The Hideous Underbelly of Power

In my new book, Neighbors at War, I delve deeply into the lust for power and how easy it is for seemingly normal homeowners to go crazy when they get their first taste of power over their neighbors. We’ve seen it among Nazi prison guards, we’ve seen it among those who guard our jails, we’ve seen it repeatedly in double-blind science experiments.

“Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (Lord Acton)

But Pennsylvanians, shattered by the recent “Cash for Kids” scandal are still trying to wrap their minds around this one. Two former judges, Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, reportedly accepted millions of dollars in bribes from privately owned juvenile detention centers for sentencing thousands of juveniles to those institutions. “Good Lord!” you say. “Impossible!”

When you put someone into a position of power in your neighborhood, be very, very suspicious of that person. Never let down your guard. In our current system in HOA Amerika there are no checks and balances. None, whatsoever. There’s no court of last resort. There’s no Due Process. In the vast majority of Homeowners Associations there are few records, poor accounting, often no audits. Our board members have complete and total power over our lives. We try to pretend that board members are fiscally responsible for how they govern. But they really aren’t.

Read about “Cash for Kids.”

And weep.

(upcoming documentary) 


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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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