Home Gardener About To Get Bashed

I have a lot of sympathy for Chris Gilson, a homeowner in the Brandermill Community Association in Chesterfield County Virginia. But I also have a prediction. He’s about to lose his home and his life savings.3p1[1]

After years of unsuccessful attempts to plant a lawn in his rocky front yard, he planted a vegetable garden, which has grown quickly. Now his HOA is fining him ten bucks a day until he removes it. The HOA says it’s going to assess that fine each day for 90 days. Gilson says he’ll be glad to pay $900 for the privilege of keeping his garden. But the poor fellow just doesn’t get it.

Disobey a mindless demand from your HOA and you’ll be fined, of course. But the HOA doesn’t like being scorned. So what’s waiting for Gilson at the end of those 90 days is a lien on his home, massive new fines, legal fees, debt collection costs, a lawsuit, and eventually the foreclosure and sale of his home at auction. His house, of course, will be auctioned for just a few thousand dollars. The most likely buyer will be a friend of a board member or a buddy of the lawyer that brings the lawsuit.  That ‘buddy’ will then kick back some money to the board member or the lawyer, and the home will quickly be sold and resold through a series of quick transactions. Those quick sale transactions are designed to make it impossible for Gilson to ever get back his home.

It’s the same kind of scam that cost Captain Michael Clauer his home while he was deployed in Iraq. His home was sold and re-sold in several transactions designed to make it impossible for him to get it back. The foreclosure against a serviceman deployed overseas was a blatant violation of federal law. So in Clauer’s case, a judge ordered a secret settlement that allowed Clauer to partially recover what he had lost.

Chris Gilson doesn’t have that kind of protection in the fight over his garden. He will lose. He will lose big time. With a scam as well-entrenched and as profitable as the HOA scam, very few if any people win. The one percent, or so, who actually win in court against an HOA end up with a massive net loss once the legal bills are paid.

Chris Gilson? Get out. Leave the neighborhood. This HOA will forever slander you, harass you, and vandalize you. Your daughters will be tormented by schoolmates. Anonymous calls will be made to your employer demanding that you be fired.

Chris? Are you listening?

Just believe me.

original source:  The Chesterfield Observer    http://tinyurl.com/o6ofhvr



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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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