Resident Craig response to Board President Knowles allegations

In response to allegations PLCA President Clyde Knowles made during the June 15, 2016 PLCA Board Meeting, with her permission, Professor Craig allowed the blog to publish her June 17, 2016 communication  (including a list of her impressive credentials) as follows:


Mr. Knowles,

I write to you to say that I was quite surprised by both the content and angry and intemperate delivery of your remarks about me.  The fact that your claims were not accurate is of course troubling.  I was not present for this attack, as I was at the Bonita City Council meeting held at the same time to represent an RBC concern about an agenda item, or I would have made these comments to you directly at the Board meeting.

In an article on line in one of today’s papers there was a statement that is apropos in our community as well:  “Political discussion can be civil or rowdy, gracious or mean.  But to have any meaning it has to be grounded in fact.”  I strive to be civil and gracious, and I always ground my position in fact, in so far as it is knowable; careful and thorough analysis; and reasoned argument.  And I try to stick to the issue not the messenger.  But in this case, the messenger has made untruthful allegations and done so in a quite personal and public manner,  thus I respond to the allegations and the method of delivering same.

I know we disagree on some issues including whether the Board is required by law to provide the compensation information about Association employees to me as an owner requesting it under a specific provision of state law.  You will be provided, I assume, by Attorney Hart with my Motion for Summary Judgment in this case filed yesterday in Circuit Court in which I lay out the legal and constitutional issues and arguments I believe support my position.  This analysis of law and constitution provided by me as a “pro se” filer is based on a long history of research, publication, and teaching on the topics involved.  I have not claimed that I am an attorney in this effort any more than I have claimed that I am an attorney in any other statements oral or written I have made about this issue or the present one concerning turnover issues, annexation, dead hand control, design of the post turnover Board or the law and document provisions covering them.  However, I will claim that I have some level of expertise on the issues involved.

So here is a summary of my credentials on this point:  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Masters in Philosophy, a Masters of Public Administration and a Doctorate in Public Law.  Just to clarify the latter, public law includes constitutional law, administrative law, congressional and regulatory law and policy, and the judicial interpretation and rulings on same.  I am the author of four books and many articles on these topics.  My second book (Chadha: The Story of an Epic Constitutional Struggle, Oxford University Press, (republished by University of California Press in paperback) was the winner of the American Bar Association “Silver Gavel Award: In recognition of an outstanding contribution to public understanding of the American System of law and justice.”  One of my books is a study of 25 years of a litigating group’s cases that range from constitutional separation of powers cases, to environmental and consumer regulatory cases, to management-union cases to Freedom of Information and Sunshine Law cases.  Another of my books is in part a study of the privacy doctrine as it was developed from Griswold v. Connecticut (the birth control case) through the first abortion case (Roe) and the subsequent modifications of same.

Just to clarify:

I have never claimed to be an attorney.

My remarks at the UOC meeting consisted of reading a two-page statement which was based upon the advice of RBC’s attorney concerning why we need to act now to challenge WCI.  I clearly stated it was based on our attorney’s opinion.  It took all of maybe five minutes to deliver.  At one other point in the meeting I answered a question as to what options we had if we did not agree with WCI’s publically filed turnover plan to which I replied:  we can try to get them to negotiate a different outcome or we can take legal action or accept the results.  That is it.  Hardly 61% of an over 2 hour long meeting.

I have made an effort to educate owners here about the issues and to raise funds to support RBC’s legal challenge against WCI over annexation and turnover issues and against WCI’s zoning and Comprehensive Plan applications for the planed towers at Raptor Bay.  I have done so at the invitation of various neighborhoods or in privately held fund raising events. These are PLCA members working to advance a specific owner concern—not some outside charity or political candidate. I do not think the PLCA Board has power over what the different condo and neighborhood associations chose to do at their meetings and I am quite positive you do not have power over private fundraising events.  There is of course no way such efforts can be mounted without funds to pay the legal costs.  Owner groups here in PLCA have done such in the past (of course the two owners groups involved in the Settlement Agreement are the most obvious example but there are others as well).  There is ample precedent for this.

