Task-force lawyers have motive to gut homeowner regulation
Letter to Editor - Printed By Palm Beach Post 
Published January 30, 2004

Friday, January 30, 2004

I congratulate The Post on staff writer Josh Mitchell's Jan. 19 article "Critics say plan to regulate homeowners groups lacking." His description of the situation is absolutely correct.

And it is amazing how reasons can change. First, it was Gov. Bush, whose vision of smaller government was cited as an excuse for not establishing a new regulatory agency. Now, the Republican Party's aversion to fees is the excuse.

The real reason for the industry being against regulation is very simple: It's easier to bilk homeowners if there are no government checks and balances. The article names two attorneys speaking out against regulation: William Sklar and Joe Adams -- both attorneys and members of the Community Association Institute, a trade organization of service providers for homeowners' groups. These attorneys make a living by litigating lawsuits involving associations. The more the better. Would you vote in favor of something that might reduce your income? Attorneys make a better living by pitting homeowner against homeowner.

About 75 percent of the complaints that the organization I head, Cyber Citizens for Justice, receives on its Web pages at www.ccfj.net involve members of the Community Association Institute. Coincidence? I don't believe in this kind of coincidence.

When Gary Poliakoff, senior partner of the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff and a Post columnist, spoke in October during a hearing of the condo committee in Davie, the booing of more than 400 home and condo owners was heard all over Florida. Don't forget when talking politics that state Rep. Marco Rubio, House majority leader, is a member of this law firm. So is Joe Adams.

We will see what happens during the 2004 legislative session. Florida property owners still haven't given up hope that there are enough honest legislators in Florida who see the writing on the wall and are willing to stand up for the consumers and constituents. Or do we have to wait until November to make our opinion known?


Cyber Citizens for Justice

St. Augustine

Editor's note: Jan Bergemann is a member of the governor's task force investigating homeowner association powers, which met for the final time Wednesday.