Article Courtesy of The Palm Beach
By Tony Doris
January 14, 2018
DELRAY BEACH — What started with a $25 late fee three
years ago for townhouse owner David Silva has grown to a foreclosure
fight over a $47,554 bill that had Silva in court two days this week,
fending off an effort by his property association to take away his
His fate rests
with Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Robert Panse, who
on Monday and Tuesday heard arguments at the south
county courthouse that pitted calls for common sense
against bad blood and condo enforcement.
Silva has been a resident of Ventura Greens at Emerald
Dunes, off Okeechobee Boulevard and Jog Road just west
of Florida’s Turnpike, since 2007 and is a former member
of the 70-unit community’s board. He regularly made
online payments of the monthly maintenance fee for his
three-bedroom, 2½-bath townhouse. But unknown to him, he
said the complex changed property managers in June 2014
and his payment never went to the association.
The association has been through at least eight
management companies in its 11 years. A few managers
sent the association letters saying they were quitting
because of the difficulty of working with Vic Bally, who
is the association president.
By the time Silva learned of the latest change and
paid the new property manager, the association charged
him a $25 late fee. While he disputed the fee, the
association, led by arch-enemy Bally — both sides
testified to the animus between the men — tacked on more
late fees, attorney fees, costs, collection charges and
interest charges. In 2015, the association filed to
Ventura Greens townhouse owner David Silva could
lose his home for refusing to pay a $25 late fee he blames on
his homeowners association.
Silva and his common-law wife, Tracey Monahan, contended that they
always paid their association dues but were on vacation for a week that
June and didn’t learn until weeks afterward that his online payment
hadn’t gone through or been forwarded.
“This case would not be here if there was any exercise of common sense,”
Silva’s attorney Richard Glenn said in summation Tuesday. This is all
about late fees “and this is all their fault,” he said, accusing the
association of negligence. “It’s a $25 case that’s snowballed into
something that’s insane.”
Jeanette Bellon, lead attorney for Ventura Greens, asserted that Silva
was notified of the management change and that there was no evidence he
sent a payment to the old address. “Bank statements don’t lie — people
do,” she said. “They ignored the notices. … There was no error by the
There’s no record of the bank statement because the former management
company never cashed the check, Glenn countered in closing arguments.
Bellon rejected contentions that the association selectively enforced
its rules with bias against Silva. Late fees accrued because the
association followed the rules, not the policy in place when Silva was
on the board years earlier, she said.
She had Silva confirm that he had signed off on foreclosures when he was
on the board. But Silva responded that he did so only when a resident
was at least three months behind on maintenance payments, not for late
fees. The board would try to work with the resident to create a payment
plan, he said. “The last thing we’d want to do is throw somebody out of
According to Silva, he and Bally began loathing one another when Silva
was on the board and Bally, who at the time was not, would disrupt
meetings with complaints and accusations.
When Bally was president, at one point Silva was arrested when Bally
accused him of assault. Silva, a retired New York state trooper, was
found not guilty after Bally’s own video of the incident showed Silva
was innocent and that the officer who made the arrest was mistaken,
Silva said he sometimes videotapes Bally when he sees him near his
townhouse, to protect himself.
Bally, on the stand, said he joined the board because the association
was “in disarray and incompetence” and that it is now fair and well-run.
He has not let his dislike of Silva get in the way of running the
association properly, he testified.
The case is about following rules, Bellon argued. “The rules must be
applied in this case.” A written ruling is expected within weeks.