State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle discusses property management cases, bill that would help investigating fraud

Article Courtesy of WLPG Channel 10 News

By Amy Viteri

Published April 6, 2023


More than 12 million Floridians live in HOA or condo associations which many owners complain have little to no oversight. Local 10 investigative reporter Amy Viteri spoke one-on-one with  Miami-Dade State Attorney Catherine Fernandez Rundle about how her office is making these cases a priority and why proposed state law is needed to protect vulnerable homeowners.


There needs to be some sort of accountability, there needs to be somebody looking into this and doing something. We've reported the stories of many South Florida residents frustrated by their condo and homeowners associations and property management companies, most recently BDM property management and owner Michael Curtis. Residents have alleged corruption, lack of transparency even theft but their biggest complaint no one seems to be watching. You report to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, you report to the mayor, you report to the commissioner you're on the news -- and nothing is done, no one seems to care in Miami-Dade. County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle tells us she is working on these cases.

Half of all 22 million Floridians live in condominium associations or in homeowners associations.

Katherine Fernandez-Rundle


The challenge: Much of the alleged wrongdoing in associations isn't technically a crime, yet a proposed Bill making its way through Florida's legislature is looking to change that by criminalizing widespread offenses like withholding financial records, fraudulent election activity and even kickbacks.

The only way you can really get the records under the present existing law is to go to civil court and so sometimes what is the law and what feels like a crime are not the same.

The bill that is sponsored by State Representative Juan Carlos Porres of Miami would also create a pathway for criminal allegations to be passed to law enforcement rather than remain within the State's Department of Business and Professional Regulation which homeowners have complained for years seems to be reluctant or ill-equipped to enforce the rules. We need an investigative agency like FDLE who's going to be trained and engaged and committed to these crimes.

What this law does is giving more teeth to the DBPR, gives them a constant referral service -- a referral mandate if you like -- to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Fernandez Rundle has been vocal in her support of new laws to criminalize bad behavior in associations and property management companies which would Fast Track investigations and help bring more cases to Justice. It was her office that ultimately helped make arrests in the multi-million dollar Hammocks Association case, a process which took years she says because of the lack of existing laws around this behavior in its current state. The legislation does not allocate specific personnel or funding for these investigations something Fernandez Rundle had pushed for.

"Are you concerned about resources to dedicate toward that?" "I'm concerned about resources at the investigative level, you know when we see a good case put together that makes our case much easier. When we have to do both that makes it more complicated and slower."