Community Associations Institute (The Disinformation Institute)

guest blog by George Staropoli

Think in terms of the Third Reich and the Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Josef Goebbels in charge.

CAI is the modern incarnation of the Ministry. If, as has happened, CAI goes unopposed with its ongoing propaganda campaign about the grand and glorious benefits of HOAs without even whispering “constitutional violations” or “de facto private governments” who will believe anything is amiss?

What? Those malcontent, troublesome homeowners who don’t know how to live in a community with rules? That handful of trouble makers? They can’t even write decent legislation! Let the CAI lawyer/lobbyists explain the issues to your legislators so you can make better decisions.

Who would you believe?

Over the years CAI in Arizona has been basically silenced in the public media, because I would confront, challenge, and expose their lunacies and false statements whenever I could.

In the 2000 – 2005 time period the CAI repeatedly slandered homeowner advocates. We often heard statements from legislators like, “You’re just trying to get out of a contract.” “You agreed and you should have read your contract.” “Anyone who didn’t read or understand their CC&Rs and signed anyway was really stupid. I wouldn’t do anything like that.” Or even worse, “If you don’t like your HOA, just move out. That’s all!”

This year the Arizona Legislature approved SB 1482 without any questions being raised in committee. The bill was simply voted on and passed. Why? An almost identical bill was passed last year but failed in the courts. Also last year I repeatedly confronted and exposed CAI simply by quoting erroneous statements their lobbyists had made in public. Many legislators began to realize CAI was feeding them bad information. Of course, the previous law was eventually thrown out by the courts because it was fundamentally illegal.

However, CAI lobbyists still walk the halls of the legislatures whispering in each lawmaker’s ear, spreading the same old disinformation. This will never change unless voters contact their legislators and truly educate them on the issues.

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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.

1 thought on “Community Associations Institute (The Disinformation Institute)

  1. Deborah Goonan

    Attention State Legislators: CAI does NOT represent the interests of residents and owners in Common Interest Developments.

    Of CAI’s 32,000 members, 40% are homeowner “leaders,” (Board members) and not residents at large. Read their own mission statement here

    CAI estimates that there are nearly 64 MILLION residents living in CIDs, one in 4 Americans. Let’s do some math. 32,000 x 40% = 12,800 homeowners. Divide 12,800 by 64,000,000. Wow, a whopping 0.02% of owners are members of CAI, and nearly every one of them is a Board member. Do Board members truly represent the interests of owners and residents in CIDs? Perhaps sometimes, but not always. What if these owner-Board members happen to be Developer-appointed? How many Board members just so happen to be real estate investors, attorneys, or other related professions? We will never know.

    The rest of CAI membership is Community Association Managers, Attorneys, and other consultants and service providers to CIDs. A quick review of their website reveals their real mission is to connect professionals to HOA Board members, who make the decision to initiate contracts with these pros. A careful reading of their “Issues and Advocacy” section reveals CAI’s legislative agenda to garner and retain more authority for HOA Boards, and to limit regulation of industry professionals, especially CAMs.

    Not one legislative objective protects individual rights, because the core mission is to preserve the corporate HOA entity, and job security for trade professionals, rather than to serve the people.


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