For Anyone Planning on Buying a Home in Eden Prairie, MN:

I love to hear stories of really rotten, really contemptible things that Homeowner Association boards do to certain “targeted” members of the neighborhood. Every ghastly story just reinforces my belief that there’s something desperately wrong with these phony Utopian neighborhoods govered by deed restrictions and neighborhood covenants.

Seven years ago, homeowner Gregg Harcus hung about a half dozen birdhouses around the area. Suddenly, Harcus was ordered by his HOA board that the birdhouses were illegal and had to be removed.

Nobody had complained about them, but the board just decided to remove them.

Harcus, is actually a member of the board, himself, and he thought he’d be able to persuade the rest of the board that the birdhouses were an improvement for the neighborhood.

At the hearing, he was surprised to see that the HOA had hired an attorney be be present.
But wait, it gets even more interesting. Two weeks after the hearing, the HOA Board slams Marcus with a $650 bill for the attorney hired by the Homeowner Association’s board! In other words, just by asking the HOA board to reconsider its decision to remove the birdhouses, the board is ordering Harcus to pay for the lawyer who Harcus didn’t even know was coming!

Ah, but there’s a backstory here; Harcus is apparently in a dispute with a new management company hired to oversee the neighborhood. Somebody wanted to find a way to demonstrate their power to punish a fellow board member.

In frustration, Harcus resigned his position on the board. From what it sounds like, that’s exactly what they were trying to¬†accomplish in the first place.

The petty, arbitrary, and vicious things that routinely take place in the country’s Homeowners Associations just makes them all the more unattractive to would-be buyers.

And to the Homeowners Association board at Bluff Country Village Townhomes, an extra helping of scorn and shame. You’ve just made your neighborhood a little dirtier, a little uglier, a little more vulgar, and a little more socially dangerous for homeowners to rise out of their own apathy.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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