Saturday, March 07, 2015

Berlin is banning condo conversions

Berlin has had enough of condo conversions. I don't blame them.  If the US had city governments with more independence from developers, we wouldn't have so many condo conversions, either.

Detroit area developer stoked to do condo for car buffs

Detroit area developer stoked to do condo for car buffs

Thanks to Deborah for this link.  The article reads like a press release.  A lot of real estate journalism is really intended to promote the local real estate market, and then of course in return the newspapers get all that nice advertising revenue from the developers.

"This winter's snow and ice can't melt fast enough for Brad Oleshansky, Birmingham car buff and founder of the planned 87-acre M1 Concourse off Woodward Avenue in Pontiac. The sooner construction begins on the $60 million car condo development, aimed at auto enthusiasts, the faster the first 55 luxury garage units can open for gearheads who have paid up to $250,000 each to house their vehicles. We're talking serious car people, with seriously expensive cars — not shade tree mechanics. In addition to their luxury garages, owners will have use of a 1.5-mile on-site racetrack."

Friday, March 06, 2015

Change to HOA law sought after coyote kills family pet -

Change to HOA law sought after coyote kills family pet - We talked to Sen. Manendo in January when he was trying to help Marie resolve things with her HOA. She was seeking permission to install fence rollers because Arne was eaten by a coyote that jumped over her wall.

Rollers are recommended by the Nevada Division of Wildlife as a humane way to keep coyotes out and pets in.

"Basically a rolling piece of metal that mounts to the top of a wall so that even if an owner's pet is trying to climb over the wall or if a coyote is trying to come into the yard, they can't get a hold on top of the wall," explained NDOW Spokesman Doug Nielsen.

Both neighbors on either side of Marie's home in Solera at Stallion Mountain agreed to the rollers. But the HOA would not.

Contact 13 inducted them into our HOA Hall of Shame after they denied Marie's request, saying the rollers were not consistent with their design guidelines.


More bad press for Privatopia as another Las Vegas HOA gets inducted into the KNTV-13 Hall of Shame. Film at 10.

Benzer needed money?

Who doesn't?  How long will the alleged kingpin of the Las Vegas HOA fraud ring spend behind bars? And what will come out of this besides about 40 convictions?

HOA fraud witnesses say they feared for their lives

Las Vegas HOA fraud trial witnesses recount intimidation

Armed thugs at association meetings, payoffs...just a day in the life of a lot of Las Vegas homeowner associations.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

No questions, peasants!

Randy Brown is the Mayor of Evesham, New Jersey. He's also the kicking coach for the Baltimore Ravens. And he has decided that the public will not be allowed to ask questions at township council meetings.  He's considering a run for governor of New Jersey. If his campaign slogan is "Sit down and shut up!", that might go over well with the voters considering that their current governor says things like that all the time.

HOA denies dying child's wish for playhouse

Fred Pilot just posted on this, but I decided to add my own thoughts.  Some things never change, such as the propensity of HOA and condo boards to blindly enforce rules regardless of the impact on people's lives and heedless of the potential for bad publicity.  In my first book on HOAs, I recounted an example from the early 1900s when Jesse Clyde Nichols explained how it was necessary to deny a similar request from a dying woman. It's the rules, you see. The rules are more important than any other consideration.

Little girl battles cancer and the homeowner’s association |

Little girl battles cancer and the homeowner’s association |

More bad "big meanie" press for Privatopia, Kansas sector. Film at 10 on WIBW, Topeka.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Witness describes payoffs, rigging elections, in HOA fraud trial

I wonder what effect all this publicity will have on the market for condo and HOA properties. Do most people think it is another "isolated instance," or do they understand how fragile these associations are?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Witnesses testify on roles in scheme to defraud homeowners associations | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Witnesses testify on roles in scheme to defraud homeowners associations | Las Vegas Review-Journal

"Ruvolo, 87, is one of four remaining defendants standing trial in federal court in the scheme, which prosecutors allege occurred between 2003 and 2009 and cost local HOAs millions of dollars. Myers, who pleaded guilty in 2012, died last year without being sentenced. The goal of the scheme, according to Lugo and other government witnesses, was to acquire properties at the larger condominium developments and then pack their HOA boards so that Benzer and Silver Lining Construction could obtain lucrative construction defect contracts. As many as 11 HOAs were targeted."

This massive corruption saga is Exhibit A that proves how fragile HOAs really are.  The over-reliance on owners' resources--money, time, energy, loyalty--and the under-regulation by state and local government makes them vulnerable not just to takeover, but to other types of fraud, theft, manipulation, and mismanagement.  Yet governments, and obviously developers and vendors, profit from them, so they will continue to proliferate, and so will the problems.