PAYING FOR LOBBYIST WITH ASSOCIATION FUNDS?
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published February 10, 2018
Since many years everybody involved in condo and homeowners’ association laws should know that arbitration rulings clearly state that the board can’t use association funds to pay for lobbying. Latest the Division’s WARNING LETTER to The Village of Kings Creek Condominium Association, Inc. dated April 28, 2006 makes it very clear that lobbying is definitely not considered a “COMMON EXPENSE” according to FS 718.115.
Ellyn Bogdanoff, a former senator often involved in condo legislation during her tenure in Tallahassee, and now an attorney for the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff should know better than listing her name on the list of lobbyists – representing condominiums. The B&P website extensively talks about her knowledge and expertise of condo laws. Shouldn’t she be aware of FS 718.115?
Her name is listed on the Registered Legislative Lobbyists Directory as lobbyist for many condominium, especially for the high-rise condominium at the Galt Mile of Ft. Lauderdale – the ones I nicknamed the Galt Mile Gulag. This was Ellyn Bogdanoff’s district while she was a senator. One of her lobbying goals: Change the date of sprinkler-system retrofitting for high-rise condominiums.
Let’s face it: Bogdanoff was a legislator for many years and knows full well how many times the laws regarding dates of retrofitting was discussed. Already Governor Busch vetoed a bill trying to postpone sprinkler retrofitting. That’s how long this topic is being discussed in Tallahassee. Board members knew since many years that the date for installing sprinkler-systems was coming closer and closer – and that money is needed to pay for it. Many years ago, during a debate on a bill dealing with retrofitting of sprinkler-systems some lobbyist said: “If board members charge $1 a month from each unit of their association there will in the end be plenty of money to pay for the cost of retrofitting”.
exactly the truth!
But board members failed to do what was needed to be done, failed to create a savings account to pay for retro-fitting and are now crying about the high cost. They rather risk the lives and health of their often elderly neighbors who can’t run any more to save their lives – lives that would easily be saved by a sprinkler-system.
These board members rather pay for a lobbyist from association funds – from money they claim they don’t have – instead of doing the right thing. Or is somebody trying to tell me that these board members are paying for Ellyn Bogdanoff's "lobbying efforts" out of their own pockets?
And an attorney like Ellyn Bogdanoff, with her experience as legislator and attorney, should know better than lobbying for a bill that – if enacted – would create a serious health-hazard for elderly folks living in high-rise condos!