending case.

Sbihi is a homeowner and business owner who purchased his Kingsbrooke home in 2004 with the understanding that he would be able to play a part in the political process in his neighborhood.

© 2014, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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