May They Forever Rot!

Don’t you just hate it when an HOA or condo board shows its arrogance by taking aim at a desperately handicapped person and rubbing her face in her own personal tragedy? There are no words strong enough to quell my anger when an HOA bitch-slaps a disabled person. “Gee whiz, sorry you’re so disabled. Maybe you should just go live downtown.” Those are the exact words used by my own HOA president when my wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a number of years ago. That was long before such comments were legally actionable under federal law.

The latest such attempt at beating up the disabled happened in Florida’s Sabal Palm Condominiums of Pine Ridge in Broward County. Homeowner Deborah Fischer, who had long struggled with MS, wanted permission to keep a service dog.

“Hey Babe, you’re not disabled enough! Prove we’re wrong by producing every one of your medical records from birth and beyond. And BTW, even with all that documentation we still won’t approve your dog. And furthermore, we’re going to sue you first to remove your handicapped butt from this HOA!”

Of course, that kind of conversation could never take place. Could it? In this day and age? Naw.

Well, I’m only writing these words tonight because that’s exactly what happened in this gem of an HOA. A federal judge hammered this Homeowners Association with a massive fine and the harshest possible language. This HOA’s lawyer should be serving a lengthy prison term for criminal malpractice.

(link to additional details)



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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 “May They Forever Rot!

  1. Nila Ridings

    This story and the treatment you received by Willowbrook (written in your book about your wife’s MS)make me feel sick at the same time makes my blood boil!

    How do these heartless, insensitive, and utterly stupid people get in these positions of power in an HOA? Actually, I know how. I’m just shocked at how many times we hear about these abusive behaviors and legal battles that are inflicted upon the weak and most vulnerable people in an HOA. And I know we are only hearing a small fraction of the stories.

    I’m thankful this time the judge slapped the HOA. Maybe it also awakened some of the owners who sat back and didn’t stop this cruelty from happening! Lesson learned…nobody stands up to defend the weak in an HOA…they sit back and watch them get kicked while they are down.

  2. Anonymous

    If the attorney gave that board the right advice, then the homeowners should sue the board members…if the attorney thought their behavior was ok and was happy to file that lawsuit, then a bar complaint and lawsuit should be in the works. Watching what the board does is so important…like someone emailed me, you joined into a nonprofit group and are personally responsible for the lawsuits they create. Holding people accountable, hopefully before you get screwed…

  3. Holly HOA

    You make a great point about the HOA’s lawyer should be spending jail time for criminal malpractice. Why does this not happen? The association relies on the expertise and knowledge of a licensed professional. If that professional supports/encourages the association in breaking Federal and state laws, how does he/she not get jail time? Not only are these lawyers contributing to the law-breaking, but it’s swindling of the association assets. Do they get fined? Do they get disbarred? Or do they get more HOA business?

  4. Anonymous

    The owners have few rights…and isn’t making a bar complaint one of them? I just found out our HOA attorney won’t sue management companies; doesn’t that ‘relationship’ affect his ability to provide 100% legal representation to an HOA!!


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