State fines Ocala property manager

Article and Video Courtesy of Channel 20 -- Ocala

By Alex Browning

Published March 28, 2015



OCALA -- It's a problem plaguing some residents for years. A property management they say operating outside the law.

A group of homeowners in Ocala say something didn't feel right while Property Management Consultants, Inc. was managing their homeowner associations. The feeling was shared not only in one community but many across the city.

"The money seems to be flowing out but no one knows where it's going," resident Candy Melton says.

It's a frustration Candy Melton has held since moving into Heath Brook Hills almost 10 years ago.

"I tried to feel my way through it and as I read my bylaws, I found that we were not abiding by the bylaws of the association," Melton explains. "It was something that was bothering me because it was pick and choose who had to abide by the laws and who didn't."


Melton then filed a complaint with Florida's Dept. of Businesses and Prof. Regulation against Deborah Herren, the registered agent of PMC.

"There were bills for things that I never saw people in the community doing, so I decided to file a complaint." A complaint against issues like not illegally holding meetings and not following voting protocol. The DBPR levied a $2,000 fine and 15 hours of additional education. Her license is also on probation. 

The complaints weren't just at Heath Brook Hills. A resident of Hardwood Trails says when a court ordered their developer to pay the HOA thousands of dollars, the money ended up back in the developer's pocket.

"The court ordered him again to pay $17,350 and he paid it." resident Don Kronen says. "The same day the association manager gave it back to him - misappropriating the funds."

According to state documents, the DBPR did find Herren and her management company in violation and assessed another $2,000 fined.

Kronen, Melton and other homeowners say they're partnering with Senator Alan Hays to ensure homeowners' safety across the state. 

"To remedy statue 720 which governs these associations and if those remedies go through that will give the associations ways to take care of matters because there are none now."

Herren's attorney, Russ LaPeer, tells TV20 he cannot comment because of legal matters. The allegations against Herren are considered second degree misdemeanors but a state attorney's spokesperson says they denied pursuing charges because DBPR was already involved.