Kings Point residents form watchdog group


Article Courtesy of The Tampa Tribune

By Paul Catala

Published November 7, 2009

Richard and Lois Singer aren't the types who are happy with the status quo, especially when it comes to finances and protocol. When it comes to their community and what they feel their neighbors should know, they've put themselves on the front line.

Over the summer, the Singers and a core group of about 15 of their neighbors put together what they consider a watchdog organization for policies enacted in the community of over 5,200 homes and 9,000 residents.

Called the "Kings Point Unit Owners," an Oct. 22 meeting in Kings Point's Main Clubhouse's Borini Theater drew about 150 people who wanted to hear the Singers' allegations of unethical practices by the Kings Point Federation and its board of directors.

The town hall meeting followed the group's first, held Sept. 10. Using computer-generated graphics and notes, the Singers presented a litany of alleged financial and procedural mishandlings by the Kings Point Federation, which administers 33 condominium or homeowner associations.

During the meeting, the Singers discussed Federation spending, how the board is making decisions and how to reduce or maintain monthly homeowners' fees. They also addressed the establishment of a board "Executive Committee," changes in committee structure and what they claim is the board's usurpation of bylaws.

Richard Singer, a retired mechanical engineer, also questioned the board's decision not to allow a guest speaker - Ed Thomas, president of the national Community Association Institute - to speak. In an e-mail, Cliff Seder, president of the Kings Point Federation Board of Directors, wrote Thomas was not authorized by the board to speak at the Oct. 22 meeting and Sterling Management's divisional vice-president, Brian May had already advised the Singers about Thomas.

"I, as Federation president, was never contacted in regards to Mr. Thomas as speaker. Mr. May has already responded regarding the I will not comment further," Seder wrote.
In a lengthy slide presentation, Lois Singer, a retired math teacher and corporate controller, questioned the nine-member Federation Board's establishment of an Executive Committee, which, they say, is giving the go-ahead on Kings Point projects without membership approval, such as the clubhouse renovations.

Seder said Richard Singer was president of the Federation in 2008 when the Executive Committee was established and the budget was approved.

"He established the Executive Committee concept that they are now claiming is unethical," he stated in the email.

At the end of the meeting, Lois Singer told the audience the goal of the KP Unit Owners is to give residents a balanced look into what affects their lives in Kings Point.

"You now have the information," she said. "I could stand up here for hours to give you examples of what is happening. I cringe when people accuse us of having our own agenda."