Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Senators and State Representatives,
How about this sad condo story that shows the failure of a system that makes service providers rich and owners poor -- and/or homeless!
Faye Adam, board president of Ventnor B, is frustrated about the lack of support and the fact that some of their neighbors are still homeless after more than four years. She wants other condo owners to know that the same could happen to them as well. "You do everything you are supposed to do, pay all the dues you are required to pay -- and still end up homeless. If any owner wants to know how it was -- and still is -- like to walk in our shoes, just insert your association in place of Ventnor B and the whole convoluted horror emerges!"


The story is simple: On July 7, 2005 a fire destroyed the condo building located in CVE in Deerfield Beach -- a large retirement community. The condo documents required a policy of "Payment of Full Replacement Value."


More than 4 years later many families are still homeless. The policy that was signed by CVE and COOCVE, two umbrella organizations supposedly in charge of taking care of this kind of business for the single associations, was not paying full replacement value, leaving the owners short of rebuilding their homes.


Please read the whole story: THE FACTS ABOUT THE VENTNOR B LAWSUIT -- AS SAD AS THEY MAY BE! at:


This paragraph of the lawsuit tells the whole story in a few words:

28.     The reckless acts and omissions of Defendants by and through their officers and directors and/or agents were committed in bad faith and in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property, wherein "MIRV" was the actually level of insurance required on the property.


Read the lawsuit and the EXHIBITS -- it's an eye-opener -- and it clearly shows the problems of a system we use here to regulate our community associations. A system other countries are making fun of.


Neighbors and area businesses are holding fundraisers to get families back in their homes, families who have been let down by a bad system! Families who did everything they were supposed to do -- and are still homeless!


Welcome to a system that is highly praised by the COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION INSTITUTE and law firms like BECKER & POLIAKOFF. By the way: Do you honestly believe this is what these homeowners signed up for?


You are sure you haven't read enough about the stupidity of this community association system for today?


Here is another association story that makes headlines in the national media -- it seems other states don't have Tiger Woods to fill the pages: WWII Medal of Honor veteran battles Va. homeowners group to keep front-yard flagpole
It seems not only Florida is blessed with many morons!
Have a great weekend,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Senators and State Representatives,


The lengthy investigation into the financial shenanigans of the board of PALM-AIRE COUNTRY CLUB CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION NO. 11, INC.  in Pompano Beach finally ended in the DBPR issuing a warning letter. Read all the details and the documents at:

But the investigation didn't cover the whole story. The owner who dared to complain about the financial havoc was sued for slander and libel and was forced to pay legal fees to defend the lawsuit that in the end just died. It was frivolous anyway since the facts showed that there were quite a lot of financial irregularities.
And who says violating Florida laws doesn't reap rewards? Michelle Herzmark, the board president who runs the show in PACC 11, is now a proud member of the Board of Supervisors of the Palm Aire Special Recreation Tax District -- a tax district that was created with the help of the seed-money donated by these condo boards, who once again violated Florida statutes -- see explanation of common expense. 
In short: The owner who complained about the financial problems that existed was punished with legal fees and the board president who was more or less the guilty party gets a seat on the Board of Supervisors of the Palm Aire Special Recreation Tax District as reward.
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Senators and State Representatives,


It doesn't take Einstein to conduct a proper condo election according to Florida Statutes 718.112(2d). The most common reason for the DBPR's order to hold new elections: The sitting board of directors (or the community manager), who have a private agenda, make up their own rules -- contrary to the provisions of the statutes.


See here the example of the Ashby D Condominium Association, Inc. in Century Village East at:


And after looking at the documents available on this case it's very obvious why the sitting board made "mistakes" trying to influence the election. The opposing candidates were asking too many questions about financial issues and were successful with some complaints filed with the DBPR.

Under the line: The order to hold a new election punishes innocent condo owners whose dues are used to pay for the cost of the new (second) election.

Shouldn't the legislature consider to change the laws and have the people, who knowingly violated the statutes for personal reasons, pay for the cost?  I bet we will see a lot more fair elections. The way it is in the moment: The violators get away and the neighbors pay for their "mistakes"!



Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.


Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Senators and State Representatives,

It seems that our elected government officials and legislators are not very interested in the welfare of Florida's homeowners and condo-owners. Not only did they ignore in the last legislative session the many problems owners living in community associations are facing, they as well raided again the Condo Trust Fund. Please read today's article published in the Miami Herald:
As much as I understand that we owners don't have lobbyists like Marion Hammer, the longtime lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, and that we most likely don't add as much to Governor Crist's campaign fund in his bid to become a US Senator as the NRA, I guess we expected a little more from a politician who dubbed himself as the "Peoples' Governor." Elected officials often seem to forget that they not only need money for their campaigns, but as well the votes of their constituents. And the constituents' trust in their elected officials is quickly disappearing -- as fast as the money from the Trust Funds!
Nevertheless, the article contained a quote from Michael Cochran, Chief of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes, that I thought was hilarious (quote):
"''[Condo owners] don't have reason to be concerned. We're going to be operating like we always operate,'' Cochran said.
My post on the bulletin board in response to this quote:
"And that is exactly the big problem. Cochran's Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes does more harm than good. They are inventing laws, make Supreme Court cases out of simple recall arbitrations and find 10 excuses for not doing anything instead of solving the problem!
One of the main reasons why we see so many problems in Florida's condominiums is the incompetence of Cochran and some of his top executives. They are wasting what little money is left in the condo trust fund after the Governor raided it!"
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Senators, Dear State Representatives, Friends and Members,
Florida's legislators may wonder why this State lost its attraction for retirees from the North? How about the fact that this State allows these seniors to be fleeced -- and nothing happens! They are losing their life savings and their homes and nobody seems to care. The existing laws for our community associations are more or less a joke -- and the enforcement -- what little there is -- is non-existent! Last year, for the first time in decades, more people moved out of Florida than moved back in. Add the huge death-rate of a state with the highest age-average in the nation -- and you have the exact reason why more than 300,000 homes and condo-units are empty.
Add the headlines in the media and you know why the State of Florida is having serious financial problems. Our elected officials seem to forget that a huge majority of retirees live in these community associations -- barely anything else is available! And while in other states legislators are clamping down on corruption and embezzlement, Florida's legislators are still playing political games on the backs of its citizens, debating bills that will do more harm than good!
Nevada, after a big FBI investigation into corruption, embezzlement and election fraud in homeowners' associations, discusses serious legislation stopping these abuses. One suggestion: Making election fraud in associations a felony third degree. Please read this report from Nevada (with News Video): Legislation Introduced to End HOA Corruption at:  
By the way, the professionals investigated in the HOA corruption investigation in Nevada are members of the CAI, the same trade organization that is running the "community association show" here in Florida. Prosecuting election fraud in Florida is impossible, because HOA law doesn't even provide simple enforceable election guidelines. It's a free for all, depending on how the sitting board wants it done, with the best chances to be re-elected -- or not having to hold an election at all.
Here in Florida law enforcement doesn't even seem to care if senior citizens get fleeced for more than $1 million, courtesy of a licensed community association manager and the management firm that wasn't able to watch the funds under its supervision. Senior citizens trying to find out what's happening with their money are being told by attorneys not to talk about it! Instead of taking immediate action our government agencies seem to ignore the pleas for help by these desperate folks! Please read the latest update of the $1-million embezzlement in Port Charlotte:$1millionembezzlement.htm
It's just a shame! This is just one of the many stories of abuse of community association members we hear on a daily basis. It's no miracle that nobody wants to move to FRAUD FRIENDLY FLORIDA anymore. And since warm weather and sunny beaches are more or less Florida's only attraction, it's no miracle that nobody wants to move to Florida considering that their life savings are unprotected! Most likely you will see a lot of folks moving out of this state, if they can ever sell their homes for a halfway reasonable price! Many have had it!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Legislators File Condo Owners Insurance Repeal Bill S 714/ H 419
January 20, 2009
Dear Florida Condo-Owners, Friends and Members,
The bill ( ) repealing the provision requiring condo owners to provide evidence of a currently effective policy of hazard and liability insurance has been filed.
This was the provision in FS 718 that caused all the excitement:
FS 718.111(11)(g)
2.  The association shall require each owner to provide evidence of a currently effective policy of hazard and liability insurance upon request, but not more than once per year. Upon the failure of an owner to provide a certificate of insurance issued by an insurer approved to write such insurance in this state within 30 days after the date on which a written request is delivered, the association may purchase a policy of insurance on behalf of an owner. The cost of such a policy, together with  reconstruction costs undertaken by the association but which are the responsibility of the unit owner, may be collected in the manner provided for the collection of assessments in s. 718.116.
The new bill -- H 419 + S 714 --  filed by Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff and Senator Dennis Jones will be effective July 1, 2009 -- if it passes the legislature. Thank you Representative Bogdanoff for keeping your promise!
Lines 155 - 165 will delete the provision that is causing such headaches!
Even if the statutes in the moment require such a policy, it's up to the association board to actually enforce this provision. The wording says: "the association may purchase a policy of insurance on behalf of an owner," meaning they can, but they don't have to.
So, how about using some common sense for about 6 month?
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Senators, Dear State Representatives, Friends and Members,
Raiding the Condo Trust Fund again just adds insult to injury. Florida's citizens living in community associations are fighting for financial survival -- many fail, not necessarily caused by their mistakes. Everybody -- especially the folks who made the mistakes in the first place -- get bailed out with our tax money. But Florida's condo owners and timeshare owners have to look on as their money, paid into a "TRUST FUND" for the very specific purpose of protecting their rights and enforcing the laws is abused -- again. Not only is the DBPR wasting condo owners' money by failing to do the job -- now the legislature is taking away their the remaining funds instead of taking care of much needed business! Even financially responsible condo owners are getting dragged into the financial misery of their associations -- and instead of protecting these families -- the legislature wants to take away their money - leaving them to fend for themselves. That is nothing else but DOUBLE TAXATION!
Please read my open letter to Governor Charlie Crist, whose 2008-09 General Revenue Budget Memorandum lists raiding the Condo Trust Fund for $15 million:
 Instead of raiding the trust fund our legislators should take the necessary steps to protect the homes of these citizens. Our bad economy and the bad real estate market show that these community associations are nothing else than a money trap for homeowners. Please take the necessary steps to save what can be saved -- before more families lose their homes!
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Senators, Dear State Representatives, Friends and Members,

State Representative Julio Robaina said it loud in a town hall meeting in Miami Beach last week: "We are talking about a crisis!"


Special interest groups are calling for banks and mortgage lenders to step up to the plate and pay faster and more. Definitely a good idea, but just another band-aid on the complicated issue of condo foreclosure and the financial problems in many associations caused by foreclosed upon units -- and empty units -- that don't pay. 

I guess we all agree that something needs to be done to protect the owners against unreasonable increases of dues that would lead to even more unpaid dues and foreclosures.

Nothing wrong with rewriting FS 718.116, but then let's do it right and remove vague language and add some desperately needed consumer protection. We need to use more common sense to deal with the crisis!
Finding a scapegoat to blame and use band-aids to fix just a part of the problem can not be in the interest of Florida's condo owners! 

Please see my opinion at:

It's high time to protect the condo owners. We don't need more foreclosures and homeless families. The places to sleep under the bridges in Florida are already fully booked!

Have a great weekend!

Warm Regards,

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Senators and State Representatives,
we are only too often reading in the headlines of our newspapers something like: "$1 million condo account theft suspected."
Headlines like this are getting more and more common. Two weeks ago a former condo board member was sentenced to 20 years in jail for embezzling nearly $1 million -- caught and convicted thanks to the new pilot program organized by State Representative Julio Robaina.
But laws and enforcement aside, these senior condo residents have to be aware that associations are serious business -- and their money can disappear in a heartbeat if they don't "watch the shop!"
Last week another condo association in Port Charlotte got the sad news that their "funds may be a $1 million short." But let's face it, many of the senior owners ignored the warning signs and just hoped it wouldn't happen to them. In a condo nearby, managed by the same company which was supposed to watch these "missing" funds, a newly elected board member was recalled "by ambush" because she asked the question if it wouldn't be a conflict of interest if a board member works for this same management company.
Please read my take on the unfortunate situation at:
Our elderly condo owners -- as much as they deserve to enjoy their retirement -- have to realize that living in an association is not just all potluck dinners and bridge tournaments! It's serious business -- with lots of money at stake.
Scam artists are everywhere -- especially here in Florida!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Senators, Dear State Representatives, Friends and Members,

In the last few years we have seen many heated discussions arguing the often asked question:

Can a non-member (not deeded owner) of an association be elected to serve on the association’s board of directors?


The Division says everybody, who is not a convicted felon with his civil rights not restored, can serve on the board of directors.  The Division claims that Florida statutes are silent in this matter. But Florida statutes clearly state that (quote): "Any unit owner desiring to be a candidate for board membership shall comply with subparagraph 3.” That clearly means that only unit-owners can serve --  and some very specific eligible persons -- not just everybody who feels like it. Since only unit owners can be candidates, other people can't be elected, since you can only vote for candidates -- right? That would mean that non unit owners can only serve on the board if appointed?

That most definitely wasn't the legislative intent when this provision was added to the Condo Act.

Please read the full discussion with specific examples at:

Isn't it disturbing that the Division refuses to accept complaints from unit-owners about non-members serving on the board claiming lack of jurisdiction, when we see the arbitration section of the Division taking months to make rulings on the legal standing of a trustee to serve on the board?
Florida's condo population wants to know from the authorities:
Does A Condo Board Member Have To Be A Deeded Owner?
That's a question that finally needs to be settled -- without unit owners having to spend huge amount of legal fees -- and getting no definite answer!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


As predicted last year, the so-called Condo Termination Bill (S314/H407) found its first victims. These poor folks are not only losing their homes, but as well a lot of their savings. Courtesy to the above bill.

Please read the article published in the Tampa Tribune:

The same folks who pushed the bill are now claiming: "This is the flip side of the statute. I don't think this is what legislators intended."

How pathetic!


Condo owners and the media rallied against the bill, warned about the problems. CCFJ. Inc. dubbed the bill: "THE EMINENT DOMAIN BILL FOR CONDOS!" But who cares about what "stupid" consumers think -- or a few reporters who just need some catchy headlines to earn their living, if developers and specialized attorneys with their lobbyists want something. They have a good reason to push this bill: GREED! Who cares if a few families are thrown under the bus and lose their homes and life-savings!
Here is my comment about this whole story, another sad chapter of "consumer-protection" in Florida.

We consumers can't do more than making legislators aware of bills with serious problems. even wrote the Governor to please veto the bill: "Please Veto Condominium Association BWe ill S 314/H 407"


No response. The Governor signed the bill and the condo owners lose their homes. Believe me -- this is just the beginning. There are more places with similar problems. Our legislature should quickly remedy the situation, before more condo owners fall victim to this ill-advised bill. Leave it with natural disaster only. That's a good idea, everything else is just helping greed!


We see the same this year: Attached to good pool safety provisions is a lengthy HOA bill, ill-advised and badly written (H679/S 2504). It has more flaws than a street dog fleas! Courtesy of the same folks who pushed the Condo Termination Bill. H 679 confuses issues even more. The bill contains not one of the recommendations of the HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON CONDOMINIUM & HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION GOVERNANCE. Why did House leadership create the Committee if it doesn't want to hear its recommendations? Chairman Julio Robaina, with the help of committee members and input from all parties involved, created an excellent Condo Bill (H995/S2084). It passed the House with a vote of 110 : 0. Representative Julio Robaina has pledged to work with the members of the Select Committee and all interested parties on a comprehensive reform bill for HOAs for the next session. The newly created Community Association Living Study Council will give further input to this reform bill. State representatives should use this excellent opportunity to finally create some statutes acceptable to all parties. Don't pass some more bad provisions this year! WHY TRYING TO ALIENATE MORE FLORIDA VOTERS?


So don't pass another ill-advised bill that will hurt even more owners. Wait until next year and create some much needed HOA reform. Your constituents may thank you! BAD BILLS HURT GOOD PEOPLE. See the Condo Termination Bill!


