You’re A Brave Man, Greg Chumbley!

You’d think that a prospective homeowner would be allowed to see the community financials when he’s buying a home, especially if it’s in the neighborhood covenants and ingrained in state law. But as I’ve long said, most HOA boards feel they’re above the law. And usually they’re right. Challenge them and they’ll take you to the cleaners.

That’s what’s happening in a developing story in Florida. The Village Walk of Naples has 850 homes behind its private gates. It employs eight people including the ‘town manager.’

When new homeowner Greg Chumbley asked the board of directors to show him the HOA’s financials they basically told him to take a hike. All Chumbley wanted to know is how much of his dues were going to pay for those eight employees.

The board claims that giving the public any record of its expenses might lower property values in the HOA. Really? That’s the kind of thumb-in-mouth attitude that makes a majority of Americans despise those gated communities. With all the tens of thousands of cases of neighborhood embezzlement, bribery and extortion that goes on in HOA Amerika it also raises a whole lot of understandable suspicion. “Light (truth) is the best disinfectant,” said a famous Supreme Court Justice.

Chumbley has now filed a lawsuit demanding that his HOA obey the law. The first hearing is December 1st.

Chumbley is a brave, brave man for a host of reasons. Not only is he “slapping this mule upside the head,” he’s doing it very publicly by releasing his phone number and ‘share button’ on his website.

Greg, you can’t imagine the number of admiring fans you have across the country. Please let us know how your case turns out.

Contact: Greg Chumbley,  239-300-6169

(link to press release on Chumbley’s lawsuit)

 

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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.

11 thoughts on “You’re A Brave Man, Greg Chumbley!

  1. Nila Ridings

    Perhaps this will answer your question, Deborah.

    There is an old saying:

    “People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.”

    Reply
  2. Nila Ridings

    I just spoke with Greg.

    He has opened a big can of worms in this HOA. Same president for 19 years! Greg is confident in his HOA battle and assures me he will not back down no matter how rough the going gets.

    He welcomes calls from anyone that has helpful information to offer him. I strongly encouraged him to read Ward’s, Shelly’s, Georges, Donie’s and Evan’s books.

    He doesn’t know who the CAI is. He will be learning soon!

    His cell: 706-340-4527 home: 239-300-6169
    His website is: http://www.myvillagewalk.com/

    Hats off to this warrior. His HOA story is very similar to my own. Keep fighting, Greg!!!

    Reply
  3. JOHN DITULLIO

    I live in Village Walk of Naples.
    I did read the by laws and said we could live here with no problem.It has been 17 years now and I say it is the best community in Naples to live in.
    I have lived in three other communities with by laws so I am well versed in
    HOA law and condo law.
    I have often said that if you do not like it here,move on.Many people have done just that.Our place speaks for it self.It is one of the best places to live and the books speak for them self.Many other HOA,s ask us for guidance. They know our reputation. So come here and look at our place and go over the budget and balance sheet and you know why the bank love us as new owners with knowledge.

    Reply
  4. Nila Ridings

    John Ditullio,

    Thank you for coming here to express your feelings about your HOA and make your comments.

    Perhaps you can shed some light on why the HOA refuses to provide Greg Chumbley with the information he is requesting and has a legal right to see? Many of the readers of this website are highly versed in the operations of the HOAs across America, including the corruption, embezzlement, lack of transparency, rigging of the elections, self-dealing, and bullying that is done to the homeowners.

    It’s a “red flag” for me any time a board member has served for decades on the board. As well as when board members will allow a lawsuit to be filed before they turn over the records being requested. The operations and books of the HOA are not the private business enterprise of a few board members. Therefore, the more efforts made to hide records, including accounting, really alarms me.

    Perhaps you will find it interesting that many, actually most all of my neighbors felt my HOA was perfect, too. I had to file a lawsuit to see the financial records. In the end, I learned we had $10,000,000.00 unaccounted for. Yes, that figure is TEN MILLION DOLLARS. The HOA president had held the position for 26 years. He was running for the board of an HOA in California where he had just purchased two places. He conveniently dropped dead (60 years old) when I filed a lawsuit, and later had to involve the district attorney’s office and a detective from the local police department. His successors claimed the HOA “had no records” and were caught a year after the judge court-ordered them to turn them over to me, shredding those records. The board was telling one lie to cover another. People who do that compel me to chase them into a corner they can’t get out of. Today, our HOA has and has had countless lawsuits, the property values are down 45%, we have almost 30% rentals, and countless foreclosures. The dead president left us with $500,000.00 in unpaid bills. The board hired a property manager and his worthless employees for $400,000.00 per year and he talked the board into borrowing $1,000,000.00 (yes, that is ONE MILLION DOLLARS) and giving him the first $100,000.00 of it. I recently learned that borrowed that money in violation of our Articles of Incorporation. The neighborhood is a war zone, people want out but can’t afford to take the financial loss, the HOA insurance has been cancelled 2 times in 3 years, and we have board members that are dumber than a box of rocks. They have not won even one lawsuit and they just keep filing lawsuits against the homeowners.

    I hope by enlightening you to what can and does happen in HOAs that conduct themselves the way Village Walk in Naples is doing at present you will see fit to encourage those board members to release the requested records to Greg Chumbley. I don’t personally know Greg but I can 100% relate to what he is dealing with. I can assure you the experts that read this website will not hesitate to offer him and his attorney guidance in his quest to see those records. In the end, YOU will come out as a big time financial loser due to this battle. It’s in your best interest to encourage resolution of this issue immediately.

