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Introduction

My name is Robert Stermer-Cox and I want to warn people interested in purchasing real estate in Ocean Shores, Washington.  Be careful!  Many of the lots in Ocean Shores are part of a extortion scheme called the Ocean Shores Community Club.

Loyalty Oath

Loyalty Oath

This is how the club excludes anyone who entertains the thought of voluntary membership from seeking a position of the Board of Trustees.  Because it is a “requirement”, it is, therefore, a qualification of office.  Qualifications for office are described in the By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation.  There is no mention of any oath.

I call this club a extortion scheme because not all members are permitted to exercise their property rights as club members or be part of the governing process.  The members who wish to change the membership in the club to voluntary are denied representation on the Board of Trustees or the right to elect someone who would represent them.  This is not a club run by the members, but by the club’s attorney and the select few.

By denying members their rights and interfering with the election process, the Club is no longer a legal operation and is nothing more than an extortion scheme to take money from members who don’t need, want, or use the club’s facilities.

This club, the product of the club’s attorney, Michael Valdez, is simply a social club, offering no other services at all, and yet it has liens on member’s home to insure dues payments.  This is a private club in an incorporated town that is not part of a homeowners or condominium association and because of that, is illegal under Washington State law.  Only a questionable bankruptcy court proceeding insures it’s continuance.  This club, via it’s attorney, can, will, and have foreclosed on some 200 properties for failure to pay dues.

I also blame the greedy real estate industry for this situation.  We, like a great many others, were never told about the club having liens, in fact, our agent told us the property was “free and clear”.  It was not.  Our bank, USAA, also failed us.  Their policy was not to make loans on properties with liens.  Yet, they gave us a loan.  Buying our first home we relied on and trusted the “professionals”.  Big mistake.

How this situation can exist in a city in America is beyond belief.  The extremes the club will go to protect itself is astounding.  My writings on an other web site, saved three people from making the mistake of buying in Ocean Shores.  I hope this site does as well.

Note: Unless otherwise credited, italics indicate quotes from the Ocean Shores Community Club, Inc.’s Second Amended Disclosure Statement; Second Amended Plan; Exhibits and Notices.  I selected to display items from the Decree side by side with notes about the item.  Reader comments will be made at the end of the article.

I also include articles and comments from other members that I have accumulated and a couple of new ones from the web.

10 Comments

  1. Sandra
    August 14, 2020 @ 12:13 am

    Is there a way to get out of the club permanently if you own your home free and clear?

    Reply

    • Robert
      August 14, 2020 @ 12:31 am

      Hello, Sandra,

      No, once in the club, the property stays under the club for ever. That is unless you have tons of money to fight a hugely expensive lawsuit. Sorry.

      Reply

  2. todd
    September 18, 2021 @ 8:05 pm

    How do you know if you are in the club or not? Are you referring to the $148 yearly fee to use the pools and community center?

    Reply

    • Robert
      September 19, 2021 @ 4:27 pm

      Hello, Todd,
      Your real estate agent is, by law, supposed to disclose that to you. You can call the club and ask them. Check your title. If there is ANYTHING ABOUT THE CLUB, then you are more than likely in it.

      Yes, this whole web site is about this dues paying system and what happened to us when we tried to change it.

      Reply

  3. Joe & Kim hicks
    September 19, 2021 @ 2:31 pm

    We bought our home 4 years ago and saw no mention of having to pay dues. How can we find out for sure that we’re not going to get a surprise?

    Reply

    • Robert
      September 19, 2021 @ 4:45 pm

      Hi, Joe and Kim,

      Your real estate agent is required to disclose that information and your attorney should have knowledge of the same. When you contact them, don’t be surprised if
      your house is part of the club. On the other hand, if you haven’t been paying dues and you haven’t received any overdue bills, then you MAY have somehow luckily managed to buy property that is not part of the club. Non-club properties are a rare find.

      Reply

  4. dave st. bees
    April 3, 2022 @ 5:46 pm

    I like the club and don’t mind paying the $155 per year for the benefits of the facilities, including gym, shower, cafe and events.

