DONNA BERGER – NOTHING BUT PROPAGANDA
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published May 8, 2008
time I read some of Donna Berger’s e-mails or quotes in newspaper
articles it reminds me of my German heritage – and German history.
not comparing Donna Berger with Joseph Goebbels. I’m saying that her way
of twisting the facts and claiming victory after defeat very much remind
me of his methods.
Bill H 995 is the typical example. Many of the provisions
contained in this bill, which passed the legislature and was already signed
by Governor Charlie Crist, had been included in bills that Berger
and her fellow specialized attorneys – supported by lobbyists like Peter
Dunbar and Travis Moore – had fought against to the bitter end, claiming
provisions like that would destroy condo life as we know it.
an e-mail dated April 18, headlined “CAN ALERT: HB 995/SB 2084 Still
Contain Troublesome Provisions” Berger complains about some bad
provisions contained in the bill. That was just six days before the final
vote in the Senate. In between her comments and the vote, barely anything
important changed in the wording.
after the bill passed unanimously in House and Senate, H 995 suddenly
turned into a good bill -- in the eyes of the special-interest attorneys.
Berger was quoted: "CAN and its members should be very
appreciative of Rep. Robaina listening to our concerns and his willingness
to ensure that
quite sure where she saw the cooperation, but most of the provisions
passed as proposed – and they surely were not proposed by Berger or
But Berger goes even further. In an article published in the Naples News on May 4, 2008, under the headline “New laws give condo directors more power” owners can read that in her opinion Rep. Julio Robaina’s (R-Miami) attempt to protect condo owners from overly powerful condo directors failed, because some of those provisions were watered down – thanks to Berger coming to the rescue of these board members under siege. What follows in the article is a long list of powers given to boards under the newly created Association Emergency Power provisions (FS 718.1265). Before board members go overboard with their newly acquired powers proclaimed by Donna Berger they should really study the new provisions and note that certain powers can only be exercised in the event of an emergency declared by the governor – and the powers are limited to prevention of further damage and emergency repairs.
But these same board members should pay attention, because the new condo bill contains a lot of provisions that allow holding these directors accountable for their actions.
· FS 718.111(1)(d) -- Liability for Monetary Damages
· FS 718.111(12) 11 -- Civil Penalty for Destroying Records
· FS 718.112(2)(d) 1 -- Location Meeting; Eligibility to Serve on Board
· FS 718.112(2)(n) -- Board Member Removal Due To Delinquency
· FS 718.112(2)(o) -- Removal of Director charged with Theft or Embezzlement
· FS 718.1224 -- Prohibition Against SLAPP Suits
· FS 718.3025 (1)(f) -- Disclosure Requirement of Financial Interest
Just a little note: All these provisions are in effect 24/7, even though the governor didn’t declare an emergency!
Berger should finally understand that creating legislative reforms in
association laws is not about bragging rights – or who succeeded in
pushing what provision. It’s
about the protection of
not about declaring victory or defeat.
It’s about successfully creating a lifestyle for
it seems to be very hard to understand for certain people, if the
paychecks of specialized lawyers are at stake!