OCEAN PINES – Ocean Pines officials voted last week to ban former board member Tom Janasek from the association’s food and beverage amenities for a period of 90 days following an altercation at the Yacht Club.
In a special meeting last Thursday, the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors voted 5-2, with Directors Doug Parks and Rick Farr opposed, to prohibit Janasek from the Yacht Club, Golf Clubhouse and Beach Club for a total of 90 days. The motion – made by Director Frank Daly – comes less than a month after an altercation between Janasek and Director Josette Wheatley.
“Our governing documents do give us the authority to provide for the safety at our amenities, not only for members of the association but anyone who comes to our amenities,” said Director Larry Perrone. “And while there are some contradictions in the bylaws, the bylaws clearly state that we have a right and obligation to provide for safety at our amenities.”
A report filed with the Ocean Pines Police Department last month describes the series of events that took place between Janasek and Wheatley the evening of May 20. According to the report, Wheatley and her husband had approached Janasek at the Yacht Club’s outdoor patio when the incident occurred.
“Mrs. Wheatley stated that after she and her husband received their drinks, they went over and said hello to Rich [Kelly] and Mr. Janasek,” the report reads. “Mrs. Wheatley said Mr. Janasek stood up and said, ‘I’m going to do it.’”
According to the police report, Janasek then began yelling at Wheatley.
“Mr. Janasek stood over her and began yelling loudly at her because she did not vote for Doug Parks as President for their Board of Directors,” the report reads.
Wheatley’s husband attempted to intervene while Janasek continued to yell at Wheatley, according to the police report. When attempts to separate Janasek from Wheatley and her husband failed, Janasek was escorted from the property.
In the days that followed the incident, the Ocean Pines Board of Directors convened in a special meeting to discuss Janasek’s removal from food and beverage operations. A motion to suspend Janasek for one year, however, was tabled pending legal review. Wheatley has also since obtained a peace order preventing Janasek from contacting her for a period of six months.
Back on the agenda at last week’s special meeting, Daly presented his motion to ban Janasek from the Yacht Club and its surrounding areas, the Golf Clubhouse and the Beach Club for a 90-day period beginning June 10 at 9 a.m.
Perrone, however, proposed an amendment extending the suspension to coincide with Wheatley’s order.
“I’d like to change the period from 90 days to a period to match the peace order that was issued by the court to Josette Wheatley regarding Tom Janasek …,” he said. “If in fact she has to obtain an extension to that peace order and the court grants it, then the suspension should be continued in conjunction with the time period established by the court.”
The amendment, however, failed in a 3-4 vote, with Parks, Farr and Directors Amy Peck and Colette Horn opposed.
“I understand you want to be coterminous with the peace order,” Parks said, “but I think it’s excessive, I think it’s unnecessary and I’m not going to support it.”
With Daly’s original motion back on the table for discussion, Parks said he could not support a suspension that went against the association’s governing documents.
“I urge my colleagues to consider the fact that continually disregarding our governing documents is not the way to manage or run or oversee this organization,” he said, “and I implore you to consider some of the options that are available to us under our governing documents to accomplish a way to address this issue.”
Horn said she disagreed.
“I think our governing documents falls short of this situation and I realize by stretching the limits of our governing documents we will be able to provide some kind of immediate relief from the risk that is there for Director Wheatley and other directors on this board that may be targeted, or members of the community who may be targeted,” she said.
Daly argued the board had the responsibility to respond to the incident.
“I’ll remind everybody here at the height of the pandemic we sat as a group and decided that given the economic ravages that the community was going through, that we would delay the assessment for 90 days,” he said. “You know what? That was in violation of our governing document using the same argument you just made. We did it because the charter tells us we have the right and responsibility to act, to protect our citizens so long as we do so under the existing Maryland Law. And that is exactly what we are doing right here.”
Parks, however, asserted it was not a true comparison.
“The relinquishing of the due date for the assessments based on the pandemic affected every single homeowner in Ocean Pines,” he said.
After further discussion, the board voted 5-2 to ban Janasek from food and beverage operations for a period of 90 days and to have the general manager provide Janasek with a suspension notice.