The Lawn Nazis Grab Another Home

Each story I read disgusts me more: A Homeowners Association in the Colorado Springs area has foreclosed and auctioned off a 350,000 dollar home for about 11,000 dollars. And the homeowner never saw it coming.

Christopher Wright lived in the Woodmen Hills Filing Number 11 HOA. He thought he was fighting a fine for leaving the kids’ bicycles outside, but he discovered that the home was really taken because he hadn’t been paying his annual dues. His $900 nonpayment had turned into more than $10,000 worth of late fees, collection fees and attorneys’ fees. But non-payment of annual dues in most HOAs is a more serious crime than rape, armed robbery or burglary. Overstatement? No, rape and armed robbery usually net a less serious sentence than the confiscation of one’s home.

The management company is owned by Associa, which in turn is owned by an ethically-challenged Texas State Senator who has long faced criticism for his shifty dealings. Senator John Carona is a billionaire who owns or controls more than 8000 Homeowners Associations across the country, many of which are required to use insurance companies he owns, banks he owns, the list goes on and on. Media criticism of Carona’s ethics goes back years.

But none of that really impacts Christopher Wright’s case. He lost his house. And he’s dazed and confused about the Constitutional rights he thought he had.

Was Christopher Wright just stupid? Some would say so. But others would look with awe at the record of the Woodmen Hills Filing Number 11 HOA.

853 homes.

225 liens filed.

126 lawsuits filed.

4 foreclosures.

About his sky-high fees, the Woodmen’s HOA attorney, Hal Kyles, of the law firm Orten, Cavanagh and Holmes says, “I’m not cheap.”

No, you’re not cheap, lawyer Kyles. You’re not. But you are arrogant.

Shame on you for your arrogance.

(click here for KOAA-TV news story)


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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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