Courtesy of The Osceola News-Gazette
September 20, 2015
Florida House Representative John Cortes,
D-Kissimmee, is trying to serve as a mediator between the residents of
Poinciana and FirstService Residential, who acts as the homeowner’s
association and answers to the Master Board of the Association of
The key for resolving most of the issues in Poinciana, Cortes said, is
going to be communication.
A rift has formed between residents and the HOA, with shouting matches
occurring at most of the recent Master Board meetings between the board
Over the last five months, former officers of the APV board — President
Peter Jolly, Vice President Victor Destremps and Secretary Jose Perez —
questioned FSR’s actions and were later removed from those positions,
after they unilaterally removed FSR as Poinciana’s alleging
mismanagement of APV funds and manipulation of the rest of the Master
Board membership, by the rest of the APV board. Those six seats include
three resident managers and three representatives of AV Homes,
Poinciana’s primary developer.
Cortes met with Poinciana residents Monday to talk about what he’s
trying to do, at the state and local levels, to bring compromise to
Poinciana between FSR, the APV and residents.
“These folks want to communicate, and we need to hear the other side
because the truth always falls somewhere in the middle,” said Cortes,
who’s said he reached out to FSR officials and didn’t hear back.
“Businesses that flourish effectively communicate and market
He said he and state Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, both members of the
Osceola Legislative Delegation, are of the mindset that the status quo
is no longer sustainable for Poinciana residents.
Cortes said he is working on a pair of bills, one local to Osceola
County and another general bill for Florida, in the State House, to
help. The local bill would address how FSR and APV elect their officers,
poll operating hours, voting stipulations like proxies and local
enforcement. The general bill would provide clearer dispute resolution
outside of the civil litigation process.
That court process is what angers those who post on a Facebook group
called Friends of Poinciana Villages say Enough is Enough, like Perez,
the former APV secretary.
“This is truly a David vs. Goliath situation, a $1.1 billion company
going up against a minority community being represented by three retired
residents, three residents that depended on the court system to get
justice,” Perez posted on the page.
“Addressing HOA grievances should not be predicated on the ability to
afford civil litigation,” said Cortes, who noted he’s working with the
county commissioners, namely Mike Harford, to create county policy.
Commissioner Brandon Arrington, whose district 3 includes the Osceola
County portion of Poinciana, is out of town this week.
Calls made to Tony Iorio, vice president of Development for AV Homes and
one of the members of the APV Master Board who voted to removed Jolly,
Destremps and Perez from their executive positions and reinstate FSR,
were directed to APV’s public relations department.
Cortes said the issue of incorporation of Poinciana as a city, another
divisive issue among the residents, will come up again at the Osceola
Legislative Delegation meeting Oct. 2 in Kissimmee. The issue of whether
to put it on the ballot got support last year from Cortes and Soto, but
not enough from the rest of the delegation.
The two proposed a joint meeting of Osceola and Polk legislative
delegates prior to that Oct. 2 session focusing on Poinciana
incorporation, which would change the community’s management hierarchy
from an HOA to a municipal government, and its internal conflicts with
Cortes said he hopes invitees from FSR come to present their side.
“We have the hope they’re going to show up,” he said. “I’m doing what I
can to help residents with incorporation. Those who don’t want it can
vote against it.
“In the meantime we need to prevent people from getting their houses
taken away and instead give them an explanation of what the problem is.
The HOA’s not going anywhere. We need that communicating to folks.”