Monday, September 24, 2012

Copper embezzler sentenced | Sonora / Tuolumne News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown | Union Democrat

Copper embezzler sentenced | Sonora / Tuolumne News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown | Union Democrat: The saga was another bruise for the association, which has been stung by a series of controversies over the past decade.

The association gained national notoriety in 2003 when Thomas and Anita Radcliff had their home seized and resold for failing to pay $120 in annual dues. The couple was able to settle out of court and repurchase their home, appraised at $289,000, from an Alameda man who bought it for only $70,000 at a foreclosure auction.

The scandal prompted a law to be passed in 2005 preventing homeowners associations from foreclosing on a member’s home when that member owes less than $1,800.


Anonymous said...

...and the more disgraceful event:

About two years later, homeowner Ken Gutman, who is handicapped, made a county-approved addition to his home in order to have street-level access to his bedroom. The association sent Gutman a stop-work order weeks after the construction had been completed and imposed fines at the rate of $10 a day without notifying him what he needed to do to make it right.

The matter was eventually settled out of court with Gutman paying a fine of around $15,000.

Now exactly why should an HOA corporation be collecting a "fine" in any situation? This is disgraceful and there is no end of HOA boards and vendors preying upon handicapped folks. What is the man paying a "fine" for - the status of being disabled?

A common scheme employed by HOA attorneys in the Houston area is to advise the HOA boards to approve of improvement requests as an "accommodation" but to require that the disabled homeowner be obligated to remove the improvements when the house is sold. Now the homeowner has to decide whether they can economically afford the double whammy. Clearly there is no legitimate purpose behind such impositions

Never mind that another disabled homeowner would find the home desirable because of the improvements made to accommodate the disability (i.e., marketability of the home is enhanced). By creating outrageous "rules" such as this, the goal of the perpetrators of this scheme is obviously to discourage "those people" from living in the subdivision through financial and physical impediments.

Marjorie Murray said...

No one should be surprised at this story. There are few controls over association accounts: whoever has the bank account and PIN numbers can easily raid them and then create phony financial "reports" to cover their tracks. Readers of the Privatopia blog only need key in the word "embezzlement" on our website ( for numerous cases of embezzlement in California associations. Millions of dollars have been embezzled, sometimes by property managers, sometimes by board officers. Readers will find on the website the cases we KNOW about -- that have been prosecuted by county district attorneys. But readers won't find the cases that have gone undetected. Embezzlement won't stop until enforceable laws are put in place -- and until homeowners can get easier access to HOA financial records.