Fantastic Idea For Homeowners Associations!

For you readers who are CAI members (and I know you’re there by your IP addresses!) here’s a fantastic idea for you! Debtors’ prisons!

A few local courts here and there have revived the illegal practice of throwing debtors in jail until their debts are paid. Since Homeowners Associations are de facto governments they certainly could take people who are late on their dues payments, fines or special assessments and toss them in jail. Heck, HOAs don’t have to abide by the Constitution so a debtor’s prison would be perfect! With the help of some local judges who are in the pockets of the CAI it would be a breeze!

If some miscreant homeowner is a problem, don’t just sue them, lien them, and foreclose on their home! If they’ve planted an illegal shrub, or left the garage door open beyond the 10 minute time limit, don’t harass them or pass out tickets. Throw the bums in jail!

It’s legal! If all the other ‘stuff’ you do to homeowners is legal, then this surely is.

Show some guts. Do it!

(click here for Fox News story on debtors prisons)

 

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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.

4 thoughts on “Fantastic Idea For Homeowners Associations!

  1. Robert

    Having been the victim of collections fraud by the Madison Hill H.O.A. corporation and their attorneys at HindmanSanchez P.C., this is a topic I have an interest in. I even wrote a book about my experience. After 4 years, the H.O.A. corporation and their collections attorneys can not or will not account for the alleged debt they tried to collect from me; which was over $2,000. I also know from personal experience that the courts will not enforce laws against collections fraud if the collection agency is a law firm, because (1) judges are biased in favor of lawyers, and (2) officers-of-the-court are held to an appalling low standard.

    Since the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that H.O.A. corporations can create private police forces and detain home owners — Poris v Lake Holiday POA, see Privatopia: November 10, 2012, February 24, 2012, January 27, 2013, January 30, 2013 — perhaps other states can follow suit, and legalize private security forces throwing dissident home owners into private prisons under the guise of a some-document-called-a-contract.

    Reply
  2. Robert

    And how many people are going to these “debtors prison” over fraudulent debt?

    In May 2012, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (Republican) signed a “New Law That Takes Debt Collectors’ Word” for how much is owed.

    The language in this bill — primarily, but unofficially, known as the Credit Card Responsibility Bill — that pertains to collection agencies is this:

    “In an uncontested court action in this state a creditor may establish the amount of the debt that is owed on a credit card account through a copy of the issuer’s final billing statement or by the electronic record pursuant to section 44-7007 that is maintained by the issuer and that represents the amount owed. In contested actions the court shall weigh the evidence of the parties as required by law.”

    “Well yes, theoretically, the courts would weigh evidence. But as we saw in the Florida foreclosure courts, judges simply rubber-stamped the bank requests, no matter how egregious or poorly documented their claims. So I wouldn’t count on it.”
    ————————————————-
    So Governor Brewer is making it easy for collection agencies to “prove” the amount that is owed. Now they don’t have to go to the trouble of finding and digging through all the records of the original creditor to find out how much is really owed. They just offer the last billing statement.

    follow up: If you would like to read why this is a bad idea, with a real-world example from Tennessee, check out law professor Bob Lawless’ take on it at the blog Credit Slips. : “The documentation problems identified in LVNV Funding are pervasive throughout the debt collection industry. Because not every court is careful and because not every consumer has good representation, credit card debts undoubtedly are being collected without adequate evidence the debt is due and owing.”

    * * *

    In response to a New York Times story (June 13, 2011) about 3rd party debt collectors who buy debt for pennies on the dollar (with the original creditor writing-off the losses), one reader had a suggestion that our policy-makers should really consider:

    “Why can’t the primary debt holder, instead of selling the debt to a collection agency, allow the debtor the chance to purchase his/her debt at the same price and terms the collection agency is bidding? The disconnect between the party originating the debt and the party eventually holding the debt notices is an important part of the larger debt problem.”

    -Hank. June 13, 2011. 9:40 AM. Comment # 37.

    “The disconnect between the party originating the debt and the party eventually holding the debt notices” is a distortion of the market that was one one of the causes for the economic crash a few years ago. Perhaps it is time to eliminate these market distortions and moral hazards, and prohibit the selling of debt to 3rd parties. This would force creditors to exercise more due diligence, knowing that they can not pass the costs of their bad decisions to a 3rd party. Acceptance of and being responsible for risks is how capitalism and free-markets are supposed to work.

    But that will never happen, because “policy is simply the things that defend the power and hierarchy of creditors, the rich and the elite…There’s almost a Nietzschean zeal for the wonk world to first and foremost accept creditors as a master class to whom all policy bends.

    Reply
  3. Robert

    Fox News is a bit late to the party on the topic of debtors prisons. For example, see Evan McKenzie’s blog post on December 12, 2011 ( over two years ago ), in response to an NPR story, “Unpaid Bills Land Some Debtors Behind Bars“.

    A year before that, in November 2010, the libertarian magazine Reason reported about “The Return of Debtor’s Prison. Collection agencies use the criminal justice system to pocket credit card debts” (be sure to read the comments section).

    A lot of Reasonoids seemed gleeful at the thought of sending debtors to prison, because it’s consistent with the principles of Ayn Rand, or something. But on the bright side, many Reason readers do recognize the dangers of the current practice. There may be hope after all.

    SQPR: “That’s not news, what is news is that the debt collection firms are using more aggressive tactics, including obtaining arrest warrants for people who don’t cooperate with a judgment, and do so after filing suit without any real evidence of the actual account and using dishonest process service.”

