Article Courtesy of The Miami
By LAURA FIGUEROA
Published May 2, 2008
TALLAHASSEE -- Traveling throughout the state, Rep.
Julio Robaina, a Miami Republican, has heard his fair share of ''horror
stories'' about unruly condominium associations -- from limits on access
to financial records to board members' helping themselves to funds.
Days ago, he read about a Pompano Beach man shot to
death by a SWAT team after the man held employees of his condo association
hostage at gunpoint for an hour.
''Sorry Ma. Could not handle these condo people,''
Patrick Dellisanti wrote in a suicide note to his mother. Police say
Dellisanti owed more than $3,000 in back assessments and dues on his
condo. He called the workers ''scum,'' and wrote that they "should
not be working at my condo.''
Robaina, who headed a state task force culling the
state for solutions to condo association woes, hopes a new 96-page set of
regulations that monitors condo associations will avoid or alleviate such
problems before they become crises. The measure was signed into law
Thursday afternoon by Gov. Charlie Crist.
''With no one really looking over these boards, the
temptation has driven many people to fraud the associations,'' Robaina
• Requires any
condo association director charged with felony theft or embezzlement to be
removed from office until the charges are cleared.
• Requires condo
associations to give 30 days notice before filing a lien against a unit
• Allows unit
owners to place an item on a board meeting agenda through a petition of 20
percent of owners.
• Requires that
meeting minutes and any other official records must be made available
within 45 miles of the condominium property.
Robaina said he received complaints that records
were stored in facilities several counties away, limiting condo owners'
ability to gain timely access to the records.
The bill gained notoriety after an April 19 showdown
in the House, when Democratic Leader Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach --
angered at the House GOP leadership -- called for each bill to be read in
First bill up for reading? Robaina's 96-page
''I hope you all like condo law,'' House Speaker
Marco Rubio of West Miami quipped that day.
It took more than two hours to get through the bill,
which eventually passed. Thursday, Sen. Alex Villalobos, a Miami
Republican who carried the measure in the Senate, joked it only took two
minutes to pass there.
''There should be no one in the House who is not
well versed on this bill,'' Robaina shot back.
The measure is five years in the making for Robaina,
who has unsuccessfully pushed such legislation previously.
''What they've done is given power back to the
people,'' Crist said after signing the bill.