Friday, July 08, 2011

Letter: We plan to picket over dispute with homeowner's association

White "picket fence" takes on a new meaning in Privatopia.

State Offers New Options For HOA Help

DENVER (CBS4)- There are more than 7,500 homeowners’ associations in Colorado. They govern more than 2 million people. HOA’s are big business. And when neighbors are governing neighbors there are bound to be problems.

“Spending my money for other people’s expenses, didn’t sit well,” Karen Templeton said of her homeowners’ association.

“They wouldn’t let me see the books… could not see the books. I questioned financial statements, they wouldn’t tell me answers,” Jim Burneson said of his HOA.

“Where did the money go? What’s going on?” said Sue Williams about her HOA

A group of homeowners met with CBS4 to discuss their problems with their various homeowner’s associations. They represent several neighborhoods but describe the same sort of issues. Conflicts in homeowner’s associations can get petty and personal.
That's because private local government -- i.e. mandatory membership HOAs -- has a weak or nonexistent culture of governance. Instead, it's rule by Joe, Mary and Bob on the board. And when constituents demand the accountability to which they are entitled, the request is taken personally -- not surprisingly since it's government by personality.

By the same token, expenditures are also taken personally as Karen Templeton's comment illustrates. Rather than benefiting all constituents, they're seen as Joe, Mary's or Bob's pet projects financed with other people's money -- their money.

Not exactly a model for a sustainable form of local government over the long run but for now serves to generate short term revenues for the CID bar when the conflicts head to court.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Former Brigantine condo officials charged with theft, fraud

Brigantine police charged two former Spartan Harbour Condominium officials and a local contractor with theft and conspiracy in an alleged fraudulent billing scheme against the city, police said.

The charges allege that from 2004 to 2008, former Spartan Harbour property manager Walter Czyzewicz, former Spartan Harbor board President Richard DeBenedetto, and Robert Musumeci, the operator of the Moose’s Cans dumpster service in Brigantine, conspired to defraud the city of Brigantine of more than $75,000.

“The city reimburses all condo associations in town for their trash removal based on a certain formula,” Lt. James Bennett said in a release, “and according to reports, there was a marked increase in the amount the Spartan Harbour Association was submitting from a company known as Moose’s Cans.”

The Spartan has since been renamed Dolphin Cove Condo


No one is safe, not even the city.

96-Year-Old Being Forced Out Over Storm Preps

Sarah Eisenberg has lived through many storms in her 96 years, but the ominous forecast she faces these days comes from the association that runs her condominium.

Eisenberg said that she has been told that if she doesn't pay to upgrade to hurricane windows and doors, the association will foreclose on her Fort Lauderdale unit.

The cost is $6,500, a price tag too expensive for a senior citizen on a fixed income, Eisenberg said. She gets $1,500 per month from her Social Security check.


Associaions just plain have too much power.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Experts: Pinellas lawyer takes foreclosure fight to ethical edge

Pinellas County lawyer Robert L. Tankel advocates showing no mercy toward property owners who fall behind on their homeowners association fees.

"If you have to sue some people, that's life," Tankel advised associations in a YouTube video.

How charming. A lawyer who prides himself on exploring the outer reaches of ethical behavior in his pursuit of owners who are behind on their assessments.
Thanks to Robert Racansky for the link.

SA homeowner says HOA forced him to plant a yard in a drought .

SAN ANTONIO --With 100-degree, hot, dry days, Armando Urdiales decided to plant a new lawn.

Well, not really. It was his HOA, he said, that suggested it, after they found patches of dirt amongst the withered blades in his front yard.

Urdiales said, "That was the kicker for me. Really? You're going to tell me to grow grass in a drought."

The social studies teacher says after receiving two, threatening letters in the last 60-days, he planted $150 worth of sod and started watering it.

"Isn't there a better use of our resource--of our precious resource of water--other than maintaning grass?” he said.


"And so, Dear Homeowner, unless you do as we say we can fine and then foreclose to collect that fine. Don't forget you agreed so no going back now."

Yep, I can see long lines of people clamoring to be part of this wonderful regime, where the abuses and fines flow like cheap wine- since water is at a premium.

Thanks to Beanie Adolph for the link.

Complex system leaves foreclosure properties to become eyesores

TAMPA — Standing at the end of a quiet suburban cul-de-sac, Gene Minkel surveyed one tiny battleground in a nationwide fight that often pits local governments against Wall Street.

The veteran Hillsborough County code enforcement officer looked over 7501 Woodland Oaks Ct. and wished Bank of America would mow the waist-high weeds. Or patch the shattered windows. Or get rid of the wasps that have taken up residence.

The 1,300-square-foot home has sat largely vacant since falling into foreclosure more than two years ago, racking up $55,372 in code violations while the case lingers in court. A tattered sign out front informs visitors that BAC Field Services, a subsidiary of the megabank, “intends to protect this property from deterioration.”


There is something to be said for returning to the simpler way of homeownership. We seem to have created too many victims in this complex and complicated mess we have made in residential America.

Monday, July 04, 2011

George Will Spreads Some Lies About the Economic Crisis | Beat the Press

George Will Spreads Some Lies About the Economic Crisis | Beat the Press
It really is incredible to see such a concerted effort to rewrite history in front of our faces. There is not much ambiguity in the story of the housing bubble. The private financial sector went nuts. They made a fortune issuing bad and often fraudulent loans which they could quickly resell in the secondary market. The big actors in the junk market were the private issuers like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Lehman Brothers. However, George Will and Co. are determined to blame this disaster on government "compassion" for low-income families.
That's the start of Dean Baker's demolition of George Will's latest Tory pontificating in the Washington Post.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Vietnam War Veteran Wins Fight to Fly American Flag on Front Lawn

Quigley's fight was buoyed by an outpouring of popular support. Sympathetic fellow citizens in the U.S. rallied to his cause, but people all around the world took his side. His plight got worldwide coverage. He heard from supporters in London and in India. "I've gotten calls from Macedonia," the surprised retiree said. "I don't mean from Macedonia, Ohio. I mean from Macedonia."

According to ABC News, the American Legion will return to Quigley’s home on July 4 at 11 a.m. to conduct a second flag-raising. "We expect quite a large turnout," Legion commander John J.C. Sullivan said. "A lady called from California who's a singer of patriotic songs. She'll be there [to] sing."

"Somebody should have been a little smarter about it, in particularly the homeowners association. They brought tremendous negative publicity upon themselves," said John Sullivan, president of the American Legion Post 801.
Another HOA flag flap ends as the HOA wilts in the hot glare of global media attention and outrage.

HOAs and Hawaiian shirts

And while you can expect a judge to keep a straight face while you describe how the neighbor kids like to congregate at 2:30 a.m. at the basketball hoop next door to dribble and carom the ball off the rim hard and loudly 315 times in a row, it’s quite difficult to expect the same when you testify that your neighbor’s phony saguaro is keeping you up nights.

Playing the property values card is pretty silly even during times of rising home prices. Few if any real estate appraisers are willing to state for the record that they downgraded a house’s value because the people across the street had a metal saguaro in the front yard.
But the HOA nevertheless sees that metal saguaro as the first step on the path to neighborhood ruination.