By Karen Billing
Rancho Santa Fe Association board member Ann Boon may take legal action unless she receives a retraction from 33 Covenant members for comments made in a letter submitted to the RSF Association board on the afternoon of Feb. 14. Boon was removed from her role as president of the Association board on Feb. 20 by a 5-2 vote of her fellow board members.
“The board lost confidence in Ann’s leadership and felt she was no longer the right person to run the board,” RSF Association Vice President Rochelle Putnam said at the Feb. 20 meeting.
At the March 6 RSF Association meeting, two Covenant members spoke during public comment about receiving letters from Boon’s attorney in response to their own letter submitted to the Association on Feb. 14.
The Feb. 14 letter was signed by 33 Covenant members and, according to public comments at subsequent meetings, questioned Boon’s leadership as well as her treatment of staff. (The letter was not available at the RSF Association for media review.)
All of the people who signed the Feb. 14 letter submitted to the RSF Association received letters from Boon’s attorney, according to Bill Hinchy, one of the signees. At the RSF Association board’s March 6 meeting, Hinchy said the letter stated that Boon has retained counsel and is prepared to file an extensive lawsuit unless the 33 people sign an enumerated retraction form.
“Her interest as a member of the board of directors and her interest as a litigant may come into conflict with each other,” Hinchy cautioned the board.
Nancy Hillgren, another Covenant member who received a letter from Boon’s attorney, also spoke in public comment at the RSF Association board’s March 6 meeting. Hillgren said they are being threatened to be sued unless they cease their criticisms of Boon. She said that the removal of a president and the threatening of lawsuits against members are “two new lows for Rancho Santa Fe.”
“Why can’t you work cooperatively to bring the community together for healthy solutions rather than cause animosity?” Hillgren said at the March 6 RSF Association board meeting.
Boon submitted a press release statement in response to the revelations at the March 6 meeting:
“As Association members and board members we are all neighbors and volunteers. Sometimes we may hold strongly divergent views about issues that come before the board. Especially when controversies arise, it is always important to treat one another, and our hard working staff, respectfully. Recently, the Board of Directors received a letter signed by thirty-three members about me. I consulted with legal counsel about certain things that were said about me in the letter. I have asked the authors to retract certain statements in the letter. I am hopeful that the authors will agree with me that the statements should not have been made. I respect the right of every member to engage in spirited debate over the issues and I am not afraid of fair criticism of my views or my actions. I am hopeful that this matter can be quickly resolved and we can all move forward in a mutually respectful manner.”