Sun City plaintiffs gain partial lawsuit victory

By Rusty Bradshaw
Independent Newsmedia

Sun City residents who filed a lawsuit against Recreation Centers of Sun City to force some operational changes gained a partial victory.

Arizona Superior Court Judge Roger E. Brodman ruled Sept. 4 that Recreation Centers of Sun City is subject to the Arizona Planned Communities Act, ARS 33-1801. However, the judge ruled that plaintiffs did not satisfy all requirements of a class action lawsuit, and that portion of the suit can be revisited, according to court documents.

More than 20 Sun City residents, including Anne Randall Stewart, who coordinates movement called Sun City Formula Registry, filed the lawsuit, claiming RCSC officials should be subject to the Planned Communities Act and charges fees unfairly and unequally. RCSC is a nonprofit corporation charged with maintaining recreational facilities and offering recreational and social activities for residents in the age-restricted active retirement community on unincorporated land in Maricopa County. There are about 27,000 households with a population of about 40,000 people in the community.

How the ruling will affect RCSC operations is uncertain at this time, according to Jan Ek, RCSC general manager.

Jan Ek

“We are unable to what changes need to be made,” Ms. Ek told residents during a Sept. 10 member/director exchange meeting. “We will still operate under Title 10 (of Arizona Revised Statutes), but if this ruling stands, we will have to be under the Planned Communities Act.”

Sun City resident Gene Westemeier, a former RCSC board member, asked if operating under the Planned Communities Act would affect the corporations meetings. Ms. Ek said that was accurate.

RCSC conducts two board meetings per month — the exchange and the regular board meeting — that are open to cardholders, other residents and the media. However, only cardholders are able to speak during “open forum” portions of those meetings. RCSC officials also conduct “workshop” meetings following each of the open meetings. Those events are closed to cardholders, residents and the media. RCSC also has several standing committees that make recommendations to the board. Those committee meetings are open to cardholders but the media is not allowed to attend.

Gene Westemeier

Under the Planned Communities Act, all board and committee meetings must be open to residents and anyone designated, in writing, to be a resident’s representative. Under the act, RCSC can conduct closed door meetings under five specific discussion items — legal advice; pending or contemplated litigation; personal, health or financial information; job performance, health records or compensation of employees; and a member’s appeal of violation. Prior to going into a closed session, the board must identify the general nature of the discussion as defined by the five exceptions for closed meetings.

The act also has provisions designed to make association records open to members or their designated representatives.

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