Some Lake residents call for resignation of LMOA board member for anti-LGBTQ+ meme

Over 400 residents sign petition

By Heather Michon

Some Lake Monticello residents came to this year’s annual meeting on Saturday (June 24) armed with a petition and words of condemnation for board member Donald Polonis after he posted an anti-LGBTQ+ meme on a local Facebook group page and later disclosed the contact information of a resident who had emailed him to criticize his actions.

“I’m sorry Mr. Polonis, you’re not the right person to represent our community,” one Lake resident told him during the meeting’s public comment period.

Polonis, who is one of seven elected members of the LMOA’s Board of Directors, posted the anti-LGBTQ+ image on the “Fluvanna County Conservatives” page on June 2. At one point the meme was also on his Facebook page.

The image featured a rainbow background and referenced Biblical scripture, number theory, and color symbolism. The meme compares “the official rainbow” with the LBGTQ+ Pride flag and ends with the statement: “GOD CREATES. SATAN IMITATES.”

“Imagine that!” Polonis wrote at the top of the post. “Satan f…d up when he stole Noah’s covenant to create the LBGQ+ [sic] pride flag.” He ended with a string of smiling emojis.

LGBTQIA+ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

After a Lake resident emailed the members of the Board of Directors in protest, Polonis posted the email to the same group page. The email contained the person’s contact information. 

When asked by the audience on Saturday, he indicated that he had not removed the post or redacted the information.

At that time, only Fluvanna County Conservatives page members could post and comment, but all posts were visible to the public. Page administrators have since changed the settings to private, meaning only group members can see the posts.  

Concerned Lake residents launched an online petition calling for his resignation late in the day on Thursday. By Saturday morning, it had collected more than 400 signatures. 

During the meeting, Directors Gary Sellick, Johnny Williamson, Jeff Spinello, and President Larry Henson condemned Polonis’s actions. Outgoing board members Debra Kurre and Jay Hinkle were unable to attend the meeting due to medical and scheduling issues.

Polonis, who has two years left on his term, gave no indication he was willing to step down. Instead, he denied intimidating anyone and suggested he himself was being bullied. As residents peppered him with questions and comments, he said: “And you can’t listen. And that’s a problem. People don’t listen to each other.”

Henson said the organization had been in constant conversation for the past week and asked the community for patience as the investigation played out. “This does not end today. There is a process, and we will follow the process. We will deal with this in the right way.”

That said, he cautioned the audience that, under the LMOA bylaws, there was little the Board could do beyond censuring Polonis. Removing a director from his seat would require a special election and the majority of votes from all 4,600 households in the community. The cost of holding an election would have to be paid by the members.

In an email to the Fluvanna Review received on Monday, Polonis apologized for releasing the personal information, but said he would not resign. 

“It was a mistake for me to publish the home address of a resident on social media,” he wrote. “I did not intend any harm, but merely to present an authentic, unedited copy of a communication I received. For this I apologize.”

He went on to say he supports the right of the community “to criticize me for my views and my mistake. Communities have to able to communicate. I do not intend to resign because people disagree with me.”

Polonis said he would respect the decision of the community if they voted to remove him. “But I, for one, do not support using the money of our property owners to silence people. It is okay to criticize, but it’s not okay to cancel people.”

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