Courtesy of Sun Sentinel
September 21, 2007
- Authorities have charged the former president of a beachside condominium
with grand theft for using condo funds to pay health insurance premiums
for herself and her husband.
Doris Weinstein, 64, is accused of enrolling in the health plan for the
Quadomain condominium's Recreation Association employees and receiving
coverage worth more than $13,000 over 30 months, according to a Hollywood
police detective's report.
She has pleaded not guilty.
"This is an example of condo politics run amok," said her
lawyer, Larry S. Davis.
Davis said Weinstein received permission to join the employee health plan
from the condominium's management company. He said she reimbursed the
condo for all of the insurance premiums.
"My understanding is she paid for all that had been billed to
her," Davis said.
But police found reimbursements for less than half the funds, according to
Charging documents by the State Attorney's Office estimate the theft at
less than $5,000.
Under Florida law, condominium board officers do not receive salaries or
benefits unless entitled to them in the bylaws.
"It's a volunteer system basically. You don't get compensated for
it," said Danille Carroll, head of the state Office of the
Condominium Ombudsman, which educates condo residents about their rights
and mediates disputes.
A 5-acre complex encompassing four 27-story towers, the Quadomain has
about 50 recreation employees who tend to the pools, clubhouse,
restaurant, parking lots, gym, shuffleboard, library and indoor driving
range. Weinstein, who is free on a $1,000 bond, served as president of the
condo's Recreation Association from the spring of 2003 until February
2006. She remained president of two of the complex's towers until February
She is accused of "completing, signing and submitting"
enrollment applications in which she misrepresented herself as a condo
employee, according to the police report. At various times, her husband,
Gerald, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, was enrolled as a
single employee as well as his wife's dependent, according to the report.
Weinstein's arrest comes on the heels of fraud charges in May against a
plumbing contractor and the former president, maintenance supervisor and
manager of the Parker Plaza Estates in Hallandale Beach in an alleged
$1.44 million kickback scheme.
Those charges set off fears among condominium owners across South Florida
of wider improprieties.
In August, the president of the Villa Grande Condominium Association in
Miami-Dade County was charged with grand theft for allegedly using the
condo's ATM card to buy dinners, tires for his car and pay his electric
bill, according to a police report.
"This is the tip of the iceberg," said state Rep. Julio Robaina,
R-Miami, who has encouraged law enforcement to treat condo malfeasance as
white collar crimes, not civil matters. He said he knows of five cases
under investigation in Miami-Dade and others in Broward and Palm Beach
Residents of the Quadomain said problems with the insurance coverage
surfaced in the summer of 2004, when the Recreation Association manager
noticed the enrollment for Weinstein and her husband.
The manager brought the concerns to Weinstein and another condo leader but
the matter was not resolved, said Don Urquhart, president of two of the
complex's four towers.
Urquhart said he wrestled for months to obtain condo association records
relating to the insurance payments. "I was getting stonewalled,"
Urquhart eventually obtained copies of health insurance enrollment
applications showing Weinstein and her husband as condo employees. On one
form provided to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Weinstein is
shown working more than 40 hours as a member of the Recreation
Association's maintenance staff.
Urquhart said he went to authorities in May 2006.
"I made appeals to numerous board members to remove her from office
and they refused," he said. " ... Something had to be