Finally a judge who ruled based on the Florida Statutes, not based on arguments by a mighty law firm. In a FINAL RULING FOR DEFENDANTS Circuit Judge John S. Kastrenakes ordered and adjudged everything the defendants, Eleanor and Edward Lepselter, had hoped for. In a lengthy ruling the judge struck down every argument plaintiff Boca View Association, Inc. had offered to defeat the record inspection request the defendants had fought for since many years.
PLEASE CLICK TO READ: “FINAL RULING FOR DEFENDANTS”
Remember: Another condo owner who had tried to see the financial records of the Boca View Condominium, Inc. had lost a similar lawsuit to the tune of $ 395,553.85 in legal fees.
The association’s board, represented by various attorneys of the Becker Law Firm, has for many years defeated every attempt of owners to see the financial records of the association, a right given to unit-owners by Florida Statutes 718.111(12).
And I seriously doubt that we have seen the last of this case. Considering the modus operandi of the Boca View board and the attorneys of the Becker Law Firm we will most likely see this ruling to be appealed. In my opinion the judge made a very clear ruling following FS 718, but that obviously doesn't bother these attorneys very much. They may hope that they will find appeals court judges who are more impressed by the Becker Law Firm than the wording of the Florida statutes.
And it seems that Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg is not as interested in investigating and prosecuting scams and embezzlement in community associations as is his colleague from Miami-Dade County, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who listened to complaints of her constituents, investigated the alleged financial misappropriations and indicted the five Hammocks board members for charges including grand theft and racketeering.
Remember: FS 718.501(1)(d)7?
7. If a unit owner presents the division with proof that the unit owner has requested access to official records in writing by certified mail, and that after 10 days the unit owner again made the same request for access to official records in writing by certified mail, and that more than 10 days has elapsed since the second request and the association has still failed or refused to provide access to official records as required by this chapter, the division shall issue a subpoena requiring production of the requested records where the records are kept pursuant to s. 718.112.
But, as usual, the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes failed its duty and allowed these costly lawsuits to continue. Make no mistake, the owners of this condominium will pay the price, because all the attorneys working on these cases are definitely not working for free – and the only ones paying are the unit-owners. They are paying the price for these in my opinion reckless attempts of the board members to hide the financial records at all costs.
We have seen in the recent case of the Hammocks Community Association, where five board members were arrested for allegedly embezzling more than $2million, what it means when board members are hiding the financial records. The Hammocks’ board has as well fought for many years hard to hide the financial records of the association and even sued detectives and the State Attorney’s office when they were trying to get the financial records.
But these boards couldn’t hide these records for so long without the help of “willing” attorneys who in my opinion must have known what is going on in these communities.
Will we one day see the answer to the big question: “HOW GUILTY ARE THE ATTORNEYS?”