Courtesy of the Sun Sentinel
03 - 02 - 2004
condo owner Jallele Praschnik did was ask to look at her condo association's
records, as allowed by state law.
As a result, she says, her screen was cut, pesticide was thrown into her
apartment, and eggs were thrown at her car. In addition, someone would
periodically stand outside her window, looking in and listening to her
15 months of such intimidation, she said, she borrowed surveillance equipment
and taped a neighbor committing the alleged crimes.
Police last week arrested John Losada, 59, a leader of the condo association at
the South Grove Plaza, at 2690 SW 22nd Ave. in Miami. He is scheduled to appear
in court on March 15 to answer charges of criminal mischief and stalking.
He faces five years on the vandalism charge and one year on the stalking charge
if convicted. He is free on $6,000 bail.
State Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Miami, on Tuesday hailed the arrest as a victory for
condo owners everywhere in the state.
"This will send shock waves throughout Florida," he said. "This
sends a message to board members who use intimidation to stop owners from doing
what they are allowed to do. It won't be the same old same old any more.''
After hearing what he called "horror stories" about the way boards
treat owners, Robaina last year was responsible for several state laws designed
to alleviate the problem. He plans to seek more reforms at the legislative
session that begins Tuesday.
Praschnik, an owner in the 43-unit building for 15 years, said that in November
2003 she sent a certified letter requesting to see the association's books. She
suspected irregularities in the handling of money by the officers who had been
in control since the building opened 25 years ago.
Within a day, she said, eggs were thrown at her car. Other incidents followed.
Her screen was torn with a knife or just removed, a liquid substance was thrown
into her apartment and someone would stand at her window looking inside and
listening, according to court records. Nine times, court records state, she saw
the suspect drive by and throw eggs at her car.
Unable to get police to do anything, she said she borrowed surveillance
equipment and, according to the police report, caught the suspect on video
"as he was throwing the liquid through the [kitchen] window."
She said she also has video of him "putting his ear to my apartment and
listening to my conversations."
Losada wouldn't discuss the charges. "We're going to court on that,"
But he maintains the dispute stems from Praschnik's dislike of his lifestyle. He
is gay and has lived with his partner of 25 years in the apartment. His partner
is the association president and he is a "supervisor," a position that
he says puts him in charge of such jobs as lawn maintenance. The two have been
in leadership positions for 25 years.
"This woman is harassing my partner and me because we're active in the
association," he said.