Blogging from the Murcia region of Spain until early June, when I return to
the Highlands of Scotland for a few months

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Friday, 22 August 2008

Mazarron Country Club - AGM scheduled for 26 September

In case there are any owners at Mazarron Country Club who are not yet aware of it, the annual general meeting of the Community of Owners (whose website is here - note added August 2012: this website no longer operates, the current website is here) will be held on 26 September 2008 at 10 am. The venue is the Hotel Playa Grande, Puerto de Mazarrón.

The current President of the Community of Owners, Mr Frank van Son, has announced his intention to stand for re-election as President for a further term, the announcement in the form of an email in which he provides a link to his own personal website where he outlines his 'campaign':


Mr Frank van Son's email announcing his candidacy -

There are a lot of rumors, but Yes I’m standing for President, see for the latest information: www.frankvanson.com

Best regards,

Frank
All owners at Mazarron Country Club ('MCC' for short) automatically become members of the Community of Owners ('CoO' for short), by virtue of their property ownership. However, there is another independent organisation which some owners at MCC have chosen to join called The Association of Neighbours of the Urbanization of Mazarron Country Club (known colloquially as the 'Association of Neighbours' or 'AON' for short). The aims of the CoO and the AON are broadly similar (the improvement and maintenance of the facilities at MCC for the benefit of all), but the remit of the CoO does not allow it, under Spanish law (or so I am led to believe), to undertake certains kinds of activity to further these broad aims and it is to be in a position to further these aims by various other means that the AON has been formed. Point of disclosure: I recently became a member of the AON.

I have gone into this fairly long preamble because in his personal website the current CoO President, Mr Frank van Son, has made a number of remarks about the AON which are somewhat startling (see his website at www.frankvanson.com) and the AON has felt it necessary to reply to him formally in this connection. I have retained offline a full back-up copy of what he states currently in his website 'campaign' in case it is altered subsequently. The text of the AON letter to Mr Frank van Son, in the context of his current role as President of the CoO is as follows:

Dear Frank
Your website at www.frankvanson.com contains an unprecedented and unprovoked attack on the Association of Neighbours (AON); impugning its motives and its integrity.

The attack comes as a surprise. During the 2007 election you told voters you had 'a good relationship with the Board of the AON'. So you must know that the AON exists only to help improve owners’ quality of life by ensuring the completion of MCC as it was originally promised. What’s more, you have asked for the AON’s help on more than one occasion - most recently in respect of the back-dated bills for water and electricity, which you said were nothing to do with you.

Against that background, your claim that the AON wants to take control of the CofO seems deliberately designed to mislead and to mis-inform voters in your quest for re-election. We leave it to the good sense of individual owners to form their own opinion about that.

For the record, the AON Statutes do not permit it to take over or to operate the CofO. There are absolutely no proposals or plans to try to change that situation.

Your Comments Raise Important Questions
Your criticism centres on the AON’s encouragement for everyone to use their vote – if necessary by nominating a proxy. If it emanated from a dictator, the criticism may make sense. However, you preside over an organisation which we assumed was operating on democratic principles. In any case, for you to suggest that it is somehow wrong to encourage people to do what you have told them seems - frankly - quite bizarre!
Owners are entitled to ask why you sent out the proxy form and said that they 'must fill in the form' if you did not want them to do so!
• Some may question why you chose to withhold full details about the various Agenda
items; so that, in your words '
nobody knows at this moment what we have to vote for'.
• Yet more will wonder why a list of debtors was not included with the AGM invitation, as required by Spanish law – meaning that a whole new set of documentation will have to be sent out to each individual owner, at extra expense.


You have said that calling the AGM is solely your responsibility. So owners are entitled to wonder why you would engineer the current situation, with all its inherent uncertainty. A situation in which the necessary new set of documentation could legally specify a completely different date for the AGM; giving owners as little as one week’s notice (the minimum required by Spanish law), and thereby
invalidating all of the 26th September proxies to which you seem to have taken such strong exception. I hope that is not going to be the case.

The AON Does Not Have A Presidential Candidate
For the record, our new ‘Monitoring & Delivery’ service for proxy nominations is designed simply to remove any possibility that proxies may go uncounted at this AGM. The service is available to everyone, regardless of whether the proxy has already been submitted and regardless of the name or allegiance of the person nominated.

It should be entirely a matter for individual owners to decided how to cast their vote and whether or not to pass on a recommendation to others. In this respect I hope you do not believe - or seek to suggest - that the rights of AON members should be in any way inferior to those enjoyed by other members of our Community.

Any suggestion that the AON is going to put forward a candidate for the Presidency of the CofO is utterly and completely wrong. Such action would need prior approval by way of a majority vote of AON members. Please note that the necessary approval has not even been sought and there are no proposals or plans to ask for it.

Fairness and Balance.
You may already know that on 13th August 2008, one of your CofO Representatives posted onto the AON’s private internet ‘bulletin board’ a copy of your email announcing your intention to stand for reelection. The posting includes a link to the ‘Frank for President’ website which contains your unwarranted attack on the AON.

It would be very easy for the AON to delete your message - but that is not how we operate. We actively encourage members’ feedback and believe that all owners should be fully informed. To that end, we are emailing an exact copy of your message to each member and inviting them to pass it on to all of their MCC friends and neighbours.

In the interest of fairness and balance, the AON intends to provide similar communication opportunities for any other owner(s) who may wish to become actively involved in the forthcoming CofO election for President, Vice President etc.

Transparency
The removal of doubt and uncertainty would impact positively on every owner’s quality of life so the AON will do everything possible to press for total transparency in relation to the CofO’s 2008 AGM. That includes the provision of missing information without further delay. We also seek an end to the disgraceful practice of allowing votes to be counted - after the event and in secret - by people who may be perceived to have a vested interest in the outcome.

Yours etc.

Bill Thornton
President
Aassociation of Neighbours of Mazarron Country Club
21 August 2008.
If any reader who is also an owner at MCC, but is not already a member of the AON, wishes to be put in touch with a view to joining, please let me know so I may pass on your details; as a private member organisation the AON does not make available its website URL or email contact information to non-members.

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