AN IMPORTANT STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
July 7, 2017
(aka the CONDO CRIME BILL) took effect on July 1,
2017 our legislature had taken a big step in the right direction
fighting crime and abuse in Florida’s condominium associations.
So far condo owners who got “robbed” and “scammed” had to live
in the right county in Florida to see the bad guys prosecuted.
Many county state attorneys considered embezzlement and/or
election fraud a “civil” matter – based on contract law – and
allowed the bad guys to get away with crime!
I’m not sure where
these SAs got that from, because I doubt they learned in law
school that embezzlement in community associations is different
from embezzlement from companies or our government.
It should even be
punished much more severe since it often hits people who can
least afford to lose this kind of money.
We always hear,
especially from the law firms that opposed this bill, that
owners have the opportunity to remove their board members by
recall or at the next election. Well: These same attorneys made
it outright difficult, fought long – often totally useless but
expensive – arbitration battles and threatened owners
complaining about the outcome of the election with cease and
desist letters. Too many of these “specialized” attorneys think
that they get paid to defend the interests of the board members
only instead of working in the interest of the owners, who
ALL pay their fees.
We have seen
election fraud in many community association elections – and
believe me: The Russians or Putin can’t be blamed for the
outcome of these elections. Fair elections are fundamental for
democracies – and the laws and rules should be strictly
followed. Violators should be severely punished – and so should
the service providers who help with election fraud.
We will have to see
how all these new provisions to the Condo Act work out in daily
life – and if some state attorneys drop their attitude and will
finally prosecute the violators and embezzlers.
And if the next six
(6) months show that these new provisions work in the interests
of the owners of condo units, we would really like to remind
Senator Garcia on his promise to push for a very similar bill
for HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATIONS in the 2018
||Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
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
- 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
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