Azzouz owes MetroWest homeowners group $131,000, leader says

Article Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel

By Rich McKay

Published August 17, 2008


The head of the MetroWest master homeowners association -- which has been under the control of developer Kevin Azzouz since 2005 -- has confirmed that companies controlled by Azzouz owe the association at least $131,000 in unpaid assessments.

It's yet another example of the close relationship between MetroWest, the 1,850-acre planned community that is home to 12,000 residents, and the developer who took it over in 2005 and is still developing portions of it.

"This is not a sky-is-falling disaster," said Ken Simback, who is Azzouz's handpicked president of the MetroWest Master Association and also Azzouz's top associate in his development company, Veranda Partners.

"This is more of a hiccup," Simback said. "It just means that we're not immune to the cash-flow problems that are affecting development companies everywhere. These are the general market conditions we're facing."


Simback's acknowledgment of the debt came during a homeowners association meeting Thursday night.

It was called to discuss a report by dissident residents that Azzouz has misspent $2.3 million of the association's money on unapproved security measures, landscaping, legal fees and projects benefiting his adjacent developments.

Some residents also complained that their assessments have shot up since Azzouz took over, jumping from about $650,000 in 2005 to nearly $2.2 million last year.

However, Simback deflected questions about a 23-page analysis of the association's spending, saying they will be answered at a special meeting, likely in late September.

Every house, condo and business in MetroWest is assessed a monthly fee to pay for landscaping, pool maintenance, security and other upkeep expenses. Simback said the total of delinquent fees comes to about $600,000, money that hasn't been paid by homeowners as well as businesses within the community.

Azzouz's companies are apparently the largest of the deadbeats.

Simback, as the association's president, is ultimately in charge of making sure the assessment bills get sent out.

As vice president of Veranda, he has a hand in making sure the bills are paid.

He said Friday that the various Veranda entities -- including a huge condominium complex and an assortment of restaurants and shops -- will pay all of the money owed, plus 18 percent interest. However, he didn't say when.

Azzouz couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

MetroWest residents accuse developer of misspending $2.3M