CONDO BOARD DONATES $10,000 TO OUTSIDE GROUP! 

DBPR WRITES "WARNING LETTER"!

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 
Published Wednesday, May 24, 2006

   

It is very understandable that neighbors have an opinion about developments in the neighborhood. It happens all over -- like it or not! And it is great if the neighbors get together and organize the opposition, as suggested in the Newsletter of The VILLAGE OF KINGS CREEK CONDOMINIUM, issue April 2005.

 

But what board president Astrid Buttari forgot to tell her neighbors was the fact that SHE had decided to donate $10,000 of the association’s money to an outside group, dedicated to fight the zoning change. The donation was not made public, it wasn't in the budget, it wasn't publicly discussed during a board meeting according to unit owners -- it just showed up in the financials.

   

Unit owners filed a complaint with the DBPR, upset about what they consider waste of association dues. And, according to the warning letter of the DBPR, this constitutes a clear violation of the Florida Statutes, which limits spending of association dues as follows:
718.115  Common expenses and common surplus.-- 
(1)(a)  Common expenses include the expenses of the operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, or protection of the common elements and association property, costs of carrying out the powers and duties of the association, and any other expense, whether or not included in the foregoing, designated as common expense by this chapter, the declaration, the documents creating the association, or the bylaws.

 

The DBPR acknowledged this clear violation of the Florida statutes and wrote the warning letter -- see below!  Warning letter is OK, but what about the money? The association is clearly short $10,000 -- that's a fact! Whoever made the decision violated Florida statutes and used other people’s money for a personal agenda. This has to stop, and just a “warning letter” from DBPR doesn't do the trick! 

 

Worst of all, read the warning letter to the end. The board is being warned that any further violation "may result in an enforcement action by the Division, which may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation." Now, guess what? If the board decides to further violate the statutes, the membership, already out of the "donated" $10,000 would have to come up with another $5,000 to pay for the fine. Isn't that adding gross insult to injury?

   

Many owners have complained that board members paying "donations" or "retainer fees" to CALL (the lobbying arm of the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff) are clearly violating the Florida statutes. We have shown the example of board president Mary Ann Casatelli from the Lighthouse Point Plaza Condominium, who "donated $200 to CALL" and had this money reimbursed from association funds at a later board meeting.

If board presidents think that a particular cause is worthy of a donation, they should do it from their own money.  It's always easy to be generous with other people’s money -- in this case, unit owners' money!

 

Plainly, this practice has to stop!  When you want to donate -- use your own money!  But as long as nobody stops this practice and forces the board members in charge to repay the money, which was squandered for "worthy" causes, we will continue to see board members wasting association dues for "donations." 

 

Why bother to enact the Florida statutes, if nobody is minding the store?


THE     

VILLAGE

OF KINGS CREEK

CONDOMINIUM

April, 2005

Vol.  V, No. 4

 

NEWS & VIEWS


TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT!

By: Astrid  Buttari, President -  abuttari@aol.com

During the first few days in March, unit owners at The Village of Kings Creek should have received a Notice of a Public Hearing scheduled to take place on March 29, 2005.  One of the purposes of that hearing was to consider a zoning change that is being requested by H&H Development Co., who is the developer of a proposed project by the name of Dadeland Breezes Apartments.  The zoning change is being requested in order for the developer to be able to build 640 condominium units in 11.11 acres of land.  Many owners in the area attended the meeting.  The developer, however, requested that the Zoning Council consider its application to a later date.  The Council approved same and placed the Developer's zoning change request as the last item on the Agenda for the April 26, 2005 Public Hearing.

This project is proposed to be built on Kendall Drive from S.W. 77th Ave. towards 79th Avenue. This location is, of course, approximately 2 blocks north of The Village and parallel to the South side of the proposed construction.  There presently exists a rental community with 3-story buildings - or a total of 307 Units, which have not been very well maintained for several years.

Although the sight will be much, much better, this project could also impact our property in a negative way.  At the of this writing, Dadeland Breezes Apartments will consist of the following:

3 towers facing East    - 8 stories each

3 towers facing West   - 8 stories each

1 tower facing South    - 6 stories

1 tower facing North     - 6 stories

Parking Garage            - 5 stories

Also, townhomes will border part of the parcel of land according to the latest plans.

The increased density will add to the already bad traffic situation on the eastern end of Kendall Drive.  There will be more vehicles, more delays and more accidents - not to mention the overcrowding of schools and emergency services in the area.

Please attend the April 26, 2005 Hearing and express your opinion.  The Hearing will be at the Kendall Village Center-Civic Pavilion, 8625 S.W. 120 Avenue, at 7:30 p.m.


(SCANNED LETTER FROM THE DBPR)

 

STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION

 

April 28, 2006

 

CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT Receipt No. 7004 1160 0001 0280 9139

 

Ms. Astrid Buttari, President

The Village of Kings Creek Condominium Association, Inc.

Management Office

7711 Camino Real

Miami, Florida 33143-7101

 

RE:      The Village of Kings Creek Condominium

           Case No. 2006017391

 

Dear Ms. Butarri:

 

As per my April 26, 2006, telephone conversation with you, the Division has completed its investigation, and is addressing the allegation below through this warning letter pursuant to Rule 61 Br2l.003, Florida Administrative Code.

 

The Association, in violation of section 718.115(l), Florida Statutes, used Association funds for other than common expenses.  Specifically, the Board of Directors approved the donation of $10,000.00 of Association funds to an outside group in support of contesting a zoning controversy.

 

Section 718.115(l), Florida Statutes, provides that common expenses are for the operation, maintenance, repair, replacement or protection of the common elements and association property, costs of carrying out the powers and duties of the association, and any other expense, whether or not included in the foregoing, designated as a common expense by this chapter, the declaration, and the bylaws.

 

As discussed, rule 6IB-21.002(4), Florida Administrative Code, provides that associations must provide a written response to a warning letter.  The Division requests a response to this letter by May 11, 2006.  Your response must include a description of the Association's plans to prevent this violation from occurring in the future.

 

Please note that failure to reply, take corrective action as requested herein, or repeated violations of a similar nature within two years from the date the violation is resolved may result in an enforcement action by the Division, which may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation.

 

Sincerely,

BUREAU OF COMPLIANCE

 

(SIGNATURE)

Robert E. Fronrath

Investigation Specialist II

 

REF/

 

Board of Directors

The Village of Kings Creek Condominium Association, Inc.

Management Office

7711 Camino Real

Miami, Florida 33143-7101

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