Recall Successful -- 

Despite Former Board Inventing "Ghost Units"

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

March 29, 2006


It took 133 days for a recall petition to put the new board in power at Forest Ridge Village Condominium Association, Inc. on Amelia Island, Florida


…133 days -- because the sitting board and their attorney, C. John Christensen from the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff P.A., came up with a shameful scheme to delay action on the recall decision.  They contrived to "invent 24 ghost units" to postpone the recall decision and spend large amounts of association money to stay in power.


Just read the Summary Final Order dated March 22, 2006 -- it speaks for itself!


But this lengthy time frame also speaks for itself.  How difficult can it be to look behind the fabricated excuse for not certifying the recall? 


The problem started with arguments over a special assessment and the common argument over its necessity. See: Ouch - condo assessments

The former president, Steve Jordan, complained about the article in a letter to the editor and called the article "full of errors and misleading" -- topping his letter with the headline: "Get the facts straight!"


Already on December 3, 2005, I challenged Jordan's opinion. Please read my response stating: "Get The Facts Straight? That would be great!"


My opinion at that time? "The only reason the recall wasn't certified?  The board is hiding behind the excuse of insufficient ballots, because they quickly added 24 'ghost units' to the total number of units.  These 'ghost units' were in the original plans, but were never built and never had any dues-paying members!  This decision will cost the association members even more money -- money that is already in short supply in this association."


And my prediction was absolutely correct. The owners recalling the board even had to hire an attorney to represent their interests, because the other side stalled and nothing got done.      


Here again the question: Why do these DBPR Division arbitrators take so long to do their job?


Why do they allow boards and attorneys to stall the procedures and turn a simple recall petition into a lengthy legal issue that doesn't really serve any purpose -- other than to prolong the process?  This stalling tactic allows the recalled board to stay in power and make some more decisions unwanted by the majority of the unit owners.  And last but not least:  Delays create some more fees for attorneys! 


Written recall provisions were created by the Florida legislature in order to simplify the procedure and save owners time, money and frustration. But it is obvious that the Arbitration Section of the DBPR is unable -- or unwilling -- to follow the legislative intent -- as usual! 


Why do condo owners have to pay for the inability of a Division -- they even pay for this with annual dues -- to sort out the simplest issues?


This is another example that something is totally wrong -- that the Arbitration Section is not doing the job the Florida legislature asked them to do!

When will this change?