Oh! My Goodness…Imagine THIS Happening In A Condo Association

guest blog by Nila Ridings
 
My title might have been the reaction back in the 1960’s.  Since then HOAs and COAs have come a long way in the development of dishonest business practices, deception, and embezzlement.
 
$81K was all they could charge the COA treasurer, Kostantina Gardner with stealing.  But they are sure it’s more than that.  Folks, I promise you it’s more…probably a whole lot more!
 
If not for the water bills being $55K in arrears this might have gone on for another twenty years. Clifford Albertson has been the board president since dirt was invented and he trusted this well-liked treasurer.  
 
I have some questions for Clifford: 
 
1) How did she get an ATM card on the BonAire Condominium One Complex bank account?  
This should have been established long ago that no one could walk in and acquire an ATM card!
 
2) Why was the board not reviewing the water bills? 
 
(a) And the other utility bills? 
 
(b) And most of all the bank statements?!?!?
 
 
Folks, we must change the way we think!  
 
We lock the car door when we get out.  We bolt the house shut, turn on the alarm, and illuminate the exterior.  We take steps to avoid being caught up in identity theft.  We teach our children about “stranger danger.”  We place lanyards on the elderly for a medical alert. We dance in circles and jump up and down warning our daughters about “date rape” drugs.  We cross the street and walk faster with our pepper spray ready when we see a teenager in a “hoodie.”
 
Yes, we do it ALL to protect ourselves YET we totally trust the people we should be the most suspicious of….the HOA board and the property managers!  STOP IT!  Stop trusting these people. They know you trust them by not paying attention and never asking any questions.  Stop giving them the freedom to steal, deceive, lie, and destroy your bank account and property values!
 
Think about it…If just one member of this condo association had asked to see the water bill or the bank statement this thief could have been caught long ago!  
 
Remember: the word TRUST and HOAs or COAs or property managers should never be used in the same sentence! 
 

 

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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.

2 thoughts on “Oh! My Goodness…Imagine THIS Happening In A Condo Association

  1. tom dee

    Yes trust is not something for hoa members. I do not understand how someone who is not a homeowner in the community can be any part of the homeowners association. I do not think the job of director should be so complex that they need to farm routine work out to an outside corporation. In my hoa the owner of the company doing the work of the hoa is also the main person in the board of directors. The corporation manages five to ten other homeowners associations I would require all members to live in the controlled hoa units. The units in my community inspects the outside of the homes 4 to 5 times a week. I would make it so that no inspections unless a member complains. Someone making wrong complaints more that a few times would be fined so you would eliminate the person who is never happy. Rules would be clear like grass no longer than 12 inches instead of “neat and tended” which does not have any real meaning outside of the guy doing the inspection.

    Reply
  2. Nila Ridings

    tom dee,

    Sometimes having board members outside of the HOA would be a much better idea. Far too often the residents that will serve on the board are power-hungry and lack skills. When you think about it…many HOAs maintain tens of millions of dollars worth of real estate and dues are in excess of $1.5M per year. What company can any of us think of that has assets and revenues to that level that can be run with a one or two hour meeting each month? None. Not even when the people in charge are extremely skilled and experienced. Businesses like that require attention. HOA volunteer board members generally don’t want to put the time in so they farm the job out to a property manager….and in your case it is one in the same….BAD IDEA…but since property managers are not required to be licensed, bonded, certified, educated, zip, nada, in most states…you end up with the blind leading the blind and often times somebody isn’t always trustworthy.

    It’s no wonder the entire HOA concept has failed so terribly. Who couldn’t have guessed they wouldn’t? Ignorant people with no oversight, no regulations, no education, running a business by investing a couple of hours per month. It takes more time than that to run a lemonade stand for a six year old one Saturday per month!

    Never under estimate the person that is bringing issues to light. That is the person that is paying close attention to what is going on in the HOA. Without that person it’s easy for things to go south because criminal minds look for the opportunities where nobody is watching.

    I hope you are watching for annual audits and have at least three people signing the checks for your HOA. Red flags danced in my head when you said the head of the board is also the owner of the property management company. I could write you a list of 100 reasons why that scares me!!!

    Reply

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