Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald


Published August 13, 2006

Homeowners displeased with Kendall Kingdom developer

The West Kendall community called Kendall Kingdom was supposed to come with a gated entry, a tot lot in one of the single-family home complexes and hedges along the side streets, but homeowners say, six years later, they have yet to see any of those items.

Homeowners of the community on Southwest 96th Street and 162nd Avenue say they've been asking Monaco Management Group's Javier Siu since the development was completed nearly five years ago when they plan to finish. The answer, they say, is always ``soon.''

So they wait and hope, but nothing changes.

''We don't live in deplorable, third-world conditions,'' said Robert Aldir, who in recent months has rallied frustrated homeowners. ``However, we have legitimate concerns.''

On Wednesday, a handful of disgruntled homeowners met at a home to talk about their frustrations.

The group first met at a meeting called at 2 p.m. July 14 by Siu of Monaco and Clemente De La Torre of Tower Management Services, Kendall Kingdom's property-management company, for the purpose of transferring the homeowners association to the residents.

About two dozen homeowners, many already frustrated that they hadn't turned over the control, showed up at the meeting. They said they were floored by the meeting conditions, inside a warehouse garage without air conditioning in the sweltering heat.

Before they take control of the association, homeowners want to see financial statements and get it in writing that they will construct the guard gates, now concrete stumps, finish planting hedges and repair several destroyed fences, among other things.

''We don't want to turn it over because, No. 1, we don't know what skeletons we have in the closet,'' Aldir said.

Siu, who was arrested and convicted on charges of unlawful compensation and mortgage fraud in a kickback scandal and sentenced to 1 year's probation, did not return calls.

De La Torre said they are not holding back anything but, if the residents want something, they have to put their demands in writing.

''I have to present them to the developer, and the ball is going to be on his side of the court,'' De La Torre said. ``If he doesn't do anything, then they need to take the matter into their own hands, take control of the association and take legal action.''

The residents say they're working on the list.

Kendall Kingdom homeowners are not the first to voice issues with the developer.

Another group of homeowners, in a nearby Monaco community called Kingdom of Dreams at Southwest 162nd Avenue and 59th Street, told The Miami Herald in June that they kept calling Siu and De La Torre about their concerns and were not hearing back.

Their issues: air-conditioning units do not cool the second floor, there are no street lights to illuminate the complex and they did not know why the homeowners association had not been turned over to them.

Now, a few months later, homeowners say they haven't seen much change, except the grass gets cut more often and debris leftover from a hurricane was finally picked up.

As for Kendall Kingdom, homeowners there said they worry that their quality of life will be ruined if the security gates aren't built by the time General Growth Properties builds the 160-acre community complex across the street.

''I was really looking forward to a nice, safe community for my family and newborn, and it's frustrating for me because I don't feel like I'm getting that,'' homeowner Evelyn Barredo said. ``If I knew better, I would have bought somewhere else.''

Nydia Norman wants speed bumps in a neighborhood crawling with children who play on the streets. Carlos Saer wants them to finish putting up hedges along the complex at Southwest 96th Street and 162nd Avenue and fix the fence.

De La Torre said first the homeowners need to pay the monthly association fee. Kendall Kingdom homeowners pay $20 a month. Kingdom of Dreams homeowners pay $75 a month.

''I'm trying to see if I can complete the hedges with the money that's coming in to the association, but it's very hard due to some of the homeowners are not paying the fee,'' he said, adding that the fence has been replaced several times.

De La Torre said a solution to all this would be for the homeowners to get together and maintain their own communities instead of paying a company to do it for them.

''It's not condos so it's not that complex,'' he said. ``They just have to put insurance on the properties, maintain the streets, the landscaping, the lights. Why pay for a management company?''

Henry Haegele said if their demands are not met, he would stand at the corner of several new Monaco developments with signs warning people to stay away.

''Buyer beware: If it happened to us it could happen to you,'' Aldir said.