IDAHO FALLS (KIFI) – A local homeowner’s association is disputing claims that an elderly veteran may be forced out of his home due to HOA fees.

[Local News 8 reported Friday that 80-year-old Bob Reinisch was asked to pay a total of $3,500 in fees and assessments to the Gem Lake Harbor Homeowner’s Association, which he said he cannot afford. His petition to exempt veterans over 70 years of age from the fees was denied and a July 1st deadline was issued.](

Local News 8 verified the claims made above through documentation provided by Reinisch.

Local News 8 reached out to the Gem Lake Harbor Homeowner’s Association at 3:22 p.m. on Friday at the beginning of our news gathering process. The story aired at 10 p.m. Friday. The HOA did not respond to our request for comment until 9:04 p.m. Saturday.

The HOA asked Local News 8 to take down Friday’s story in the statement it provided. We stand by our reporting and do not plan on doing so. Local News 8 remains committed to providing both sides of every story. As a result, we have sent the HOA another request to comment on-camera.

In the interests of transparency, we are publishing the statement from the Gem Lake Harbor Homeowner’s Association in its entirety. It has not been edited or condensed for clarity in any way.

The HOA’s statement can be read below.


We, the Gem Lake Harbor Homeowners Association (HOA), feel compelled to address the recent news story aired by Local News 8, which contains several inaccuracies and misleading information regarding our community and the special assessment recently approved by our members.  My intention in sending this response is to request that the interview with Bob Reinisch be taken down immediately.  As a neighbor and someone who respects Mr. Reinisch, I do not want to bring any type of public humiliation to him or his family.  Bob was present at a previous meeting where the potential assessment was introduced.  However, he was not in attendance at the meeting he referenced and it’s very apparent that he is not aware of the facts.  It’s very disappointing that this interview was aired by Local News 8 before doing your due diligence in investigating the facts.

To be honest, this article and the public’s response has left me shocked and heartbroken.  I feel that the facts should have been checked prior to publishing the article.  Due to it being Memorial Day weekend, I did not see your email until now & I am not available for an interview.  The lack of time that Local News 8 gave me to respond is completely unprofessional.  

First and foremost, we are deeply saddened by the passing of a community member.  We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family during this difficult time. However, his passing was 5 weeks prior to the meeting referred to by Mr. Reinisch. The suggestion that this tragic event was directly caused by stress from the HOA’s special assessment is unfounded and lacks any medical or factual basis.  Additionally, it is important to clarify that the elderly member who sadly passed away had, in fact, voted in favor of the special assessment at a previous meeting.  He was a strong supporter of the community park initiative and was actively exploring ways to help reduce the cost of construction through personal contributions above and beyond his obligation. His commitment to the betterment of our community was evident and deeply appreciated.

The Homeowners Association (HOA) Board is a volunteer group of 6 individuals that were elected by the Homeowners Association.  As a Board, we were asked to work on a plan to develop a 4.7 acre park that sits in the middle of the new housing division.  To keep expenses minimal, we decided to break the project into phases.  The first phase was voted on and passed by the majority of homeowners during a meeting on May 18th.  This phase will include topsoil, irrigation, and grass seed.  The majority of homeowners are excited to have a place for their children and grandchildren to play.  Other homeowners are very happy that the large area will be cleaned up and maintained in an efficient manner.

Mr. Reinisch is simply wrong when he says he’s being forced from his home if he doesn’t pay his share of the assessment.  The fact is that Mr. Reinisch can live in his house as long as he wants without paying any assessments. During the meeting on May 18th, at which Mr. Reinisch was not in attendance; the community passed a motion to waive all late penalties for the one-time special assessment.  We also explained a means to offer financing where necessary.

We value transparency and community input, and we always strive to make decisions that reflect the best interests of all our residents. We encourage open dialogue and invite any homeowner with concerns to attend our meetings or contact us directly.

In conclusion, the Gem Lake Harbor HOA is committed to fostering a supportive and harmonious community. We will continue to work diligently to ensure that our neighborhood remains a desirable place to live for all its members.

Regarding the claims made by Mr. Reinisch:

1. **Annual Homeowner’s Fee**: The annual fee of $500, is standard practice for many HOAs to cover essential maintenance and administrative costs. This was communicated clearly to all homeowners as part of the initiation of the development.  Mr. Reinisch has lived in his home for 23 years and all fees had been waived until last year.

2. **Special Assessment**: The special assessment, although a significant expense, was necessary for the development of community amenities that benefit all residents. The decision was not made lightly and followed extensive discussions and a democratic vote.

3. **Exemptions for Veterans and Older Members**: While we deeply respect and honor our veterans, the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CCRs) that govern our HOA do not allow for exemptions based on age or veteran status without an amendment. Such an amendment would require a two-thirds majority vote from the membership. This process ensures fairness and equality among all homeowners, irrespective of their background.

4. **Health and Safety Concerns**: We take the well-being of our residents seriously. While Mr. Reinisch reported experiencing chest pains during the meeting, we urge any resident facing health issues to seek immediate medical attention. The HOA cannot take responsibility for individual health incidents unless directly related to HOA activities or negligence, which was not the case here.


Heather Bradshaw

President, Gem Lake Harbor Homeowners Association  

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