HOA scandal involving millions of dollars and thousands of homes cuts wide swath across Las Vegas Valley - VEGAS INC
In 2006, condominium owners in Las Vegas’ Vistana community were accused by a lawyer of dreaming up wild, Oliver Stone-like conspiracy theories as they complained about corruption in their community association.
After six years, more than two dozen guilty plea deals and four untimely deaths among witnesses or participants, the Vistana owners say they have been vindicated in their suspicions that their community association board had been hijacked so that lucrative legal work and repairs involving construction defects would be steered to particular individuals.
This piece starts with another angle: owners who complain about alleged board or lawyer or manager misdeeds are nearly always unable to get prosecutors or police interested. They are told it is "a civil matter," or treated as if they are nuts. And those few intrepid owners who make the long and expensive trek through the civil justice system soon find that most judges defer to these volunteer boards as if they were repositories of great political wisdom. Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.
ps: I just love this part: "As far as what’s known to have occurred, perhaps the most unusual part of the story is that the scammers operated brazenly — hiding in plain sight — for five years. Until FBI and Metro Police raids shut down the scam in September 2008, there was no known effort by state regulators or law enforcement to expose the scammers and crack down on them in a consolidated fashion. It could have been done: Between 2003 and 2008, several groups of homeowners at the affected communities knew they were being victimized, and they fought back with lawsuits involving public court hearings and complaints to state regulators and law enforcement officials. “In this case, there were some red flags and people (in authority) just didn’t see them,” Toussaint said."
Good point. Something could and should have been done by the so-called "authorities," these so-called "regulators," the police, and prosecutors much earlier. But nobody would listen to the owners...for five years. However, that is not even remotely "unusual." That is absolutely par for the course. Those in authority almost invariably treat the owner who challenges their board as a nutjob. And the fact is that there are many other situations in HOAs and condo associations all over the country where things are going on that should be investigated by police and local prosecutors, but where instead some lonely unit owner who is waving the red flag is being treated like the neighborhood crank.