    Contrarian P: “Of course you may never have owed the money. The debt collector may have sued the wrong person. They may have no proof of the debt in the first place, but once the judgment is decreed, then it’s up to you to prove that you don’t owe it or you will have to pay, even if it’s a debt for which you were not responsible. Ever hear of identity theft? If I have just a few pieces of information about you, I could accumulate a string of debts that you would spend years trying to prove you didn’t owe. Perhaps some of them would sue you.”

    Adam Scavone: “Having seen some of this in action, I’d suggest that they’re trying to enforce ‘rights’ that they do not have (e.g. imposing fees, etc. that are contracted; pursuing debts that may or may not in fact have been incurred), by brute legal force, relying on large numbers of ‘targets.’ Amazingly enough, sometimes businesses and businessmen behave like a bunch of jackasses and try to not only screw the little guy, but to pick the little guy’s pocket when the little guy does not actually owe them anything.”

    uknown: “So as long as X has the resources to sue Y, whether Y is innocent or guilty, Y should pay X if Y does not have the financial and legal resources to fend off a law suit. And I thought we were supposed to be for tort reform around here.”

    Fluffy: “The worst practitioners of this are state governments, because [of course] they weight the process in their own favor.

    The state of Virginia contacted me to say that I owed them $40,000 for tax due from the year 2000. I pointed out to them that I didn’t live in their state in the year 2000. I lived in MA then and only moved to VA in 2001.

    They demanded I prove I paid income tax in MA for that tax year, even though neither MA nor VA require you to maintain copies of your tax return for that long.

    Luckily, I was able to obtain a copy of my return and file it with them. But I’m sure there are some poor ******** out there getting shaken down by Virginia who aren’t as fortunate in their choice of accountants as me.

    Researching online, I discovered that the states aren’t even required to prove that you lived there or owe tax to them in order to file judgments based on claims like this one. A printout from their own computer showing that you owe them money is considered sufficient proof of the debt in every court in the US.”

    MNG: “I imagine debtors prison is where the right-leaning libertarian’s committment to liberty meets and gets raped by their stronger committment to ‘responsibility’.”

    Brad P.“Not exactly. It isn’t responsibility but upholding the rights of both parties. The problem here is that right-leaning libertarians consistently like to pretend that creditor and debtor are on equal playing fields here in terms of negotiating and legal power.”

    johnl: “An industrial scale operation that files 1000 lawsuits a week is unequal with an individual.”

    Tman: “The problem is that these third party collection companies don’t always go after the deadbeats. In a lot of cases they don’t have any proof of the debt so they harrass anyone close enough in to paying. The problems associated with these lowlifes are beyond just deadbeats trying to weasel out of bill.”

    Tman: “According to the FDCPA and the FCRA fines are $1000 per violation plus court costs. Some people do win larger settlements based on the degree of violation, but the fact is that these penalties and lawsuits are considered ‘operating expenses’ by many of these fly-by-night collection companies. The law does not go far enough in deterring law breaking collection companies from repeatedly violating these federal laws.”

    Tman: “When someone who is unfamiliar with the law (and doesn’t have the money to hire their own attorney) gets harassed by these scumbag collectors, they have no idea how to file a complaint with the AG office, or how to exercise their rights (such as requesting validation of the debt in writing). And collectors know that 95% of the public has never even heard of the FDCPA before.”

    Tman: “How many people have the time and money to actually want to hire a lawyer and go to court to fight these things? For many people it just isn’t worth the hassle as long as they leave you alone and the situation gets resolved. Sometimes people will just pay the debt even if it isn’t theirs just so the collection company goes away. Say for instance you’re closing on a house and that one derogatory collection account for $100 on your credit report is the difference between a good interest rate and a not-so-good rate. Most people just pay it so it goes away. And considering the collection company probably paid about $5 for said account they’ve just made a ridiculous profit despite the fact that the person who paid doesn’t actually owe the debt.”

    E Crain: “Obviously none of the children here citing high-minded ‘libertarian’ principles regarding repaying money you owe have have had the experience of being harrassed by sleazy law firms collecting sleazy debts. I have. My family has been through hell. But that’s okay, go on being noble and high-minded. Just wait until the day that you learn that a ‘law’ firm has lied about serving you and gone and got a judgment behind your back, and you find yourself with wrecked credit and a mound of paperwork and expense that you neither incurred nor deserve. Just wait.”

    Jim: “The lax standards employed by the courts to rubberstamp collection lawsuits has produced an environment ripe for fraud. This opportunity has been recognized both by existing debt collectors, who have learned that cheating pays, and by criminals, who are entering the ‘debt collection’ business resulting in increasing complaints of attempts by debt collectors threatening impending lawsuits as a ruse to extort unowed payments while circumventing the FDCPA’s validation requirements.

    The actions by the NY AG to shut down a number of Buffalo area debt collectors is just the tip of the iceberg, as the NY ‘sewer service’ fiasco shows that even supposedly legitimate law firms have been benefitting from gaming the courts.
    A culture of deceit as standard business practice to ‘expedite’ collections, robosigned perjured affidavits, ‘guess and threaten’ debt collection, routine sewer service, the list goes on, but it all stinks of fraud.

    This mess isn’t going to be cleaned up by the collections industry or the licensed bar, as they have no incentive to act against their own interests.

    The courts have the responsibility to fix it, to ensure that their power is not misused by cheaters.”

    Reply
  4. Dave Russell

    Most HOA’s are a prison sentence to begin with. Possibly, living in Prison-cell, may just be better than living in an HOA. At least this way you wouldn’t have to worry about your “Home” being foreclosed upon by the HOA.

    Reply

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