An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published December 21, 2010




In case you thought you heard it all -- that was just the beginning. The Reality Show continues and it's getting even worse for the owners of KENLAND WALK POA in Miami. To better understand the whole chaos that has been created in the master association, you have to know that there are four (4) single condo associations that comprise this master association -- all regulated under FS 718: Kenland Walk I (20 units), KW II (40 units), KW III (64 units) and KW IV (80 units). But the three board members who are now again running the show in the Kenland Walk POA are representing two associations KW I and KW III, outvoting the two representatives from KW II and IV. The latter associations have a clearly much bigger voting interest. None of these three board members -- Jeff Roth, Esq. (President), Antonio Ramos (Secretary/Treasurer) and Laura Recalde (Vice President) -- was ever elected. Roth and Ramos are from KW III, where no election has taken place in the last few years. And their appointments to the Master board happened under dubious circumstances, masterminded by former community association manager Robert Dugger Sr. [License suspended]. 


Robert Dugger is most likely Florida's CAM with the most complaints filed against him. It takes pages to print out all the complaints against Dugger listed on the DBPR website. [See: CAM RULES HIS "OWN" HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION + Home, sour home] Dugger and his wife Rachel are running Community Association Management Consultants Group d/b/a Timberlake Group, Inc. and they surely are no strangers to lawsuits filed against them. Even judges sometimes seem to lose their temper -- as you can see from the ruling in the case of MIRAMAR GARDENS TOWNHOUSE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC.. [Quote Judge Linda Singer Stein: "Finally, it is clear that the Association is merely a sham which does not exercise any authority and acts solely at the behest of the management company.  Accordingly, Plaintiff has unclean hands in this lawsuit."


And the modus operandi used in the Miramar Gardens HOA was as well used by Dugger in Kenland Walk POA: Appoint a board member as Secretary/Treasurer who doesn't speak, read or write English. In the case of the Kenland Walk POA, the chosen one was Antonio Ramos, who expects a translator to be present at the board meetings. But never mind, Ramos signs the minutes of the meetings -- written in English. I wonder how a person can "create" the minutes of a meeting in a language he isn't able to speak, read and/or write -- and sign these minutes with his name [Minutes of Board Meeting November 18, 2010]?


In my opinion: A great fall guy! The folks who appointed him can always use the excuse: He didn't understand what he was writing -- or what was being written for him -- "honest mistake," not our fault!

Especially POA President Jeff Roth, a Florida licensed attorney, surely needs some fall guys, just in case there might ever be an investigation to check into all the shenanigans in this community association.


Roth is the one who knows the loopholes that keep him and his cohorts in power, knowing full well that the State of Florida doesn't really enforce its own laws. He plays the DBPR like a fiddle, plainly avoiding timely elections. Since he isn't sure if he would ever be actually elected, he ignores the association's governing documents that call for timely annual meetings with elections. 


And when Roth's favorite CAM Management firm "Timberlake Group, Inc." was terminated in summer, Roth made sure that he quickly recaptured the power. Timberlake's lawsuit against unjust termination was going nowhere and attorney Andrew Marchese, representing the POA for the insurance carrier against the lawsuit brought by the Duggers, stated that the Duggers had no legal leg to stand on. In the "KENLAND WALK POA'S ANSWER AND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT" filed August 13, 2010 the attorney wrote that the POA properly terminated the subject contract since the contract permitted either party to terminate the agreement "with or without cause." 


But with Roth suddenly back in power the tenor quickly changed and Roth pushed a reinstatement of Timberlake down the owners' throats, against the will and vote of board members Gisela Pujol and Marina Paez-Johannson, who represent the votes of 120 unit owners (204 total) -- about 60% of all owners! And Roth and his two cohorts on the board pushed a settlement agreement that is nothing but an early Christmas present for the Duggers -- at the expense of the condo owners.


In my opinion this SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT is a slap in the face to each honest unit owner that owns property in this master association. Roth, being an attorney, knows full well what this agreement legally means. What an outrageous injustice!


Without knowledge of all board members -- or even a discussion -- Roth changed the ANNUAL BUSINESS REPORT of Kenland Walk POA with the Division of Corporations and made Rachel Dugger the "new" Registered Agent. Being an attorney, Roth should know that a Board President is just a president, not the dictator making decisions without approval of the board.


Roth clearly used his legal knowledge to outfox the owners that try to protect the financial welfare of the community. And then our esteemed legislators wonder why nobody wants to move into Florida's community associations any more. Who wants to live in a State -- no matter how much sunshine -- where laws can be clearly disregarded without interference of our government?


As an afterthought: I have a listing of association attorneys -- listing them as "Owner-friendly," "Neutral" and "Anti-owner."


Prior to the above discussed board meeting the law firm of Siegfried, Rivera, Lerner, De La Torre & Sobel, P.A. was listed on my "Owner-friendly" page. But after attorney Helio De La Torre attended the board meeting and listened to the heated discussion -- and what was going on -- and agreed to be the registered agent and association attorney for Kenland Walk POA, I switched their listing to "Anti-owner." Attorneys who are willing to represent presidents like Roth in cahoots with the Duggers can definitely not be called "Owner-friendly." 


I know the old saying that even the worst crook needs a good defense. But we are not talking criminal prosecution -- we are talking about the reputation of a law firm.

Remember: You are always judged by the company you keep!