FOPV to Poinciana residents: vote Tuesday

Article Courtesy of The  Osceola News-Gazette

By Ken Jackson

Published July 27, 2017


The leadership of Friends of Poinciana Villages, a group that represents thousands of Poinciana homeowners, are encouraging those deed holders to vote – again – in a special election Tuesday for the Board of Directors in six of nine villages that make up the 50,000-resident community.

This new election was made necessary by the Florida Department of Business Professional Regulations, who found the Feb. 14, 2017 election was null and void because the developer, AV Homes, cast thousands of votes that were questioned.

According to the tallies, AV Homes cast 10,039 votes, over 10 times the number of resident votes, essentially drowning out that voice and putting developer and investor representatives on most Village boards and in seats on the APV Master Board, which meets monthly to set policy for the HOA.

It led resident and Village 7 candidate Martin Negron to file the DBPR complaint. On June 23, the DBPR voided the election and ordered a new one. The Association of Poinciana Villages, the homeowners association, unsuccessfully appealed that decision.

“The developer had been given more latitude than allowed to cast votes for future homes they claimed they were going to build,” FOPV spokesperson Keith Laytham said. “Some of these lots are under water.”
FOPV attorney Jennifer Englert said a more reasonable number, which corresponds to lots that are actually buildable and not covered by roads and utility lines, would be closer to 500. Laytham and Negron hope that 1,500 residents turn out and cast ballots.

“We feel confident (APV) will follow the law this time, but if there’s any question about the legitimacy of the ballots, we’ll ask our lawyers what we can do,” Laytham said. “We feel confident that for the first time in 44 years, homeowners will be in control of the HOA rather than the directors who are puppets for the developer.”

Englert said this new election is the first win for residents, and can earn another Tuesday by voting.

“If they can have an overwhelming victory, so we don’t have to fight over whether a lot is buildable, we can kind of end this,” she said. “If not, this becomes a battle of attrition and APV hopes we just go away.”

Residents will be voting for members of their individual village Board of Directors. Each village then chooses one board member to represent them on the nine-member APV Master Board. Negron, who with other resident candidates, were out campaigning last weekend, said he hopes for victory for residents on Tuesday.

“If we don’t, we’ll have to fight it again,” he said. “This time it feels different, the homeowners want to take the HOA back. They have to take time on a Tuesday (polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the APV office on Marigold Avenue), but now there’s enthusiasm.”

APV counsel did not respond to a request for comment for this story.