Warm Regards,

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


Why does it seem to be so difficult to understand the word TRUST -- or TRUST FUND? In case you have a problem understanding the word, please go to the website of Merriam-Webster and you find the following explanation: "TRUST  -- or much better TRUST FUNDS [property (as money or securities) settled or held in trust]"

A call to the Governor's Office asking for an explanation was left unanswered. Actually, I would be as well too ashamed trying to explain this clear breach of trust!
More than 1,3 million condo owners in Florida have trusted our government when paying $4 annually in the so-called CONDO TRUST FUND, expecting protection and regulation. We all know that the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes totally fails the condo owners. We are actually getting ready to sue the DIVISION for failure to do their job!

Even suggesting to raid this trust fund is a clear breach of trust! PERIOD! There is in my opinion absolutely no excuse!
Since we obviously can't even trust our new Governor any more it might be a good idea for all associations to stop paying the dues into the CONDO TRUST FUND next year -- then we don't need to rely on the word TRUST. Sorry, but this seems to be the only way to avoid the money being misappropriated! It just shows that we can't even trust our own government and elected officials!
All condo owners, whose money is being misappropriated, should send an e-mail to:
Governor Crist: [email protected]
Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp: [email protected]
or call the Governor's Office at:
Citizen Services Hotline: (850) 488-4441
Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146
The idea alone is embarrassing, even for FRAUD FRIENDLY FLORIDA!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.



Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


Two years after Wilma quite a lot of condo-owners are still not back in their homes. It's just embarrassing! This is Florida, not a country far from civilization where the banana leaves didn't grow fast enough to cover the roofs. This is caused by incompetence, fraud and greed! Nothing else! It has ruined the welfare of many families! THIS HAS TO CHANGE!
State Representative Julio Robaina got an early (but well deserved!) promotion from CBS 4 when he talked about his upcoming condo bill: Senator Tries To Make Condo Boards Hurricane Ready
Please watch the video!  We need laws -- and strict enforcement of these laws -- to protect owners against financial mismanagement, uncontrolled spending and even clear embezzlement!
Please read as well an article (http://www.ccfj. net/PB08condobil lpreview. html) with a preview of upcoming bill proposals that have proven to be necessary to protect the welfare and sanity of condo-owners in Florida!
See as well some more articles:
Two years after Wilma, many are still without their condos
and Others are still struggling after Wilma
Even if we can't retire hurricanes we can protect the many retirees, homeowners and condo-owners in our state who do need protection against financial mismanagement, uncontrolled spending and even clear embezzlement!
It's about time!
For many owners there is a lot more at stake than the relatively small savings that can be achieved through property tax and property insurance reforms.
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Condo association president arrested

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


What will it take before our legislators finally realize that owners living in mandatory associations really need protection against the "bad guys?" Opportunity makes thieves -- and the opportunity is there with lots of unprotected association funds.


Today the SCAM Pilot Program, initiated by State Representative Julio Robaina, could report another success story: A former board president of the Villa Grande Condominium in Miami was arrested for grand theft after an investigation found he stole $50,000 of board association fees. See article at:
But why only a pilot program that covers certain counties? The owners in the BOCA RIO TOWNHOME ASSOCIATION, INC. in Palm Beach County are still hoping that the office of Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry E. Krischer is finally doing something to go after their former president who -- according to records -- embezzled about $650,000 from their association funds. If your association bank statement (credit card) looks like this: something is obviously wrong. The question: Why is Barry Krischer willing to ignore such blatant case of embezzlement? Because Palm Beach County is not part of the Pilot Program? Or is it because we live in "FRAUD FRIENDLY FLORIDA"?
We owners have to thank State Representative Julio Robaina, whose dedicated work is pushing for better laws and stricter enforcement to stop the financial mismanagement, uncontrolled spending and even clear embezzlement in our associations. It is high time to hold the guilty parties accountable!
When will the rest of our legislators finally realize that Florida's owners need protection against these scumbags
Let's stop believing the fairy tales published by the CAI (Community Associations Institute) -- the trade organization of the association service providers -- that just a few owners are unhappy and disgruntled!

Since it seems that our legislators were so far unable to do something about our property insurance and property taxes, it might be a lot easier to stop the waste of money in our associations that we really can't afford any longer!



Have a great weekend!

Warm Regards,

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


Owners living in associations have to realize that stupidity and/or personal agendas of board members can be very costly - and that their homes are collateral for any kind of financial obligations caused by such actions.


A lawsuit alleging violations of the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Florida Fair Housing Act was finally settled by a Consent Decree and Settlement Agreement -- but only after estimated $2-million have been "wasted".


Please read the whole story at:

And it looks like it all started because some board members don't like kids!

In this case the board members were actually named as defendants!

This case is not only an eye-opener, but as well very educational -- a warning to owners not to let their boards unsupervised.


State Representative Julio Robaina said it best: "This is another classic example of why the laws of the State of Florida need to be reviewed and changed. Additionally, it is evident that we must educate all homeowners on their rights and encourage them to get involved and have oversight over the actions of their board of administration."  


This sad example is not only a warning to owners to watch their wallets -- pickpockets are everywhere -- but should as well serve notice to legislators that legislative reforms are needed to protect the owners against these kind of costly shenanigans.

Florida's legislators have tried to reduce our property insurance premiums and property taxes -- so far with little success -- but here our money goes by the truckload -- and there are solutions to fix these "leaks" -- and only a few of our elected official seem to care?

Wouldn't that be worth some thoughts to help owners under siege in Florida?


Warm Regards,

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
When are we finally getting smart and stop the practice of professions investigating and policing themselves? In this case it's the police conducting an investigation -- using it to cover up obvious misconduct of an officer who in my opinion and that of many others who watched the video clearly overstepped his authority. Just listen to the testimony of the owners -- and the lame excuses of the police spokes person -- and you really wonder if the police wants to be taken seriously? See and listen:
Don't forget, this is the same county where our legislature had to bail out the police at the tune of $5-million (tax-payers' money!) to right the wrong. And money often can't compensate for the damage that has been done!
Owners tried to hold a peaceful assembly as guaranteed by Florida Statutes. They wanted to recall their board according to the statutes in order to be able to fire CAM McDonald. McDonald called on his "buddies" from the police department to avoid getting fired. The result: A CONDO BUST that stopped the meeting (and him being fired!), got two owners injured and one arrested! Great day of work for a licensed CAM.

The "explanations" of Major Humphreys plainly contradict PHYSICS 101. The person who was arrested for battery on the CAM manager Ray McDonald -- a former Georgia police officer -- needed to move forward in order to initiate contact to commit battery. But the folks standing behind him fell to the floor and got injured? THE VIDEO [CLEARLY?] SHOWS RAY MCDONALD MOVING FORWARD TOWARDS THE DOOR, INSTIGATING THE CONTACT!


I still think that it happened exactly like we see it on the video: CAM McDonald and Officer Nichols forced their way -- LIKE STORM TROOPERS -- into the room and the ladies standing inside the room were injured by Steven Bell being pushed against them!  Period!  Anything else would contradict PHYSICS 101!


It is obvious that the Police Department, City Manager Richard Jackson, and the City Council missed a great opportunity to appease the owners by having a "real" investigation -- not just a cover-up. Some apologies might have gone a long way to make amends. I don't think there is even an argument that something went definitely wrong. Too many questions were left unanswered -- including "What was the police officer doing in a private building?" and "Who called the police at what time for assistance?" and "When did the police really arrive?" and "What was the legal reason for the police officer to interfere in the peaceful assembly of owners?"


All of these questions and more will now be answered in a civil suit paid by taxpayers' money!  But who cares?  Plenty of money available -- they just need to raise the property taxes!


Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
As you all know too well we have been asking law enforcement to follow up on complaints about criminal activity in condominiums and homeowners' associations since many years. Lately the start of a pilot program "How To Catch a Thief" sure was a great start -- thanks to the help of the office of the Miami/Dade State Attorney and the FDLE.
But the Panama City Beach incident sure isn't what we wanted: An overeager police officer busting the peaceful assembly of law-abiding owners. This police officer had no business to interfere in association business. The big question that doesn't have a legal answer: What was Officer Nichols doing inside the building in the first place? His challenge: "I'm not allowed in here, AM I? You're gonna stop ME?" shows clearly where he is coming from. Add: "You stand in my way, you're going to jail too!" shows that he obviously didn't realize that he was on these owners private property! Who called the police and demanded police interference? Was there any reason to suspect criminal activity? May be somebody should have told him that this was a peaceful owners' meeting -- not a drug bust! (See video)
Just watch the video clips and read the quotes:
There is in my opinion no doubt that the police officer caused the whole incident that left two citizens injured and one "falsely" arrested.
And then ask what reasons the police department may have to justify the actions of Officer Nichols -- or the refusal of  Lt. Jeffrey Heath to take the statements of the injured parties trying to file a complaint: The only report that would be written would be by officer Nichols!
Citizens have been promised an investigation of this incident. But if the results of this investigation -- as already suspected -- will not satisfy the injured parties, these folks will have to file a law suit for violation of civil rights etc. Latest then the truth will come out!

The abuse of owners in mandated properties just has to stop! These incidents just prove: "You're leaving the American Zone" when moving into these associations.
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Legislators, Dear Secretary Holly Benson, Friends and Members,


I guess everybody watched in the meanwhile the video showing a CAM manager using local police to bust a peaceful owners' only meeting in Panama City! If not, it's worthwhile watching!

The CAM Ray McDonald uses "stupid" excuses to justify this inexcusable incident. The local police had absolutely no reason to interfere -- and Officer Donald Nichols clearly overstepped his "assumed" power. Whatever he says, he had absolutely no reason to bully his way into the meeting room. Hopefully a full investigation of the FDLE will show that police officers violated civil rights and used force to make their point! In my opinion: They had no business to be there -- and I just  hope that the folks injured will sue the living daylights out of the department. And guilty are not only the officers that forced their way into a peaceful owners' meeting, but as well the superiors trying to cover up their misdeeds!
But guilty are as well our legislators, who despite being approached by owners since many years have so far failed to create the necessary laws -- including enforcement of these laws -- to stop this abuse of owners. Good bills offered by legislators have been ignored, because there are still a lot of elected officials who believe the "fairy tales" of special interests that the wide majority of owners is happy. How can they be happy if they are fleeced out of their money and homes and are bullied by the police if they dare to use their vested right to speak up? This example as well shows that "licensed" CAMs are abusing their power and it's high time to pull their licenses -- not only after investigations that last many years! When will the DBPR finally to its duty?


Since legislators obviously are deaf to the pleas of their constituents, may be an editorial from a newspaper will get their attention!


Just read the editorial below and read this sentence (quote): "Then there's the bigger picture to address. With condo construction booming around the state, legislators should examine whether Florida law strikes the proper balance between the rights of homeowners and association directors."


Warm Regards,

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

GOOD IDEA? Should Co-owners Serve Together On Condo Boards?

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,

The Pro and Con of a couple serving on the same association board together has been discussed since many years. Various condo bills trying to solve this issue went nowhere -- due to the opposition of the specialized attorneys! Condo-owners need safe-guards to protect them against financial shenanigans. So far the Florida legislature has failed to enact any kind of real protection!
A recent court ruling has brought this issue up again. Here we saw legal fees wasted on an issue that should have long been solved by the legislature. The wording for a bill to stop this problem -- one of many -- was included in the condo bill sponsored by Representative Rene Garcia in 2006 (H 1227). It would have stopped the permanent fights about this issue! Trying to ignore a problem sure doesn't solve it!
Here is my take on the issue.
Hopefully the growing problems in our mandatory association will as well convince the legislators, who are still listening to the specialized attorneys instead of their constituents, that safe-guards are needed. The financial waste in our communities is outrageous!
As one of our members voiced it in an article in the Miami Herald on Sunday headlined: When it comes to condo maintenance, pay now or pay later ( ) "No matter how many laws are on the books to protect condo owners, the state can't protect you against your own stupidity!" Oh, so true! But good laws help to do the right thing! He needed to use the method of recalling the board to finally stop the financial bleeding in his community! Recall should be the last resort -- but -- as sad as it sounds -- it's in the moment the only provision in the statutes that helps owners stop the financial mismanagement, uncontrolled spending and even clear embezzlement!
What does it take for Florida's legislators to finally take action to protect their constituents?
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


We always hear from so-called umbrella organizations that claim to represent the owners living in associations within their district. Last year, at the annual Dog and Pony Show of CALL, the lobbying arm of the law firm of Becker&Poliakoff, we saw a big group from the GALT MILE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION in Tallahassee. Looking into the problems in the condos where these folks are board members, it's easy to understand why these folks are against any owner-friendly legislation -- and especially against legislation that would create accountability of board members. Or may be some of these folks plainly can't afford to see legislation enacted that holds the people in charge accountable?
Just read this article:

Read the examples from the different associations and you know exactly why these board members are fighting owner-friendly bills.
Owners are waking up and want to know the truth about many of the issues these board members don't want them to know. They are going so far as advising the guards not to let copies of a local newspaper enter the buildings. THE TRUTH MUST REALLY HURT!
That's the method Communist Russia used to prevent the truth from becoming public knowledge! 
One simple question to our legislators:
Are these the kind of people you want to support in the upcoming session?
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Charlie Crist, Dear Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Dear Secretary Holly Benson, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


the owners of the SUNSET VILLAS PHASE III CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC., in Miami, FL are the latest victims of a dysfunctional DBPR arbitration section. This is another story that is unbelievable and shows that some of the DBPR employees are unable to do the job they are being paid for. Read my opinion about this case -- another "stellar performance" of arbitrator James Earl -- and come to your own conclusion.

It's obvious that certain employees of the DBPR don't care about the legislative intent of the statutes -- or the fact that these recall provisions were created to avoid lengthy and costly court procedures. May be the person making the ruling should be a CPA (or somebody who can count?) instead of an arbitrator who thinks his calling is being a Supreme Court judge dealing with difficult decisions?

The system is easy: Take the number of units, compare petitions with association roster and count the number of valid petitions signed by deeded owners. If the number of valid petitions reaches 50% + 1 -- you have a winner! Otherwise tell the Owners for Recall they didn't meet their goal. Either decision gets the case moving. Sitting on it until it collects dust doesn't! Discard all the stupid excuses used to distract from the real facts -- like owner didn't know what he/she was signing, owner had voting rights removed because of non-payment of fines or other excuses some inventive board members and lawyers come up with. It's a numbers' game -- and that is what is was supposed to be -- not a tricky litigation issue. And a default is a default -- that's just it. If the board doesn't file for recall arbitration or refuses to hold a mandatory recall meeting as required by statutes -- even if the attorney claims the recall is frivolous (See: ) -- that's called a default -- nothing else -- and the end of any argument!


If an arbitrator still hasn't made a ruling after more than 5 month and gives board and service providers the opportunity to pull an illegal election out of their magic hat -- violating every Florida statute in the book -- then it's high time to have an investigation started -- especially into the "involvement" of the two service providers -- ALL FLORIDA MANAGEMENT and the law firm of FEIN & MELONI PA -- who seem to attract these "cases"!

But, nevertheless, the arbitrator should have made his ruling long ago -- no excuses here!
The trust of Florida's condo-owners into the DBPR has fallen below ZERO. And it is up to the new Secretary Holly Benson to re-establish this trust and make the DBPR again what it was intended to be: An agency protecting Florida's citizens! It's a difficult job -- but it can be done!
Florida's citizens just can't afford more arbitration rulings like this -- it's just disgusting!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Legislators, Friends and Members, 


the subject line sounds innocent enough -- and doesn't even touch all the many problems this case is causing for the owners of the SUNSET VILLAS PHASE III CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. in Miami.

