DID 98 PEOPLE DIE IN VAIN?

By Jan Bergemann

Published March 18, 2022

   

After the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside on June 24, 2021 about everybody was gung-ho about creating condo reform in order to prevent a repeat of this disaster.

 

Everything was on the table: Safety inspections, reserve studies, reserve funds, mandatory education and even a task force to prevent abuse and/or embezzlement of all these funds created.

 

It looked like legislators trying to make up for the mistake they made up for the mistake they made in 2020, when they repealed laws created in 2008 due to pressure from the industry. This eliminated required safety inspections and other financial requirements that may have prevented the Surfside disaster.

 

Legislators from both sides of the aisle filed a myriad of bills, well intended and well written. And it all looked great until House leadership Speaker Sprowls and Representative Perez (future Speaker of the House) -- got other ideas and torpedoed every attempt to pass any condo reform bill. All these good bills died because House leadership had other ideas.

 

Looking into the actual time-lines after the failure of all community association bills to be enacted by the Florida Legislature it becomes apparent that Daniel Perez was from the very beginning trying to torpedo the Senate bill (SB 1702 -- Senator Jennifer Bradley) that was used by the Senate to pass a condo safety bill. Long before the session started quite a few House bills -- bills that could be used as companion bills for SB 1702 -- were filed, because common sense called for necessary changes to community association laws to improve the safety of these buildings. But these bills had different sponsors, meaning Perez had no direct control over these bills. On February 10, 2022 he filed CS/HB 7069 -- using his House leadership position -- to take total control of the House condo bills.

 

House leadership -- Sprowls and Perez -- was never interested in passing any of the many good and owner-friendly community association bills that were filed in response to the collapse of the Champlain Towers South by House Representatives. Not one of them got a real serious hearing in one of the assigned committees. And there were a lot really good bills (HB 547, HB 811 and HB 1033 -- just to name a few). All these bills had companion bills in the Senate. SB 1702 made its way through the Senate, got favorable votes in the Senate committees with some good amendments. There was never any NAY vote! Then it was sent to the House. Perez rejected the Senate version and asked for changes. The Senate concurred and voted 38:0 in favor of the amended version of CS/HB 7069 a bill that was sent by House leadership to the Senate. That was on March 10, 2022 -- meaning there were two days left for the House to vote in favor of the House version of the bill that was approved by the Senate. Lots of time to vote or make even more changes.

 

But Perez chose to ignore the bill and let it unceremoniously die. No matter what his reasons it's a shame that the Florida legislature ignored the death of 98 people and made not even a reasonable attempt to create any kind of safety changes to prevent another deadly collapse of one of the many old hi-rises here in Florida. God help Florida's owners of property in community associations if Perez becomes Speaker of the House. In Washington the Republicans have RINOS in Romney and Cheney. Here in Florida we have RINOS named Perez and Sprowls. Perez excuses plainly "STINK" -- all his "concerns" could have been easily taken care of in a timely manner. His "excuses" are just political "BS"!

 

Remember: Insurance reform failed as well because of Sprowls and Perez.

 

Perez said that he will be back next year to create condo reform bills. I hope he will not be back and that home- and condo owners vote him out of office in the November.


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Jan Bergemann Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community  

associations. He moved to Florida in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues for his own purposes. End of retirement!

 

CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in Tallahassee - finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.

 

The organization has two websites to inform interested Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.

Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.

   
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all service providers surely have a different interest! We are trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking in Florida !


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