    Reply

    • Robert
      April 7, 2022 @ 8:23 am

      Did your real estate agent or lawyer explain to you that you were buying an encumbered property, with no way to remove the encumbrance? Ours didn’t. And, if you read the other comments on that page, you’d notice that we’re not alone. (Even the banks don’t understand it because the lien has NO value and can’t be paid off.)

      Did anyone explain that if you oppose the mandatory dues scheme, that the club will start a file on you, tracking any letter to the editor you write, any web site comment you make, or anything that you say or do against the club? They did on me. The club went so far with me, they took it to the bankruptcy court in Olympia, forcing me to waste my time driving there and back. And you know what happen? The judge THREW THEM OUT OF COURT! They knew they had no business bringing me to court; it was simply a scare tactic that didn’t work. It cost the club a pot full of money to do that; all for nothing.

      It all boils down to this:

      If the club can claim property owners have the right to encumber their properties, then, conversely, they also have the right to remove those encumbrances. The club does everything it can to prevent that by rigging the elections.

      Read, how in 2004, a group of us put up a candidate that wanted to change to voluntary dues – like every other private recreational club in the United States. We even got a letter from the club, explaining how to use proxies. We carefully followed the instructions given us. But, when it became apparent that we were going to get someone on the board, they held an emergency board meeting where they changed the rules and declared all proxies invalid. Is that a fair election?

      Then, in the meeting following the “election”, they initiated an oath of allegiance to support the rules of the club – which was already required in the Bylaws – but this oath went further by including about supporting the bankruptcy decree and you were required sign it before you could run for election. This constituted a change in candidate requirements, which requires a change in the Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation and demands the vote of the majority of members to make legal. That was never done while we were there. They still rig elections to keep the club with forced membership. That’s not what we do in this country. If fact, you will find no other private recreational club in the USA that has liens on people’s property and forces them to pay dues. And, by the way, the club is not a homeowners/condo association, it’s a property owners association. And that’s a big difference in Washington and makes everything they do illegal if it weren’t for a barrage of lies told to and never checked by the bankruptcy court.

      So, Dave, if you take the time and read what happened to us and others and still think it’s just fine to force others to pay for your enjoyment, then continue to enjoy the club and cheap dues, but keep in mind that your enjoyment in the club is at the expense of those who don’t want or use any of the services offered by the club. You mention the gym, shower, cafe and events. But what if you don’t use a gym? Have a shower at home? Frequent local eating establishments? Schedule your own events and trips? They may not want or need the club, but you still want to force others to pay for it? Then I have to ask the same question I ask all the others: What kind of human being does this at the expense of other humans beings just to save a few dollars?

      Reply

  5. K
    July 20, 2022 @ 1:14 pm

    It is just like any property that is in an HOA. The only difference is that you pay a very nominal fee for a wonderful club and facilities, but there are no HOA rules governing your property. You would never expect to get out from under paying HOA fees.

    Reply

    • Robert
      July 20, 2022 @ 1:30 pm

      First of all, there IS one big rule governing your property with the Ocean Shores Community Club: pay your dues or we take your home. At least HOA’s don’t take your home.

      This is NOT an HOA. In fact, under Washington law, it is a PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION and it has NO standing in Washington court. And you’re right: I wouldn’t expect to resign from an HOA. But, again this is NOT and never has been an HOA or a COA. You, obviously, have never read anything about the club before you bought property nor have you bothered to read this entire site. Try reading my reply to the the post above.

      And, by the way, YOU may think this FORCED ENROLLMENT for a small fee for a “wonderful club and facilities”, but there are MANY out there who don’t agree with that evaluation and you still want to force them to pay dues JUST SO YOUR DUES CAN BE KEPT LOW?

      If you think forced enrollment to ANYTHING is acceptable, then move to a country like China or North Korea or Russia.

      The “our way or you lose you home” makes me sick.

      Reply

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