As a member of the HOA Task Force created by Governor Bush in 2003 I listened to the presentations regarding the provisions for recall of the board of directors. It was the legislative intent to create an easy, fast and inexpensive way to recall a board, avoiding the lengthy, expensive court battles that raged before this provision was added to FS 718 and FS 720.
That was, before the arbitration section of the DBPR got involved. It seems to me that the DBPR has a serious problem following legislative intent. It seems they rather create their own rules -- if legislators are making it too easy? These provisions call for a fast, effective decision to help unit-owners to take away the reins from a board that is non-responsive to their wishes! But if it takes four, five and even six month to come up with fairly easy decisions the intent of the legislation is being killed by bureaucracy.
In this case the owners served the board with a recall petition on June 16, 2006 -- more than six (6) month ago! But already before the board was served with the recall petition owners helping to prepare the recall were served with law suits by the law firm of Fein and Meloni in Plantation. Both, the law firm of FEIN and MELONI in Plantation and ALL FLORIDA MANAGEMENT in Miami, have a vested financial interest in keeping the old board in power, because part of the recall is directed against these service providers, who condo owners feel do a terrible job. It's not the first time that the cozy relationship between the law firm of FEIN and MELONI and ALL FLORIDA MANAGEMENT has come under scrutiny. In my opinion somebody in charge should really start to investigate these two firms. It's long overdue -- if somebody is really serious about trying to protect the welfare of many condo-owners!
"Smart" maneuvering of management and law firm made the arbitration last six month -- so far -- allowing the management company to claim that an election took place that put the old board back in power, asking the arbitrator to declare the recall arbitration case moot! It was an election that would have made any Banana Republic proud! And, adding insult to injury -- together with other law suits filed against condo-owners -- the arbitrator actually is asking the Owners For Recall in an ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE to name reasons why the arbitration shouldn't be considered moot? PLEASE???
As usual in Fraud Friendly Florida it seems that following the law and procedures prescribed in the statutes is punishable by defeat and heavy financial losses!
This is another example of the DBPR failing to do its timely duty! When will the top executives realize that their unwillingness to do their job as intended by the legislature is costing owners huge amounts of money?
In a recent case, handled by the same arbitrator, it took 171 days to come up with a ruling, despite the fact that the board didn't respond to the petition as required by Florida statutes. Attorney Steven Mezer from the law firm of Bush Ross, P.A.  in Tampa took it upon himself to declare the perfectly correct recall petition "frivolous" and sued the petitioners in a court of law, ignoring mandatory arbitration as demanded by Florida statutes. And instead of declaring a default a "DEFAULT" it took the arbitrator 171 days to come up with a -- finally correct -- ruling ( These shenanigans, according to estimates, have cost the owners of the condominium about $50,000 in damages. Damages that could have been avoided by a decision made within a reasonable period of time. Law suits are considered by the owners to recoup part of the financial losses caused by -- what they feel -- the incompetence of various "professionals"!
In this case the arbitration  lasts already more than 6 (six) month of wasted time -- not even counting the financial losses, frustration and anger! There would have been no "election" -- an election that obviously violated the bylaws of the association as well as Florida Administrative Rules 61B-23.0021 and Florida Statute Section 718.112(d) 3. Prolonging these procedures serves the interest of the service providers, not that of the condo owners!
Or did I get it all wrong -- and the DBPR was actually created to protect the financial interests of the "professionals" against the interests of the citizens?

In case you are interested -- there are lots of documents available that show how easy it is to manipulate an arbitrator and to sue owners in order to intimidate them.
But, let's just face it! This is just another example how legislative intent -- trying to protect the citizens of Florida -- is being killed by incompetent bureaucracy.
Somebody among our elected officials needs to take charge and give the owners under siege a Christmas present they rightfully deserve: A decision that allows them to take control of their homes and let them make the decisions how they want to live!
We owners have rights -- and we pay taxes to have our government protect our rights! Where is our government when we need it?
Happy Holidays!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Jeb Bush, Dear Secretary Simone Marstiller, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
Just another case of expensive frustration for condo-owners? It took the DBPR 171 days to come up with a ruling for a simple recall arbitration. And to add insult to injury, the ruling was obviously leaked ahead of time to the recalled board. Result: They quickly called a board meeting on their last day in office and signed a 3-year contract with a management company -- with outrageous conditions and a very expensive escape clause. May be we should ask the DBPR to pay for the contract? A contract so outrageous the former board members knew the new board would have never signed such a contract!
Please read the whole story and the documents at:
The LAKE PLACE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. was plagued by many problems and wrong board decisions before, but when attorney Steven Mezer of the law firm BUSH ROSS P.A. made a speech during a meeting that many owners felt was threatening their rights, they took action and collected recall petitions, according to Florida statutes. But after the petition was served, absolutely perfect according to the final ruling of the DBPR that came 171 DAYS LATER, a ttorney STEVEN MEZER "decided" that the recall was "defective and deficient" and filed a lawsuit in court against the "Owners for Recall", instead of using mandatory arbitration, the procedure mandated by Florida Statutes FS 718.112(2)(j) and Rule 61B-23.0028, Florida Administrative Code. And, as usual, the DBPR Arbitration Division was confused enough to play along -- for 171 days!
This is another example for owners paying the bill for the mistakes of a government agency unwilling to do the job as required by law and an attorney trying to play his own game -- at the expense of the owners! This whole disaster is costly for the owners -- the only winners again: The Service Providers!
Even if the good guys finally won the day -- their recall petition was filed according to Florida law -- it's another example of frustration and cost nobody really deserves. When will we finally see the people punished who are clearly causing these problems -- the attorneys! I was always under the -- obviously wrong? -- impression that the attorneys work for the benefit of the association, not for the personal agenda of a few board members, even if they sign their checks! Or is that all that counts?
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Jeb Bush, Dear Secretary Simone Marstiller, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
The DBPR published another good study, this time about SB 1556, the condo elimination bill rightfully vetoed by Governor Jeb Bush, dubbed the "EMINENT DOMAIN BILL" for condos. Please see study and comments at:
Representative Dudley Goodlette's bill HB 543 was well-intentioned and would have taken care of the actual problem: Termination after natural disaster. Sorry, but Senator Geller should have known better when he -- according to his words: "... used what the Florida Bar Association and what their lobbyist, Peter Dunbar, gave me." Legislators should more often listen to their constituents instead of special interest, who often enough have only their financial interest in mind.
The testimony of many condo-owners showed clearly that we have to protect peoples' homes against hostile takeovers. Laws should cater to the need of families, not the greed of special interests!
We can argue these issues until doomsday -- without results. As long as we don't have laws enacted that protect the rights of the owners, we will see arguments like this coming up. Our homes have to be safe!
We need a comprehensive bill to protect owners' rights. Especially retirees on a fixed income and low-income families don't have the finances to fight for their rights.
All these problems should be addressed during the next legislative session. The AARP gave us a workable tool, a model statute called "BILL of RIGHTS for HOMEOWNERS in ASSOCIATIONS". For details please look at:
Homeowners and condo-owners need protection against abuses. This bill proposal is a good start! Let's work on it!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Jeb Bush, Dear Secretary Simone Marstiller, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


since years we are asking for ways to hold association board members accountable for their deeds. We all can still remember the story of the Miami condo where board members obviously embezzled $360,000 and the DBPR fined the association -- meaning the unit-owners who complained -- in the amount of $55,000. These stories come along more and more often, because there is absolutely no enforcement. Board members, with the help of their attorneys, are avoiding to show the financial records, making it difficult to prove wrongdoing. A budget item ($100,000), creating a pilot program to teach detectives how to find the scam artists in these association, was vetoed -- for whatever dubious reasons! As long as there is no accountability of the people in charge, we will see these kind of headlines. We always hear the sob-stories about the "poor volunteers" serving for the welfare of the community. Good volunteers don't create these headlines and don't have to be afraid if the bad apples are being punished! And what about the victims -- the members of these associations? They are suffering from the total lack of enforcement and accountability!

A chunk of the insurance money meant for repairs to a hurricane-damaged Ponce Inlet condo complex instead went into the pocket of the association's president, town police investigators said Thursday.
Kathleen Blackman went from her pleasant beachfront home at the Ponce Inlet Villas Condominium to the bleak walls of the Volusia County Branch Jail on Wednesday after she was charged with grand theft.
Town Investigator Max Binz said she stole more than $80,000 from the condominium association's insurance settlement fund received for condo damages after the hurricanes of 2004.
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Jeb Bush, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
The owners of the CARIBAY CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. in Clearwater not only have to deal with a big increase of the property insurance premium, they as well have to pay about $100,000 for legal fees wasted by the board in a frivolous lawsuit. Or wouldn't you consider a lawsuit frivolous, if the judge rendered a DIRECTED VERDICT without listening to the attorneys for the defendant?
See comments, court documents and transcript at:
The condo association attorney, James DeFurio, clearly failed to convince the judge that an owner violated the governing documents by replacing a window that is (judge's quote) "not observable"?
We see more and more of these useless lawsuits that -- no matter the outcome -- cost outrageous amounts of owners' money -- without making any common sense! Board members have to learn that there are lawsuits with merit -- that help the community -- and many without merit -- that just makes attorneys richer! Boards have to realize that attorneys always get paid -- Win or Lose! 
Why filing a lawsuit that makes no sense whatsoever? Just to make an attorney rich?
In this case the owner won -- rightfully so -- but we see many cases where this kind of lawsuit eats up family's savings -- and more!
We need safeguards that stop frivolous lawsuits before they escalate. Why do you think the specialized attorneys wanted to remove the provisions for mandatory mediation from FS 720 (See House Bill 391)?
To protect the welfare of the homeowners -- or just their income?
Have a great weekend!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Jeb Bush, Dear Secretary Simone Marstiller, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
Mission accomplished -- Ombudsman Dr. Rizzo canned, public testimony ignored and legislative intent destroyed!
That's about the short summary for what The Powers That Be on the Condo Advisory Council accomplished -- and what specialized attorneys had in mind when they decided to join the Advisory Council. Don't ever forget: History repeats itself! We saw nearly the same pattern when the first Condo Advisory Council disappeared into nowhere in the early 1990's!

Ever since January 2006 the Council hasn't published any more meeting minutes, despite having met three times for  "public" meetings.  Why should the condo owners, who pay for these meetings, know what's being discussed? 


Three appointments to the Council have to be made before Governor Jeb Bush, the Speaker of the House Allan Bense, and Senate President Tom Lee leave office!


What sort of legacy will they leave for condo-owners? Will we see them allow more of the same nonsense we've seen during the last two years? TIME WILL TELL -- VERY SOON!


Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Florida Legislators, Friends and Members,
since liens and foreclosures are no longer allowed to enforce "fines", condo board members seem to try different tactics to enforce "their" rules. In Port St. Lucie a board member pulled a gun to force owners to obey by the pool rules.
He was arrested by the police. Comment by the "communication manager of the association: "He has been asked to resign!"
Former ombudsman Dr. Rizzo was chastised by Donna Berger, executive director of CALL, for daring to ask legislators to include a provision in the Condo Act that would have made it illegal for directors to abuse owners.
I guess some specialized attorneys consider it a given right for board members to abuse owners?
I already reported this clear violation of FL statutes in my article CONDO BOARD DONATES $10,000 TO OUTSIDE GROUP! on May 24. At that time the DBPR wrote another "warning letter", now they are "contemplating" a fine of $5,000 against the "association"! This adds insult to injury! Because the owners, who complained about the misuse of funds, will be the ones who will pay the fine!
When will we finally see that the people responsible will be held accountable?

Board members in associations are threatening owners, telling them that they will have to pay the fine if they are blowing the whistle about the board violating the statutes and misusing the association funds!
Is that the kind of JUSTICE our Florida government officials stand for?
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Jeb Bush, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,

Nothing wrong with welcoming the new Condo Ombuds(wo)man Danille Carroll and wishing her all the best. I did that in person when she visited me in my home last week. We had a very pleasant conversation and we hope that -- despite many reservations from condo-owners -- we can all work together helping Florida's condo-owners under siege!

But as soon as Donna Berger is back from vacation she tries her old ways of twisting the truth. In an e-mail sent to the members of her CALL e-mail list she actually claims (quote): "which is exactly what was intended when CALL helped create the position two years ago."

People with an intact memory, not suffering from Alzheimer's or the problems normally associated with trying to be a spin doctor, will clearly remember that CALL and the CAI and all the service providers strongly opposed HB 1223, Representative Julio Robaina's bill, that carried the wording for the creation of the condo ombudsman.


As soon as Dr. Rizzo was appointed by Governor Bush Donna Berger and members of the law firm of Becker&Poliakoff made fun of him and tried to discredit him and his office -- and the legislators who supported the bill.


Now she claims that they helped to create this office?

Please, give me break! They were the fiercest opponents! CALL and the CAI is opposing any owner-friendly legislation around the nation. California's legislature is discussing a bill that would create an ombudsman's office for HOAs with enforcement power. Strongly opposing: CAI and ECHO, the CA version of CALL.


In Arizona the legislature passed a bill that creates hearings in front of an administrative judge for HOA complaints -- no lengthy litigation, savings owners lots of money and outrageous attorney bills! Trying to get the Governor to veto the bill: The CAI attorneys!

It seems legislators in other states are finally realizing that owners in associations are abused as cash cows for attorneys! Owners need peaceful communities, not litigation!

CALL and the CAI will oppose anything that would help to create enforceability of the laws and accountability of the people in charge.


They can't even sort out their own business. As you all know Donna Berger always claims that CALL means COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION LEADERSHIP LOBBY , see their letterheads etc. Actually, according to the listing of the Division of Corporation, there is no such thing, so they shouldn't be able to do business under this name. But this name is an easier sell to blue-eyed board members, whose money CALL wants to do business.


Actually, this lobbying group of Becker &Poliakoff is incorporated as COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION LEGISLATIVE LOBBY, INC. No mistake, because the Articles of Incorporation clearly say so. But board members are definitely more impressed if it says LEADERSHIP lobby. Makes them feel like they belong, instead of realizing that they are just contributing to the lobbying efforts of service providers, mainly specialized attorneys and managers!

I always get a good laugh when I see people charging money to keep other peoples' affairs in order, but can't even take care of their own business. No wonder condo-owners all over the nation have so many problems!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Jeb Bush, Dear Secretary Simone Marstiller, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
the board election of the PLAYA DEL MAR ASSOCIATION, INC. with all the at length reported problems took place on February 21, 2006. That's when attorney Robert Rubinstein from the law firm of Becker&Poliakoff stopped the appointed election monitors from entering the meeting room. After lengthy discussions and a "secret" board meeting that clearly violated Florida Statutes, the monitors were allowed to finally count the ballots. Everything else was already messed up, including the fact that owners were not signed in and nobody knows if there was a quorum at the meeting. Or the fact that the ballot box had disappeared from public view for a certain time!
The election monitors are still waiting for their payment. According to office staff the check was cut  timely, but attorney Rubinstein advised staff not to mail it!
Interested condo-owners, members of the Playa Del Mar Association, organized a town hall meeting with Ombudsman Dr. Virgil Rizzo as speaker for Thursday, April 27, 2006, at 7:00 P.M., in order to discuss rights and duties of condo-owners. They arranged for the meeting room and distributed the flyer throughout the condominium, only to have board president Edward A. Napolitano tell security to go around the building and remove all flyers, which were distributed according to the association's guidelines.
This president shouldn't even be serving on the board, since the bylaws of this condominium clearly state that only recorded owners can serve on the board. But the sitting board is obviously willing to spend association dues for attorney fees to defend this clear violation. See letter written by attorney Rubinstein.

Public records show that Edward Napolitano is not an owner - period! People really start wondering why some seem so eager to defend his board position, considering the efforts some other board members and the attorney are making to cover up for him. His wife Lynda Napolitano is the only recorded owner of the condo-unit! But Lynda Napolitano is as well working in the construction loan department of the City National Bank, where the association took out a line-of-credit for $3million last November. All budget /operating accounts -- over $2 million a year -- where moved to that bank as well -- with no public board approval.


The latest news from the Playa Del Mar front: Board member Lucille Fannin doesn't want Ombudsman Dr. Virgil Rizzo at the town hall meeting, because "he is a trouble maker and wants to unionize condo associations"! Board members with that little knowledge of facts are the reason why so many associations are in trouble. These are the same board members who fight term limits, because they love to extend their rein forever!


The board in Playa Del Mar just decided to charge the organizers of the town hall meeting $1 a chair! They always come up with something new -- and they don't need a board meeting to make these decisions. These people are strong supporters of CALL -- I really don't wonder why! No consideration for the rights of owners!
Sometimes these condominiums are like a kindergarten -- minimum some people act that way. But this is only possible because the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes is doing nothing -- as usual. Decisions regarding filed complaints should have long been made. It could have stopped all these shenanigans and the further waste of unit-owners money. Sometimes I get the feeling that the executives of the Division think that problems go away if they keep silent long enough! Actually -- the problems grow!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Jeb Bush, Dear Secretary Simone Marstiller, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


having opposite opinions regarding legislative reforms is one thing. Getting ridiculous is another! I consider CALL's latest moves, Donna Berger's lawsuit against the DBPR and the Office of the Condo Ombudsman for not "timely" producing records just a cover up for all the problems we have seen recently all over Florida created by attorneys. Just read my take on the whole story at:

It tells you what really should be all our concern! In my opinion it's child's play and CALL can't be taken serious any longer.

