Battle for investigation of DBPR goes on

Posted 03-23-2004

The battle for an investigation of the Department of Business and Professional  Regulation goes on. Many condo owners from all over Florida are accusing the DBPR of not following their own mission statement and abandoning the consumers. 

Below the latest in a series of letters exchanged between Amelia Island resident Stephen Comley and the DBPR. His emotional appeal at the last meeting of the HOA Task Force in Tallahassee already created headlines in many newspapers around Florida. 

It seems obvious that the DBPR is having serious problems doing its duty as charged. Especially -- since downsizing from 160 to 91 employees -- consumers, relying on the DBPR to protect their rights, are feeling the impact of dealing with a seriously reduced staff.

Read the latest response Stephen Comley received from the Office of the General Council:

(Scanned Version):
Office of the General Counsel
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee. FL32399-0750
VOICE 850.488.0062
FAX 850.414.6749


March 5, 2004

Stephen B. Comley
1518 Beach Walker Road
Fernandina Beach, FI32034

Dear Mr. Comley:

I am responding to your certified mail of February 20,2004 (and its attachments) which you directed to Deputy Secretary Lianne Acebo. The department receives many letters from citizens throughout the state and it strives to answer these promptly and thoroughly. As with your letter, many of these are related (directly or indirectly) to the actions of licensees that fall under the department's regulatory ambit. In such circumstances the department must remain fair and impartial to all parties concerned. While it is your right to have and to express your-opinion on state laws, -the department must maintain neutrality. Therefore, I respectfully disagree with your suggestion concerning the Woodside case.

You next ask for a response to your letter to Deputy Secretary Acebo, dated January 26, 2004. In that letter you repeat a series of questions and statements which relate directly or indirectly to your complaint(s) against your board. As you have been previously informed, your complaint(s) has been thoroughly reviewed and re-reviewed. I respect your right to disagree with our decisions but must tell you that those decisions have not changed. Thus, I cannot comment further in regard to your letter of January 26, 2004.

Your last question references yet another correspondence that you sent to the department, an email, dated February 5,2004 and directed to me. On February 10, 2004, I responded to your email. I would respectfully request that you review my response carefully. At that time it was clearly explained to you that any complaints you have concerning the department, or its personnel, should be forwarded to the Department's Inspector General.

It is distressing to me that you are unhappy and dissatisfied with our many attempts to address your concerns. Having said that, we are clearly at a point of disagreement. You have repeatedly questioned the department's handling of your complaints and you have repeatedly questioned the department's answers to your inquiries. I sincerely believe that every avenue has been exhausted in responding to you. But, as I have informed you before, if you wish to complain in regard to these matters please contact the Department's Office of the Inspector General. If that does not suffice, you may also contact the Office of the Chief Inspector General.

cc: Ms. Diane Carr, Secretary,
Ms. Lianne Acebo, Deputy Secretary,
Ms. Kim Mills, Inspector General

Stephen Comley's comment:
This letter from General Counsel fails to address the questions in my letter of 2/20/04 to Secretary Carr:  On June 16, 2003 during a tele-conference call with investigator supervisor, Tracey Corbitt & Investigation Specialist, Eurkie McLemore present, The Chief of Compliance, (who Secretary Carr just appointed acting director 2/26/04 (see attached), due to the resignation of former director, Ross Fleetwood) stated to me “ the staff at the DBPR has been cut from 160 to 91, a 40% cut in staff.”  A lot of people in the legislature & the media want her to answer this question.  “Secretary Carr, with a 40 per cent cut in staff, in your opinion, can the DBPR operate responsibly and still keep up with all the new filings & complaints that continue to flow into your office?”  PLEASE READ ALL OF 2/20/04 LETTER TO DEPUTY SECRETARY ACEBO & OUR LETTER of 2/17/04 (lists all of our concerns) CALLING ON PRESIDENT KING TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION OF THE DBPR.