Massive HOA Fraud Discovered in Oregon

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!

http://portlandtribune.com/news/print_story.php?story_id=134013470305516200

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About

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.

7 thoughts on “Massive HOA Fraud Discovered in Oregon

  1. Seashell

    Is there any other industry that suffers from embezzlement as much as the HOAs? It’s quite a growth trend in a sector that’s capable of sinking on its own.

    For awhile, I thought So. Florida was going to have to build special facilities for the 80 yr old perps clutching their canes in one hand and the CC&Rs in the other. We called them “Condo Commandos” when I was growing up down there, but that was in their pre-criminal days of going after overweight dogs and loud visiting grandchildren. Now they’re outdone by the pros. Ahhh. Those were the days, my friend.

    Reply
  2. Judith

    How can you possibly catch malfeasance? If you merely utter something about wanting to see an audit while playing a round of golf and it gets back to – for example, an obese ‘good old boy’ attorney, who happens to be the entrenched Board Chairman for 10 years and counting – you may be targeted for horrendous harassment including massive fines, leins and ultimately a lawsuit costing 6 figures just to defend yourself? Hmmmm? Voice of experience here…don’t actually know if there IS any malfeasance – but certainly don’t have the $$$$$ to pursue it to find out! An after an ‘example’ is made out of a few homeowners, no one else is going to push for an audit. Count on it.

    Reply
    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      You’re exactly right, Judith. I have documented hundreds of cases where that happened. So what’s the solution?

      Reply
  3. Too scare to use it!

    Mr. Ward, we are facing the exact same situation where HOA info has never been disclosed, no financial statements had been sent, the same 2 HOA Board Members had been in office uncontrolled, undisturbed, unchecked for the last 10 years (with no elections). No audit, no reviews been done that we know of whilst the law requires accounting reviews for HOAs managing more than $75K/year, ours manages roughly $1million/year! Scare tactics had been constantly used to prevent homeowners from pursuing an external management company. Now being assessed with $28K/family. Entire bidding processes for needed repairs (from construction defects!), two of them already, very obscure and secret. Hostility and scare tactics again being used to prevent homeowners from rightful participation in the bidding processes and vote upon our moneys! You name it! We have it all! I’ve been writing left and right and have gotten NOwhere! Now, second bidding process appears to indicate “rigging”. No way to prove “wrong doing” because of the distance HOA keeps between themselves and homeowners… No ways to ask for an audit… We have tried pretty much it all and ARE STILL SUFFERING! Trying to get info on the Portland Tribune story featured above to get a hold on someone locally, in Portland Oregon… but link didn’t work for me and I can’t manage to find the story id above mentioned either… any info is highly appreciated. PLEASE HELP!

    Reply
    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      Newspapers across the country are collapsing and the Portland Oregonian is one of them. The news media are no longer of any importance to Americans. It takes going back to the days before the Declaration of Independence and taking your brochure door to door and personally talking to each resident. Newspapers no longer exist. YOU ARE the newspaper. Do it! And be fearless! When James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton wrote The Federalist Papers, they knew they could face execution by the British. They knew the risks. They tried to be smart about how their information was distributed, but without that trio America would never have become the nation it is today. You and I are living in a revolution. There are risks. There are downsides. But patriotism has always come at a price. Do it! Be unafraid!

      Reply
  4. Too scare to use it!

    Trust me I have tried, going door to door… Scare tactics DO WORK and single moms and sick elderlies for instance are way to afraid of raising a voice agaisnt aggressive and hostile behavior, and there are always those who defend aggressiveness with even more aggression! I have been already threatened and yes, am afraid for myself and my townhouse. I shall keep trying though, I shall do it!, but do exactly what given that I have tried pretty much every avenue out there Attorney’s General Office, police, other HOAs facing similar issues, local TV news, Consumer’s and Housing entities, the City, just to mention a few). … Some guidance on where else to go (perhaps just to cross check if I have tried it) would be useful. Thank you!

    Reply
  5. Louise

    Trust me I have tried, going door to door… Scare tactics DO WORK and single moms and sick elderly for instance are way too afraid of raising a voice against aggressive and hostile behavior, and there are always those, few but loud, who defend aggressiveness with even more aggression! I have been already threatened and yes, am afraid for myself and my house. I shall keep trying though, I shall do it!, but do exactly what given that I have tried pretty much every avenue out there? … Attorney’s General Office, police, other HOAs facing similar issues, local TV news, Consumer’s and Housing entities, the City, just to mention a few … Some guidance on where else to go (perhaps just to cross check if I have already tried that road) would be useful. Thank you for everything you do to help Americans’ “homeowners” across the country!

    Reply

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