Nevertheless, some of our politicians still seem to take it serious and even claim to believe what they are being told. Otherwise I can't explain recent actions of our legislature that only help attorneys and power-hungry board members -- at the expense of the owners. Not even provisions for fair elections in homeowners' associations are being considered!



I think Florida's homeowners and condo-owners are getting used to be treated as citizens III.Class, with few rights other than getting fleeced.

The DBPR sure is no help, but only complicates issues. Latest example: President canceled election on short notice. Owners hold meeting and election anyway, elect new board! Division rules that election has to be repeated because president was right to cancel election. New election is already in jeopardy because mistakes have been made with sending out wrong election material by former president, who obviously lied to investigators! But now Division Chief Michael Cochran says (quote): "As far as the President not being there, this is no reason to cancel an election."
It is very obvious that our legislature this year again likes to accommodate the interests of the special interests -- against the interests of the owners! We owners have suffered enough by recent hurricanes -- we really don't need any legislators and attorneys fleecing our wallets! We have general elections in Florida this autumn. It's obviously time to make this a real election issue, so that we have legislators -- and other government officials in place next year that are willing to listen to the owners' concerns!
The facts are on the table, but it seems certain people rather wear blinders instead of seeing the reality!
Thank you for listening to our concerns!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Jeb BushDear Secretary Simone Marstiller, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


Florida's homeowners and condo-owners deserve competent investigators and arbitrators working for the DBPR. What we are seeing here in Florida is absolutely unbelievable! After a "thorough investigation" -- according to Secretary Marstiller -- that actually took more than 10 weeks we are seeing here a ruling that is totally outrageous. When are our government officials willing to protect the welfare of the condo-owners?


Please read the whole story - with the ruling -at:
We had many occasions to discuss the absolute shortcomings of the DBPR Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes. We have seen unbelievable decisions and lengthy investigations that ended in useless rulings. And we have seen rulings like this one, where an investigator believed an unseated president who claimed that the noticed election was postponed in an emergency board meeting -- that actually never took place -- according to the other board members!
This incompetence cost condo-owners lots of money! Who is responsible for this absolute nonsense?
If this ruling stands we will see presidents under siege postpone elections on short notice -- if they feel they can't win the election! A lot of condo presidents will suffer from FLORIDA ELECTION FLU -- on short notice!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor Jeb BushDear Secretary Simone Marstiller, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
what DBPR Division Chief Michael Cochran called a "preliminary inquiry" already makes it sound like everything was nice and dandy at the election at the Playa Del Mar Condos. You all saw the first report about a board, attorney and manager stopping appointed election monitors from entering the premises.
My question at that time: Is There More Behind The Scenes?
In my opinion this "preliminary inquiry" is again trying to downplay the issue at hand and divert from the real problems -- namely an attorney and manager stopping the officially appointed election monitors from entering the meeting room!
Read my comments -- with documentation -- at:
I always had the feeling that some of the major players acted the way they did because they relied on the Division to cover up for them if need be! Or did they just try to divert from the fact that one of the board members up for election is not an owner, as required in the bylaws?
Whatever the reason, we expect a thorough investigation and punishment of the guilty parties! Not lengthy explanations that all wasn't as bad as it sounded. We heard enough of that!
Have a great weekend!
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


An excellent article in this weekend's edition of the Wall Street Journal shows clearly the big problems our associations are experiencing. See article at:


This article shows what even a few resources can achieve, when determined people are willing to do something to create necessary changes. It shows that the 2004 Florida legislature succeeded with its goal of creating an office that helps condo owners. It shows that a few good men and women can achieve a lot with the help of some great volunteers. Condo owners can only hope that our government officials realize that this Office of the Condominium Ombudsman has great potential and needs support from our officials, not bureaucracy thrown at it, taking away part of its effectiveness.


The proof that this office is successful?

the bizarre reactions of the specialized attorneys and the DBPR officials -- even if they come for different reasons. 


Now the attorneys finally realize that somebody is watching their moves, previously unknown to Florida's association attorneys. So far, they could do whatever they wanted and nobody called their mistakes -- until now!  Election monitors have helped to create HONEST elections -- much to the dismay of some law firms who saw "their" sitting boards lose in fair elections! As we have seen, they are willing to protect these boards by all means – right or wrong!


Many condo owners all over Florida still wait to see what will happen to board members, attorney and manager who stopped appointed election monitors from doing their jobs as legally petitioned!

The DBPR is upset because the Office of the Condominium Ombudsman shows what could be achieved with the vast resources the DBPR has available – resources they fail to use to their fullest potential to help the condo owners with serious problems!


This article brings up the much bigger problems of elections in homeowners' associations. There are no real rules in FS 720  -- the statutes are weak and mostly non-existing -- and boards and their attorneys are abusing this total lack of election provisions. It could be changed easily to minimum improve the situation.


Simply add the condo election provisions into FS 720.


The DBPR HOA arbitration section is obviously unable to efficiently handle the many petitions for election arbitration. Clearly, an average of more than 60 days to make these kinds of decisions is totally unacceptable. Whole associations are left dangling in thin air for a lengthy period of time! Many blame the lack of guidelines for this disaster and even specialized attorneys will admit that filing for election arbitration is more like a crap-shoot! Provisions for condo elections work fine -- with the necessary oversight -- and could be used for FS 720.  A rewritten version for FS 720 is available, just needs to be included in a pending bill. When will Florida try to lose the bad reputation of being unable to conduct fair elections? But how can there be fair elections, if even the most basic guidelines are missing?

It's time to give homeowners living in HOAs the legislative guidelines to conduct fair elections. For our legislators it would be as easy as 1-2-3 to enact the necessary provisions. Please think about it!


Warm Regards,

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
For the first time ever an attorney stopped an appointed election monitor from conducting the election, despite a valid petition of the unit-owners. Florida Statutes FS 718.5012 were clearly violated. Robert Rubinstein from the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff P.A. and Keith Tannenbaum, community manager from The Continental Group, Inc., initially stopped the appointed election monitors from entering the room where the election was being held.

Since DBPR Arbitration Chief Karl Scheuerman seems to have failed in his attempt to change the rules to make an election monitor ineffective (see: DBPR RULEMAKING IS DESTROYING LEGISLATIVE INTENT! ) the attorneys had to come up with some other ploy to avoid monitors holding fair elections. In my opinion there is no excuse for this! The violators should be severely punished! This is going too far!

DBPR Secretary Simone Marstiller recognized that the attorney was overstepping his boundaries and wrote to Division Chief Michael Cochran (quote): "I concur. There is no mechanism for the assn to place additional requirements on the monitor once a monitor has been requested as provided by law.
Mike, pls educate the assn's counsel."


Michael Cochran's "education of counsel" obviously didn't go very far -- as we saw! The Division has long lost credibility among the players and is considered absolute ineffective in trying to enforce any laws!
But there may be more than meets the eye?
Please read my opinion at:
It is just another example how condo laws are plainly disregarded.
That leaves citizens with the obvious question: Who is running the show in Florida -- our government and our elected officials, or some almighty law firms?
Warm Regards,
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


We would like to thank Representative Ellyn Setnor  Bogdanoff  for alerting the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee about the planned "rule-making" of the DBPR. A letter written by F. Scott Boy, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Committee, confirms clearly what we said all along (quote): "The version of rule 6 I B-23.00215 at CCFJ's website under the heading "-DBPR Rulemaking USURPS Florida Statutes" is consistent with the above statements."
Please read the complete letter at:
The Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes definitely needs plenty of improvement -- considering all the complaints I am hearing.  Those Division staffers really should be busy working on their own problems first!
Warm Regards
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


The Probable Cause Hearing in an ethics complaint filed against Joseph Adams, Esq. is scheduled for Friday, January 27, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 412 of the Knott Building, Tallahassee, Florida. 


Adams is managing shareholder of the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff P.A. 


As already announced in CCFJ press release dated June 21, 2005, a Florida condo owner filed a complaint with the Florida COMMISSION ON ETHICS in regards to Adams' actions as the chairman of the ADVISORY COUNCIL ON CONDOMINIUMS. The Initial Complaint was supplemented by Additional Documentation with 3 Attachments . The documentation speaks for itself!


Created by 2004 Florida legislation, the express intent of the Advisory Council On Condominiums was to give Florida's condo-owners an opportunity to voice their complaints about problems they encounter in their associations.  Yet there have been cases where condo owners refused to testify in front of the Advisory Council when they realized exactly who would be hearing their complaints!  In many instances, Adams' very presence intimidated the condo owners whose association boards pay Adams' law firm for legal services.


Whatever the outcome of the ethics complaint against Adams, this unfavorable situation definitely was not the legislative intent of the Florida legislators who had sponsored the bill that created the Council.   


But it all confirms the opinion of a large majority of our citizens.  Yesterday, in a poll conducted by TNS, a wide majority of respondents stated that ethics and honesty are at an all-time low!


Most disturbing fact:  Financed by the Florida condo owners, this Council was chaired by a managing law firm that attracts most complaints from condo owners! 

The complainant has asked Commission Member Richard L. Spears to recuse himself from the proceedings.  Spears has been a Community Associations Institute executive and has worked together with Adams and the CAI Legislative Action Committee, thereby definitely creating a conflict of interest!

Warm Regards
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


Who is running the show in Florida? Our Governor and the Florida Legislators -- or the special interest attorneys and the DBPR, who seems to run when certain law firms whistle?Everybody who cares to look into it will find real quick that the DBPR has more problems than an alley cat fleas. But instead of working on solving the many problems -- as pointed out in this year's OPPAGA report -- they are rather working on creating more problems. 


Their latest rulemaking proposal 61B-23.00215 re Ombudsman; Election Monitoring clearly usurps the Florida Statutes. Here is what the Statutes 718.5012 (9) say: "may petition the ombudsman to appoint an election monitor to attend the annual meeting of the unit owners and conduct the election of directors."

The proposed rule eliminates this provision.

and shall attend and conduct the election in person.

For more details see article:


That leaves the question: Who is enacting the laws in Florida? The Governor and our elected officials or the DBPR in its infinite wisdom? This has to stop! The DBPR is making a laughing stock out of our elected officials!

I hope the year 2006 will bring Florida's citizens more improvements to be happy about than the year 2005 did! And we have the hope that our legislature will finally enact the necessary laws to protect our citizens living in associations, giving them the protection they deserve and create easy enforcement of the laws and accountability of the people in charge. We feel it's not too much to ask for!

I wish all of you and your families a Happy and Healthy New Year!


Warm Regards,

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Dear Friends and Dear Members,


first of all congratulations to all our legislators for completing a very successful special session -- finally! Florida's homeowners and condo-owners just hope that we will see the same kind of common sense during the upcoming regular legislative session. We need finally laws that protect us owners against all kinds of "stupidity"! Common sense has to return in our communities -- real fast.

Many families who lost their homes to Wilma are looking to find a place to stay -- real fast. And there are places empty -- and owners willing to rent -- if not some board members and managers are in the way. Read this story about another episode where common sense got lost on the way. The board and manager of the TOWN SQUARE ASSOCIATION, INC.  in Lauderdale Lakes discovered, after more than two years, that there are restrictions that allow "new" owners to rent only after three years. The only problem? This condo is in the possession of the family since many years, only two years ago the mother gifted it to her son because of failing health. But, who cares that the board made mistakes before and allowed the unit to be rented before? Now is the time to stop it! HERE AND NOW!
Read the story: RENTAL OF CONDO-UNIT -- YES or NO? at:
But the note denying the application ended on a comforting note: You can apply again in October of 2006!

Denying a family, who already suffered enough hardship through Wilma, a roof over their heads for the holidays? NO PROBLEM! Dubious deed-restrictions obviously have priority over common sense! Only in Florida -- Or in all these associations all over the nation?


Have a great weekend!

Warm Regards
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
the debate about necessary condo reforms is heating up, fueled by the latest horror stories caused by hurricane Wilma and condo evacuations because of neglected maintenance -- owners losing their homes being evacuated by the Miami Beach Building Department because of badly managed condo associations that did not take care of code violations. Actions that made hundreds of families homeless, main examples are the Versailles and Castle Beach condos on Collins Avenue. See:
I think Miami Beach Commissioner Luis Garcia found the right words:
“What we have now doesn’t work. We are trusting people to run condominium associations and they are not doing their job.”
Families are getting the run-around with nobody taking the responsibility to act and help these people. Condo owners are frustrated about the warning letters mailed by the agency in charge of regulating associations and managers. Owners want action -- not a long paper trail of useless letters!
See article at:
It actually is a cry for help because so far our State government has clearly failed the owners!
When will our Florida legislators finally act upon all the justified complaints? Or is it more convenient to believe the special interests telling them that just a few disgruntled owners have nothing better to do than complain? Florida's citizens, who own homes in associations, need help -- NOW!
And we appeal to our elected officials to create the necessary help by legislative reforms. We all just can't ignore the huge problems many owners are facing -- without fault of their own!
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
I have always said that we are putting too much trust into the ability of the volunteers who are running our communities. We have demanded some kind of mandatory education that will as well reach associations everywhere. Good suggestions have been made and are available! The education system used in the moment reaches very few people at a very high price! Dr. Virgil Rizzo, the Condo Ombudsman, has some excellent ideas!
It is imperative for the financial welfare of our citizens living in these associations -- the number is growing by the day -- to have people run the show who have minimum a basic understanding of general rules, regulations and statutes. Some of these "volunteers" make decisions over budgets of more than $1 million and more. Decisions that can ruin owners' finances and homes!
What happened in this condominium shouldn't have happened. This association pays for a management firm and uses legal counsel on many occasions.
In this case four (4) board members supported by a CAM manager took it upon themselves to remove another board member, who they felt was not following the party-line.
A letter like this should never be written, much less distributed.

Maybe our Florida House Representatives want to adopt this splendid idea? Next time one of them contradicts, they can just hold a vote and write the obnoxious guy a letter like this condo board: "We voted and you are hereby removed"!


We are seeing it again after Wilma: The people in charge don't know what to do, money and resources are being wasted and false decisions are being made, much to the detriment of the owners.




Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
Dr. Virgil Rizzo, the Florida Condo Ombudsman, added another very important service to his program intended to help Florida's condo-owners: A Spanish-speaking aide answers queries by phone and e-mail.
We have realized that certain people target condo-owners with language problems -- easier target for abuses! Adding this service to his office was another great step in the right direction.
And it is great to realize that more and more legislators are comfortable with the new office they created during the 2004 legislative session. They now can refer their condo constituents to a place where they can receive information and some kind of help staffed with people willing to work hard to
Legislators are discussing to add this service as well for homeowners, where the issues are often the same.
It is very obvious: Many condo-owners are very happy about this service added by legislators for their benefit! The huge number of telephone calls and e-mails is certain proof!
Warm Regards
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
according to a poll taken before Wilma condo-owners support necessary condo reforms by a wide margin.
Please see more details of the poll at:
Some people want you to believe that this is true only in southern Florida, but voters all over Florida want stricter regulation. We ask our Florida legislators to remember the above result when dealing with bills that will be proposed for 2006 legislative session.  Consumers need stricter regulations and accountability by the people that are responsible for their associations -- not only in condos!
A very important point: This poll was conducted among registered voters in Miami -- meaning constituents and condo-owners!
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Dear Friends and Dear Members,


We have all heard the complaints from certain specialized attorneys, managers and board members and even executives of the DBPR about Florida's Condo Ombudsman, Virgil Rizzo. 


Let's just face it:  If they weren’t complaining, Virgil Rizzo wouldn't be doing a good job!  When the Florida legislature created the Office of the Condo Ombudsman in 2004 using a bill sponsored by House Representative Julio Robaina (R-Miami), it was their legislative intent to create a place for condo owners to turn to when they needed help from abusive and unjust situations.

And they are turning to the Ombudsman for help daily!


With very little resources Dr. Rizzo is doing the best he can to help unit owners in need.  He just hired a bilingual secretary for his office in Fort Lauderdale to help the many unit owners who experience problems with the English language and who seem to get targeted as “easy victims” of abuse.  And the many thank-you notes from owners prove that his help is very welcome.  Here is another newspaper article from the Daytona Beach News Journal quoting condo owners that praise Rizzo's work!


