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

Published December 4, 2012

For me it's always amazing how certain people can totally misquote arbitration rulings -- and hope to get away with it. In my opinion there can only be two reasons: Either the person is delusional -- or can't read a Final Ruling written in clear English by a State Arbitrator.

After reading a COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER, dated August 28, 20012, written by President Parker Perry of the Windhover Association, Inc. in Orlando, one has to be convinced that the association won an overwhelming victory in an election arbitration case filed by a group of disgruntled owners who were beaten in a fair and square election. That is clearly what this "president" is trying to tell his neighbors in this newsletter, clamoring the loss of $24,000 in legal fees he could have used for a much better purpose. After reading this newsletter that was distributed in the neighborhood, one would say: "Shame on these disgruntled losers!"

But the actual documents of this arbitration case tell a totally different story. The petitioners are declared the prevailing party of this election dispute that hinged on a long list of violations, as claimed by Rania Soliman, Esq. from the law firm of Taylor & Carls in a LETTER TO OPPOSING COUNSEL, Scott Kiernan, Esq. from the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff. Not only did six different unit owners in Windhover execute affidavits of forgeries, the list of alleged election rule violations is 11 (eleven) pages long.

Especially interesting in this letter is the attached "letter of support" for the sitting board by licensed CAM Richard Murphy from Leland Management. He never seems to be far away when it comes to notable election disputes here in Central Florida. Even if I can understand that he wants to support the sitting board that signs the checks for him, he should have learned from experience that this can seriously backfire -- if the other candidates win. Their first action at the first board meeting: Fire the management company that helped the opposing candidates. When will these managers learn that they are hired to manage the community, not to play important roles in community politics?

And as to prevailing party? State Arbitrator Leslie Anderson-Adams stated in her final Summary Final Judgment Order: "Petitioners' claim that the election was improperly conducted is found to be meritorious." Even if she didn't order a new election, her findings clearly showed that the association violated many election rules. Isn't the CAM hired to make sure that the election runs smoothly -- according to Statutes and Florida Administrative Code?


But despite the clear wording in the Final Judgment Order, Scott Kiernan, Esq. from the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, the attorney for the Windhover Association, filed a motion for legal fees in the total amount of $20,228.39, claiming that the association was the prevailing party in this dispute. 


Kiernan's reasoning: The association won because the arbitrator didn't order a new election.

The only reason why the election results were not overturned -- or a new election ordered -- was the fact that the number of discovered forgeries and invalid votes wasn't sufficient to change the result. But not seeing a new election ordered and being the prevailing party are totally different ball games.

arbitrator Leslie Anderson-Adams actually awarded the petitioners legal fees in the total amount of $2,155.00 and called the initial demand, made by the law firm of Taylor & Carls in the amount of $11,227.50, excessive. I wonder what Arbitrator Leslie Anderson-Adams would have called the amount demanded by attorney Scott Kiernan from the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff in the total amount of $20,228.39 -- if she had to comment on this demand?


If the president wanted to complain about wasted money, he should have directed his anger at the people in charge of the election -- the ones who violated the rules and created the mess in the first place. Wasn't he the president of the board when the disputed election took place -- the election that violated many election rules, according to the state arbitrator?


Or maybe Perry should have complained about the association attorney who charged him, according to the arbitration filings, $21,195.00 for such a simple election arbitration.

Actually, for that price, the attorney should have informed Board President Parker Perry that there was no great victory and that Perry’s claim made in the newsletter: "The state completed a detailed investigation and it was determined that the election of 2011 represented the will of the people and there was no probable cause to order another election" was seriously twisting the facts.


This is just another example of how community associations often bring out the worst in people!