Welcome to Paradise…for Criminals!

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

Would you be comfortable living in a condo where the Manager, arrested for theft and forgery, remains employed and in charge of your condo association’s $1.2 million budget? What would you think if you discovered your Association’s payroll includes at least two other unlicensed professional staff members that have been convicted of crimes, including stealing $400,000 from another condominium association?

Would you be spooked if you returned home one day to discover your new stainless steel kitchen appliances have mysteriously disappeared, and, in their place, someone installed old beat-up appliances?

Residents at Kennedy House condominium in North Bay Village (FL) are dealing with this nightmare. They tell Channel 10’s Bob Norman that even the local police chief has been unhelpful. North Bay Village Manager has recently fired that police chief and now promises to see to it that there is a full investigation of reported crimes.

Kennedy House is a renovated 1950s-era building in North Bay Village, a man-made island in the Biscayne Bay near Miami, featuring 1 and 2 bedroom units with sweeping water views. It’s the kind of Paradise northerners dream about, especially after a brutal winter like this season.

A search of recent listings reveals that Kennedy house condos are priced “affordably” under $250,000. Unit owners currently pay $400-$600 per month in Association fees.

Ouch. And just how much of that was squandered or stolen? That is yet to be fully investigated.

It seems both Florida and Nevada definitely rise to the top of the list for corruption in HOA Land. Folks, these reports are published daily. It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to choose which one(s) to blog about.

(link to TV news story uncovering corruption)

(accused felons: they’re back on the job!)


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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.

6 thoughts on “Welcome to Paradise…for Criminals!

  1. Dave Russell

    Well, this story sounds familiar! Here in my HOA, the board finally fired our crooked manager after he and his wife, hired phantom family member employees, who were also receiving unemployment benefits because they were ‘laid off.’

    We found receipts for turkey-roasters, peanut oil, ceiling fans and hundreds of dollars worth of laundry soap. There were also bills for $600 cellphones, the ones they would never answer of course. Then, 25K for roofing materials that were never really purchased.

    Now these CAI ‘trained professionals,’ after being fired, actually hired a locksmith, opened the HOA office, and resumed work like nothing had ever happened. It finally took a court order and several police officers to have them removed.

    Since their departure, the manager was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trying to drown his young son. His wife, the assistant manager, has been arrested 20+ times and has even spent time in prison.

    This kind of thing goes on in many HOA’s all across the land. Should we license these crooks? I’m just thinking, it would almost be like giving them a license to steal.

  2. robert

    They tell Channel 10’s Bob Norman that even the local police chief has been unhelpful.

    On October 29 2012, the Economic Crime Unit of the Denver Colorado District Attorney’s Office told me that they don’t have jurisdiction to invesigate economic crimes that take place at 1776 S. Jackson Street, Suite 530, Denver, Colorado, 80210. You can tell how proud the D.A.’s office was of their decision, because nobody signed their name to the letter.

    A few months earlier, Evan McKenzie wrote about the Nevada H.O.A. scandal that

    Something could and should have been done by the so-called “authorities,” these so-called “regulators,” the police, and prosecutors much earlier. But nobody would listen to the owners…for five years. However, that is not even remotely “unusual.” That is absolutely par for the course. Those in authority almost invariably treat the owner who challenges their board as a nutjob. And the fact is that there are many other situations in HOAs and condo associations all over the country where things are going on that should be investigated by police and local prosecutors, but where instead some lonely unit owner who is waving the red flag is being treated like the neighborhood crank. (June 03, 2012)

  3. Deborah Goonan

    The only real purpose of licensing for managers is that it provides (theoretically at least) accountability in a court of law, should it ever become necessary to file criminal charges.

    More and more, we are reading about instances where certain local governing officials (and their hired agents) are aligned with their HOA “kin” in corruption and cover up. But the beauty of social media is that this type of incestuous misbehavior is now being brought to the attention of more people than ever before.

    It is well past time to put a stop to HOA white collar crime and thuggery.

  4. Kim

    Our HOA manager had the only key to the safe at our golf course and $20,000 went missing, all employees were given a lie detector test and he magically was the only one who failed it. He continued to manage for years after. After moving in I was told a million dollars went missing, I questioned this and was told there was no paper trail from the very same manager. We have a board member currently on the board who never paid his property taxes. We had a security guard that was a felon and a chief deputy that was fired from 3 police stations prior to working here and is all over the media with 62 misdemeanors and the major news report stated that he used a police car to got to a strip club in the neighboring state shooting off a fire arm while intoxicated…these charges were dismissed but funny how he was removed from 3 different police stations. This information was given to the board all news paper articles and when the board discussed this, came up with well he has good qualifications, last summer same security guard was busted for a dui and lost his license.

    1. Deborah Goonan

      And the crazy thing is, Kim, when the topic of background checks is brought up with so-called management professionals on their own discussion forum, they dismiss the idea. “Background checks don’t guarantee there won’t be a problem,” they claim. While that may be true, a thorough background check definitely reduces risk significantly, so why wouldn’t you background check Board members and candidates, Association Managers, and all of the staff hired by the HOA?

      The only logical explanation: Birds of a feather flock together.


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