See: Condo czar seeks solutions at


This is just one example of many -- and it shows that problems are not limited to South Florida, as some attorneys want you to believe.  The problem is all over the State of Florida!  Maybe these attorneys should learn from the election monitors trained by the condo ombudsman instead of charging for attending association meetings and being used to intimidate unit owners unhappy with board decisions -- or "supervising" elections that would more than embarrass a Banana Republic.  It's time they start doing their real jobs, representing the interest of the association and its members, not just a few members willing to renew their contracts.  And it’s high time for these attorneys to try winning cases on merits, not on connections within the DBPR.


Governor Jeb Bush's decision to appoint Virgil Rizzo, an independent attorney -- with no links to the service-providers -- has proven to be right on the money for Florida's condo owners.  The Office of the Condo Ombudsman is doing the best it can under adverse circumstances.  Now it's time for the DBPR -- under a new secretary -- to finally do its job and stop using its resources to cover up the shortcomings of the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes and its Arbitration Section.  Not only does it seem to take forever to get any responses from the Division, some of the recent decisions and statements defy any common sense.


It is time that all our government agencies work together to serve the welfare of Florida's citizens!

Condo owners all over Florida have been waiting for changes within the Department after the new Secretary took over in August.  So far, they are still waiting!

Warm Regards,

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Friends and Members,
if you live near Ft. Lauderdale please don't miss the meeting of the Condo Advisory Council Wednesday evening and Thursday morning (September 7-8, 2005) !

Please see agenda and detailed information here:

It is important that you give your input if you want changes! This Council was created to hear your grievances! 
And even if it is a meeting of the Condo Council and you are a homeowner living in a homeowners' association please let them know that their legislative recommendation should say that HOAs should be included in the regulation by DBPR and Ombudsman. Homeowners need as well a place to turn to! We are not step children of our society! Make sure you give them a written copy of your presentation to avoid a misrepresentation of your statements in the official minutes.
And even if the public input is planned for Wednesday evening, please come as well and listen to the report of the condo ombudsman, who will ask the Advisory Council to support his legislative proposals. I can promise a very interesting meeting. See my thoughts at:
And in case you're interested in the amended complaint filed with the Florida Ethics Commission against Council chair Joseph Adams, please read here:
In very short words: The expense of the Council is paid for by the $4 annual dues paid by condo owners into the condo-trust fund. And the legislators who created this council in 2004 didn't create it as a panel for attorneys to push their agenda. So, please be there and tell them your concerns! It's important!
Warm Regards
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
the quarterly report of the Condo Ombudsman was well received by many interested parties, but definitely not by certain attorneys who make a living from problems in associations. The Sun Sentinel reported in a very good article about the report: Rampant mismanagement plagues condo boards, report finds and followed up with an informative editorial: ISSUE: Abusive condo boards elicit complaints
But, as expected, the attorneys specializing in association law were unhappy with these findings. Donna Berger used again the "poor volunteers" as an excuse to attack the report of the Condo Ombudsman. Her letter to the editor "Rizzo's report a slap at volunteers" puts again the volunteers in the forefront of her push to discredit the Condo Ombudsman. Understandable so, since stating facts and saying that about 200 specialized attorneys are afraid for their profits, if the truth comes out and reform bills are enacted, wouldn't be good PR -- would it?
In this case it's not really the opinion that counts, it's the person who publishes this opinion. And in this case it was -- again -- Donna Berger, lobbyist for Becker&Poliakoff, P.A.
Please read my opinion and some more facts: WHO IS DONNA D. BERGER? WHAT IS CALL?
Knowing some background information makes it much easier to understand what really causes these opinions: $$$$$$$$$$$$$
Warm Regards
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


Please note: This happens in MIAMI, FLORIDA -- not in some wild Third World Country or a Banana Republic. This is exactly the reason why legislators added "Election Monitoring"as a task of the Office of the Condo Ombudsman when they enacted Senate Bill 1184 in 2004.

Please read my opinion -- and the report of the Condo Ombudsman -- about the attempted election shenanigans in this condominium. See:
It is absolute ridiculous that board members are allowed to interfere with fair elections according to Florida statutes without having to fear punishment. Board members, who are willfully disrupting election procedures for personal gain, should pay for the cost of their misconduct -- not the unit-owners!

We all have to help to stop these shenanigans and make sure that owners living in associations are guaranteed fair elections.


Please support the Ombudsman in his attempt to make this happen. Board members have to realize that an association is not their private dictatorship. Majority should rule in these associations, meaning fair elections are top priority!

Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,
the Condo Ombudsman, Dr. Virgil Rizzo, published his 2. Quarterly Report. It's a report of growing success, created by hard work!
It is pretty obvious that this office is a great success for unit-owners and board members alike to avoid lengthy court battles and keep peace in the communities. Many nice "Thank-you" notes are proof of this success. In a State known for election problems it is refreshing to see that election monitors sent out by the Condo Ombudsman are finally creating fair elections -- no more Banana Republic style!
More and more State Legislators are referring their complaining constituents to the Office of the Condo Ombudsman for help.
A big THANK-YOU to our Legislators for caring and creating this office and our Governor for appointing the right guy and letting him do his job!
It seems the only ones unhappy are some of the specialized attorneys, who obviously don't favor peaceful communities. This office is definitely on the right way to take care of the many little -- and not so little -- problems condo owners in Florida are facing. If we all work together we can get something very useful going that will definitely help to decrease the number of useless law suits all over Florida.
Today marks another landmark for Florida's condo-owners: Simone Marstiller is taking over today as the new Secretary of the DBPR. CONGRATULATIONS! We wish her good luck in her new position and hope that we can create a great working relationship that will serve Florida's citizens.
Now we need to work together to create the necessary laws to get homeowners' associations under this umbrella as well. Homeowners need a place to turn to and get help and the necessary information, without hiring expensive attorneys every time there is a misunderstanding. We are asking our Florida legislators to finally take care of the Florida homeowners living in associations. We don't like to be the stepchildren of our society.
Together we can work for a Better Florida!
Warm Regards
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


I hate repeats -- see TV programming -- but in this case the repeat is absolutely justified -- for the welfare of Florida's condo owners. We can talk all day long about the Division not doing the job, not achieving results! Condo boards and their attorneys laugh about the warning letters. Lots of money is being spent without achieving results!

Condo owners are feeling betrayed and treated as third-class citizens when dealing with this department. It takes forever to get responses.


Even if the OPPAGA report has been downplayed by the DBPR and the supporting attorneys, it showed clearly that the DBPR as is is useless and a waste of taxpayers' money.


As the old saying goes: Pictures say more than a thousand words. In this case I guess this picture really speaks for itself( See: PICTURE ). Florida's condo owners need action -- not lengthy letters, useless words and legal bills.


Their homes are at stake -- and nobody seems to be willing to hear the cries for help. We need quick enforcement. What is there to discuss if the roof is leaking? It needs to be repaired before mold sets in and totally destroys the units. Election disputes have to be settled without giving the sitting board seven more month to do more damage to the association. Recall disputes have to be settled before the next election is coming up. What does it help if decisions are postponed and postponed? Recalls are done to stop problems -- not to enlarge them.


It becomes more and more obvious that the existing system doesn't work to protect Florida's condo owners and homeowners.


We call on Governor Jeb Bush to order some serious re-organizing and create desperately needed personnel changes in the Department.


We need people running the agency who are capable -- and willing -- to do the job they are supposed to do.


Please read the complete article at:


It is high time to do the things necessary to protect the welfare of Florida's condo owners!
Warm Regards
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Condo-owners, Friends and Members,
if you live in South Florida here is your chance to make your voice heard in front of a panel that was charged by the legislature to listen to your problems and proposals for changes to the regulations that govern your daily life! It's great to complain, it's great to rage and rant -- but this is where it counts!
Don't miss this opportunity to make your voice heard. And if you do speak up, please make as well sure that you hand a copy of your presentation to the secretary. It seems there is a tendency to put wishful thinking into the minutes instead of the facts. I definitely wondered when I read in the minutes what I had supposedly said!
Here is more detailed information about the meeting:
Directions: The hotel is located inside the airport concourse E level 2.  All attendees should park in the “Flamingo Parking Lot”  The hotel is next to American Airlines
Miami International Airport Hotel
Airport Terminal Concourse E
NW 20th Street & Lejeune Road
Miami, Florida 33122
Telephone # 305-871-4100
This is similar to elections: If you don't vote you forfeit your right to bitch about politicians! Here goes:

If you don't speak up, you forfeit the right to bitch about the condo rules!

Legislators are willing to fight for necessary changes -- if you let them know! Speak up on Saturday!

Questions? Just ask!
Warm Regards
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,

below is a press release that speaks for itself! Florida's condo-owners deserve better than an Advisory Council on Condominiums that is being run by specialized attorneys. Condo-owners are looking for better education programs and easier solutions for the many problems! How long do they have to wait?



Florida Condo Owner Files Ethics Complaints Against

Condo Advisory Council Members, Adams And Dunbar!


St. Augustine, June 21, 2005

Many Florida condo owners are furious about two members of the Condo Advisory Council. They allege that chairman Joe Adams and member Peter Dunbar are using their positions on the Council to promote their own personal agendas instead of following the Florida Statutes.  Considering that the Condo Trust Fund pays for the cost of this Council, condo owners think that the Council was created to serve the welfare of the citizens, not as a tool to promote special interests.


For the actual wording of the complaints, please see below.


So far the council has done very little to follow the legislative intent that created this Council during the 2004 legislative session.  Many condo owners are disappointed that so far very little has been achieved.  Instead of concentrating on the many tasks at hand, chairman Adams is now taking on the unsolicited task of trying to evaluate the work of other entities – like the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes and the Condo Ombudsman Office.


Representative Julio Robaina had sponsored House Bill 1123 in 2004.  Considering that both Adams and Dunbar strongly opposed House Bill 1123 that contained the wording for the creation of the Condo Advisory Council, it seems now they are using the tactic of: "If you can't beat them, join them to covertly plot for their demise”?


Florida’s condo owners are not willing to sit idle and wait, while these attorneys destroy a tool that had been established by the Florida legislature to help solve many of the problems these owners face on a daily basis!


Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.


Name: Joseph Adams, Esquire  Telephone Number: (239) 433-7707

Address: 14241 Metropolis Ave, Suite 100

City: Fort Myers  County: Lee   Zip Code: 33912

Title of office or position held or sought: Member of the Advisory Council on Condominiums



Mr. Adams is a licensed, practicing member of The Florida Bar and a managing shareholder in a statewide law firm known as Becker & Poliakoff, P.A..   Mr. Adams and his law firm specialize in condominium and community association law.  At least two (2) attorneys (Gary Poliakoff, Esquire and Keith Poliakoff, Esquire) in Mr. Adams law firm are registered Florida lobbyists for the Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. law firm as their principal.  Based on the foregoing it appears that an irreconcilable and continuing conflict of interest exists between Mr. Adams’ personal interests as a lawyer and his public duties as a member of the Advisory Council on Condominiums.   Mr. Adams as chairman of the Advisory Council has advocated and promoted legislation in open Council meetings that were lobbied for by his law firm for the benefit of their clients. He also has used the Advisory Council as a vehicle to recommend to the Governor certain other legislation should be vetoed. This activity is not only outside of the statutory jurisdiction, functions and duties of the Advisory Council but also clearly perpetrated by Mr. Adam’s to further his own personal interests.


The procedural safeguards enacted by Chapter 112, Florida Statutes, are not sufficient to protect against Mr. Adams proposing, supporting or voting on recommendations that would favor or further the interests of himself, his law firm, his clients or principals and/or their firms and interests and any of their own political or social agendas and do not inspire and ensure the public’s confidence in his service on the Advisory Council on Condominiums. 


Name: Peter Dunbar, Esquire  Telephone Number: (850) 222-3533

Address: P.O. Box 10095

City: Tallahasee  County: Leon   Zip Code: 32302

Title of office or position held or sought: Member of the Advisory Council on Condominiums



Mr. Dunbar is a licensed, practicing member of The Florida Bar and a partner in the Tallahassee, Florida, law firm of Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson, Bell and Dunbar, P.A..   Mr. Dunbar specializes in, among other areas, condominium and community association law.  He is also a registered Florida lobbyist for various principals including his own law firm, the National Association of Industrial & Office Properties and Parkway Maintenance & Management Company.  Based on the foregoing it appears that an irreconcilable and continuing conflict of interest exists between Mr. Dunbar’s personal interests as a lawyer and lobbyist and his public duties as a member of the Advisory Council on Condominiums.   The procedural safeguards enacted by Chapter 112, Florida Statutes, are not sufficient to protect against Mr. Dunbar proposing, supporting or voting on recommendations that would favor or further the interests of himself, his law firm, his clients or principals and/or their firms and interests and any of their own political or social agendas and do not inspire and ensure the public’s confidence in his service on the Advisory Council on Condominiums.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


Why are we allowing about 200 specialized association attorneys to hold Florida's condo population of more than 2 million citizens hostage?

Many Florida legislators have worked hard to create this Council -- trying to help their constituents!


Florida's condo-owners had hoped that the members of the Condo Advisory Council would listen to their input and ideas in order to create the necessary reforms. But so far the attorneys on this Council are not interested in the opinion of the condo-owners, but are following their own personal agendas.

Now they are trying to discredit the newly created office of the CONDO OMBUDSMAN

Please read my opinion at:

I think it's about time that our elected officials stop this nonsense and see to it that the Condo Advisory Council does what the legislature intended:

Work on proposing reforms to help stop the problems

in our condominium associations.

It's about time!


Next meeting of Council: Date: Saturday, June 25, 2005 at 9am

Location: Miami International Airport Hotel  - For details see:


Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,

the discussion about the work of the Condo Advisory Council is getting very emotional. And when chairman Joe Adams uses his weekly column in the Ft. Myers News Press to spread propaganda about the great work of the Council it's about time that we are really looking what is being done so far during the meetings:
1.) Lengthy discussions about a bill pushed by Becker&Poliakoff -- HB1593. It died a well-deserved death!

2.) Decision to ask the Governor to veto SB 1520. Result: The Governor vetoed the bill, benefiting the employers of Council member Mike Andrew, who works for the Marriott Vacation Club -- and who started the discussion. NO PUBLIC INPUT!

3.) Discussion about necessary education. Even if chairman Adams admits that many council members are not in favor of mandatory education, he as well admits that there seems to be a favorable opinion pushing for it. And here comes the all-important quote: "The council is examining the current program offered through the Community Associations Institute."

What a huge conflict of interest! According to my information minimum 4 of the 7 voting members are members of this trade organization that is in the moment being paid annual up to $ 500,000 by the DBPR to hold education courses. Meaning the Council can't vote on any decisions regarding the education courses, because there would be no quorum. Minimum the 4 members of the CAI would have to recuse themselves.


See my letter to the Editor of the News Press at:


When will our elected officials stop this circus called MEETINGS OF CONDO ADVISORY COUNCIL -- and finally appoint citizens to the Council who have the welfare of the unit-owners in mind -- not their own wallets? This Council deserves a fair chance to be able to do what it is supposed to do according to Florida Statutes: Propose reforms helping Florida's citizens, not special interests.


Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


The Condo Advisory Council, created by the Florida legislature in 2004 to gather public input in order to propose long overdue reforms, will hold meeting No. 5 in Miami on June 25, 2005. See announcement at:

It will be a very interesting meeting, since the chair of the Council is again trying to push his personal agenda. His attempt to discredit the Condo Ombudsman is very obvious. The unapproved minutes already show the way this is going. See:


While the Powers That Be obviously consider the presentations by public speakers to be a necessary evil – discarded with a few skimpy words in the minutes -- the presentation of Colleen Donahue, Office of the Ombudsman, was shown in full length -- word by word. After reading the statutes I really wonder who empowered the Council and especially the chairman Joe Adams to evaluate the work of the Ombudsman.

Shouldn't that be left to our elected officials?

The Council members have plenty to do -- lots of problems to take care of. So far, not a lot has been achieved, since valuable time, paid for by Florida's condo-owners, was wasted with discussions over bills that were only prominent on the personal agenda of certain people. My comment at: tries to explain where to find the actual problem: Council members with personal and/or professional financial interests.

