"So how is this similar to the plight of community associations? Simple. The developer of a project creates a reserve program based on the false assumption that most components of a building have an infinite service life and will never need repair or replacement. The early owners (investors) pay into the venture (community association budget) at lower than necessary assessment rates. That not only attracts buyers to the initial sales offering but also, in turn attracts future buyers. Eventually the investors who are the owners when the underfunding is discovered are stuck with not only their share of the bill, but also the shares of all of the prior owners who underpaid their assessments for so many years and then sold off their interests. Not exactly a “Ponzi” scheme, but close."
Tyler Berding shows how the reasons for recent municipal bankruptcy filings are structurally similar to the financial time bomb that is built into many community associations--a must-read. Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.