DBPR Renews Condo-Education with
Community Association Institute
An Opinion By Jan Bergemann
is a very sensitive issue in Florida in these election days. And a headline
Free Courses Target Floridians in Condos and Cooperatives
definitely be very welcome.
actually, these courses are not really free, as so nicely advertised.
education courses would already be funded from the money collected in the
condo trust fund, paid by every unit owner at the rate of $4 per unit. And
the Community Association Institute is getting big bucks for holding these
courses. Plus getting lots of free advertising out of it. It's a great
opportunity to recruit new members --
especially unsuspecting owners, who hope to find help by joining this
organization. But it takes a while for most of the
owners to realize that they are actually on the wrong side of the fence.
One obvious example: CAI has always refused to file "amicus briefs"
for homeowners, even homeowners
who were members of the CAI.
opinion of a well-informed citizen after reading the press release: "Condo-owners
pay $4 to the DBPR to have them hire the CAI to train them to be obedient sheep
and deny themselves their Constitutional rights. SCARY!"
education we are talking about here is for adults supposed to learn how to run a
condominium association. Many conflicts all over the state clearly show that
there is a serious need for this kind of education. But obviously these courses
should first deal with issues like: "How to be neighborly!" or
"Respect your neighbors' rights." Definitely not how to enforce rules,
start lawsuits and/or force families out of their homes.
In my opinion a good education
depends very much on the teacher - and the willingness of the pupils to learn.
And despite the Community Association
Institute making big efforts to cover up the recent clashes with homeowners'
activists from California to Florida, it is very obvious that the opinion about
how to regulate homeowners' and condo-owners associations totally differ.
But that fact is in my opinion
self-explaining. While a trade-organization should represent the members and
increase their profits, homeowners just want a peaceful home without being
bothered by overzealous boards supported by attorneys and managers. And since
amending deed-restrictions is not really a cash cow, some nice, juicy lawsuits
will definitely do the trick!
these service providers to teach classes
to educate volunteers willing to improve their communities is definitely
comparable with letting
the fox guard
the hen house.
These are some of the main players who
are running the show for the CAI in Florida and the reason why I feel that they
are definitely not qualified to teach “harmony
and improve relations”
between owners, associations and
other related entities.
Jeb Bush had demanded “harmony and improved relations” when he created the
HOA Task Force in July 2003.)
Please don't consider this a negative approach;
it's just a summary of facts, provided by public records.
firm BECKER & POLIAKOFF P.A., Hollywood:
guilty of violating the FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT - created to protect
consumers -- in Federal Court. See: Fuller
vs. Becker & Poliakoff
firm KATZMAN & KORR, P.A., Lauderhill:
Lawsuit filed for violating the FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT.
AGAN v. KATZMAN & KORR, P.A.
WEAN & MALCHOW, P.A. Southchase 45 Community Association, a former client,
filed a serious malpractice lawsuit against this law firm, after a judge ruled
that the lawsuit brought by this firm was a "non-judiciable issue of law or
PARCEL 45 C.A., INC.
VS. WEAN & MALCHOW, P.A.
Steven Mezer, lawfirm BUSH, ROSS, GARDNER, WARREN & RUDY, P.A.
His involvement in a dubious foreclosure case, see: HUMAN
With Happy Ending featured on CBS
INSIDE EDITION, and his appearance at the HOA
Task Force meeting in Tampa in regards to the depressing problems in Nature
Watch HOA was sad enough. But arguing that condo
rules supersede even constitutional rights would definitely disqualify
him from my list of useful educators, if harmony is supposed to be the result.
Robert Tankel, Dunedin, has chosen www.condocollections.com
as his website address. Guess that says it all? If not, just read the
announcement from the St. Petersburg Times, dated December 11, 2003: "Robert
Leon Tankel of Dunedin was suspended for 15 days and given 18 months' probation.
Tankel, 47, made a false statement while representing a client, the Bar found.
MANAGEMENT, INC., Orlando is one of the more prominent CAI management firms.
They had a run-in not only with many unhappy homeowners, but as well with the Florida
BAR for UPL -- Unlicensed Practice of Law.
somebody with this credentials would apply for employment as educator, a school
board would be really hard pressed to vote in favor of employment.
with teachers like that nobody should wonder if board members state publicly at
open meetings: "The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has no legal
standing in our association!" or "Forget about the Constitution, we
make our own rules here!"
in this case it's just the DBPR, a government agency, supposedly -- as the name
suggests -- a Department for Business and Professional Regulation. And this year
Secretary Diane Carr can't use the excuse that she didn't know better. I had
personally talked to her about the fact that condo owners' money shouldn't be
spent for education courses like this. Neutral
specialists should be
hired to teach courses -- under the supervision of the ombudsman's office.
More written information and explanations should be made available
to educate volunteers willing to serve on boards and teach condo-owners about
their rights. GOOD EDUCATION would in my opinion prevent lots of the
condo wars we hear about on a daily basis.
as in many other cases Secretary Carr chose to listen to the industry, not to
the citizens her agency should protect!
Maybe it would be a wise decision for Secretary Carr to resign before the
pending OPPAGA investigation reveals further embarrassing details about
irregularities in her department. It seems quite a few of her former executives
have already resigned after seeing the writing on the wall!
homeowners and condo-owners are definitely looking forward to this investigation
and hope that it will show why so many abuses are going unpunished in Florida's