FORMER CALL-'LADY' DONNA BERGER

SINGS THE SAME OLD SONGS!

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

Published December 20, 2007

 

This press release (see below) ran over the media-wire on December 5, 2007. Former 'CALL-LADY' Donna Berger back in action, but now no longer aligned with the Poliakoff group.  Now she has two new allies helping her to spin twisted tales. 

 

Berger is now partner with Katzmann & Korr, the Fort Lauderdale law firm notorious for lien and foreclosure practices.  (See: AGAN v. KATZMAN & KORR, P.A.)

 

It is absolutely amazing to see how these attorneys praise their own glory. According to the claims in the press release, "CAN is spearheaded by Florida’s most knowledgeable community association law attorneys: Donna D. Berger, Leigh C. Katzman and Pete Dunbar."

 

Let's see the facts – from a different point of view!

  •   DONNA BERGER

I think Florida's homeowners and condo owners have their own opinion about her ability to twist things around.  As a member of CALL (Becker & Poliakoff lobbying group), she always claimed to be the speaker for all of Florida 's homeowners and condo owners.  She made sure that lots of folks got a good laugh when reading her e-mails with all her claims of achievements.  Every time some kind of association legislation passed, she claimed to be The One making sure that these bills passed -- even though she fought the bills all the way until they were signed into law by the Governor.  Wildest example:  Her fight against the creation of a Condo Ombudsman's Office and a Condo Advisory Council. She personally attacked the sponsor of the bill, but later claimed credit for the "achievement"!  And since she now makes the same claim as before when she was the CALL spokesperson: “When CAN speaks, it sends a clear message that’s backed with the power of thousands of voices," it must mean that all the former CALL members now moved with her to CAN, leaving CALL with absolutely no support -- minimum according to her statements!  Now, where does that leave Gary Poliakoff?

  •   Leigh Katzman

I think his reputation among owners speaks for itself -- and it surely is anything but positive. I still remember his words at a town hall meeting in  Miami Beach in March 2006 where he was a member of the panel.  After lots of owners had presented dreadful problems they face in their own communities, Katzman called them (quote) : "Just the few unlucky ones, while the majority of owners is absolutely happy."   After the unhappy audience responded angrily to Katzman’s “unfortunate” remark, host State Representative Yolly Roberson had to threaten to call the police in order to calm them down.  Honestly, I think that says it all about Leigh Katzman; nothing needs to be added!

  •   Peter Dunbar

As a former legislator he is still very influential in Tallahassee and uses his influence well -- behind closed doors. He even sneaks his opinion into the bill analysis of senate committee staff, making it sound like it's a fact -- not just his lobbyist opinion. Dunbar was as well a big opponent of H 1223 (See: Battle for HB 1223 [2004]), fighting anything that even looked consumer-friendly, but convinced then Senate President Jim King -- under the pretense of being owner-friendly -- to appoint him to the Condo Advisory Council.  Not only in my opinion but also in the opinion of others, Dunbar turned out to be the most consumer- hostile member of this Council.  A little hint: Beware of his smile!

Although they claim themselves to be "most knowledgeable community association law attorneys,” there is proof that they have huge EGOs!

It is my good right to opine that they are some of the “most controversial association attorneys in Florida .”  Under false pretenses they are trying to convince well-meaning board members to join the Community Advocacy Network (CAN) and spend association money to pay the fees. 

Beware:  These fees will be used  -- according to the press release -- to effect positive change! Positive change to what?  The bank accounts of these "specialized attorneys"?

In my opinion, any board member and/or owner that pays fees to this lobbying group is paying for his/her own downfall! 

I guess that explains how much opinions can differ?  My opinion:  Even lobbyists should be basically honest; otherwise they lose any credibility they ever had! These three attorneys/lobbyists don't have any credibility.  Certainly, they already lost it years ago!

COMMUNITY ADVOCACY NETWORK PROMOTES POSITIVE LEGISLATION FOR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS IN FLORIDA

Published 12/05/2007

(PressMediaWire) FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Community associations act on behalf of their residents, but who speaks on their behalf? Donna D. Berger, partner with the law firm of Katzman & Korr, created the Community Advocacy Network (CAN), a statewide nonprofit advocacy initiative, to represent the needs of Florida’s common interest ownership communities. 

“With nearly 51,000 associations in the state, it’s difficult to express a unified voice,” Berger said. “When CAN speaks, it sends a clear message that’s backed with the power of thousands of voices. This is hard for our legislature to ignore.”

The program focuses on education, outreach and advocacy services for all community associations including condominiums, cooperatives, homeowners’ associations, mobile home communities and timeshares in the state. CAN works on behalf of these groups to effect positive change through intensely targeted advocacy campaigns at the local, state and federal levels. 

CAN is spearheaded by Florida’s most knowledgeable community association law attorneys: Donna D. Berger, Leigh C. Katzman and Pete Dunbar. Berger has more than 14 years of experience representing and advocating for community associations and has testified before the Florida Senate and House on issues impacting common interest ownership communities. Katzman is founder and managing partner of the law firm Katzman & Korr. Prominent Tallahassee attorney Peter Dunbar also serves as lobbyist for the organization and is the author of six books on community association housing, including “The Condominium Concept: A Practical Guide for Officers, Owners and Directors of Florida Condominiums” and “The Law of Florida Homeowners Associations,” in their 10th and 7th editions respectively. 

Through its interactive Web site platform, CAN informs its members of pending legislation and empowers them with the tools necessary to influence and create new laws. The “Capitol Connection” e-mail feature enables members to correspond directly with members of the Florida Legislature, Senate and House Committees and City and County Commissions.

Another integral part of CAN is its “Affinity Program,” a resource that provides members with access to special discounts and services from participating vendors. The program features participants from various categories including banks, insurance agencies, property management services and accountants. A complete list of vendors can be found on CAN’s Web Site. 

In addition to this feature, CAN also provides members with ongoing information on “best practices” they can implement in their own communities to save money and streamline operations as well as valuable information regarding hurricane recovery, insurance and financial resources. 

The only requirement for CAN membership is a $150 annual fee. Group discounts are available for umbrella organizations to join. 

###

Katzman & Korr provides legal services to more than 700 common interest ownership communities. In addition, the Fort Lauderdale-based firm is also the driving force behind the Community Advocacy Network (CAN), an initiative promoting the specialized interests of community associations at both the local and state levels of government. For more information, visit www.katzkorr.com or www.canfl.com or call (954) 486-7774.

Media Contact: Todd Templin or Michelle Friedman of Boardroom Communications at (954) 370-8999 or mfriedman@boardroompr.com for Katzman & Korr.

 

Note to board members: According to the DIVISION of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes it's a violation of Florida statutes to use association dues for "lobbying" purposes!


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