Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published June 2, 2018
My public record request dated April 19, 2018, showed again how unorganized the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes really is. They charged me $ 30.94 (claiming two hours of work were needed to collect the requested info) to send me some info that should be readily available - “normal” businesses keep these kinds of files for their payroll.
I requested a “list of all employees of the Division, including Condo Ombudsman, Arbitration Section, Bureau of Compliance etc. -- with the complete information of their job titles and tasks they are supposed to perform.”
These are the only documents I received after paying the amount of $ 30.94:
I expected a lot more staff considering that our government collects annually about $9.000.000,00 (estimated) into the so-called Condo Trust Fund from the owners of these named community associations to run this Division. But I guess part of the money is being used for other purposes – definitely not for the purpose intended.
These employees must have a pretty calm work day considering that it takes forever to get responses to complaints, even if it’s in the end only a form letter stating that no wrong-doing could be found. I always laugh when I read these useless form letters knowing full well that the investigators failed to look into the proof – and the witnesses – supplied by the complainant.
Attached is an example how bad -- and
slow -- the investigation process is actually handled:
Twenty-six (26) pages of open complaints as of February 1, 2018 – and that doesn’t even count the endless number of complaints rejected by form letters stating that the Division has no jurisdiction.
This is the paragraph in the Condo Act that regulates the “jurisdiction” of the Division:
That sure includes financial issues. But some Division investigators obviously don’t like dealing with ”reserve funds”— clearly a financial issue. We have seen owners who had filed complaints regarding the “misuse” of reserve funds receiving the “infamous” form-letter saying that the Division had no jurisdiction: CASE CLOSED! In my opinion: JUST AMAZING!
This all is absolutely unacceptable for the owners whose money is being abused by financing a government agency that is clearly dysfunctional.
In my opinion the leadership of the Division is clearly failing to do the work they are being paid for – and should be replaced by folks willing to do the job.
Having a dysfunctional agency overseeing the welfare of millions of owners of community association property in a retirement state like Florida (our Sunshine State has the highest age-average in the nation) is unacceptable.
Our legislators should take the necessary action instead of making empty campaign promises. We put them into office to protect the welfare of the citizens of our State.