CYBER CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE, INC.
DISPATCHES


 
09 - 15 - 2003
Led by Florida State Representatives Julio Robaina (R-District 117) and Juan Carlos Zapata (R- District 119), members of the Miami/Dade Legislative Delegation have organized a series of town hall meetings.  Focus will be on homeowners living within regulated properties, such as condominium  associations  and homeowners’ associations. The first meeting will be held on: 

Date:  Wednesday, September 24, 2003. 
Time:   6:00 PM – 10:00 PM 
Place:  Miami Coral Park Senior High School 
             8865 S.W. 16th Street 
             Miami, FL   33165 
AGENDA:  CONDOS and HOAs Issues and Abuses

I would like to thank Representatives Robaina and Zapata for their outstanding leadership in these issues,  these initiatives are in part due to efforts by members of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. to seek meaningful reforms. 

  • Who brought the idea of condo and homeowners’ associations to the United States?
  • Mandatory associations are private community governments with no accountability, where the very same people run all of the branches.
          Our form of government clearly separates all powers  --   Legislative, Executive
          and Judicial  --  precisely to avoid abuses of powers.
  • Why do the individual states approve HOA documents that are in total conflict with our most essential and basic form of federal government, including those documents that violate our constitutional rights? 
Some of the abuses suffered by owners:
  • Illegal Fines 
  • Predatory Foreclosures 
  • Threats 
  • Missing Funds 
  • No accountability by the HOA boards and management companies 
  • Unfair treatment by attorneys employed by boards 
  • No enforceable laws 
Regulated properties became popular, because land is scarce.   In South Florida, condominium owners number over one million.   This number is expected to double in the next two years.  Legislative reforms are necessary NOW to avoid widespread abuses in the future. 

Please note these recent poll results from Community Association Institute:

“In general, would you recommend community association living to a friend?”
“Yes [9.1%]              No [86.9%]              Depends on the friend  [4.0%]”

Another interesting poll from CNN in the reference to George Andres flag case. 
 
Do you think all Americans have the right to fly the U.S. flag in their front yard? 
YES
  
92% 1620 votes
 
NO
  
8% 137 votes
Total: 1757 votes
Sean Hannity (FOX) promised George Andres 5K of his own money, another flag pole and help in raising the rest of the money!.  Even if it's really sad that something like that can happen in our country, it definitely shows how flawed the HOA system really is!

I also take the opportunity to recognize the media for working diligently to publicize some of the horror stories. 

Abuse of homeowners must be exposed and it must be stopped. 

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


08 - 31 - 2003
Dear Members and Friends,

Members of the Miami/Dade Legislative Delegation, under the leadership of State Representative Julio Robaina (R-District 117) and State Representative Juan Carlos Zapata (R- District 119), have organized a town hall meeting on Wednesday, September 24th, 2003.AGENDA: CONDOS and HOAs
Time:  6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Place:  Miami Coral Park Senior High 
8865 S.W. 16th Street 
Miami, Fl. 33165 

OUR LEGISLATORS ARE WILLING TO LISTEN TO YOUR PROBLEMS! 
LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED IN CHANGES, SO THEY CAN FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS IN TALLAHASSEE! HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO PARTICIPATE! BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!
Please mark this Date and Time on your calendar and participate!

Please see the official Press Release at : http://www.ccfj.net/townhallpressrel.html

Our organization will be represented by our PR Director and Condo Committee Chairman Humberto Sanchez. Many other members of our organization will speak about the problems of association-living at this meeting. The bullet-sheet we created will be serving as a guide line for proposals!
See: http://www.ccfj.net/townhallbulletsh.html

I will be on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 ( same date ) at 1 p.m. in Tallahassee, participating in the organizational meeting of the Homeowners' Association Task Force, which Governor Jeb Bush has asked DBPR Secretary Diane Carr to create. I have been invited to serve on the Task Force representing CCFJ. More details as soon as they become available!

CCFJ has officially been acknowledged and invited to participate in both events. This will give members and friends of our organization the possibility to show that we are not the disgruntled homeowners and radicals the industry wants us to be, but citizens willing to participate in the legislative process with the right ideas to correct the wrongs for Florida consumers.

This may be a great step in the right direction! So please help and show your interest! Both events are public meetings and you are invited! We all count on your participation. Since we need to split up our forces, please consider going to Miami if you live in the Southern half of Florida, and to Tallahassee if you're up North!

If you would like to have more detailed information please send me an e-mail!
Have a great Labor Day weekend!

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


07 - 28 - 2003
CCFJ Dispatch - Please distribute widely!

Julie Baker, Deputy Secretary of the DBPR, is sending out e-mails containing the following information to people complaining about HOA problems (quote): "Governor Bush does recognize that homeowners' associations in Florida are facing a variety of difficult issues. As a result, he has asked Secretary Carr to create a task force to study homeowners' association matters."

We have asked the governor multiple times to create a task force composed of members with a vested interest  --  meaning industry and homeowners and unit- owners.  However, our many requests have been to no avail.

