'Arab Spring' near Delray? 

Kings Point man fights board


Article Courtesy of The Palm Beach Post

By Frank Cerabino

Published April 29, 2012

There's a revolution happening at Kings Point.

Just ask Martin Koitz, the resident leader of the rebellion in this sprawling 7,200-unit condominium complex in suburban Delray Beach.

"We're having our Arab Spring," Koitz said.

Koitz, at 57, moved full-time into the adults-only community last year, leaving New Jersey for good with a real estate license and a quest to become the condo real estate king at Kings Point.

For a while, Koitz was in good graces with the condo's board of governors and Vesta, the recreation area property management company. Koitz had his own column, entitled "I Love Kings Point" in The King Point News, a community newspaper with the slogan "Let's Have Unity in Our Community."

But Koitz didn't like what he saw: Big no-bid contracts; a board too compliant with property managers; and a lack of transparency in how money was being spent. His complaints got his column yanked from the community newspaper, which he said, wouldn't even accept paid ads for his real estate business anymore.

"So I had enough," Koitz said.

In December, he wrote a long letter to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi outlining his complaints.

"We are in a grave crisis, as we have a runaway Board of Governors, answerable to no one, who were put in place by a firm who apparently controls them at will," he wrote Bondi.

Koitz wrote that poor management was turning Kings Point into a "wealthy slum" with higher-than-necessary monthly fees.

"I ask you to put someone in place who can oversee this great property, as well as investigate the malicious shenanigans going on," he wrote the attorney general.

Bondi didn't do anything. But the condo's board of governors did.

They filed 22 individual libel lawsuits against Koitz in January, claiming that his claims were malicious and baseless, with each board member asking for monetary damages for the "emotional and cognizable injuries" they suffered from his complaints.

"They went after the wrong guy," Koitz said. "I'm too young."

Instead of being cowed, Koitz said he spent $35,000 to retain his own lawyer and begin forming a community rebellion by writing "email bombs" to hundreds of other Kings Point residents.

"If you don't think senior citizens aren't on the Internet, you're wrong," Koitz said. "The Internet is taking these people down."

Frank Iovine, the president of the condo's board of governors, said he didn't want to talk about Koitz.

"The man has no facts," he said. "People can make accusations without having to back them up. Talk to Mike Hyman. He speaks for us."

Hyman, who runs Vesta, the management company, was more diplomatic.

"We're trying to get the community healed," Hyman said. "So there's nothing we want to share with the world."

Hyman said the 22 board members decided this month that they would all drop their libel suits against Koitz, but that doesn't mean what he claimed in his letter to the attorney general was true.

"There's no basis for the comments," Hyman said, "but we're not going to discuss it anymore."

Koitz thinks he knows why.

"He got caught playing his cards wrong," Koitz said. "They thought they could shut me up. They used community funds to fight me, and it backfired. They want to drop everything now because the lawsuits give me a right to open their books.

"They're under siege."

And so now we have an "Arab Spring" in a predominantly Jewish South Florida condo.