By Jan Bergemann

Published Saturday, December 4, 2004

After lengthy discussions, Floridians finally have the Ombudsman many condo-owners had hoped for  --  one of their own!  This newly appointed Ombudsman is a condo-owner who has experienced the problems of condo living and knows how it feels to be at odds with the condominium board.  This experience will definitely help him to make the right decisions in the future, decisions that will assist condo-owners to live in friendly confines again!

In the name of many condo-owners and citizens of Florida, I would hereby like to thank Governor Jeb Bush for his appointment of Virgil Rizzo as the new Condo Ombudsman.  Also, I’d like to thank the many senators and representatives, who helped by recommending Rizzo for this important position, especially Senator King and Senator Campbell, just to name a few of the many!  And we would like to thank Senator Rudy Garcia and Representative Julio Robaina, who made this appointment possible by sponsoring and fighting for the necessary legislation.    It could not have been done without the support of many other legislators, who finally saw the need to create an entity willing to help the condo-owners.  Thank you all!

Now citizens living in Florida’s mandatory homeowners’ associations hope that they will as well get an Ombudsman’s Office during the next session.  Legislation to that effect will be filed.  And it is long overdue!

Here is the official announcement:


·        Virgil R. Rizzo, 67, of Fort Lauderdale, attorney and retired medical doctor, appointed for a term beginning December 3, 2004 and ending at the pleasure of the Governor.

I am convinced that by picking a condo-owner, who has himself experienced the problems of condo living in Florida, a big step was made in the right direction. More consumer-friendly legislation has to follow, but this is a great day in the history of Florida condominium living.

Now the cooperation of all parties is needed to make this a big success.  It will hopefully bring an end to the many horror stories we hear on a daily basis.  Virgil Rizzo needs the help of us all to make this the success we anticipate.

Congratulations, Virgil!  You have a big task in front of you, most likely bigger than many would like to admit.  We wish you all the success you deserve and we promise you all the help you may want!

Our best wishes for this new job, Mr. Condo Ombudsman -- Virgil Rizzo!

Dr. Virgil Rizzo was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush for the position of Condominium Ombudsman. This position was recently created by the Florida Legislature.

Virgil Rizzo was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1937.  He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science Degree.  He taught Sciences and Mathematics in the Pittsburgh Public Schools until he moved to Basel, Switzerland to study Medicine.  He obtained the Degree of Doctor of Medicine there in 1966.  He stayed in Switzerland to do post graduate work in Dermatology and Immunology and went on to obtain a Degree in Tropical Medicine at the Swiss Institute of Tropical Medicine.  During his studies he mastered Skiing, the game of Chess and became an Olympic hopeful in wrestling.

In 1966 Virgil moved to Lakeland, Florida to do an Internship at Lakeland General and Polk County Hospitals.  He successfully obtained his license to practice Medicine from the Florida Board of Medicine in 1967.  He then opened a General Medical Practice in Plantation, Florida and Broward County.  Shortly thereafter he was drafted into military service and served two years in the Army with service in the Mekong Delta of Viet Nam.  Upon returning to Florida he resumed his medical practice in Plantation, Florida until 1976.

After a two-year sabbatical he attended Nova University School of Law, graduating in 1982.  After passing the Florida Bar exam he practiced general law and worked as a Medical Legal consultant to different law firms throughout Florida.

Since 1971, Dr. Rizzo has resided in a condominium and has become involved with the problems and operation of condominiums throughout the state.  Dr. Rizzo has dedicated himself to assist persons in need through his professional careers in medicine and law.

Dr. Rizzo's personal empathy, legal knowledge and experience make him the perfect choice for Condominium Ombudsman.  He will strive to achieve harmony among those who reside in the many condominiums in the State of Florida.