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

Published June 7, 2011


THERE IS NO FREE SPEECH HERE -- that is exactly the attitude displayed by Robert Tankel, an attorney from Pinellas County . Tankel is also the latest addition to the Advisory Council of the Community Advocacy Network (CAN), the lobbying group of the law firm of Katzman Garfinkel & Berger (KGB).


Tankel's infamous intimidation letters threatening owners are well known in North and Central Florida -- and so is his attitude. FREE SPEECH and FAIR ELECTIONS are surely not on Bob Tankel's agenda. And his outrageous charges for COLLECTIONS have raised more than one eyebrow.


LinkedIn is a bulletin board mostly frequented by attorneys and CAMs. Tankel's POSTING on the LinkedIn discussion board "Community Association Ink" -- subtitle "Florida community association bill on way to Gov. Scott for signature" -- was in response to my POST, where I called the excuse used by Senator Fasano for not being able to regulate HOAs "PATHETIC."


But that seems to be Bob Tankel's modus operandi.  He would rather shoot the messenger if he doesn't like the message, instead of coming up with facts to argue his opposing position. I dare to say: There are no good arguments to counter my statements. Finding out how many mandatory homeowners' associations and how many homes are located within these associations can be achieved in no time by a computer search -- if the legislators really want to know.


Tankel's dubious methods and actions have caused lots of lawsuits in community associations. His run-ins with the FLORIDA BAR are well known:
         See 10-Year Discipline History for Robert Tankel:

Action Date Reference
Suspended - with Conditions 09-18-2003 200111266
Admonishment 11-12-2010 201010232

I guess everybody knows how difficult it is to get punished by the Florida Bar -- but Bob Tankel succeeded twice. What does that tell you?


My INITIAL RESPONSE to Bob Tankel's post on the discussion board didn't pass muster with the host -- who says life or a bulletin board host is fair? It was removed, while Tankel's personal attacks were obviously allowed. In this case I'm taking Tankel's advice and will post on the CCFJ website. I think it's important for everybody to see where some of these "ADVOCATES" are coming from -- you know "the people who are wrestling with the beast that affects about 9 million Floridians" -- but are in reality only interested in filling their own pockets. With this kind of attitude displayed by these "advocates" -- why do we wonder about the mess, uproar and financial disaster in many of Florida's community associations?


On a side note: In 2008 Bob Tankel filed a membership application with CCFJ. His application was denied and his membership fee was refunded, because a lot of our members would have revolted if we had accepted him as a member. As we all know: Advocacy organizations like new members, but not all new members are assets -- some are serious liabilities!


And a professional who uses this e-mail address: sounds rather like a guy from a dubious collection agency than an honorable attorney! 

Well, well -- long live the FREEDOM OF SPEECH!

Bob Tankel Jan you have a website of your own where your viewpoints (which are pretty well known) are published. You misuse the privilege of being a member here by posting contrary, self serving items and turning this into a series of ad hominem attacks on the people who are wrestling with the beast that affects about 9 million Floridians ("pathetic explanations"??). Get off this board!!! There is no free speech here, and I for one don't think your speech is welcome here in the fashion in which you present it. I hope you get banned...if I pay the price for this comment and am banned for calling you out, then so be it, but someone had to do it....Leave or be banned; Group???? 

May 31,2011


Jan Bergemann You know the old wisdom: Most theories are good -- until humans get involved!

Senator Fasano was Sunday on CondoCraze & HOAs. He is the Senate sponsor of the bad bills from the last two years. I have barely ever heard more pathetic explanations and answers than yesterday from the legislator who is responsible for the legislative mess created in the last two years for community associations. No wonder we are in such a mess. He still hasn't figured out that there is a difference between voluntary and mandatory HOAs.
He opened his statements with this disclaimer: I'm not well educated, so I can't answer all your questions.

How do you like this explanation: "We don't even know how many HOAs we have in Florida -- how can we regulate them?" That's exactly what Pete Dunbar said to me in front of a House Committee in 2004. But that doesn't stop them from adding each year more stupid HOA laws to FS 720 -- right? Our new billboard at the I-95 warns: HEALTH CARE ALERT -- HOA SYNDROME. See:

May 31, 2011


Jan Bergemann: Bob, it's always great to hear from you. Yes, CCFJ actually has two websites, but having websites doesn't mean somebody shouldn't have the right to post here. Quite a few others, who are posting here, have websites. So do you! I wasn't aware that this discussion page is for Kumbaya singers only.  By the way, Mark's post confirmed my opinion that this is a place where free speech is still allowed -- even if you don't like it. Especially when the opinion is based on facts. I always wonder why people like you want to shoot the messenger -- if they don't like the message. I still remember when you wanted to join CCFJ. I sent your money back and told you that we are pretty picky in choosing who we accept as member.

Like it or not, I still say that the excuse used for not regulating HOAs in Florida is pathetic. Donna was present when Pete Dunbar came up with the same stupid excuse at a House Committee hearing about 7 years ago. When I explained how easy it would be to find out, if the legislature wanted to find out, Pete Dunbar had no answer. Sorry, but my "pathetic" statement stays!


Looking at your YouTube videos you normally have an explanation for everything. So instead of rambling on and declaring that FREE SPEECH is not wanted on this discussion page, you might want to explain why that excuse is not pathetic in your opinion? I really like to hear it!


And please don't tell me that you count yourself as one of the people who are wrestling with the beast that affects about 9 million Floridians. In my opinion you are much too busy writing "nasty" letters to homeowners (I have a whole collection), adding outrageous legal fees to your collection attempts (I have quite a lot of examples) and fighting BAR complaints.

Your attitude clearly shows: In your opinion FREE SPEECH isn't welcome. That's exactly the same attitude I see from some association boards you represent. Could it be that you are telling them as well to suppress FREE SPEECH?

Accusing me of posting self-serving items? Talking self-serving? How about attorneys who are pushing legislation to enrich themselves, but claim they do it in the interest of associations/owners? That's what I call self-serving! But I guess we'll never agree!

Was posted: May 31, 2011