The meeting started like any other; with coffee and sugar-free cookies. Thirty or so people wandered into the room before Mr. Peterson, the HOA chairman, called the assembly to order.
A new man slipped through the door before it squeaked closed. He was short and round. Not round, but a bit plump, like he sat behind a desk most of his life.
“Sorry,” he cleaned his glasses, “is this the Shaded Meadows Home Owner’s Association meeting?”
“Yes,” Mr. Peterson replied, “please have a seat so we can get started Mr…”
“Glad you could join us.”
The minutes rolled by as they worked through all the old business, which was mostly just trash restrictions and snow plowing questions. When Mr. Peterson asked if there was any new business, Mr. Westlund raised his pudgy hand.
“The chair recognizes Mr. Westlund.”
“Thank you, I am here today on behalf of Pentos Savings and Loan.” A few heads turned his direction. “Of the 74 residences in Shaded Meadows, only 19 deed-holders have a majority equity stake in their property.” A few heads looked down at their phones, Mr. Peterson exhaled loudly. “This means that Pentos Savings and Loan, as the development’s mortgage backer, effectively owns the remaining 55 homes. As their proxy, I would like to submit a proposal.”
“And what might you have in mind?” Mr. Peterson asked waspishly.
“I propose that every front yard install an advertisement for Pentos Savings and Loan, measuring no less than 20 feet across by 10 feet tall. I have already sent the design to the county office.”
“Absolutely ridiculous! All those opposed?” The entire room voted against the proposal. “Unanimous, motion denied.”
“Remember, Mr. Peterson, that I hold 55 votes.”
Mr. Peterson sputtered, the crowd of polite neighbors scoffed, Mr. Westlund smirked.