Thursday, May 21, 2015

Las Vegas HOA takeover fraud ring sentencings

There are many sentencings going on this week in the multi-million dollar Las Vegas HOA takeover fraud prosecution.  I believe the number of people convicted stands at 38, and they include attorneys and former police officers.  I will post a summary of these sentences when the dust settles.

Man charged in $4.1 million condo fraud

Man charged in $4.1 million condo fraud

Oh, Canada:

"A St. Catharines man has been charged with defrauding 13 Hamilton and Burlington condominium corporations of $4.1 million. Police say Brett Mackenzie Leahey, 45, acted as the owner/operator of Integrated Condominium Management, a property management firm responsible for servicing and managing the finances of 10 condominium corporations in Burlington and three in Hamilton."

Using Drones To Enforce HOA Violations

Using Drones To Enforce HOA Violations

See the article below, in which I guess nobody knows whose drone is involved. But be aware that the CID industry, which is basically a whole lot of businesses who want to sell their services and products to HOAs and condo associations, is thinking about droning it up.  Ward Lucas thinks so. See this article from HOA Institute, which I think is by attorney Clint Goodman:

"Since the spike in private ownership of remote-controlled drones, more of us are asking whether homeowners associations can (or should) be using drones to enforce HOA violations.  There are mixed feelings about HOA drones.  Some are worried about privacy.  Others think their use will lead to abuse and “unreasonable enforcement” because it has too much of a “big brother” feel.  Others believe that technology is supposed to make life easier and having drones for their HOA’s code enforcement will significantly reduce the time and expense traditional enforcement brings.  Whatever your opinion is, when (not if) drone enforcement becomes a reality, associations need to be careful that the association uses them with prudence. Right now HOAs cannot use drones “commercially” without FAA approval.  Whether enforcement drones in HOAs are considered “commercial use” depends on who is using them and how.  For example, use of a drone is likely not “commercial” if it is privately owned by the President and used by the President or another director without pay.  Conversely, hiring a company to use drones for code enforcement may cross the line, at least right now.  If Amazon can get permission to do it, I have a feeling we will see the use of drones in the commercial context across the board very soon."

Homeowner’s association puts end to family’s ministry - The Newnan Times-Herald

Homeowner’s association puts end to family’s ministry - The Newnan Times-Herald

This nice Christian family started a volunteer project to collect and distribute household items to needy families, and eventually they incorporated it as a not-for-profit. That's when the HOA struck:

“We started, literally, out of our garage, collecting items. We got a P.O. box, we rented a storage unit which filled up rather quickly,” he said. They have storage space at their church, Vineyard, for linens, a food pantry at Turin United Methodist, and mattresses and beds in the storage unit.

Everything else went into their garage. But not anymore. The Novaks were recently cited by their homeowner’s association for conducting a business out of their home.

The citation, issued April 9, said, “Please do not conduct a business out of your home.”

Exclusive: Brickell Key Woman Says Drone Spied On Her As She Breastfed « CBS Miami

Exclusive: Brickell Key Woman Says Drone Spied On Her As She Breastfed « CBS Miami

"MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Imagine you’re in the privacy of your own home — possibly in a compromising position — and you turn around and  see a drone just a few feet from you. A Brickell Key woman says that’s what happened to her while she was breastfeeding her child earlier this week inside the family’s 12th floor condo."


I guess with this technology available now we are going to need new laws to protect us, and that's what is happening in Florida:

"Alessi’s privacy concerns are real, says Michelle Richardson with the American Civil Liberties Union. Richardson pointed to a new Florida law that will go into effect this summer — called the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act” as a good first step towards regulating drones. Richardson said the law will impose civil penalties on drone users that capture images of unknowing people on private property where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. “When you’re talking about looking into people’s homes and violating individual privacy, it’s an unchartered area,” Richardson said. “And we’re really doing this for the first time in Florida.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Las Vegas HOA takeover fraudster sentenced

This week a bunch of the 38 convicted criminals involved with the Las Vegas HOA takeover scheme are being sentenced.  This one escaped prison.  I'm going to do a summary of  all this soon.

The message of this is obvious--HOAs and condo associations are fragile institutions that are totally dependent  on the resources of their owners.  By resources I mean money, time,  loyalty, and expertise.  With virtually no governmental oversight and most residents not paying attention, it is  easy for associations  to be taken over by groups of people who don't have the  community's best interest in mind. Some are just petty neighborhood dictators, some are looking to engage in self-dealing to help  themselves and their friends, and some are fraudsters.

HOA insurer not obligated to defend suit against HOA board absent underlying liabiltiy claim, court rules

In the past, insurers were readily inclined to defend most any legal action brought against an HOA board of directors even if there was no underlying claim of liability or damages such a lawsuit seeking equitable relief ordering the board to comply with the governing documents or state or federal law.

That may be changing if a recent Kentucky case is any indication. A Kentucky federal district court ruled an insurer had no duty to defend a claim under an HOA policy's directors and officers coverage, reasoning that D&O coverage is intended to shield corporate directors and officers for personal liability and not to protect the corporate entity itself.

Click here for a summary of the ruling in State Auto Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Highland Terrace Counsel of Co-Owners, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59663 (W.D. Ky. May 7, 2015) by Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP.

American condo buyer losing condo in Mexico due to liens

It appears that this unfortunate woman bought a Mexican condo as a retirement home, only to discover later that several Mexican workers had liens on the condo because of a pay dispute with the developer. A judge ruled in the workers' favor, and now they own what used to be her condo.