Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Posted August 24,
The Sun Sentinel published today a letter to the editor
under the headline "Rizzo's
report a slap at volunteers"
written by Donna D. Berger, Executive Director Community
Association Leadership Lobby.
actual opinion is not really important if you know where she is coming from.
Donna Berger is an attorney with the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.
and a registered lobbyist for this firm. Personally she lobbied in Tallahassee
against the bill creating the office of the condo ombudsman.
(Community Association Leadership Lobby) is a lobbying group created and
financed by the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., which under the
"pretense" of advocating on behalf of more than 4000 community
associations pushes the agenda of this law firm, fighting owner-friendly
legislation aimed at curbing the outrageous legal fees most associations and
owners are facing.
to her own writing she was present at the meeting of the Condo Advisory Council
in Miami on June 25 -- a meeting that caused a newspaper reporter to write an
article headlined "Condo Owners Accuse Board of Intimidation, Incompetence".
So why is she so surprised if the condo ombudsman arrives at the same
findings as the public speakers?
really time that the old smoke screen: "Just a few disgruntled owners"
is discarded and we all face the reality. The problems owners living in
associations are facing daily is shameful for our society.
law firm of Becker & Poliakoff is the biggest law firm specializing in
association law in Florida -- and has most to lose if owner-friendly association
reforms are enacted. They are as well the biggest supporter of the CAI
(Community Associations Institute), a national trade organization of association
service providers, that clearly advocates against consumer-friendly
& Poliakoff is as well the law firm in Florida that creates -- in the
opinion of many written complaints I receive daily -- most of the problems for
firm had their fair share of run-ins with Federal Consumer Protection laws. A
federal court found Becker&Poliakoff P.A. guilty of violating the FDCPA
(FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT), see: Fuller
vs. Becker & Poliakoff (192 F. Supp. 2d 1361 M.D.Fla., 2002)
Day One it was obvious that these attorneys would do everything to undermine the
office of the ombudsman, after they were unable to kill the bill creating this
office (SB 1184
in February of this year -- the new Ombudsman was barely appointed and had
started to work -- a leading attorney of the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff
stated at a national law seminar of the CAI in New Orleans that the new Florida
Ombudsman is a "disaster" and is "about to be kicked out"!
E. Adams, a shareholder in the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, is in the
eyes of many observers abusing his position as the chairman of the Condo
Advisory Council to create a witch hunt against the Condo Ombudsman. Instead of
taking care of the problems many public speakers point out during the meetings,
he seems to be obsessed with making the ombudsman look bad. Many condo-owners,
whose money is being used to finance the meetings of the Condo Advisory Council,
are offended by the tactics used by Joe Adams to undermine the authority of the
condo ombudsman. Please note that the creation of the Condo Advisory Council was
as well opposed by the lobbyists of the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff
Florida condo owner already filed an official
complaint with the Ethics Commission, alleging that Joe Adams is using
his appointment to push his and his firm's agenda. According to the
legislators who sponsored the bill creating the Condo Advisory Council they
wanted this Council to listen to public input and propose suggestions for
reforms. It was definitely not created as a stage for attorneys to push their
anti-reform agenda or trying to destroy attempts of legislators to find feasible
solutions for the many problems.
think these facts make it easier to understand where all these
"opinions" are really coming from: Attorneys who are afraid that
revealing the truth will decrease their income!
is typical for Donna Berger to push "volunteers" at the forefront of
her opinion. Who would care about her opinion if she would state the fact that
only about 200 specialized attorneys in Florida are afraid of seeing reports
finally stating the facts about the real condo association problems? It is
often more important to look at the messenger than to look at the message to
find out the real truth!
feel it's important how the condo owners feel about the Condo Ombudsman -- not
these few attorneys with a financial interest in making him fail. Many
compliments from owners, board members, professionals and legislators show that
the Ombudsman is on the right track!
I didn't copy Donna Berger with my opinion this time. Last time I did copy her
by e-mail she accused me of cyber-stalking and threatened me with filing a
police report. I guess some people just don't like to hear opposing opinions? Or
the real facts?