Small Claims Court Law-Suit for Violation of Florida Statutes
By Jan Bergemann ( 10 - 14 - 2002 )
It seems like there will be no neighborly relations in the Chimney Lakes community as long as the current board and the attorney on retainer are unwilling to follow the regulations established in the Florida Statutes. According to the FS 720.303 (5 a-c) official records : the association has to provide access to official documents - as specifically listed in the statutes - to homeowners latest 10 days after written request. 
But, as already seen in the issue regarding the video-taping of board meetings - see letter of attorney Jeffrey Tomassetti - it seems like the board feels not obligated to follow the existing laws.

It all started innocently enough with a letter to the management company requesting copies of documents according to FS. 720.303(5) . And it ended that a homeowner, who tried real hard to get official documents from the association officials, finally saw no other way but filing a law-suit for damages in Small Claims Court, as provided in FS 720.303 (5b). He really tried hard and showed a lot of patience in trying to obtain the requested documents, but failed in the end because of the unwillingness of the board to oblige by the lawful request of the concerned homeowner. How much more patience should a homeowner have?

In order to prove the contempt shown by the CLOA Board of Directors and Management Company toward homeowners of Chimney Lake, he established a Time Line, well documented with e-mails and telephone records. 

After a failed attempt to have the law-suit dismissed for formal reasons, the attorney for CLOA finally made a settlement proposal, offering $ 650.00 for the plaintiff to walk away.

It seems that the defendants still haven't gotten the message why this law-suit was filed in the first place. It wasn't actually filed for financial gain, but in order to make the defendants realize that it's time to stop violating the homeowners rights and disregarding the Florida Statutes. The plaintiff's settlement counter-proposal shows clearly, why the homeowner is willing to settle the case for a small amount of the actual claim. 

A Flyer, which will be distributed within the community in the next days, will be asking a lot of questions. Questions the board so far refused to answer!

Homeowners all around the nation are sick and tired of fighting violations of boards, management companies and attorneys, especially since these obvious violations are being defended with homeowners' money. This above case is a classic example for the contempt shown by many boards. If homeowners, trying to get proper information from boards, are being told by board members :"Sue us if you don't like it!" it is very obvious that there is a serious problem. The fact that there is no real government regulation and oversight and no penalty for breaking the laws, is definitely not helping homeowners. Citizens, who tried to fulfill the American Dream of owning a home, see their dreams turning into a nightmare because dictatorial board members are willing to break the laws knowing full well that there will be no punishment for doing so. But actually, they wouldn't succeed without the willing help of management companies and attorneys, who are obviously willing to help them breaking the laws, knowing they will be paid by the homeowners, one way or the other!