In a situation reminiscent of Broward County Florida in 2000 Bush v Gore, the Diamondhead Country Club and Property Owners Association is now in a turmoil over who is president of the Mississippi nonprofit corporation.
After the count of votes taken at the membership meeting on June 18 showing him losing his bid for the presidency of the DHCC&POA, Carl Necaise, one of two candidates for requested a recount of the presidential votes. Both candidates, Necaise and Donald Laird, agreed to a recount on Wednesday, June 22 and attended the proceedings along with two observers each, staff from the CPA firm that performed the original count, DHCC&POA President John Fletcher, and POA general manager Mark Boyd.
Ballots, which had been double sealed immediately following Saturday’s tally, showed no sign of tampering and were recounted several times to ensure accuracy. The recount resulted in Carl Necaise having received 637 votes to Donald Laird’s 636.
The discrepancy revolves around one single ballot. The ballot was marked with a number “2” and was originally counted twice. Since no member is allowed to vote twice, the ballot was entirely questionable. Should it be declared illegal and thrown out, legal and counted as one vote, or legal and counted as two votes? If it’s illegal, Necaise won by two votes; if it’s legal and counts for one, Necaise won by one vote, and if it were counted as two, the candidates tied. The board attorney was notified and a meeting was set for Monday, June 27, with the board attorney for his findings and advice. The attorney stated that John Fletcher is still president until the matter is settled.
Fletcher, who states that he simply read out the tally of votes at the annual meeting and deliberately refrained from declaring winners due to the closeness of the presidential race, has now issued a notice declaring Carl Necaise, and the other candidates whose election was unchallenged, the winners.
However, yesterday afternoon, Mr. Laird suddenly issued a notice to the new board, sent out by Mark Boyd, that as president he was calling a workshop meeting for Monday evening. Craig Harvey,a director of the DHCC&POA, on Laird’s behalf, argues that he is the elected president until such time as proven otherwise. Based on what authority, he does not say.
Harvey’s term expires in two years.