| CAI is
taking over Florida Condo Courses from DBPR
By Jan Bergemann
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 :
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
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
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!
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 :
An interesting article about way the industry
works - with Bulletin Board!