Polonis survives removal vote but a new community is born

By Heather Michon

Before the results of this summer’s special election to remove embattled LMOA Director Donald Polonis were announced on Tuesday night (Sept. 12), those who had campaigned against him were united on one point: even if they lost the vote, they had won.

More than 50 residents gathered at the Lake clubhouse to hear the final vote tally. Several stepped up to the podium to share their thoughts about the summer’s events.

I’m here tonight feeling proud,” said Jennifer Richardson. 

Georgianna Joslin said Polonis had paradoxically brought a community together and expanded on it, as LGBTQ+ residents and allies joined the effort to create a safe and welcoming space for all. “Now that people know about this community, it will continue to grow.”

In the space of two months, campaigners acting to remove Polonis had raised nearly $8,000, sent out 3,000 hand-addressed postcards, designed, printed, and distributed around 650 yard signs, called nearly every resident at the Lake, and pressed their case on Facebook, Nextdoor, and on local media.

In the end, their efforts fell just 143 votes short of what was needed to remove Polonis.

Under the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act, “a majority of members eligible to cast a vote is required to remove a director from the board,” said Election Committee Chair Deborah Solowey. For the Lake Monticello Owners Association, this meant “2,256 votes to remove would be needed.”

Her committee tallied 2,480 valid votes. Of these, 2,113 members voted to remove Polonis and 291 to retain him, with 76 abstentions. 

As some in the audience gave way to quiet tears, LMOA Chair Larry Henson said, “I declare that there were insufficient votes cast to remove Director Donald Polonis from the Board of Directors. Director Polonis will remain on the Board of Directors for his elected term.”

The directors were unanimous in their condemnation of Polonis’s homophobic online statements in June. During a special session in late June, they issued a scathing report on his repeated violations of the LMOA social media policies and voted to censure him. They also approved the special election for his removal.

Following the vote, Henson praised the organizers for running a respectful campaign and acting in a way that “reflects the character of our Lake community. While we understand many folks will be disappointed by the outcome, you did achieve a record turnout,” he said.

While the conclusion of the vote ends any actions the LMOA can take against Polonis, Henson urged residents to keep pushing forward on bringing change to the organization. “I think this [situation] was eye-opening for everyone,” he said.

One possibility would be to reincorporate the LMOA outside the restrictions of the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act. This would take a vote by the General Assembly in Richmond, and he encouraged residents to reach out to their representatives. He also encouraged a more diverse group of people to run for board seats. “Let’s change these six white guys.”

Polonis was attending a family event in Massachusetts when the voting results were announced at the Lake. Throughout the controversy, he has held firm in his position that his beliefs and statements are protected by his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

“I thank everyone who voted ‘no’ and especially those members who followed my lead of ‘boycotting the vote’ because we were not informed how the question would be worded until we received our voting document approximately one week after voting started,” he said in an email to the Fluvanna Review.

“Now,” he said, “I look forward to continue working to maintain the high quality of life at the Lake.” 

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138