Spencer's Plantation HOA board, residents entangled in ugly fight

Article Courtesy of First Coast News

By Ken Amaro  

Published July 14, 2015


ORANGE PARK, Fla.-- There are 222 homes in Spencer's Plantation and some of those homeowners are in a fight with the Homeowners Association board.
"It is a dictatorship," said resident Stacia Hood.

First Coast News met with about ten families on Wednesday evening to hear their concerns.

"Your HOA should be there to represent you," said Hood, "not to be harassing you."

Residents dues are $250 a year. The board is made up of homeowners who are elected to the board. They had three members; today there are two.

"They're fining people for leaning mailboxes or power washing driveways $1,000 fines," said Hood.

The fight between the two have gotten so ugly, resident Annette Weaver got a court injunction against a board member.

"I have a restraining order to keep her away from me," said Weaver, "to keep her away from my house."

Ben Ruffner, another resident, said he was accused of making threats to board members and other allegations.

"I became a target of the board," he said.

Ruffner questions the election process that got the two board members on board.

"There was no secret ballot," he said. "It is required."

In a March letter, the HOA's attorney, the Jackson Law Group, wrote in part, "The board was properly elected."

Even in June, residents did a petition drive and that led to a recall election.

"We had 129 members represented there," said Ruffner.

The vote was clear: Ruffner said it was unanimous to recall board members. But on June 30, the recall election was declared void.

Among the reasons given: Some homeowners' right to vote was suspended because their dues were unpaid.

The board's secretary and treasurer said the problem is just a handful of homeowners.

"I did not make the rules," she said. "They need to be enforced."

Ilianita Rivera is wife of board president Jose Sanchez.

"I am very upset," she said. "They are lying."

Reese said the problem is residents don't want to adhere to the covenants and restrictions.

"We wish they would stop this," said Reese.

A few months ago, the HOA's attorney sent a demand letter to several residents asking them to "cease and desist."

But it is not over.

HOAs are regulated to some degree by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. If there's an election dispute, residents can take the issue to arbitration.

Spencer's Plantation homeowners plan to file for arbitration. No date has been set and no one is waving the peace flag in this fight anytime soon.