You don’t hear many stories about HOA nightmares in Oregon and Washington. Well, folks, that’s changing.
Here’s a story that claims 31 Homeowners Associations in Oregon were ripped off by their management company. Homeowners are facing huge special assessments to make up for the loss. The management company employee embezzled up to two million dollars. HOAs from Portland to Forest Grove are struggling under the weight of the financial disaster.
Stunned homeowners were heard saying, “Gosh, you just don’t hear about this kind of thing happening.” to which our only comment should be “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!”
But heck, lets unload some more comments. The victim HOAs in Oregon are the rule, NOT the exception. HOA embezzlement by board officers and management companies may be the most underreported financial crime in America. One problem is that embezzlements embarrass Homeowners Associations. They do everything in their power to cover them up. It’s hard to sell homes in a neighborhood that has a track record for ripping off the homeowners.
Second, if you’re an HOA president or treasurer there are amazing ways of stealing from your neighbors so they never actually know they’ve been robbed. Hmmm, if there’s enough interest, I might even create a list of 101 ways to steal HOA funds and not get caught. I’d hate to further educate the bad guys, but it might provide some important information for future victims.
Last, it’s my belief, based on some pretty good evidence, that the vast majority of Homeowners Associations in America have already lost money to HOA corruption. That’s what the FBI is discovering in the massive federal investigation of HOAs in Las Vegas.
Although life in some HOAs is rather pleasant, each homeowner may as well have a huge bull’s eye tattooed on his or her backside. It’s just a subtle reference to a famous Gary Larson “Far Side” cartoon, “Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.”
BTW, the link below contains the whole story on the Oregon theft, along with the 31 HOAs that got ripped off. Good reporting by Mara Stine and Jim Clark of the Gresham Outlook. Now, if they’d just expand their investigation to the rest of the Pacific Northwest!