I wonder if this is genuine effort or just political baggage.  In my opinion, DBPR is part of the problem, based upon its track record.  DBPR is a bureaucracy, costing condo-owners approximately $8,000,000 per year. This money is paid from the pockets of the individual unit-owners, not from taxes!  Yet what do unit-owners get in return for that money?  VERY LITTLE!  Will this initiative seek a comprehensive evaluation of the horror stories?  Will unit-owners be permitted to have a say on this proposed task force? Or are we just looking to place a Band-Aid on a malady that requires extensive surgery?  Or is it just another cloud of smoke?

It is important to point out that Secretary Diane Carr worked for Hopping, Green & Sams, the lobbyist firm representing most of the building industry. And so far there has been no official statement from the Governor's office!

It is also important to know that the DBPR refused in 1995 to take over the regulation of homeowners' associations. The same DBPR executed a contract with the Community Association Institute to provide condominium educational courses.  CAI is the very same trade organization whose membership is mainly formed of attorneys, property managers and other service providers.  CAI is the same organization lobbying in Tallahassee to kill any consumer-friendly legislation that might help the homeowner.  Isn't this like showing us that "The fox is in charge of the hen-house"?

Palm Beach Post (7-23-2003) :
WEST PALM BEACH -- The former head of the Weybridge Homeowners' Association in Royal Palm Beach pleaded no contest Tuesday to stealing money from the residents for his own gain. Salvatore Pacilio, 46, who pleaded to a charge of grand theft over $20,000, will serve 10 years on probation. A handful of Weybridge residents -- unhappy that Pacilio did not have to plead guilty to the charge and that he wasn't charged with stealing more money -- came to court Tuesday for the plea. "I feel like we got ripped twice, by him and by the court," said the association's president, Beverly Cowan-Armstrong.

Does anyone remember a case where a corrupt manager or board member has ever been arrested after clearly stealing money from the owners or violating the State laws? Or charged with these felonies?  Why?  What is wrong with this picture?  Who are the people behind the scene protecting these individuals? With all due respect, are we living in the United States of America or in a Banana Republic? 

Recent cases of disappearing funds in a Hialeah condominium association or managers practicing UPL to the disadvantage of homeowners in Orlando (see:  Why do we need an attorney? ) have not been prosecuted.  Guilty parties are doing business as usual!

For 20 years the industry had the big influence in regard to the legislation regulating mandated properties.  We can read daily in the newspapers where this has gotten us!  They created a complicated system, which is absolutely flawed. 

Wouldn't it be time now to let the parties with a definite vested interest make the proposals?  For most property owners, buying a home is the biggest investment of their lives.  These communities are called "Homeowners' Associations" and "Condominium-Owners' Associations."  Shouldn't the OWNERS be the ones making the final decisions?

There is a very good chance the OWNERS would be able to come up with suggestions that would eliminate the daily horror stories!

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

Humberto Sanchez
Director Public Relations - CCFJ, Inc.,



 
11 - 29 - 2002
Dear members and friends, 

A recent letter from Richard Spears, outgoing Legislative Chair of the Orange County Homeowners Association (OCHA), criticizing the efforts of consumer advocates in Florida has not gone unnoticed. 

It's featured on our Web pages with appropriate commentary from our president, Jan Bergemann. We've reserved an OPINION page for your comments. 

Another OCHA letter?

Can you ascertain his obvious and underlying allegations, he says, applies to consumer advocates seeking Justice and homeowners associations, in general? 

We're certain you'll be able to discern that Richard contradicts his own principles by including homeowners associations (which OCHA represents) in the same category as the advocacy groups intent upon representing homeowners rights.

And....concludes that the principles embodied in deed restrictions promulgated by developers and the laws of our state are straightforward, simple and workable. We know better! 

Instead of thwarting meaningful reform, Richard and his colleagues associated with the Community Association Institute (CAI) and it's legislative action committee, the Florida Legislative Alliance (FLA) should support our efforts to create a Property Reform Task Force. 

This would enable all parties to sit at the same table to review applicable statutes re mandatory HOA's, full disclosure before and after contract, dispute resolution and other issues related to real estate sales in our state for the purpose of advancing appropriate and meaningful reform. 

Despite contrary objections by industry partisans like Richard we must not countenance the enticement of retirees and seniors to relocate as long as Caveat Emptor instead of Full Disclosure are the "Buy Words" during real estate transactions in Florida. 

Incidentally, for those of you residing in a Community Development District (CDD) or contemplating same our new Web pages dedicated to the CDD concept are completed; 

See : CDD COMMITTEE

Please read the article on the Property Owners Association (POA, an unofficial Newsletter of The Villages) pages or their November Bulletin. Very interesting endorsement of CCFJ.

BULLETIN ARTICLES ARE NOW LISTED ON INTERNET WEBSITE

Discussions of common goals and objectives with the leaders of the POA and CCFJ are ongoing.

Incidentally, while you're at our Web site, take time to sign our Guest Book and consider clicking on that ever present JOIN button. We need you, not vice-versa! 

Your comments, observations and critique are important. Please make time to share them with us. Thank you.

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


 
ARCHIVE DISPATCHES TASK FORCE BILL 2002

 
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