CAI is taking over Florida Condo Courses from DBPR
    By Jan Bergemann
    Published 3-31-2002

It seems to be official now – please see announcement below! The Community Association Institute will be the official provider of the Florida Educational Condo Courses next year. 

Last autumn all interested parties were still guessing why the DBPR under the leadership of Secretary Kim Binkley-Seyer was unwilling to renew the college courses with community colleges, despite getting very good grades from the participants. Please see article :
Condominium Management Courses Falling Victim to Political Issues?

Now the reason is made obvious: the influential trade organization made another move and is now acting as an ad hoc agency of the DBPR, a state agency that is supposed to regulate.
With the huge influence of Florida Home Building Association, headed by Richard Gentry, on the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes and the DBPR, and now the CAI slowly taking over the duties of the DBPR, there is barely any room left for the interests of the citizens and condo owners.
How can a government agency agree to let a trade organization run the show? 
Next thing we may hear is that FORD has been mandated to run the courses for car buyers: How to file an official complain about a “lemon”?
When will there be the official wedding announcement between this government agency and the industry trade organization?

Since quite a while homeowners all over Florida are asking the question why the DBPR is reluctant to come to the aid of complaining consumers, or is making decisions which are absolutely not making a lot of sense to homeowners?
I guess we now have the explanation here in black and white. 

Homeowners all over the nation are complaining about the huge influence this trade organization, which falsely claims to represent as well the homeowners, has among legislators and government agencies. They have tried in some States to take over the licensing of the CAM managers – here in Florida still done by the DBPR. Will that be their next step?

In Nevada legislators have already realized the problems these industry partisans are creating for homeowners living in mandated properties.
State Senator Mike Schneider stated (quote):
“I think homeowners associations just get carried away. I think what happens is they get bad advice from attorneys. If they stopped listening to attorneys, a lot of these problems would go away. That's what attorneys do, they get carried away with this. Personally, I think attorneys just want them to get into these little neighborhood wars so they can bill them for more money." 
Schneider, who sponsored successful bills expanding the rights of homeowners in 1997 and 1999, said the issue is growing as more people move into developments managed by homeowner associations. 

A homeowner about his experience with CAI lawyers in his association (quote):
“It is quite clear that the CAI is quite united with one single motivation factor guiding them all in the same direction. The almighty dollar. As for the CAI referring to homeowners as the "enemy." It amazes me that the people who have made the CAI so prosperous can be considered the enemy. 
After all, without the homeowner's (enemy's) money, where would the CAI be? 
   The CAI claims to want communities to get along. Our community had some 
problems before a certain CAI lawyer got involved. But as soon as he was retained all hell broke loose. The community has been at war amongst themselves ever since. In all reality, it is quite beneficial for the CAI that homeowners would be fighting and bickering amongst themselves. After all, if everyone got along, how would the CAI justify its existence?”

Please don't forget that CAI is mainly run by attorneys, “specializing” in association law.
In combination with management firms, this can be a very expensive combination for the homeowners. 
Names like Wean & Malchow, P.A. and Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. are not showing up only on the lists of directors of the board of the Florida CAI, but as well in many conversations among homeowners’ activists. They are well known to relentlessly pursue law-suits, especially considering the fact that the homeowners will always pay, no matter what the outcome. And in many cases not necessarily in the interest of the majority of the homeowners, as recently seen in a case of an Orlando HOA.

And be reminded that this is an organization where many homeowners pays membership dues without their knowledge? Most of them don't even know what CAI stands for? Smart directors are filling out membership applications for their association, actually you can win some nice trips, and have these dues accounted under "General Supplies"?
Or where the Florida Legislative Alliance, the lobbying part of the CAI, under the lead of Vice Chair Paul Wean, instructs FLA’s lobbyists to "beat this one with a stick until its dead!”  - their own words - every time a consumer/homeowner friendly bill is prefiled in Tallahassee?

And you expect from these people a consumer friendly Condo Education Course?
Maybe our legislative representatives, who made this incomprehensible decision, should think again?

In a CAI manual for how to run a condo, it specifically tells the director about the business judgment rule; in short, get expert advice and you're off the hook.  So, attorneys run the show -- hired hands.  This would also explain why CAI refuses to properly educate directors and managers – it would make them "experts" and therefore, culpable. CAI and other interests can't allow this to happen for obvious reasons. 

So, even more cost for citizens who just try to make a peaceful living in a nice home! In many associations retainers for attorneys and legal fees are already a big portion of the annual budget, sometimes leaving little money for the actual purpose these dues were intended for: the maintenance of the common properties. Do people move into condo associations in order to make attorneys rich? 

I'm not sure what moved these government agencies, which are under the direct supervision of our Governor Jeb Bush, to let these industry partisans take over the education of condo owners, but one thing is already a fact before it even starts:
This education will be totally biased and these industry partisans will laugh all the way to the bank!

Official Announcement :
Florida Condominium and Cooperative Education 
Community Associations Institute (CAI), the designated condominium and cooperative educational provider for the State of Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes, will hold FREE courses for condominium and cooperative unit owners in Florida over the course of the year 2002. The courses, Conflict Resolution, Florida Condominium Association Operations, Florida Cooperative Association Operations, Financial Management of Florida Condominium Associations, and Regulation of Residential Condominium & Cooperative Associations in Florida, will be held in the following counties: Bay, Brevard, Broward, Collier, Dade, Escambia, Lee, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Sarasota.

Please read as well : 
What is OCHA?
An interesting article about way the industry works - with Bulletin Board!