An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published March 2, 2019


On Saturday, February 23, 2019, the two sponsors of SB 610 -- by many condo-owners dubbed THE LOCK-THEM-UP BILL -- arranged a workshop meeting in Aventura. Senator Jason Pizzo and State Representative Javier Fernandez had invited Assistant State Attorney John Perikles, the Division Chief of the Economic Crime Unit of Miami-Dade County, to speak to the many interested condo-owners that attended the meeting. It was interested to hear froman exert on economic crimes that he actually had to learn about the uniquue problems condo-owners are facing. Kickbacks, election fraud and embezzlement of funds seems to run rampant in community associations. In all honesty, this bill only includes only condos (FS 718) -- but the owners of property in homeowners' associations are not better off. They suffer from the same dilemma as the condo owners.

Just listen to the presentation of John Perikles and you will understand why it is so important for prosecutors to have these kind of provisions spelled out in the statutes.

We all know that the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes is charged with providing oversight of the Florida residential communities. But this agency clearly fails to do it's duty -- just read the Final Report of the Miami-Dade Grand Jury, filed on February 6, 2017. The report makes it very clear that the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation “is not effective and doesn’t protect condominium owners from fraud and mismanagement,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said. “This makes condo owners even more vulnerable to manipulations and in some cases leads to the loss of their homes.”

That makes it even more important that prosecutors can go after the "scumbags" who enrich themselves at the expense oftheir neighbors.

That's why it is so important that this language will be inclouded in the CONDO ACT (FS 718) -- and it should be as well added to the HOA ACT (FS 720).


Assistant State Attorney John Perikles, the Division Chief of the Economic Crime Unit of Miami-Dade County


We already hear, especially from certain law firms, that this will prevent owners from running for the board. That argument is totally nonsense. It may prevent dishonest folks from running for the board, because finally they may really get punished for their misdeeds.

Honest community association members, willing to serve their community, should be encouraged to run for the board if this language is enacted, because they can now put their energy into doing good things for the community, instead of having to fight with dishonest board members.


Condo owner should thank the two bill sponsors -- Senator Jason Pizzo and State Representative Javier Fernandez -- for their efforts to bring justice into Florida's condo associations and should strongly support these efforts.


Homeowners (FS 720) should contact these two legislators and ask them to add the same language to the HOA ACT.


Stop complaining, work actively on supporting the bill to make sure that the bill goes to Governor Ron DeSantis desk to be signed into law!


Please see as well my blog dated March 1, 2019