    I have spoken with Greg Chumbley and he is an intelligent man. Please don’t think this board at Village Walk of Naples is going to outsmart him.

    Reply
  5. Holly HOA

    Mr. Ditullio,

    I would like to move from my HOA community, but I am not able to sell my home at even 80% of what I paid for it. Are you going to purchase my home, at my cost, so I can afford to move out?

    Holly HOA

    Reply
  6. Holly HOA

    It is so very interesting that those who live in HOA communities with “no problems”, are the first ones to tell others to move. Do they really think the “troublemakers” want to stay in a community with back-stabbers and bullies who threaten and lie? I wonder how many people have moved out of their communities instead of fighting the HOA or COA boards? I’d say they were the smart ones!

    I read my bylaws, too. But that doesn’t mean my HOA board has read AND understands them. And why do people only refer to the “bylaws” as the end all of HOA rules? The bylaws are only one portion of the entire governing documents, and not usually the part with the most restrictive covenants.

    Reply
  7. Angus Young

    Florida law requires the the HOA requires it TOTAL salary, to which Village Walk has complied. Mr. Cumbley is demanding to know the individual salaries. God bless him for his concern, and I welcome his and anyone’s opinion’s, but let’s try to get the facts right, and not tailor them to where they suit Cumbley. He says that Florida law states that the HOA has to reveal their salaries, and even provides the link to the statute, BUT if you actually read the provision, it states the salaries of the board are required to be disclosed, NOT those of the individuals. Village Walk has complied with the law. This guy is complaining about $89 for whole house dvr and fiber optic cable and high speed wireless. Your overall cause is admirable, I would suggest you focus your efforts an actual worthy cause.

    Reply
    1. Deborah Goonan

      I direct your attention to FL Statute 720.393 (5) (c)

      “Notwithstanding this paragraph, the following records are not accessible to members or parcel owners:”

      “3. Personnel records of association or management company employees, including, but not limited to, disciplinary, payroll, health, and insurance records. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “personnel records” does not include written employment agreements with an association or management company employee or budgetary or financial records that indicate the compensation paid to an association or management company employee.”

      My reading of that statute says that owners get to know individual employee compensation.

      Reply
    2. Ward Lucas Post author

      Mr. Young,
      This is Ward, the Webmaster. I would think that in a free society we ought to all be able to see every salary of every person who makes money from HOA contributions which I the taxpayer, or I the homeowner am forced to hand over. What’s so secret about HOA money that pays for salaries, like gardener, like gate guard or whoever works for the HOA while benefiting directly or indirectly from homeowners’ dues? To do otherwise makes you look like liars or cheats. I want to see how much money was spent for food and drink at the annual HOA meeting. I want to see how much money board members got per diem or borrowed for hotel rooms, and whether they used HOA money to watch the Porn Channel in their hotel rooms. Of course, you might not be a liar or cheat, but that’s how you come across to homeowners who are ultimately suspicious of you and your activities. And that’s exactly how they should view you — with suspicion. That’s why we distrust Congress. We’re told what a Congressman makes, but we’re not told that a Congressman gets free ‘franking privilege’ (use of free stamps and mail) and we’re not told that a Congressman specifically exempts himself from Obamacare enrollment. We’re never told that a Congressman gets full retirement salary even if he serves just one term in Congress. We’re never told that Congressmen’s kids don’t have to pay back their college loans. So what’s the national belief among American voters? Congress is crooked. We can’t trust anything they say. They cheat, they’re self interested, and no matter who’s elected, we the lowly people are getting screwed by our government.
      You, Mr. Angus Young, if that’s your real name, are coming across the same way. By not giving Greg Chumbley ALL information that’s even remotely connected to his HOA dues, you and your supporters come across looking like Congressmen, desperately and fundamentally crooked. You may not be, but that’s just how you come across.
      Get over your anger. Treat Greg Chumbley like the hero he is. Respect him as someone who is ultimately fighting for YOUR rights!

      Reply
    3. Nila Ridings

      Angus Young your comments are precisely what breeds distrust in the world of HOAs. Why? Because many people, myself included, believe those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

      Here’s an example. My HOA had a president for 26 years. Long story short at the time of his death the HOA had (and still has) $10M unaccounted for. He had lied over and over again about where the financial records were and ultimately we learned the required annual audits had not been done. Conveniently, he suddenly died as soon as a handful of us refused to stop asking questions. His successor took over and assured the entire community that we could all trust her. When it was discovered she spent $182.00 out of HOA dues to purchase funeral flowers for her non-deceased buddy there was plenty of angry homeowners. The board treasurer said, what difference does it make? It’s only .35 per homeowner. True, but had I known she was going to spend my dues that way I would have said, no. In light of the fact this guy also left the HOA with $500,000 in unpaid bills many of us have no sympathy that he took his last breath. Did we get our .35 refunded? No. Did the board president continue to make shady decisions with our HOA dues? You bet she did. Is she trustworthy? Not by my definition. As a matter of fact, she’s far from it.

      When people give us a reason to distrust them we generally do if we are trustworthy ourselves. Your comments make me highly suspicious of your level of integrity. Very highly suspicious.

      To Greg Chumbley I say…don’t back down. Until you have those records in your hands and every single penny has been verified DO NOT BACK DOWN. I sense intimidation here and speaking from experience I will say it again, DO NOT BACK DOWN.

      Reply

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