OCEAN PINES – A Worcester County Circuit Court judge ruled the Ocean Pines Association should have held the referendum related to board spending proposed by a resident last year.
Judge Beau Oglesby on Wednesday denied a motion to dismiss the case filed by Slobodan Trendic against the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) related to its failure to hold a referendum after he submitted a petition to do so last year. In addition, the judge granted Trendic’s request for partial summary judgment on the issue of whether OPA and its board acted improperly in rejecting the petition and essentially ordered the association to move forward with the referendum.
“My client is very pleased with the ruling, which is certainly fully supported by the undisputed facts and the applicable law; and we hope the board will act in accordance with this ruling, not only in this case and as to Mr. Trendic’s referendum petition, but also as to future referendum petitions that should be advanced to a membership vote,” said Bruce Bright, Trendic’s attorney. “As reflected in this ruling by the court, the board members cannot act as they unilaterally wish on these matters; they must act in accordance with the OPA governing documents and their own resolutions.”
Trendic filed a lawsuit against OPA last year after the association’s board rejected a petition he’d submitted regarding holding a referendum to lower the board’s spending limit. Though OPA’s legal counsel verified that the petition included 808 signatures — enough to trigger a referendum — counsel said the petition was worded incorrectly and was subsequently rejected. At that point Trendic took the issue to court. Oglesby on Wednesday ruled that the petition met OPA requirements and that OPA was required to put the question to referendum.
“… this court finds that the Ocean Pines Association, Inc.’s Board of Directors acted improperly, incorrectly, and in contravention of its by-laws when it decided not to act upon plaintiff’s petition and refused to advance the referendum question for vote by Ocean Pines Association, Inc. members,” the judge’s order reads.
The judge goes on to order that the OPA carry out its duties. The court did not make a decision on whether Trendic should be awarded his attorney fees and court costs.
Larry Perrone, OPA president, said Thursday he had no comment on the ruling.