Concerned Shadowood Owners Want New Board Control
Reston Now
by Karen Goff
17 February 2016

A group of Shadowood Condominium owners say they are fed up with mismanagement at the 450-unit development and are mobilizing for new directors to run for the condo board in March.

Shadowood has had a history of issues over the last several years, including a case in 2012 about the limits of the board to impose fines and rules on owners. That case went all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court.

There was also a political battle in 2012, when condo owner Brian Olivia headed the board and ran “Shadowood in a manner that caused Shadowood to to sue him last year to recover damages for harm down to Shadowood,” current board chair Tom Summakie said in an email to owners.

More than half the units are occupied by renters, so most owners live off-site. Nearly two dozen units are owned by Fairfax County, which offers them as Section 8 housing.

A group that calls themselves “Concerned Co-Owners at Shadowood” has sent a list to other owners of 30 complaints about the neighborhood and its board.

“Are you fed up with or even know that these things may be occurring?” the email reads. It points out that the community website has not been updates in more than a year, that the board dos not communicate with residents, that rules are not enforced and that common areas and properties are dilapidated, among other complaints.

From the “Concerned Co-Owners of Shadowood”:

Absolutely NO communications from the board over the past year? No newsletter? No email notices? No rule enforcement?

Outdated Shadowood website that is little more than a [Board officer] Daniel Chambers fan club? With his family and buddies featured but little useful information posted?

No current minutes? No current audits? No budgets? Thousands of our condo fees used to create and “maintain” this fan club website?

Where is the transparency the current board long ago promised?

When are the board meetings? Are they held in secret? Is proper notice given for each board meeting as the law requires?

Dilapidated property. Is there graffiti in your stairwell? Litter all over the property? Dangerous playgrounds with trash, condoms, needles and damaged and dangerous play equipment?

Trash dumpsters infested with rodents and looking like the county dump?
Chemicals left out for our children to see and get poisoned?

Dead trees and overgrown vegetation on the property? “Flowers” planted? Where?

Where are the promised FHA and VA financing certifications?

Daniel Chambers is getting paid by Shadowood, thousands of your condo fee dollars, as a self serving “consultant”?

The wife of one of the board members is an SCA staff member?

The board are getting their telephone service and computers paid for by Shadowood? Using our condo fees?

Increasing condo fees (but terrible maintenance) without any warning or notice? Doesn’t the law require open discussion about condo fees and require advance notice?

Board meetings on Christmas Eve?

The staff getting paid big bonuses for giving out the parking decals? Parking decals that were not issued on time by the board’s own rules and regulations?

Elimination of the $38 Comcast cable and internet bargain we previously enjoyed? Are you now paying $125 or more for less service? Do you have to pay for all of your Comcast boxes now?

Unenforced rules? Packs of unsupervised kids running around the property at all hours of the day and night? Damaging your cars and other property? Stealing? Smoking and drinking? Isn’t Shadowood a smoke free property as the website boast?

A murder at Shadowood this summer! See: (Editor’s note: There was a shooting death but it was later determined to have been from a fight among acquaintances and not a home invasion).

Stairwell tiles that are faded and pulling up? Rusty stairwell members? Are they even safe? Broken notice boards and mailboxes?

Special parking privileges for the board and their families?

Board meeting minutes not released for over a year?

Raising the condo fee and bundling all the utilities together? Our condo fees are outrageous at nearly $500 a month while property values decline.

The board of directors suing a former board member and defunct management company and dropping that lawsuit? After spending tens (or hundreds) of thousands of our condo fees on that lawsuit?

The board of directors settling a lawsuit against a former board member and paying the board member $12,000 of our condo fees?

Is the board of directors improperly spending our condo fees to endorse the current president and treasurer?

Is the current board president misusing association resources to solicit proxies and sending defamatory messages on association letterhead?

Has Fairfax County Housing, owner of more Shadowood units than anyone else, delivered on its promises to assist the association and provide counsel and guidance?

