|Davenport Developer Charged in Theft of $539,765|
Article Courtesy of The Ledger
By Jason Geary
Published September 19, 2012
LAKELAND | The president of a Davenport homeowners association was arrested Tuesday on charges of stealing more than $500,000 from the association.
The affidavit said Meadows exercised a "dictatorial position" over the homeowners association because of his controlling share of votes held by owning multiple units.
David Mann Meadows siphoned dues from the association's account and levied $100-a-day fines against property owners, which went to pay the expenses of companies he owned, according to an investigation by the State Attorney's Office.
Meadows faces four charges: scheme to defraud, grand theft, money laundering and violating the White Collar Crime Protection Act.
Each is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
The 68-year-old Lake Mary man was released from the Polk County Jail after posting $60,000 bail.
"I don't understand what the charges are about," Meadows said Tuesday night. He did not want to comment further.
The State Attorney's Office in Bartow began its investigation into Meadows after receiving complaints from residents of the Island Club Resort Homeowners Association.
Meadows was the developer of the Island Club Resort at 101 Golden Malay Palm Way, north of Interstate 4 in the Four Corners area.
Investigator Stephen R. Menge wrote in a detailed, 11-page complaint affidavit that Meadows "financially exploited" the homeowners association from April 2008 to April 2012, and took $539,765 for personal use and to pay expenses of companies that he owned.
Meadows is accused of using the money to pay bills, issue payroll checks, repair equipment and purchase supplies for other companies he owned that are unrelated to the homeowners asso-ciation.
The investigation found some money was used to pay his personal mortgage.
The affidavit provides the following account:
Construction began in early 2000, and there were plans to build 494 units at the resort.
However, construction ended when the market collapsed and about 200 homes were built.
Meadow's development company, Island Club Resort Development, managed the affairs of the homeowners association.
The homeowners association generates revenues from dues.
The funds are intended to pay the management fee of the development company and maintain the common areas of the resort.
The homeowners association didn't have a traditional board of officers. The board consisted mainly of Meadows and his wife.
The affidavit said Meadows exercised a "dictatorial position" over the homeowners association because of "his controlling share of votes held through the ownership of multiple units."
He is accused of making his development company the association's primary vendor and engaging in self-dealing contracts for personal benefit.
In addition to taking dues from the association, Meadows is also accused of generating additional money through "fraudulent or false liens," the affidavit states.
"Fines were levied because homes were going into foreclosure, and fees were not being paid," Menge wrote. "Revenues needed to be generated to cover expenses."
Numerous complaints were received about unlawful fines or fees being levied on property owners, Menge wrote.
Some fines included property owners having bent or torn screens, vertical blinds instead of horizontal blinds, or satellite dishes. Such violations would generate $100-a-day fines that added up quickly, he wrote.
An office manager told investigators that liens were typically settled when the owners sold their unit, and Meadows would usually negotiate down the fees owed to the homeowners association.