This Council clearly shows how a perfectly good idea by our legislators to help constituents can be turned into a valuable tool for special interests, at the expense of Florida's condo owners.

The experience of this Council so far will hopefully help the Governor, Speaker of the House and the Senate President to make some wiser decisions when it comes to appointing new members to the Council on October 1, 2005.  Florida’s condo owners deserve appointees who are willing to work for the welfare of these owners, not the gain of certain service providers, who are known to fight any reform attempts in the first place.


Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


now some members of the Condo Advisory Council take it upon themselves to assume a power the statutes definitely didn't grant them. Without public input the Council decided at the last meeting to have a letter sent to the Governor requesting to veto SB 1520.

This is not a matter of the bill being good or bad -- or if it deserves to be vetoed!

It is a matter of right or wrong! The legislature charged the Council with certain tasks and duties -- see Florida Statutes 718.50151.


This Council was created to find solutions for the many problems condo-owners and board members are facing in their associations. And it's paid for by these unit-owners! It sure was not supposed to serve as a stage for the in-fight of the industry and service providers. Please read the detailed info at:


It is high time to stop these run-away Council members and remind some of them why the legislature created this Council!

Since the chairman of the Council is a member of the law firm that tried to defeat the bill creating this Council they obviously changed tactics: "If you can't beat them, join them to covertly plot for their demise".

Is that what we are looking at?


Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,

For every observer it is pretty obvious that the Condo Advisory Council seems to have his own agenda. It was the legislative intent of HB 1223 (later SB 1184), sponsored by Representative Julio Robaina, to create a vehicle that would allow consumers to voice their opinion, make suggestions and propose necessary reforms. This input from the public should be used to create proposals for our legislature.


And reforms are no doubt necessary -- just look at the media head lines, overcrowded court dockets, the DBPR unable to handle the cases in a timely manner and the phone of the condo ombudsman ringing off the hook. All is well in Condo La-La-Land?


But it seems that the powers running the Condo Advisory Council have their own agenda, consider public input a necessary evil, but create their own agenda otherwise. This Council was created to listen to the problems unit-owners are experiencing and hear about their ideas for betterment, not as a tool for the service providers to push their personal agenda.

It seems the definitely great idea is being derailed in order to serve the personal agenda of just a few Council members, who actually will be financially benefiting from certain decisions.


I don't think that is what Florida's legislators had in mind?
Please read my opinion about what is going on in this Council.


We are asking our Governor Jeb Bush and our legislators to help to get this Council back on the right track and make it again what it was intended to be: A place where our condo-owners can go and ask for help in creating the necessary reforms serving the welfare of our citizens!

Thank you for listening to my concerns!

Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.



Dear Florida Legislators,


Below is an article from The Miami Herald (Sunday, April 24, 2005) telling the whole story behind Representative Julio Robaina's fight for the rights of owners living in mandated properties. Told from the side of the owners, not the special interest! He doesn't collect big campaign funds from special interests, he is doing it because he is honestly concerned about the welfare of Florida's citizens. We as citizens admire his honesty and dedication. He worked many, many extra hours and made many trips to collect all the info to create the bills he is sponsoring! Doesn't he deserve a little more support and help from you, his colleagues?


His proposed bills are written for the people by the people -- not by special interests! Just read below how many constituents like Joe and Jane Homeowner feel! Please help Representative Julio Robaina in his quest for owners' rights!
Your support is much appreciated!

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Friends and Members,


The dangerous bill SB 2062 is on the agenda of the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries on Monday, April 25,.  And Senator Aronberg, who already last year supported the condo commandos, has added the Joe Adams amendment again, the one I dubbed the "ADOLPH BILL” because it creates in my opinion dictatorial power and a license to steal without accountability!  The House turned Joe Adams' proposal down, telling him to get public input, directing the Advisory Council on Condominiums to hold public hearings, study available options and proposals, and prepare a report to the Legislature.  But who cares?  If the House doesn't listen, maybe the Senate will -- and it seems Senator Aronberg is a willing tool to try just that.


According to information, a former Community Associations Institute executive, who is now spreading his industry gospel on the Florida Commission on Ethics, had his fingers in the pot as well. The infamous sentence: "A fine shall not become a lien against a parcel unless it is imposed for violations of use restrictions on the land" was supposedly his brain-child.  No wonder ETHICS seems to be a foreign word in Florida!


So, please go to: and let the Senators know that these amendments to the bill are not acceptable to their constituents.  Please don't forget to sign the e-mails.  We need loads of e-mails to avoid lots of damage.

So, please get busy. It's all ready to roll!
Have a great weekend!

Take care.



Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,

you all have seen e-mails opposing HB 1229, the CONDO BILL. But most of these e-mails were written by concerned condo owners who were misinformed about provisions of the bill, from 1-year term limits to outrageous cost this bill would cause for unit-owners. Most writers were even not sure about their own opinion -- they didn't sign their name to it!


We all know where this "information" is coming from: CALL, the lobbyist group of the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff. Since they can't tell people why they really oppose the bill -- easier enforcement of existing laws and more accountability that would most likely cause a drop of their revenue -- they use again the Chicken Little theory to scare unit-owners, especially retirees on a fixed income and/or low income families. We saw the same last year when the big condo bill by Representative Julio Robaina was debated. Nothing created an increase of dues as predicted by CALL. This year they even went so far as to tell people that they are losing their homes if this bill is enacted. No wonder people wrote e-mails opposing the bill. But nothing is further from the truth!


Please read my take on this in my opinion unethical methods at:

No wonder the system is totally flawed and many condo owners suffer from serious abuses as we heard in many public hearings and town hall meetings. We need to protect our condo-owners against scrupulous people using association members as their cash cow.

As you just read in the OPPAGA report the protection of our condo-owners here in Florida is totally flawed.

With our population growing at a fast pace and already the eldest nationwide we need to protect these members of our society. Many are unable to understand what is really going on. Please help these citizens by creating laws that will protect them -- and finally create a government agency willing to do the job. The money is there -- the Condo Trust fund -- it just has to be brought to good use -- and good legislation is the necessary foundation!




Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Friends and Members,

please don't forget tomorrow's big town hall meeting in Plantation. Please attend and be part of the big discussion about association reforms. Instead of complaining, moaning and groaning -- did I forget bitching? -- here is your opportunity to speak out!

DATE: Saturday, February 19, 2005

TIME:   1:00- 5:00 PM   

LOCATION: Lauderdale West Clubhouse, 1141 NW 85th Avenue,  Plantation, FL  33322   


Our legislators are giving us the chance to speak up and make our voice heard. It is the opening of our campaign for reforms during the upcoming legislative session. We will have all kinds of bills to cheer for -- and cheering we'll do! -- trying to level the playing field and making the necessary changes to prevent known abuses! We want to live again in a home located within the constitution of the USA, not in some Banana Republic created by attorneys and power-hungry board members.

Still in doubt? Read the satirical rendition of the events of a HOA election in South Florida at:

It would be amusing if it wasn't a TRUE STORY!


More and more board members realize that they have been on the wrong side of the fence. It's easier to work with the neighbors than against them. Our dues are better spent for maintenance and beautification than for legal fees! Let's join all together for the welfare of the owners.

See our Flyer for tomorrow's meeting. It sure explains where we stand!


You feel that changes are necessary? Be there and be heard!



Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 11 
Property Owners Association in the Villages (POA) 
Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches (FHCGPB)
Consumer Advocacy Network (CAN)

OPEN LETTER TO DONNA BERGER -- CALL (Community Association Leadership Lobby)


Dear Ms. Berger,

I've read the CALL survey with great interest. Even if I feel that a survey of this kind does very little to find out how Florida's condominium owners really think, I found your remarks that accompanied the publication of this survey much more interesting.

You can read my evaluation of the survey and comments at:


Instead of criticizing proposals and calling suggestions that don't go along with your party line "irrational" it would be a lot more helpful if your group would come up with reasonable suggestions. We know that you were not in favor of creating the office of Condo Ombudsman. But if Dr. Virgil Rizzo, the newly appointed ombudsman, can only achieve parts of what the Nevada Ombudsman has achieved according to his own words: "More than half the disputes are resolved before arbitration!" this alone would already justify the creation of such office in the opinion of many! Please read the full story at: 


Let's do things the positive way: Let's work on solutions for the obvious problems!

The times where groups like yours could talk about a few "disgruntled" owners are over. Even a person wearing the biggest blinders possible has found out that this was just another fairy tale. And we all know that not all is well in Condo La-La-Land. Latest since the Senior Partner and Founder of your law firm, Gary Poliakoff, was booed out by a crowd of estimated 400 owners at a meeting of the Select Committee on Condominium Governance in Davie, when trying to sell that story to the panel of House Representatives. See:


Fancy surveys and pre-programmed answers will not create the reforms necessary to stop these problems!

Hard work and open discussions will! And Florida's Condo Owners deserve a lot better than what they actually have in the moment!


Happy Holidays!

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Governor, dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


OPPAGA, Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability -- as well known as the watchdog of our Florida Government -- has finally published the interactive website that will enable Florida citizens to file complaints that should help to shade light in the questionable practices of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes.

Please see announcement and link at:


Consumers all of our state feel that the same agency, that is supposed to regulate business and professions, is in bed with the same people they are supposed to regulate. The trust of citizens in the ability of the DBPR to sort out problems and investigate complaints is about down to Zero. I get permanently e-mails asking if there is no other agency to turn to, because the people just don't want to deal with the DBPR and some of their main executives.


This relationship between citizens and DBPR definitely has not improved in the last year, but has worsened to a point where the DBPR Is seen by many as the enemy!

Secretary Carr has still not figured out that she no longer is a lobbyist any more but the head of a government agency, paid for by tax dollars. Her lobbying against owner-friendly bills during the last session was just the tip of the iceberg. Her and Michael Cochrane sitting during committee hearings next to the industry partisans opposing the owner-friendly bills showed exactly where their alliances are.


We saw the attitude of DBPR employees during the Task Force meetings, when Julie Baker, Deputy Director of the DBPR and Co-Chair of the Task Force, had very little positive to contribute, but voted only in the interest of the industry partisans against the homeowners' representatives.


$500,000 for education courses were again given to a trade-organization from condo-owners money. Education courses performed by the same people who are earning a living at owners' expenses. The same parties, who are fighting owner-friendly legislation! We need education how to get along with each other, not how to create law suits and how to sue your neighbor! Secretary Carr was informed about these concerns, but plainly didn't care about it.


And we saw that the same group of people, who were fighting the creation of a Condo Advisory Board, were awarded with appointments to the same. Common sense? Not in my opinion! If you are convinced that such a council will not be useful, why asking for an appointment to such a council?

Condo-owners all over Florida are afraid that Governor Bush will appoint a DBPR member and industry sympathizer as the new Condo Ombudsman. This definitely would throw condo owners back into the dark ages of condo-living. We need somebody in that position who is not part of the cozy buddy-buddy system we have been complaining about all along -- and which actually lead to the creation of this Ombudsman's Office by the legislature. Do we now see destroyed what all our legislators worked for so hard to achieve?

Legislators who voted in favor of this bill voted in favor of a fresh start, not the same old, same old!


The Annual Meeting of CCFJ, Inc. in Ocala this weekend, where 55 delegates and board members of our allies from all around Florida assembled, showed clearly what homeowners and condo-owners want: Protection from abuses. Fairness is the Goal! And a government agency with enforcement power willing to do its job without sweet-talking the many problems!


Please participate by helping OPPAGA to achieve their goal of evaluating the division’s performance. We don't need a witch-hunt! I know emotions run high, and many citizens would just love to see the whole executive panel of the DBPR removed from their positions. I know citizens plainly don't trust these people, because they have shown too often that they are in cahoots with the industry. 


Providing useful information is the name of the game. That will give OPPAGA the opportunity to create the report we need to see legislative changes enacted during the next legislative session.  Legislators have stated that they are waiting for the report that will hopefully prove what citizens have been claiming all along:
The DBPR is in bed with the industry!


Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Dear Legislators, Friends and Members,


since Friday we finally know all the appointments to the Condo Advisory Council. Governor Jeb Bush and Senate President King made equal choices, considering both sides of the issue! Much appreciated! Thank you!

But the departing Speaker of the House, in his infinite wisdom, decided to appoint two well-known industry partisans. I called it the curse of Johnnie Byrd. But we know that Representative Goodlette was very much behind this decision.


This is part of the statement Donna Berger, attorney in the law firm of Becker&Poliakoff and spokesperson of CALL, e-mailed to her list:

The seven member Condominium Advisory Council (which was created last year under SB 1184) have now been announced. The appointments are as follows:

Governor Bush appointed the following three members:

1. Karen Gottlieb- a "homeowner activist" who is a member of the Cyber Citizens for Justice Group that supported and pushed for Rep. Robaina's HB 1223;

2. George Geisler-a retired Monroe County resident; and

3.Michael Andrew-a Timeshare appointee

Senate President James King appointed the following two members:

1. Pete Dunbar- a former legislator from Pinellas County who now lives in Tallahassee and is a partner in the law firm of Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson, Bell & Dunbar. Mr. Dunbar is currently serving as General Counsel to the State's Chief Financial Officer, Tom Gallagher and the Department of Financial Services; and

2. Mark Benson- a community association manager in Southwest Florida and a member of the Cyber Citizens group.

Speaker of the House Johnnie Byrd appointed the following two members:

1. Joe Adams- a partner in the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. who specializes in community association law, manages the Firm's Naples and Ft. Myers offices and is a columnist on community association matters as

well; and

2. Thomas Sparks- a former CAI (Community Association Institute)delegate who resides in the Panhandle.


Just a few remarks -- just can't help to add my own opinion:

Rep. Robaina's HB 1223 initiated the creation of this Condo Advisory Council. The CAI and the law firms like Becker&Poliakoff fought this bill like their life depended on it. I guess it was more their wallet?

Mark Benson is as well a member of the Community Association Institute and even received the Award of Excellence in Membership this year. But since he is open-minded and willing to talk to all sides, the spokes person for the law firm of Becker&Poliakoff seems to forget that real fast, may be on purpose? No talking to the enemy, as we owners have been labeled by the same trade organization that always claims to represent our interests.


It is just amazing that some of the same people, who fought the creation of this Advisory Council, were awarded with an appointment. Makes sense? Definitely not to me and many other consumers and owners.


These are the same people who are actually responsible for the laws we had in the books last year. They were responsible for writing it. And I don't think there is any doubt in anybody's honest mind that the laws need a serious overhaul.


Many of you will remember that I was sitting next to Joe Adams at the Task Force meetings. One of the first issues discussed was about the right to fly a flag on private property. Important part (quote):

"Mr. Bergemann requested the motion be amended to add the right of an owner to display the U.S. Flag from a pole or bracket up to 20' on private property.  Mr. Adams spoke against.  Ms. Gottlieb and Mr. Bergemann voted yes. The others voted nay, the motion failed."

Reason given for voting "NAY" -- not enough info available. Needs to be further researched. We can now fly 6 different flags on special holidays, but the question in regards to flag pole and/or bracket is still unsolved. You might be interested to read Joe Adams column from last weekend -- see below. After hearing his arguments during the Task Force meeting I had to read it three times before I believed that he would write that. He is one of the main reasons why there is no such provision in the statutes. But I guess the little part of the sentence "will need to be addressed by the courts" explains it all. $$$$$$$$$$$$


Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Community Life -- Joe Adams  --  Published by on October 28, 2004

Q: I know that Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, permits me to display a "portable" United States flag, regardless of what my community restrictions or rules may provide. Must the flagpole also be "portable" or can it be affixed to my home or permanently installed in my yard?"

— M.C. (via e-mail)

A:Section 720.304(2), Florida Statutes, which is applicable to homeowners' associations, and Section 718.113(4), Florida Statutes, applicable to condominiums provide that owners may display "one portable, removable" United States flag in a respectful manner. The statutes, however, do not make any reference to flagpoles nor discuss whether an association may promulgate any limitations on flagpoles.

Whether an association can defend a provision prohibiting the attachment of flagpoles to buildings or yards is an open question that will need to be addressed by the courts, or preferably, an amendment to the statute.


So, how about amending the Statute? Joe Adams would prefer it! See above!

