#12 Story
Dickie Foster, Joan Natali Taken off Bay Creek Board

Bay Creek developer Richard "Dickie" Foster toasts Oral and Mrs. Lamber during happier times in 2008. (Photo: Virginian-Pilot)

Bay Creek developer Richard “Dickie” Foster toasts Oral and Mrs. Lambert during happier times in 2008. (Photo: Virginian-Pilot)


March 16, 2015

Threatened by a palace revolt, Bay Creek South owner Keyser/Sinclair has removed founder Richard “Dickie” Foster as president of the Bay Creek Community Association. Cape Charles Town Council member Joan Natali is also being removed from her position as a voting board member of the Association.

The action was announced March 11 by Bay Creek South LLC President Gary Dorsch at a property owners meeting. Dorsch appointed longtime Foster associate Oral Lambert to replace Foster as president.

Bay Creek neighbors Dr. Paul Strong and Steve and Susan Husak led a threatened legal challenge to Dorsch for his company’s failure to charge monthly dues to Foster for the 75 lots he still owns through his two companies, Bay Creek LLC and Baymark Construction. Operating under the name “Bay Creek Citizen Group,” Strong and the Husaks alerted fellow residents to the fact that while they were being charged $155 a month for each lot they owned, Foster had not been charged anything for the past seven years following his sale of most of Bay Creek to Keyser/Sinclair. More than 200 Bay Creek owners signed on to the Citizen Group’s complaint.

The Citizen Group also charged that Bay Creek South (Keyser/Sinclair) had been unable to substantiate its claimed costs for various improvements used to justify its own exemption from paying property dues. “When residents attempted to exercise their right under both the Declarations and Virginia law to examine the records substantiating these costs, they were told they had been ‘lost,'” the Citizen Group said.

The issue is complicated by the fact that Bay Creek property owners do not have control over their own Community Association. Instead, owner Keyser/Sinclair, known as the “declarant,” controls the Association. The by-laws call for control to pass to the actual property owners not later than 2021. In the meantime Dorsch controls the Community Association in the name of the declarant.

Another wrinkle is that the majority of dues go to pay for grounds maintenance — and the company performing the maintenance is owned by Foster. There is no bidding  — the Association simply pays whatever Foster charges.


Almost three years ago, former Foster business partner Paul Galloway foreshadowed the events of this past week. “It’s called a homeowner’s association but it’s really Mr. Foster’s association,” Galloway said in 2012. “If this [Bay Creek] development has any hope for the future, the homeowners, not Mr. Foster, need to be given control.”

But in fact, while no longer president, Foster still has considerable control in that he tells the Association how much they must pay him for property maintenance.

Town Council member Natali also sat on Bay Creek Board. (Wave photo)

It was not explained exactly why voting member Joan Natali is losing her position, but according to the Citizen Group, Dorsch has promised that all property owners now will be allowed to vote for one member of the Association. Natali is losing her position to make room for one popularly elected at-large Board member, and the election should occur “within the next few months.”

Under the Association by-laws, each neighborhood gets one voting member, and Natali represented the Hollies neighborhood — coincidentally (or perhaps not) the same neighborhood where Strong and the Husaks live. The by-laws ensure that the declarant (Bay Creek South) has more votes than all the neighborhood voting members combined.

Bay Creek residents Natali and Steve Bennett constitute two of the six members of Cape Charles Town Council, and have also been close to Foster. Bennett headed Foster’s company Baymark Construction until Commonwealth’s Attorney Bruce Jones suggested Bennett could have a conflict of interest by also sitting on Town Council. Bennett kept his Council seat, but within a week he no longer worked at Baymark.

During Natali and Bennett’s time on Town Council, the town bought seven vacant lots on Randolph Avenue from Foster for $100,000. Previously the town had leased the lots from Foster, although no purpose for the lots was ever demonstrated other than to exhibit a welcome sign. Under the lease terms, Foster paid no property tax to the town for the lots.

Foster has been steadily reducing his presence in Cape Charles, although he still owns considerable real estate. County tax records list 78 properties owned by Bay Creek LLC and another 50 properties under the name of  Baymark Construction (both owned by Foster). As of March 2015, Bay Creek LLC and Baymark Construction owed Northampton County some $86,000 in back real estate taxes, which does not include any amounts that might be owed to the Town of Cape Charles.

In addition to back taxes, Foster will now be required to pay $140,000 annually to the Bay Creek Community Association.




7 Responses to “#12 Story
Dickie Foster, Joan Natali Taken off Bay Creek Board”

  1. Kearn Schemm on March 16th, 2015 9:54 am

    A wonderful, informative article that put many of the dealings in CC in context.

