His yacht club confrontation has board asking whether to yank amenity privileges
By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
After an altercation at the tiki bar at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club that allegedly saw former Ocean Pines Director Tom Janasek accost current Director Josette Wheatley, Director Larry Perrone introduced and tabled a motion during a special meeting on May 25 that could see Janasek suspended from Ocean Pines amenities for a year.
The motion was tabled so the board can review and analyze the facts of the incident and the options available to them.
Witness accounts suggest that on May 20, a Friday, Janasek confronted Wheatley and her husband and the altercation escalated to the point that Yacht Club staff escorted Janasek off the property.
Janasek allegedly returned after being told to leave.
“It’s just beyond the pale,” Perrone said afterward. “It’s outrageous that a member of the board, or for that matter any member of our community, should be abused verbally as Josette Wheatley was on the night of May 20, 2022.”
“There’s no question that it happened, there’s no dispute about what happened … The discussions that we’ve had to this point are whether or not our documents give us the ability to render punishment for actions of this nature. I think the answer to that question is ‘no.’ However, the bylaws also — under the ‘other lawful acts’ provision — make the board responsible for the safety and our amenities. This was a safety issue.”
Perrone claimed during the special meeting that witnesses said the incident for a time looked as if it were going to become physical.
Claims that Janasek appeared intoxicated could not be confirmed.
Janasek has acknowledged that the incident was unfortunate but sees this as just the latest attempt by Perrone and the board to come after him.
“It escalated to a point that it shouldn’t have and I take full responsibility for where it went but I don’t see how I should be banned,” Janasek said. “I’ve been a patron of the yacht club and all the amenities of Ocean Pines for 40 years. I don’t see why there’d be any reason to ban me at this point but it’s an agenda with the board. They like to go after me whenever they can. They did it when I was on the board and they’re doing it now.”
Janasek added that he doesn’t believe he will be banned and, even if he were, he had no plans to seek legal counsel, a possibility some are wary of seeing.
“If this is left to (General Manager John Viola) and he has made it very clear that he is not willing to do anything because he is concerned about litigation, then as a board, we do have an obligation,” Perrone said. “While our general manager may be concerned about litigation coming from Tom, I am more concerned about litigation that could occur in the future if Mr. Janasek is allowed to frequent our operations and this incident happens again and someone is hurt. Then, we’re looking at a lawsuit — the other concern I have.”
Specifically, the ban would prohibit Janasek from entering the yacht club, the Beach Club and the golf club for one year from the date he was notified of the suspension.
“It’s a bigger loss for the community and the amenities if I don’t go (to them),” Janasek said. “So if that’s what they want to do — cut their nose off to spite their face — (let them). Apparently from what I’ve heard in the rumor mill, it’s not going through anyway.”
“It was an effort from Larry Perrone, for sure, who’s had it out to get me for the last two years but I don’t think it’s going to go much further.”
But Perrone said the issue is in no way personal.
“It’s not personal. I have an obligation as a member of the board of directors to protect the community and ensure the safety of anyone who goes to our amenities,” Perrone said. “Whether it was him or someone else, I guess he just doesn’t understand this is not personal. What he did was not acceptable and as a community and as a board, we should not accept that behavior at our amenities whether it’s a board member, employee or any other patron.”
This is not the first time that Janasek has found himself in hot water because of his actions involving others.
Last October, Janasek resigned from the board after he was threatened with potential removal for a derogatory statement aimed at Ocean Pines Board member Colette Horn.
In November 2020, Janasek was nearly removed from the board based on his public criticisms of General Manager John Viola. The issue was resolved after the pair made peace during an open meeting.
Wheatley could not be reached for comment.
This story appears in the print version of Bayside Gazette on May 26, 2022.