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

Published January 7, 2014


One of the greatest German playwrights, Friedrich Schiller, phrased these words in the drama “Wilhelm Tell” – the story of a Swiss citizen fighting tyranny.


Es kann der beste Mensch nicht in Frieden leben, wenn es dem bösen Nachbarn nicht gefällt!


That quote would be best translated – trying to keep the meaning of these words – by saying: “No matter how hard you try, you can’t live in peace if an ill-willed neighbor doesn’t allow you to live in peace!”


And that saying fits very well in community associations – called homeowners’ associations. It seems there are always a few greedy and/or power-hungry people that will spoil peaceful living in communities – communities like “POINCIANA VILLAGE NINE ASSOCIATION, INC.” in Kissimmee .


This example clearly shows that this community association system is not always favoring the homeowners, especially if they don’t want to get “involved.”


Talking ill-willed neighbors, how about these two individuals:


Robert Raith, who lost last year’s board election by a landslide (only 42 votes), has since then made all kinds of attempts to discredit the sitting board members. He filed a frivolous demand letter that has cost the association and its members lots of money and made every attempt to accuse the board members of wrong-doing.


His latest attempt was a flyer sent to the whole community --except the board members -- more or less accusing Renate Ward, the board president, of cashing a check made out to cash! His words: "No explanation was given why Ward made the check out to cash and cashed it." The flyer contained a copy of the check, together with Raith's stupid remarks. If he would have looked a little more into the financial records, he would have quickly found THIS RECEIPT signed by Gene Stuller, the association’s maintenance man, for exactly that amount. But Raith didn’t want to look any further, because then his whole flyer would have been even more stupid than it already was. Never forget, as a president he paid out more than $14,000 without approval of the board – an approval required under the bylaws and the statutes.


In my opinion Robert Raith is one of these so-called Christians who think that a few extra prayers give them the right to lie, cheat and trample on the good name of their neighbors.


It seems he tries desperately to make the owners of the “POINCIANA VILLAGE NINE ASSOCIATION, INC.” forget that he allowed his friends – and the folks who gave him the votes to be the board president in former years – to get away with not paying maintenance dues. This has cost the association already lots of money.


But Raith’s motto is pretty obvious: “If you throw enough dirt against the wall, some of it will stick.” Otherwise: “ANYTHING TO BE IN DICTATORIAL POWER AGAIN!


His companion in arms is Anthony Gilbert, whose opinions spread in flyers across the community are about as ridiculous as it gets. Make no mistake: All the legal fees he is complaining the board is spending are actually caused by the lawsuits Gilbert and Raith have filed. He sues the association, he sues the board – no matter what! And if one lawsuit is dismissed, he files another one.  So far not one of the lawsuits or arbitrations they filed went anywhere, only costing the association and its owners lots of money. He complains about the amendment that will protect the whole community against becoming a trailer park, but he was too ignorant to file for grandfathering in his lots as clearly offered in the amendment. He rather sued in order to create more cost for the owners in Poinciana Village Nine, a community he doesn’t even reside in. If you read his deposition in the case about the amendment you will see that his only interest in this community is money – nothing else. But his greed is costing all the members lots of money. And he is already threatening with more litigation if the outcome of the election is not in favor of Raith and Gilbert and their wives. Last year he filed for election arbitration as well, an arbitration that achieved nothing but making attorneys rich! It was doomed from starters and only aimed at causing trouble!  


In his latest flyer Gilbert claims that his lawsuit would protect the property values in the community. Honestly I have barely ever read more nonsense on one page! Exactly the opposite is the case -- his lawsuit cost the association lots of money -- money that would be better used to maintain the common areas of the community. His lawsuits are driven by greed -- nothing else!


Since “opinions” are spread all over this community, let me add mine: The members of Poinciana Village Nine are dealing here with two individuals with a private agenda – a private agenda that will seriously hurt the property values in this community. Power hunger and greed fit well together as you can see in this case.


Gilbert’s agenda: He should know that his expensive lawsuit will not carry the day and he will most likely pay dearly for filing such a frivolous lawsuit that he sustained so far by throwing more money at his law firm. But if he loses, he will have to pay all the legal fees the association had to waste so far on his useless attempts to sue board members and former board members. But if he can win the upcoming election he will make sure that he will win his lawsuit – he will be then the “boss” of the association attorney – and all you owners will have to pay for his nonsense.


Gilbert and Raith don’t care about the community, they only care about themselves. In my opinion Gilbert’s greed is a lot stronger than his intelligence.


So much about living in peace in a Florida homeowners’ association if you have a few ill-willed neighbors!


The members of the POINCIANA VILLAGE NINE ASSOCIATION, INC.” in Kissimmee should make sure that their interest will be heard at the upcoming election. Their financial interest is at stake – and one can only hope that they all understand that these two individuals – Gilbert and Raith – sure don’t have their best interest in mind!