LMOA director censured, vote for removal set for September

By Heather Michon

During last Tuesday’s (June 27) special meeting of the Lake Monticello Board of Directors meeting, President Larry Henson asked embattled Director Don Polonis the same question in public that he had asked in private: “Will you resign?”

“You know my answer,” Polonis replied. “I won’t.”

With the battle lines drawn, the directors had little choice but to call for a special meeting of all Lake Monticello member households to vote on Polonis’s removal from the board.


The vote came after days of controversy sparked by posts Polonis made on the “Fluvanna County Conservatives” Facebook page last month. 

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, dedicated to celebrating members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. On June 2, Polonis posted an image featuring a rainbow background, with text referencing 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 fuc*ed up when he stole Noah’s covenant to create the LBGQ+ [sic] pride flag.” He ended with a string of smiling emojis.

After Lake resident Kelsey Cowger wrote an email to the Board condemning his original post, Polonis posted the email, including her name and other contact information, on the same Fluvanna County Conservatives page.      

Polonis later apologized for posting the unredacted email online, and a Fluvanna County Conservatives page administrator confirmed that Cowger’s contact information has been removed. 

By the time LMOA held its annual meeting on June 24, a petition calling on Polonis to resign had amassed over 400 signatures and calls for his resignation or removal dominated the meeting. Henson later called for a special meeting on June 29 to discuss next steps.


The first action on the agenda on Monday night was to censure Polonis for his actions. Director Gary Sellick read a formal complaint listing five instances over the course of a year where Polonis had violated LMOA’s social media policy and the Board’s code of ethics.

“The board has tried on numerous occasions to get Director Polonis to amend his actions and has been rebuffed in every instance,” read Sellick. “With no stronger measures available to the board at this time, I recommend a full censure of Director Polonis.”

“I am a Christian, and I hold to traditional Christian views, such as a belief in God, a belief in Satan, and a belief that homosexuality is immoral. People disagree with these views, and I disagree with them,” said Polonis in his own concluding remarks. “I seek to do them no harm, and though my beliefs may offend others, I stand by them.”

Polonis flatly denied he had violated the association’s rules and regulations and that a social media policy does not exist on the LMOA webpage. He said that the special meeting notice “points to a duty of honesty, as though an honest expression of my religious beliefs violates that duty.”

He apologized for publishing Cowger’s address, “But I apologize because it was imprudent, not because it was illegal. A home address is information easily available in online public records, and in fact, the Association’s membership list and addresses can be inspected and copied by any member of the association, under Virginia law. It is not confidential.” 

“I wish to remind the Board that I sit on this Board as an elected representative, and my qualifications for this post is one of the privileges arising from the sale of the property to me. This Association is not allowed to discriminate against me with respect to that privilege because of my religion, under both state and federal law.”

Directors then voted 6-0 in favor of censure. 


Among the first speakers during public comments was Kelsey Cowger. “I’m here tonight because Don Polonis must be removed from the board immediately,” she said. “There is no other recourse.”

Cowger’s partner, Dr. Matthew Carter, identifies as queer, and when she saw Polonis’s online comments, she wrote the board in protest. “Then Don Polonis posted our names, our home address, and my email address to a public forum populated by gun enthusiasts and Unite the Right sympathizers and implied that our family was Satanic. When we asked him to take down our contact information, he claimed that we were bullying him.”

Because of his actions, they now have to worry about threats to their home and the safety of their two-year-old son. “We are homeowners in this community and we have as much right to be here as Don Polonis,” she said.


A number of  resident stood to demand Polonis be immediately removed – but the Board of Directors does not have that power.

Under the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act, elected directors can only be removed by a majority vote of members. That means that at least 2,200 of Lake Monticello’s member households would have to vote for him to be ousted.

Board members tried to set expectations low, saying that sort of turnout would far exceed any vote in the Lake’s history. 

While details are not yet available, voting will likely begin in mid-August, with a special meeting coming on September 12 to tabulate the results. 

“In the meantime, Don Polonis’ membership on the Board of Directors is protected by law,” said a recent LMOA notice.  

A GoFundMe account called “Censured LMOA Board Member MUST Go” has been set up to raise funds for lawn signs, mailers, and other forms of outreach. As of Monday morning, donations had reached $2,750 of its $5,000 goal.

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