I would like to note that because people disagree does not mean that they have to become nasty about it.  I accept that you do not agree with me on the compensation issue.  I think I am legally correct and because I believe strongly that there is a reason for making such information available to those who pay for it I will press on. I do so on my own. RBC is in no way involved in this effort. The court will decide.  I have to say that, honestly I do not understand the vehemence with which the Board is fighting this;  it brings to mind Shakespeare and “methinks he doth protest too much”.  And I did not understand the public attack (this one I was sitting there for) you made on me at a Board Meeting some months ago using information that was without legal “legs” and an attitude that seemed to imply the world would end if this information were to get out and would destroy our property values.  Whatever, I let it go without remark as to me this is a legal not a personal matter and not worth “putting on the gloves” to defend.

On many occasions you have said to me that you do not disagree with me about the annexation and towers issues; that you are supportive of RBC’s efforts on those issues.  I gather your opinion has changed. While I wholly support the right of anyone to change his opinion, I think on this sort of “turn around” where you are an elected representative of a large community where opposition to annexation is huge that you at least have a responsibility to explain your changed positon.

Whatever, I assure you RBC will go on with its legal actions and will try at least to prevent this WCI exercise of “predatory control” as a couple of my RBC colleagues’ term it.

I would hope the Board would understand the value of what we are trying to do and support it at whatever level you think appropriate, but at a minimum at least not attack the very folks who are working on behalf of the future property rights and value of us all. WCI is the enemy at this moment to us all. I am not. RBC is not. The UOC is not.

Hopefully, with time to reflect on your actions at the Wednesday Board meeting you will rethink some of your comments and positions.  Truly we are all in this together and at base we all have the same self-interest—to protect the nature and promise of the sort of community we bought into here.

Just to note, I write this to you as me an individual.  I am not speaking here for anyone else.  However, I will share my remarks with some of the folks I know were there to hear your unfounded attack on me.

Cordially,  Barbara Craig


Blog notes:

If you wish to listed to the audio recording of the last 35 minutes of this meeting  which began in a very positive tone and proceeded to diminished dramatically in the last 1/2 hour)  Please click on the following link:  June 15 2016 Board Meeting – last 35 minutes

The entire meeting can be heard as well by clicking on the following link.  This is a copy of PLCA’s digital recording:  (turnover discussions began 1 hour and 23 minutes into the meeting)

5 thoughts on “Resident Craig response to Board President Knowles allegations

  1. I would gladly support and contribute to the RBC if the RBC would work with the PLCA and not against it. The issue is WCI. But the continued at racks against Board members past and current is just intolerable. Afraid of the RBC

  2. It appears that the PLCA Board’s President forgets that we live in the United States where we have more freedoms than any other country. Freedom of speech means that anyone can speak on any subject and CERAINLY NO ONE NEEDS TO BE A LAWYER TO QUOTE THE LAW OR HAVE AN OPINON ON THE LAW. Americans know many laws e.g.,Thou shall not kill; thou shall not steal, thou shall not bear false witness; and thou shall not violate the Florida Home Owners Association statute with lame excuses. You are either obeying the law and if not you are violating the law. Barbara Craig is to be commended for taking a stand against the President of the PLCA board’s comments. I can respect disagreement but find it hard to respect those who have no respect for the law. Only those individuals who have no substance or support for what they say rush to rely upon their position to brush aside Barbara’s cogent argument. It’s just another way of saying “how dare you question my judgement”, when the lack of good judgement is absent.

  3. Thank you Barbara Craig for all your dedication, time and effort in this troubling situation we find ourselves in with WCI. Mr. Knowles’ behaviour is especially disturbing given his role as a PLCA Board member who is suppossed to be representing the people of Pelican Landing. We expect better from the people who represent us. And, we get far far better from you, all of RBC, our UOC representatives and the many others who are involved in protecting our homes and way of life in Pelican Landing from this attack by WCI. Thank you to all of you! We are very fortunate to have you and so many other very talented residents who understand the issues and whose leadership is invaluable.

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