  2. Daniel Burke on March 16th, 2015 4:49 pm

    This is the kind of reporting that differentiates a newspaper from a blog. No emotional buffoonery, just full of information that someone worked their butt off to report. So informative. Great job Wave!

  3. Anne Hallerman on March 16th, 2015 7:40 pm

    Good article. Thank you. One clarification: Brett Campbell of Community Group, the company who manages our Homeowners Association, told homeowners at a meeting last fall that all of the community services were going out for bid in 2015. That would include the landscape maintenance service and the neighborhood security service, as I understood him. You may want to verify your statement about the landscape service as a non-bid.

    Thank you — our report is believed to be accurate as of now, but we had not been made aware of plans to bid out landscape services in 2015. If you can, please comment again to let readers know if and when this actually happens (and who gets the bid). –EDITOR

  4. Ron Wrucke on March 19th, 2015 5:26 pm

    D. Burke wrote: “This is the kind of reporting that differentiates a newspaper from a blog.” Bingo! This article was “emotional buffoonery” at its best! Very difficult to find a factual statement anywhere.

    Mr. Wrucke, as a Bay Creek Community Association Board member, perhaps you could elaborate on your comment by listing some of the non-factual statements you found in the story. And do you also characterize the challenge from your 200 neighbors who joined the Citizen Group as “emotional buffoonery”? –EDITOR

  5. Ron Wrucke on March 20th, 2015 2:47 pm

    Misinformation again — I’m not a Board Member. Editor wrote, “And do you also characterize the challenge from your 200 neighbors who joined the Citizen Group as ‘emotional buffoonery’?” No. The only buffoonery was the Wave article. You wrote the article, so you know exactly how you misrepresented and enbellished your “statements.” Either that, or you used one really poor source for your info. I could see how that could happen. :-)

    Mr. Wrucke may not now be a Board member (see below), but he continues in his role as apologist for the Keyser-Sinclair-run Association. CLICK to read his reaction to the Wave’s January 2014 report of a settlement of the Galloway brothers’ lawsuit against the Association and Foster. Wrucke claimed the settlement terms (which were unknown at the time) were wholly in favor of Foster and his Association. As revealed later in a Wave story, the opposite was true. The Association did get payment for the Galloways’ overdue property assessments. But the Galloways got an immediate $450,000 cash settlement plus Foster’s lighthouse (which cost $1 million to construct) and most of the excess proceeds from the foreclosure sale of Aqua Restaurant, Bay Creek Marina, and related properties. Of those excess profits, $260,000 was allotted for infrastructure improvements in Marina Village East, which was a basis of the lawsuit, $50,000 went to Foster (all he saw from his original multi-million-dollar investment), and the roughly $1 million left over went to the Galloways. Mr. Wrucke’s misleading version of the settlement was later invalidated by the Association’s own attorney, Jeff Hunn — but only after Wave reporting caused such an uproar among Bay Creek property owners that the Association was forced to reveal the actual terms of the settlement. — EDITOR

    PS: Here is our source for the Association members as of November 6, 2014:

    I am sharing the following information received from Brett Campbell, Community Manager for Bay Creek.
    — Joan [Natali]

    Kings Bay:
    Heinz Sommer — Voting Member
    Andrew Follmer — Alternate Voting Member

    Ron Wrucke — Voting Member

    New Quarter:
    Ann Berg — Voting Member
    Richard Leal — Alternate Voting Member

    The Hollies:
    Joan Natali — Voting Member
    Mark Henry — Alternate Voting Member

    Fairways Neighborhood Association
    John Schoeneck — Voting Member
    Everett Arndt — Alternate Voting Member

  6. Dana Lascu on March 21st, 2015 12:43 am

    Perhaps, Mr. Wrucke, you did not attend the HOA Board meeting or you were not copied on the March 12 letter from the Bay Creek Citizen Group, hence your peculiar comments regarding this article. Alternatively, why would it be in your interest to criticize a straightforward, well-written article that correctly represents the outcome of the Group’s concerted effort?

  7. Ron Wrucke on March 22nd, 2015 12:47 pm

    Editor said “Wrucke claimed the settlement terms (which were unknown at the time) were wholly in favor of Foster and his Association.” Misinformation again — If anybody bothers to take the time to see what I said, I stated “That’s (the settlement) a big win for the Bay Creek HOA, and I can’t understand why any Bay Creek property owner paying HOA dues isn’t overjoyed with the Settlement.” Too bad we can’t get all the delinquents to pay their bills!! I’m not sure just what you mean when you say “Foster and his Association”?

    Editor said “Here is our source for the Association members as of November 6, 2014″. I was questioning the credibility of your source for your original compilation of “emotional buffoonery” (I like that term — very appropriate!).

    Three comments later, still no specifics on the lack of “factual statements” in the Wave report. Maybe in a fourth comment? –EDITOR