News from the Peoples’ Republik of North Karolina

The Oakhurst Homeowners Association says it’s going to start fining a local veteran $100 a day, because he doesn’t understand his responsibilities as a member of the Association.

Before buying his home in Cornelius, John Dillon was a proud member of the U.S. Marine Corps. So from his porch each day he flies two flags, the Red, White and Blue, and the Marine Corps flag.

“I served under these flags. They’re all about fighting for our freedoms as Americans.”

The Board of Directors sees it differently. They sent a letter to order their removal. The penalty, $3000 a month is a huge one. But unless Dillon has a change of heart, this Association has some even worse news for him. It plans on hiring lawyers. It plans on charging Dillon for those lawyers. It plans on hiring debt collectors. If that fails, it plans on filing a lien on Dillon’s home and selling it at auction to the lowest bidder. Very few homeowners win these fights. Very, very few.

Cornelius man fighting HOA to keep flying American, Marine flag –

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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.

2 thoughts on “News from the Peoples’ Republik of North Karolina

  1. Seashell Post author

    Another journalist that may have a story to tell? Jim Galloway is the “Political Insider” for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Yesterday’s column details a GA legislator’s preemptive attempts to stop the federal government from invading US soil using small unmanned drones. (I only somewhat jest.) The last two graphs start to get interesting and then Galloway delivers the line of the year. Story is here.

  2. Annonymous Post author

    “this Association has some even worse news for him. It plans on hiring lawyers. It plans on charging Dillon for those lawyers. It plans on hiring debt collectors.”

    The H.O.A. industry uses their lawyers as debt collectors; ie, collections attorneys.

    In “The Myth of Privatopia” (2002) , Carol Lloyd wrote:

    As an HOA lawyer, [Evan] McKenzie watched the industry grow from a small group of specialists to big business. Over the years, he saw that HOA law seemed to attract two kinds of lawyers.

    “The first are those that offer general counsel,” he says. “They’re really good lawyers. The HOAs need the service, and it’s a good service.

    However, McKenzie adds, “the second type is the collections lawyers. They are brought in to collect unpaid assessments. They say to the HOA, ‘I will represent you, and you don’t have to pay me, just so long as I’m given a free hand in how I do my work.’”

    These lawyers take a “collection-agency posture,” he says, putting liens on property when homeowners are 10 days late paying an assessment. “Every letter has a price tag — and if the homeowners don’t pay, you slap them with a lien.” Although the assessment is perhaps for only a few hundred dollars, the lien may total $5,000 or $10,000 — and, in order to clear their title, the homeowners must pay not only the assessment but the lien as well. If they cannot do so, McKenzie says, they can lose their home through a form of foreclosure unmediated by the courts or any local government.

    “These lawyers are so rapacious that it’s just shocking,” says McKenzie, adding that no laws govern their fees — they can basically charge whatever they want. “It’s up to the homeowner to file an action with the court, and if you don’t file a lawsuit, you are out of your house before you can say boo,” he adds.

    The worst part about the whole process, says McKenzie, it that it’s legal, a fully institutionalized practice: “The bar even offers workshops on the process.”


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