Miramar community association ousts 2 officers amid charges of discrimination

By Milton D. Carrero Galarza 
Article Courtesy of the SUN SENTINEL
Posted November 11, 2003 

Miramar· Concerned about allegations of racial discrimination, residents of Franklin Farms have gathered enough signatures to remove the president and treasurer of their homeowners association.

The controversy in the neighborhood, near Douglas Road and Miramar Boulevard, surfaced about three months ago when residents learned their association had amended its bylaws to ban homeowners from renting, giving or selling their homes without board approval.

Since then, at least two black renters trying to buy a house in the community were turned down without explanation. Board President Nancy Holloway admitted there were no written formal standards to judge applicants.

Holloway and her husband, treasurer Paul Holloway, came under heavy criticism after residents learned of the change in rules. While Nancy Holloway claimed 98 percent of the households approved the change, dozens of residents said they were not told of the amendment that allowed the change.

Holloway admitted residents were not mailed a copy of the amendment until it passed.

Outraged, more than 94 minority owners signed a petition to recall the amendment. They also collected signatures from more than half the association members to remove Holloway and her husband from office.

The Holloways were considered the driving force on the nine-member board, resident Marlene Campbell said. But they lost their clout Saturday with the election of two new board members at the annual association meeting.

The new board promised to validate the petition to recall the Holloways and eliminate the controversial amendment. They will elect a new president and treasurer at their next meeting.

The Holloways were praised by some for their efforts to maintain the neighborhood's property values by volunteering to upgrade its surroundings.

"All I ever wanted for this community was to be the best-looking community that it could ever be," said Nancy Holloway, who has headed the board for seven years. "I am not a racist."

Holloway, a community activist, has in recent years created a scholarship fund to help minority students from Miramar High School attend Ivy League universities.

Michelle O'Neal, who has rented in the community for about a year without problems, was one of the two applicants turned down.

A hair salon manager, O'Neal, who is black, said she was not told why she was rejected. She has changed the closing date on the house several times waiting for the association to approve.

On Saturday, she celebrated the result of the meeting.

"I get to close on Tuesday," she said, smiling.