Are your property values dropping, while your condo fee skyrockets? Did a recent unit sell for $180K or less when the board is boasting that units are “market valued” at $200k and more?

Does our community have a nickname of “Shadowslum”? “Shadodump”?

Does our community have a drug problem?

Has the current board worked with the police to address crime, drugs and the out-of-control thugs?

These are just a few of our concerns. If you have others, please reply to this email with your concerns. We will take them to the board and the Common Interest Community Ombudsman and Reston Association for action if appropriate or we will assist you in doing them.

Summakie said in an email that he shares some of the concerns of the residents, but there are also many factual errors on the list. But there are also lots of exaggerations and errors — no bonuses have been paid to the staff, no board meetings have been held on Christmas Eve, all board meetings have been publicly noticed, the management sent to the owners many communications during 2015, he said.

Summakie pointed out in a letter to owners that in the two years since Olivia was replaced on the board, the board has significantly reduced expenses and bank debt and has lowered owners’ assessment fees. Shadowood will also have a security camera system installed soon, he said.

Summakie is also concerned about Chambers, who served on the board from 2007 to 2014. Chambers is running for re-election to the board, and Summakie called him “deceitful and dangerous when in a position of authority,” in the letter to owners.

Chambers, who served as a paid consultant to the board in 2015, says he cares about Shadowood. He says assessments have risen 15 percent and that there is a lack of transparency, among other complaints about the board.

“There are issues,” he said of Reston’s largest condo complex. “But these are good people. My philosophy is we need to be a board and deal with the higher level issues and not be a maintenance management board. The major problem right now is very simple. We have a board that is overwhelmed, and when you are overwhelmed you do what you can to keep treadmill going before you fall off.”

Reader Comments

  6 days ago
Two dozen bad neighbors in a development is 2two dozen bad neighbors too many. Of course, if you think that Section-8 is not the problem, you could always subsidize and offer to let some live next to you.

It's broken window theory in real life. The Section-8 thuggery brings down the property value so others that are looking for places to rent/purchase avoid it, thus lowering the cost until the only people living in Shadowood are those that really shouldn't be living there.

The investor owners don't care, as they are still getting paid. The renters don't care because they are getting a "steal" of a deal. And the Section-8 tennants don't care because they get to live in Reston.

Everyone that should win loses and everyone that should lose wins.

Chuck Morningwood  6 days ago
Gotta love it when the HOAs air their dirty laundry.

Just out of curiosity, how's that Section 8 thing working out for you?

Mike M   6 days ago
Agreed about the dirty laundry. I was an HOA President in a nice development and I can say I never had a less rewarding nor more thankless task.

I very reluctantly got the job by showing up at meetings, even though I worked in Europe for weeks at a time. Then my super-shady predecessor abandoned his mortgage and fled the state. He and the Treasurer had set up payments for their "services." It was never clear to me that the issue had ever been put to a vote.

The absolute worst violation offenders were the absentee landlords. They did not maintain their units and they were unreachable. Another absentee landlord sent her daughters to THE most exclusive girls school in the state but was continuously behind in her payments due to "cash flow problems" or something we had not done to her liking.

People showed up at my door with hostile demands, left ugly misspelled notes on their neighbors' doors signed "The Board," and the RA was universally recognized as a predator and not a friend. Almost no one showed up at the meetings.

We had a petty crime problem in the area, and the police were of almost no help, except the bike path patrols seemed to be effective until they stopped.

We had a 20-something son dealing drugs out of mama's house (subsidized), and the Police told us we should not be concerned since they "had it under investigation and couldn't say anything more about it."

We had a guy who had someone living in a tent behind his house for a short while. A visitor to his house knifed someone.

It was a nice development outwardly. We had a notable retired pro football player living there for years. I moved. Some really good families moved in and straightened things out.

But the long and the short—too many people act like they are kids and the governing institutions are their mom and dad. They were all Democrats. I became deeply conservative after this experience.

top  contents  chapter  previous  next