Members of the Clearwood Community Association could be footing the bill temporarily after it was discovered last year that a bookkeeper embezzled upward of $300,000.
The Clearwood Community Association Board of Directors will discuss allowing members to vote on a one-time fee at their next meeting this Saturday. If there’s a consensus among the board, community members will vote on whether or not they’ll help repay stolen funds while the homeowners association awaits the outcome of litigation against Dolanna K Burnett, a former bookkeeper.
Association President Aaron Lang addressed community concerns in a recent video posted to the Clearwood’s Facebook page. In it, Lang said the board will go over the next year’s budget, bring governing documents up to date, change the election cycle and bring forward a special assessment at another upcoming meeting, the date of which has yet to be determined.
“We need to make sure we have a contingency fund that is well funded. Without that, we’re in a pretty bad spot for emergencies if they come up,” Lang said in the video. “And, at the end of the day, while we are going to be seeking recovery in the litigation process against the person we believe to have taken this from us, we don’t know how long it’s going to take to fully recover that and get that back into our hands.”
Clearwood filed a civil complaint in November of last year in Thurston County Superior Court, alleging Burnett embezzled somewhere around $300,000, according to a previous Nisqually Valley News report. The lawsuit alleged Burnett wrote multiple checks and transferred funds to herself multiple times since 2014, covering her actions in the process.
Burnett has a previous 2014 conviction for alleged theft, identity theft and forgery for making counterfeit refund checks totalling $17,000 while working for the Tacoma Health Department.
Lang said Clearwood is currently conducting a forensic audit, which should wrap up very soon. And while the homeowner’s association have opened up a civil action against Burnett, Lang says their legal council is in discussion with a prosecuting attorney.
While Lange said in the video that it’s important for the homeowner’s association to hold a well-funded contingency fund, he told the NVN it’s would not be dire if they didn’t have the funds recovered immediately. Lang declined to comment on why it would be important for members to pay back embezzled funds before the litigation process has concluded, adding that would be an opinion of the board.
“We’ll be getting that answered on Saturday,” he said. “Unfortunately, the answer of that question is multi-faceted.”
Clearwood Community Association and its board plan on hosting multiple town hall meetings for members to ask questions and get additional information on the issue at hand.
Lang said he encourages residents to come out to this Saturday’s board meeting. The meeting will take place at 9 a.m. at the administrative building, 21603 North Clearlake Blvd.