CA Assembly passes Anti-Foreclosure Bill - Opinion about DBPR renewing Condo education by CAI


Dear Governor, dear Legislators, dear Friends,

California has made the right step to stop the many abuses created by allowing non-judicial foreclosure by associations. The CA Senate's 32-1 vote provides major new safeguards against association foreclosure actions. It was about time. California made the first step, when will Florida follow? Here our citizens suffer from the same kind of abuse! Please see article:


And the DBPR and Secretary Carr saw fit to renew the Condo-Education with Community Association Institute.

I plainly call for her to resign. She definitely created enough damage!

With teachers like that nobody should wonder why things go over board.

It is high time for the OPPAGA investigation and for the hopefully unbiased Ombudsman to take over.

Homeowners in Florida have suffered long enough and have the right to equal treatment under our Constitution.

If board members can state: "Forget about the Constitution, we make our own rules here!" and are supported by their attorneys we live in a Banana Republic, not in the good ol' USA!


It's really high time for changes!


Warm Regards

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

05 - 11 - 2004

Florida's Florida Legislative Session 2004 is over. So are many hard fought battles about the fate of many bills regarding mandated properties. We got SB 1184 and SB 2984 ordered enrolled, waiting for the Governor's signature. 
Even if we consumers didn't get all we wanted, the bills are a good start for more reforms necessary to finally solve the many problems owners living in mandated communities are experiencing. 
My opinion about the result of this session is summarized at:
If your web server doesn't work with hotlinks, please go to our Home Page and click on Latest News.
We won some, we lost some, but we for sure made progress in the right directions. We still have a long way to go, but with our consumer movement growing rapidly we have built a nice foundation to continue working on more reforms. It's is imperative for the welfare of owners that the laws provide disclosure, consumer-protection and enforcement of existing laws. We need to get back to the times when we could honestly say: "Our Home is our Castle!" 
And it is high time that our dues are again being used for the purpose intended: Maintenance and Beautification of our Communities!
Please read my summary of the fight for owners' rights! And help us to get ready for next year, with more consumer-friendly bills being prepared for the next session!
Warm Regards
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) 
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 11  
Concerned Homeowners in Partnership (CHIP)  
Property Owners Association in the Villages (POA)  
Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches (FHCGPB)
Consumer Advocacy Network (CAN) 
Property Rights Florida (PRF) 

02 - 06 - 2004

Ms. Baker, your e-mails appear to be an automated reply, every time I e-mail the Governor with specific and critical issues harming the consumers of Florida I receive the same vague answers. 

BTW, condos associations have oversight agency, unfortunately very inefficient. I am also aware that HOA don't have State oversight agency. Further, more than 80% of the members appointed to the HOA Task Force that you mentioned at the request of the Governor were  industry  or trade  representatives ; CAI Lawyers, members of law firms who have been sanctioned in federal court for false representation, and violation of  FDCPA, etc.  see ; in my opinion to trick  owners in order to charge them an outrageous amount of money and finally foreclose on their homes,  (Sounds like PREDATORY FORECLOSURE TO ME) and others who act as receivers for condos making 150% over the median State income. 

Mr. Bush, Ms. Carr, with all due respect, this is like appointing members of Al Qaeda  to a Task Force to  make recommendations as to the safety of our country.  !!Please!!!

I believe that Governor Bush as well as Secretary Carr, by no means are naive in order to realize who was appointed to this Task Force and who do they represent. In my opinion,  it is obvious that this is not a serious and meaningful initiative. I respectfully request a reply from the Governor on these issues.

Humberto Sanchez
CCFJ, Inc. Public Relations Director

02 - 04 - 2004

Honorable Governor, Honorable Florida Legislators,

In a National Resolution, signed by President Hector M. Flores, the League of United Latin American Citizens is asking all legislators to support the work of Humberto Sanchez, a LULAC councilman and Chair of the Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. Condo Committee. 

Two paragraphs of the Resolution definitely stand out:
WHEREAS, due to the inadequacy of the present laws, their human and constitutional rights are often violated;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) supports the work of Humberto Sanchez to address these issues, and urges state legislatures to review, amend and create adequate laws to protect homeowners;

Please read the complete resolution at:

It is definitely time to move on these issues.  Owners all over the nation are suffering from abuses in these communities.


Humberto Sanchez
LULAC Councilman
Public Relations Director, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

01 - 27 - 2004

Honorable Governor Jeb Bush.

I am not certain whether I am reading correctly or not but I was astonished to read that you are suggesting to take $6,000,000 from the Condo Trust Funds to place them in the General Funds.

I am also aware that you are very well informed about the horror stories going on in Condos Associations all over Florida and the fact that these funds are not taxpayers monies but the sweat of every owner who live in Home Owner Association and who pay $4.00 annually per door  specifically for the Condo Trust Funds. 

Recently, you requested from the DBPR to appoint certain members to a  Task Force to listen to all the horror stories all over Florida and make recommendations to cure this social cancer (I was present almost at every meeting, I heard the stories as well, pretty much the same horror stories all over Florida,  however, it is very unfortunate that 70% of the persons  appointed to the Task Force are either, Industry or DBPR staff, precisely,  in my opinion, the very same parties most responsible for most of the problems.

Mr. Bush, for your information, unit owners all over Florida are willing to reach into their pockets and duplicate the amount of money now paid to the Condo Trust Funds as long as an Agency with enforcement powers is created in order to eliminate the generalized abuses and most important, away from the DBPR who have demonstrated  incompetence and in some cases even obstructionist  bureaucracy.

I have faith in your wisdom, however if you insist to ignore the calls of millions of Floridians living in these type of housing, we will organize and secure the necessary signatures in order to place in the ballot a constitutional amendment that may finally resolve the HORROR STORIES and leave politics out. 

Humberto Sanchez
CCFJ, Public Relations Director

12 - 09 - 2003

Dear Governor, dear Legislators,
it becomes more and more apparent that Florida home- and condo-owners need help from the government, the agencies and the legislators. Our elected officials have the obligation to protect our citizens against harm -- bodily and financially. And that includes owners in mandated properties! The case of the Grand Vista Condos in Miami, where owners fear for their psychical well-being, show that definitely not enough is being done to protect Joe and Jane Homeowner. House Representative Julio Robaina had to make a personal appearance at a board meeting of this association in order to restore some kind of order. Thank you!
Read about the latest developments at: 
Grand Vista - Owners Plan to End Corruption, Deception, Censorship and Threats,
It is just unbelievable what can happen in this state!

And in case you are following the meetings of the HOA Task Force?
Yesterday's meeting was definitely an experience in how life in Florida shouldn't be: 
Little hope for Nature's Watch, see:
More than 60 foreclosure papers being filed speaks for itself. And we're talking here law-abiding, tax-paying citizens losing their homes! Not deadbeats!
There is more to be said in more detail. This is just a preview of much more to come!
So, please help us during the next legislative session. We are all human beings and constituents and need your help!

Warm regards
Jan Bergemann
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Concerned Homeowners in Partnership (CHIP) 
Property Owners Association in the Villages (POA) 
Fair Housing Center of Palm Beach (FHCPB) 
Consumer Advocacy Network (CAN)
Property Rights Florida (PRF)

12 - 04 - 2003

Dear Governor, dear Legislators, dear Friends and Members,

what is going on in Florida? Reading the latest reports from Grand Vista Condominiums (see below) reminds me on true accounts I heard in history lessons about horror stories going on in my former Fatherland before 1945. A condo board, fined for violating nearly every rule in FS 718 - the Condo Act - is calling a special meeting to name the owners who filed the official complaints leading to the fines, blaming them for the fines and the special assessments? And the DBPR, issuing these penalties, is so far unwilling to step in and protect the owners, who in good faith, believing in justice, filed these complaints?

It is good to know that we still have legislators like Representatives Robaina and Arza, willing to fight for the rights of our citizens and taking a personal interest in cases like this. Thank you so much!

As you all know the House Select Committee on Condo Governance and the HOA Task Force are discussing possible solutions for these serious problems, threatening the personal welfare and even the health of our citizens. 

If what we see here is considered enforcement and protection of citizens, homeowners might be better off moving into the Everglades and fighting alligators and poisonous snakes!

This has to stop -real fast - if Florida homeowners are supposed to feel safe again in what once was considered a castle - our homes! New Legislation is desperately needed to stop these abuses!

Warm regards
Jan Bergemann
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Concerned Homeowners in Partnership (CHIP) 
Property Owners Association in the Villages (POA) 
Fair Housing Center of Palm Beach (FHCPB) 
Consumer Advocacy Network (CAN)
Property Rights Florida (PRF)

By the Special Action Group of Grand Vista 
[email protected]

In what is perhaps the biggest civil penalty ever imposed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations ("DBPR") on a non-developer owned condominium in the state of Florida, unit owners at Grand Vista Condominiums in Hialeah Gardens, FL are now facing a bigger dilemma.  They are being blamed because they filed complaints that lead to an investigation that uncovered numerous serious violations that left their association with a hefty fine of $50,000.  Unit owners making these complaints have for some time been victimized and threatened by the board members.  In some cases the Association even placed illegal liens.  Fearing further retaliation from these board members, the owners have contacted their state representatives and local legislators requesting that the DBPR have someone present at a board meeting next Friday, December 5th at 7:30 PM.  It seems that angry board members have posted and distributed a bulletin on 11/22/03 that blames the owners who made these complaints.  According to this bulletin, board members are not in agreement of a special assessment to pay these fines and are planning to provide the first and last name and the unit numbers of those who the board accuses of being responsible for the penalty because they alerted the authorities.  However, board members have failed to inform the unit owners about the numerous violations and penalties the Association has received from various government agencies, including the DBPR, the Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM), Metro Dade Fire Department and the Building and Zoning Board.  Public records indicate that Grand Vista has been fined an excess of $83,000 in a period of six years for repeated failure to comply with the law.  The Association has held elections when they deem convenient and they fail and refuse to provide unit owners with access to the complete financial records.  For the past three years, the Association has failed to send financial statements to unit owners and to the DBPR, as required.  A recent DBPR investigation reported that two board members have received large sums of money.  Now these board members expect those that reported them to take the blame.

In a letter dated November 24, 2003 to Ross Fleetwood, Director for the Division of Florida Land Sales and Condominiums in Tallahassee, concerned unit owner Eddie Hernandez writes, "...I am urgently requesting your department's immediate administrative enforcement of the statutes before someone is injured or matters become worse.  Furthermore, under Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242, I am respectfully requesting your department's attendance at this meeting in order to secure our safety and to provide a true explanation to everyone about these fines."  The Color of Law statute has been used in the past by people requesting protection from members of organized crime rings.  According to the statute, if it is shown that a government official willfully failed to keep an individual from harm that official could be in violation of the color of law statute.  Two high ranking government officials for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., General Rene Alexander Acosta and Chief Steven Rosenbaum have information about this unusual case.  The Federal Bureau of Investigations has also been notified.

A consent order from the DBPR requests that the Association submit an action plan describing  how they intend on "recovering the money."  But concerned unit owners informed Honorable State Representative Ralph Arza (R-102) at a personal meeting this past Tuesday that these board members are not planning to take responsibility for their actions.  "We need someone from the government to come here and explain that this was not our fault!  Our allegations were not unfounded.  These board members should be held accountable for these violations and someone from the DBPR should make this public knowledge," worried unit owners told Representative Arza.  A committee composed of various legislators has been holding Town Hall meetings with unit owners all over the state to discuss the needs for a legislative reform.  Chairman for the committee, Honorable Representative Julio Robaina (R-117) told Miami Herald Reporters, ''We need laws with teeth to protect unit owners.  There are many things that need to be addressed.  The laws are not fine.''  An NBC6 investigation found that the DBPR rarely fines association board members.  The first time it did so in over 10 years was just last month. 

For a complete look at this amazing story, please visit: 


11 - 14 - 2003

Misery By Association

Hello folks, I have been following most of the horror stories that condo owners have been experiencing lately, been in just about every meeting held by the House Select committee and out of the hundreds of people that I heard testified, there wasn’t one person who claimed how good condo living was; While I sincerely appreciate NBC investigative report it is unfortunate that Television can only show so limited information in so limited time. I think everyone knows that there are a series of horror stories happening all over Florida, in honor to fairness I recognize that there are good managers, good boards and lawyers, they are not the problem; unfortunately these are a minority now days. Among the most common horror stories are, election fraud, illegal fines, fraudulent collections, misrepresentation, and predatory foreclosure, even from some well known law firms operating in the State of Florida, this is utmost unfortunate because what once was the most ethical profession is turning out to be the opposite lately, ambulance chasers and now condo chasers, easy pray for lots and easy money, how unfortunate, with all due respect to those lawyers who still believe and are committed to high ethical standards. Watching the NBC6 piece I was shocked to listen to an official from the Department of Business and Professional regulations stating that they only get 10% complaints from associations, who is he trying to deceive?  Just about everyone knows that we have lost total confidence in the DBPR, what do they do for consumers? Besides nourish and waste our $4 per door per year from our pockets to support layers of bureaucracy and BTW most people don’t even know that we are paying from our own pocket the department budget associated with condominium. As a personal example, I filed a complaint against a board and manager for election fraud, could you believe that the department advised the condo administration that they were coming to inspect the ballots!! This would be like calling the bank robber and advised him/her, we are coming to check if you have the money you took; does this sound like something serious? In America? In my opinion and based on observations it won’t surprised me if even government officials are also involved in these scams that I believe is passing the Fifty Billion a year mark. What recourse does unit owners have against these thief when the present laws have no teeth, no enforcement and total lack of accountability from those who practice corruption mafia style and are nothing less than social termites feeding from people who in most cases live on fixed income or trying to live the last years of their lives. I have witnessed people experiencing levels of frustrations beyond imagination, I can almost guarantee that soon we will start seen murder cases associates with these hostile and horror stories that no one from our law enforcement agencies, State Attorney’s office and some public officials appear to care about. When people are deprived from the peace of their home, it’s just another form of terrorism. WE THE PEOPLE; NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW? Does anyone remember these sacred words; have we forgotten the meaning of it? 

H. Sanchez 
Public Relations, CCFJ, Inc.

09 - 23 - 2003

Dear Friends,

Please see the flyer for the two confirmed meetings in the Miami/Dade area issued by the office of House Representative Julio Robaina, who is working real hard for the welfare of the home- and condo-owners! 
We have fought for a long time to finally get the opportunity to talk to our legislators about the horror stories that thausands of cosumers living in regulated property such as condominiums are experiencing. Please participate in these meetings and let our legislators know that we have problems -- and ask them to help us, please!

For our Spanish speaking friends, please see below.

Humberto Sanchez
Public Relations Director

08 - 04 - 2003

Subject: Nowhere to go for Florida Condo owners?

Honorable Governor Jeb Bush, Honorable Attorney General Charlie Crist,

The case of Grand Vista Condominiums is again a prime example that Florida homeowners and condo owners have nowhere to go for justice if their boards, attorneys and management companies are not playing by the rules. 
In this case, after years of pushing by homeowners, the DBPR and the Department of Environmental Resource Management levied fines against the board of the association for violating long lists of Florida Statutes -- fines of more than $50,000. 

On Friday, August 1, 2003 this same board approved a special assessment in the amount of $46,234.52.  Does that mean that the same abused homeowners are now paying for the fines their board created by disregarding and violating their rights, as stated in the Florida Statutes? 

Also, the mystery of the missing association funds -- allegedly about $360,000 -- is still not solved.  These desperate homeowners have been turned down, despite various attempts to have state attorneys investigate the mystery of the missing funds.  When Attorney General Charlie Crist ran on a platform of PROTECTING CONSUMERS AGAINST FRAUD, homeowners had expected a much improved approach by prosecutors.  What a disappointment to home-owners all over Florida! 

Placing all powers  --  executive, legislative, and judicial  --   in the hands of one person or one group of persons is the very definition of tyranny. That is what has been done by the legislature in the case of boards of homeowners' and condo-owners' associations.

If the same people whose rights are violated now have to pay the fines for the violators, the system is definitely flawed and needs to be changed.  When will that happen in Florida?

