|FAILURE OF DBPR TO DO ITS JOB EMPOWERS COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MANAGERS|
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published February 27, 2021
It’s bad enough that the CAM Licensing Division of the DBPR is failing to do its job and fails to take the necessary action if CAMs clearly violate the Florida statutes. It often seems like the investigators – and the Division attorneys – haven’t read FS 468.436 Disciplinary proceedings.
It’s clearly not just their job, no matter what they claim, to correct violations committed by the licensed CAM, it’s – according to the statutes – as well their job to punish CAMs who violate the laws regulating community associations.
There is no wiggling room for CAM Licensing to avoid enforcing the statutes. FS 468,436(2)(b)7. reads: “7. Violating any provision of chapter 718, chapter 719, or chapter 720 during the course of performing community association management services pursuant to a contract with a community association as defined in s. 468.431(1).”
I will never forget an answer I got from one of the investigators after we proved that a CAM embezzled money from a HOA. They allowed him to get away with a slap on the wrist. When I complained, I was told: ”What do you expect us to do? Take his livelihood away?” I guess you know my answer: ”Yes! Definitely!”
But CAMs clearly know that the DBPR is failing to take any real disciplinary proceedings, even if it’s clear that statutes were violated.
And that empowers CAMs to harass owners who “dared” to file a valid complaint against their license.
Remember the story I opined about in 2019: “DBPR CAM REGULATION ABSOLUTELY USELESS”.
Despite finding clear violations, CAM Licensing closed the complaint more or less with the remark that the problem was fixed and it’s their job to fix things, not to punish violators. Well, that’s definitely not how the statutes read.
In the end the owner was sent one of the form-letters we see all the time, claiming there was "insufficient basis to prosecute a violation". Funny enough, the investigator confirmed in an earlier letter that there was clear evidence that violations of the statutes were committed. Maybe the evidence got lost on the way between the investigator and Assistant General Counsel James Richardson?
Anyway, the CAM, Richard Arthur Caraluzzo (License # 29981), considered this a “VICTORY” and said so in the community newsletter. Instead of learning from this complaint he now sends the homeowner, who is not even living in that HOA any longer, stupid and senseless e-mails, just to harass the owner who filed a formal – absolutely justified – complaint against him.
This kind of nonsense is what the DBPR allows to happen by their unwillingness to prosecute licensed professionals who violated the laws and rules regulating their profession.
On the other hand: Would you like to live in a community where the board allows a CAM to run wild – as in this case of the Spruce Creek Preserve HOA, Inc. in Dunnellon?
Remember: A licensed profession is only as good as the enforcement by the agency that regulates this profession.