On Stopping Bullies

guest blog by George Staropoli

And how does one stop a bully?

Here’s a short, direct answer, not from me but from Alexander Hamilton:

“If there is no penalty [for] disobedience, the resolutions or commands which pretend to be laws will, in fact, amount to nothing more than advice or recommendation.” (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #15)

Proposed HOA reforms must include necessary and sufficient detriments to put an end to HOA bullying and abuse. People do not become angels when they become a board member, like our astute, politically savvy legislatures would like you to believe.

“If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” James Madison, The Federalist papers, # 51.

“CIDS [HOAs] currently engage in many activities that would be prohibited if they were viewed by the courts as the equivalent of local governments.” Privatopia, Evan McKenzie(1964).

Much of HOA legislation does not contain external enforcement provisions, such as an outright “null and void” statement, but rely on the goodwill of upstanding citizens and officers of the court to do what is right as intended by the reform legislation. Well, we know that that is a vast delusion. We see HOA attorneys seeking loopholes in statutes, bring up vague and unsupportable questions of law, etc. to intimidate homeowners into not taking action or else pay through the nose. All those words and clauses that the attorneys seem to find vague and unclear and seek civil action to clarify their meanings.

No, stop the bullying by imposing civil penalties on those who do not serve good public policy to make better communities, rather than to stuff their pockets. Like special taxing districts, civil penalties abound in the laws of all states. I prefer misdemeanor charges to make the message clear.

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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.

4 thoughts on “On Stopping Bullies

  1. George O.

    “The real power, the power we have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over men.” He paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: “How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?”

    Winston thought. “By making him suffer,” he said.

    Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation … There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — for ever.

  2. Sandy Schenkat

    George Staropoli is a noble man fighting the beast of HOA dictatorial government. Most board members are far from angels – more like most are really devils. I like his concept of creating more laws to govern over the board of directors to actually be able to take them to court and create misdemeanor charges against them. Only problem with that idea is that these devils then stick the HOA with the cost of the fines and have D & O insurance to cover their legal costs. The Insurance carriers need to start getting wise about all the fraud and corruption they are defending.

  3. Deborah Goonan

    We live in an age of “faux regulation,” written and sponsored by politicians who are out of touch with the real world, whose Bills are either killed or watered down and altered to the point of absurdity, voted on by other politicians who have never read the small print nor considered the unintended consequences of making bad policy the law of the land.


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