For more information on these matters, please check the Web Pages of CCFJ, Inc. at:

Humberto Sanchez 
Director, Public Relations 
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

POA  --  Property Owners Association of the Villages 
CHIP  -- Concerned Homeowners in Partnership 
CAN  --  Consumer Advocacy Network 
FHC  --  Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches 

Copy to : Florida State Senators, Florida House Representatives, Media, Members, Friends and Interested Parties

04 -  22 - 2002

Dear members and friends: 

Honorable Governor Jeb Bush, et al.; 


Begging your indulgence. Kindly make time or ask your staff to review the observations of CCFJ president Jan Bergemann relative to an onerous public/private partnership between the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Community Association Institute (CAI) a trade organization headquartered in the state of Virginia.

                                                       *** SEE BELOW ***

This 'partnership' is especially troublesome since it seems; the DBPR has abrogated its stated 'mission' to the Citizens of our state in deference to a trade organization intent upon thwarting meaningful reform; re homeowners associations and full disclosure before and after contract for sale during real estate transactions in Florida. 

"The mission of the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes is to assist our customers by educating them about their rights and responsibilities as provided in the regulatory acts we administer; and to respond timely and appropriately to our customers thereby providing enhanced public protection, quality service, and increased customer satisfaction."
How is it possible that the CAI has infiltrated a Florida regulatory agency?

Please note; there is no regulation of homeowners associations in adult and residential communities under Chapter 720 F.S., nor have penalties been imposed for violation of disclosure laws in our state, i.e., ss. 689.26 Disclosure statement summary and 689.26 Financial Report. (disclosure by an owner or developer)

Therefore, there aren't any 'FREE' courses for directors/officers and/or lot owners in the communities aluded to. 

Neither the DBPR nor CAI/FLA seek to regulate homeowners associations in adult and residential communities nor advance reform of the laws our Property Reform Task Force, filed by the Dean of the House, Honorable Representative Jerry Melvin intended to address during the 2002 legislative session. 

The 'mission' of the stakeholders and industry partisans has been to  preserve the status-quo. They have been very successful doing so for 20+ years in Florida and elsewhere in our nation. The CAI involvement in directing the DBPR mission is tantamount to letting the 'fox' run rampant in the 'hen house!' 

Please don't misunderstand. We are not CAI/FLA 'bashers' but it's ludicrous of our state government to permit these industry partisans to have a FREE reign over a state agency mandated to regulate, educate and inform the general public of their rights prior to and after contract for sale of real estate in Florida. 

We're interested in learing if any funds collected from lot owners and deposited in various DBPR trust funds are being utilized for these 'FREE' courses provided by CAI operatives? 

In addition, we're requesting an appropriate review of this public/private relationship. 

************************* SEE BELOW ***************************** 
       "CAI is taking over Florida Condo Courses from the DBRP"

Thank you for your consideration in this matter. We look forward to your reply. 


Ocala, FL 
Public Relations - CCFJ, Inc., 


Dear members and friends, 

Closer scrutiny of CONDO bills reveals provisions that might, eventually, affect other deed restricted communities with mandatory or involuntary homeowners associations. 

Make time to read these bills and offer your comments and suggestions. If you encounter a significant problem please contact the sponsors and let them know if you oppose specific provisions, or oppose or support these bills as a whole. We're interested in what you have to say. 

Permit me to make a personal judgement of certain provisions.

Sb 634: 
- Creates a "Litigation Disclosure Notice" to owners of a CONDO association before a cause of action is pursued. 

Homeowners have complained about frivolous lawsuits filed by their association. The "LDN" might put a halt to these practices? 

- Developer liability diminished 
- Developer disclosure required 

The summary follows:

Read the Bill! 

S 634 GENERAL BILL by Senator Clary 

Condominiums; relieves developer of liability for certain defects if developer has met prescribed conditions; requires prelitigation disclosure to & approval by owners; requires disclosure; provides that prelitigation disclosure is not admissible in evidence; provides requirements for developer disclosure in certain contracts for sale or lease of residential unit, etc. Amends 718.203,.301,.503,.506; creates
  718.3027.  EFFECTIVE DATE: 07/01/2002.
  12/04/01 SENATE Prefiled
  12/27/01 SENATE Referred to Regulated Industries; Judiciary; Commerce and Economic Opportunities
  01/22/02 SENATE Introduced, referred to Regulated Industries; Judiciary; Commerce and Economic Opportunities; On Committee agenda-- Regulated Industries, 01/24/02, 2:00 pm, 110-S

Read the Bill SB 634

Sb 694:
- Association can amend governing documents without the approval of unit owners then impose the changes without their consent.
- Eliminates the Question and Answers from disclosure requirement related to the CONDO complex which is, currently, statutorily provided to prospective puchasers before contract for sale. 

It's my belief; these provisions in S 694 diminish the importance of Full Disclosure before and after contract for sale enhancing Caveat Emptor as the "Buy Words" in Florida. 

The final key element of concern is; 


15  the exception of properly adopted amendments that materially
16  modify unit appurtenances as provided in this section,
17  amendments may be applied to all owners of units existing as
18  of the effective date of the amendment, including those who
19  did not consent to the amendment. This subsection is intended
20  to clarify existing law and applies to associations existing
21  on the effective date of this act.

Therefore, I've indicated to Senator Geller's Legislative aide, John Reed, I oppose this bill unless Senator Geller can provide justification for these ominous precedent setting changes

Members of our organization should advise the board of directors if we should support or oppose specific provisions and/or these bills, as a whole, with suggested amendments or deletions. 

Other recipients should provide input to the Legislators, also, after reading the entire bill(s). 

The summary follows; 

Read the Bill!

S 694 GENERAL BILL by Senator Geller

Condominiums; redefines terms "mortgage" & "foreclosure proceedings"; revises provisions re declarations for creation of condominium; revises provisions re association; revises provisions re bylaws; revises provisions re material alterations of common elements or association real property operated by multicondominium association; revises provisions re common expenses, etc. Amends Ch. 718, 702.09. 
EFFECTIVE DATE: 07/01/2002.
  12/06/01 SENATE Prefiled
  12/27/01 SENATE Referred to Regulated Industries; Judiciary
  01/22/02 SENATE Introduced, referred to Regulated Industries; Judiciary

Read the Bill SB 694

The best to you and yours, 
Ocala, FL 34476
Public Relations - CCFJ, Inc., 


Dear members and friends, 

The following is a response from the office of Senator Steven Geller 
re CONDO Bill S 694.


Mr. Reid, thank you very much for your prompt response. One question you didn't answer was our request to amend Sb 148, the U.S. Flag bill. 

"Provide the right of a homeowner to install a portable, removable or telescoping flagpole in the front, side or rear yard of their property not to exceed a height of twenty feet (20') and allow a CONDO unit owner to install a bracket for a flagpole to display the U.S. Flag." 

Re: Sb 694:

Please note: my reluctance to support this bill was based on two interpretations; 

1-Unit owners would have an amendment to governing documents imposed without their consent. 

As indicated by John Reid and stipulated in the bill, only, properly adopted amendments  can be imposed upon unit owners without their consent. Therefore, every unit owner would have an opportunity to vote up or down on the amendment. I withdraw my opposition. 

2- The Question and Answer sheet which must be provided by non-developer unit owners to a prospective purchaser is eliminated from current law. 

As indicated in the response, staff analysis and the House sponsor contend it isn't being provided to prospective purchasers by non-developer unit owners selling their CONDO unit. 

It's important to remember; this part of the disclosure must be provided by NON-Developer unit owners. According to the response, the Q&A is provided in some other way at closing.

If there are pertinent Questions & Answers that might influence the sale of the CONDO unit the prospective purchaser would not be able to exercise the three (3) day right of recision prior to closing. 

To wait for the disclosure at closing is too late. Therefore, I oppose this amendment. 

Those of us living in deed restricted communities with mandatory homeowners associations know very well that certain enacted disclosure before and after contract for sale is not provided by developers, owners and sellers. 

Should we repeal these laws and/or provisions simply because they are violated, do not have any penalties for failure to comply or amend the laws to insure violators are punished? 

Wouldn't it be prudent to educate CONDO unit owners of their responsibility to insure the Q & A is provided since there seems to be a reluctance to do so or a lack of knowledge that it must be provided. 

The next CONDO bill filed might eliminate the developer requirement to provide the Q & A since the precedent will be established in this bill.

What about real estate professionals?

Of course, maybe the Q & A is redundant and unnecessary but I'd rather opt on the side of caution as far as full disclosure is concerned. 
What do you think? 

The best to you and yours,
Ocala, FL 
Public Relations - CCFJ, Inc. 
******************************* SEE BELOW ***********************
----- Original Message ----- 
From: REID.JOHN.S29 
To: '[email protected]
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2002 3:52 PM
Subject: Condominium bill

Dear Mr. Janauskas,

I have spoken with analysts on the two provisions of Sen. Geller's bill (SB 694) that we discussed today. Here is what I discovered.

First, the bill does not allow association documents to be amended without consent of the unit owners. It provides for a vote, most association documents require a super-majority vote - two-thirds or seventy-five percent of unit owners, in order for documents to be amended. Once the documents are amended, they may be enforced upon the unit owners that voted in the minority.

Second, the Q & A portion of the bill has been eliminated. According to an analyst, the information previously available through the Q & A is still available by way of other documents required at closing. Since the Q & A portion is redundant, it has been eliminated. Additionally, it has been reported to us that currently almost no one is completing the Q & A requirement, and Rep. Gottlieb - the House sponsor - has requested that it be removed.

I hope I have answered your questions. If you have any concerns, please contact me at 850-487-5097.

John Laurance Reid
Office of Sen. Geller
John Laurance Reid, Esq.
Legal Counsel/Legislative Assistant
Florida State Senate, District 29
(954) 893-5089 - Broward office
(954) 893-5091 - Broward fax
(850) 487-5097 - Tallahassee office
(850) 487-5428 - Tallahassee fax 

5 -31 - 2001

Honorable Governor Jeb Bush, et al.,

Dear Kim Binkley-Seyer,

Your response, on behalf of Governor Jeb Bush, is very confusing. While we aren't seeking legal advice, can you clarify your statement to assist in comprehending when records requested must be provided, pursuant to the ACT?

"Accordingly, please be advised that the willfulness standard only applies where a penalty is sought, and that the right to access is otherwise enforceable without a finding of willfulness."

You seem to imply; the only time records must be provided is if a "penalty is sought" by the complainant regardless of appropriate penalties imposed statutorily and by virtue of Florida Administrative Codes adopted by the Legislature and the DBPR to insure compliance.

If compliance and enforcement of enacted CONDO laws are the key to successful ADR why is it necessary for a complainant to "request a penalty" to prove the 'willfulness' motive? Aren't penalties for non-compliance a statutory requirement?

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to an amicable resolution of this dispute and your reply.
This is the response from DBPR the dispatch is referring to:
Re:  Governor Correspondence; May 25, 2001

Dear Mr. Bergemann:

Thank you for your most recent letter directed to the Governor, which was forwarded to this office for a reply.  I appreciate your concerns with reference to the access to records issue. 

It is relevant to your inquiry to observe that under the statute, owners are granted the right of reasonable access to all official nonexempt records of the association.  If an owner is denied access, the owner is entitled, for example, upon sufficient proof, to issuance of an order of the arbitrator requiring the association to provide access to the records, and the owner is not required to show that a willful violation has occurred in order to obtain this relief.

It is only when the owner, in addition to seeking entry of an order providing access, also seeks the imposition of a penalty that the statute requires a finding of willfulness.  Incidentally, the penalty is not imposed on the board members or managers in an individual capacity but is instead imposed on the association and shared by all owners including the owner who was found to have been willfully denied access.  Accordingly, please be advised that the willfulness standard only applies where a penalty is sought, and that the right to access is otherwise enforceable without a finding of willfulness.

Thank you once again for your letter.  Additional concerns may be shared with your legislators as you deem appropriate.


Kim Binkley-Seyer

5 - 29 - 2001

Dear members and friends, 

Please make time to read and  try to understand where "Justice" has gone wrong, OR, has it? 
----------------------------------------                 * SEE BELOW *                   -------------------------------------

Seems simple enough that a CONDO unit owner can request minutes of board meetings, pursuant to statute but then the fun begins? 

In a real sense, this dispute and 'arbitration' under DBPR auspices isn't funny at all, especially, for the Unit owner. 

Why wasn't there an amicable resolution? What is the real purpose of Alternative Dispute Resolution, pursuant to the CONDO ACT? Is this type of situation, 'par for the course?' 

Are Unit owners 'stonewalled' when seeking resolution of disputes? 

Despite continued requests for 'justice' and intervention, of some sort, from our Governor and DBPR seems; 

The objective is to wear this guy down and/or force him to seek a remedy in a court of law. No doubt, an expensive proposition for a simple request to retrieve a copy of the minutes of a BOD's meeting, wouldn't you think? 


Thank you for your consideration. Your comments and/or suggestions are appreciated. 

The best to you and yours, 
Ocala, FL 
Public Relations - CCFJ, Inc. 

4 - 24 - 2001

Dear friends and members, 

Included within House Bill 1817a and related Legislation is the Governor's ebudget priority related to Condominium dispute resolution which few have taken notice of. 


These "Community Association" Legislative efforts, (four primary endeavors, similar to and linked to each other), emerging from the committee process (unlike the Marion County 'local bills'); 

- Reorganizes the DBPR 
- Transfers the regulation of Florida Land sales, Chapter 498 F.S., to the Division of Real Esate
- Avoids the inclusion of appropriate disclosure to prospective purchasers, i.e., s. 689.26, F.S. 
- Overlooks the many exemptions within Chapter 498 which the stakeholders hold sacred
- Fails to address;
   a.) Chapter 720 Homeowners Associations (HOA's)
   b.) s. 689.26 Disclosure Statement Summary
   c.) s. 689.265 Finanial Report (disclosure of same)

- Does not implement a process to formulate and endorse appropriate Administrative Codes for enforcement of Chapter 720; ss. 689.26 & 689.265 
- Does not impose appropriate penalties for failure to disclose governing documents, financial reports nor create a mechanism for dispute resolution within the HOA communities. 
- Continues to advance the unwritten proposition that CAVEAT EMPTOR will remain the "Buy Words" in Florida real estate transactions. 
- Guarantees the need to seek a cause of action to resolve disputes in adult and residential communities as envisioned by the Legislature in it's enactments of 1995. 
- Neglects to address the relationship or lack thereof betweent HOA's created by developers under Chapter 617 the Not for Profit Act and HOA's meeting the intended definition under Chapter 720 
- Places an unfair regulatory burden upon local government ill-equipped to handle Alternative Dispute Resolution causing an unjust enrichment of private mediation sources 

Contrary to the Governor's assertion; very few local governments have endorsed and established Citizen Dispute Settlement Centers, like the Neighborhood Justice Center in Tallahassee, pursuant to the provisions and methods available under Chapter 45, F.S. 

In conclusion, if these bills are enacted as written, it's going to be interesting to learn how 'local government' is going to implement the processes envisioned by our Governor and Legislature. 

Unfortunately, there remains a reluctance on the part of Governor Jeb Bush, the leaders of the HOUSE and SENATE and our Legislative delegations to take on the issues of HOA's, squarely and concisely to put this 'baby to bed' once and for all. 

Once again, the future of Full Disclosure during real estate transactions in the Sunshine State remains but a dream. We are resolved toward implementing meaningful reform as we await a response from Governor Jeb Bush to our Open Letter (see Web site) and the Department of Elder Affairs about our concept for a JOINT RESOLUTION (see Web site) to prevent HOA's from foreclosing on Homestead Property. 

Thank you for your consideration in these matters. As always, your comments and suggestions are appreciated. 
-------------------------------------- * SEE BELOW * -------------------

Condominium Fee Reductions

Currently, condominium owners pay $4 each year to the state to fund regulation of condominiums by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Included in this regulation is a program to conduct mandatory, non-binding arbitration hearings to attempt to resolve condominium disputes before they end up in court. However, since the original condominium arbitration program was established, local government resources available for dispute resolution, such as civil mediation programs, have significantly improved. Governor Bush is proposing to eliminate the duplicative efforts by the state. Furthermore, mediating issues about things such as people’s pets, parking, or what an owner can or cannot do in their own condo is not a primary function of state government and does not serve an appropriate regulatory role in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Florida. A consequence of reducing the state’s mediation function is to also reduce the annual, per unit condominium fee by 40 cents. Spread across approximately 1.1 million condominiums, the annual savings to condo owners will be $440,000.

For comments please send e-mail to : [email protected]