Courtesy of the Sun Sentinel
Posted August 19, 2005
of the 4,000 queries received by the state's new condo ombudsman between April 1
and June 30 involved directors of associations, according to a newly released
Half concerned mismanagement and about a quarter alleged abuse of residents by
"The major problem continues to be the incapability and inability of
boards' members to properly manage the operation of the association," said
Dr. Virgil Rizzo of Fort Lauderdale, who was appointed in December and who
released the quarterly report this week. "Many directors lack the knowledge
to effectively and successfully operate a corporation of residential
Of the remaining queries, said Rizzo, 15 percent were related to elections and
recalls, while 10 percent cited abuse by association managers and management
Although his office has no power to order changes, Rizzo said he worked with
several boards during the period to educate directors about their jobs.
Sometimes, though, he can't help.
"We might get a report that an elevator has been out of service for six
months," he said. "Well, two weeks after it went out, the board should
have had two bids on the table to get it fixed. But nothing in some places ever
seems to get done. I can't force them to do it. The [state] can't force them to
do it. These are the kinds of problems I can't resolve, especially if I'm not
told until six months later."
In the abuse category, Rizzo includes directors who harass, intimidate and
slander owners and selectively enforce rules and file liens and foreclosures.
"I can't do anything about abuse short of using a baseball bat," he
He will ask the Florida Advisory Council on Condominiums next month to join him
in requesting that the Legislature come up with a solution.
"Officer and director abuse is a serious problem that perhaps may only be
rectified by legislative intervention," he said.
Rizzo said his office responded to 80 percent of the 4,000 queries, most within
a few days. He said he hopes to cut this to 48 hours.
the condo ombudsman in Tallahassee at 850-922-7671 or by e-mail at [email protected].
His office at 1400 W. Commercial Blvd., Tamarac, should open in about two
weeks with a local telephone number.