Trouble brewing in Poinciana HOA?

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

You might remember previous blogs about Poinciana HOA in Florida, the community of over 50,000 residents that has been attempting to incorporate as a city for the past three years.

Well, now the Board’s President, President Jolly, has filed complaints with State Attorneys in Osceola and Polk Counties, alleging that $2 million is unaccounted for. Poinciana is managed by mega-management company, First Services Residential (FSR).

WFTV has been covering the story. The Board refused to allow video coverage of a recent special meeting called to discuss complaints filed by Jolly against FSR. Someone even made a motion to remove Jolly as President, but that motion failed to carry.

Believe it or not, Poinciana’s earliest phases were incorporated in the 1970s, but construction is still ongoing today. Tony Iorio, AVP of home builder Avatar (now known as AV Homes) is on the Board of the HOA. Yes, you read that right, the HOA Board still has representation for the Developer, after over 4 decades.

Iorio is seen on this video defending FSR, and claiming that Jolly has no proof of impropriety.

Well, that’s why Jolly has filed formal complaints and requested an audit. We’ll have to wait and see what the auditor’s report says.

An official statement from FSR denies any wrongdoing.

If that’s not enough potential trouble, in recent years, violent crime and gang activity has been reported in the once quiet community, including an attempted murder in January of 2015.

To give you some perspective on what could be America’s largest HOA, according to public records, about 20% of homes were constructed in the 1990s, and a whopping 62% of homes were constructed between 2000-2009. As of June 2014, 23% of homes remained vacant following the housing market crisis. The community is located in the middle of what was once a rural area in Central Florida. Although Poinciana is certainly large enough to be a city, since it is a private planned community governed by an HOA, it does not have its own police or fire protection, and must rely on services from Osceola and Polk counties.

Perhaps these recent events will garner sufficient support for the next attempt at attaining status as an official city.

(link to WFTV coverage of complaints against FSR over missing money)

(link to Orlando Sentinel report of gang violence in Poinciana)

(link to housing Statistics for Poinciana FL)

(link to previous blog)

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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.

7 thoughts on “Trouble brewing in Poinciana HOA?

  1. Donna Kayden

    I live in Poinciana, more has happen since the above writing. I am like Ward Lucas all about HOA Reform, I have sent a number of emails to Mr. Lucas in the pass. What has happen to date 08/20/2015; the HOA board has split, with Peter Jolly President of the HOA Master board of Village 1, Victor Destremps Vice President of the HOA Master Board of Village 5 and John Perez Secretary and Treasurer Master Board of Village 7, have as of this day taken over and split from HOA that is so called run by the developer Anthony (Tony) Iorio, Jr. VP for Avatar/AV Homes who sets on the Master Board under Village 4 which by the way does not exist who is the person who brought Continental management now know as First Service Residential who was run out of Solivita 55 plus community where Tony brought again over to the APV (Association of Poinciana), with their none elected board member Linda Cantreva Village 3, and the newer developer Fairfield Homes Dan Young Village 6 placed on the board by Avatar, Jose Padilla Village 2 and Dotty McStay Village 9 (mobile home park). It all started when Don Gordon of Village 8 said he had enough of the undermining and missing money from our accounts which is run by Mark Maldonado manger for First Service Residential. The board did bring on new attorneys Rayfield, Sepulveres & Wright but one month after this, Avatar and Linda Cantreva along with FSR tried to bring on there attorneys at a BOD meetings where by the residents said “No” it was a very heated BOD meeting where Linda Cantreva called the Polk County Sheriffs Department to have one resident removed from the meeting but that did not happen the homeowner did stand up that night and said they had enough. Within a few weeks the split has taken place much good will come out of this it is not over yet. As per the doctrine Avatar (the developer) is suppose to vote with the majority of the residents which they have not been doing they have in fact been placing their votes for their own people to seat on the board. Now for First Service Residential they have been spending money out of our funds like crazy with no accountability of where it has gone. Plus the fact they FSR bought in their own Contractor to build a community pool that was to hold 400 people at $4.4 million now with the almost completed pool it will only hold 200 people but yet we spent money for a pool that was suppose to hold 400 people. Why did we need a community pool in the first place when Osceola County is putting in an Olympic pool with the help of our so called previous board of directors it is to be a co-op effort in the near future it is on the planning stages now. This is the current issue: I will let you read the latest newst: APV BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT WAR WITH ONE ANOTHER. (THIS SHOULD BE A TV PROGRAM)

    Polk Commission Watch
    Poinciana Meeting Questions Remain: An Update
    Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 2:47 by Tom Palmer

    Poinciana residents may be hearing more about Section 720.303 of Florida Statues. This is the one that covers the conduct of homeowner association boards.

    According to the latest news from Poinciana, both sides–resident-elected board members & board members installed by AV Homes– are claiming the other side has met and taken action improperly.

    The first strike came Monday when the Executive Committee, which was established by 1999 resolution of the APV board, met and voted to terminate First Service Residential’s contract, hire former APV assistant manager Val Ramos to take over as community manager and approved a two-year contract for the law firm that had been hired on a 90-day interim basis.

    Tuesday APV board members representing the other faction –the other board members say they were not notified or invited to attend–called an emergency meeting and voted to overturn FSR’s dismissal and to change the board’s leadership. This is subject to formal ratification at an Aug. 31 full board meeting.

    In the meantime,one group changed the locks at the APV office and then another group changed the locks, locking the first group out.

    FSR officials called the first meeting an action by a “rogue” group of board members.

    Ramos claimed the second meeting violated state law and the Executive Committee doesn’t recognize the other group’s action.

    The Executive Committee meeting was held Sunday at the county park in Village 7 and its backers say notice was posted 48 hours in advance.

    The emergency meeting was reportedly held inside the locked APV office. No notice was posted as far as I know.

    Meanwhile, the latest feasibility report aimed at justifying a request for legislation to allow a referendum to allow Poinciana’s residents to decide whether to form a city is expected to be out by the end of the month.

    How the two sides have acted recently will probably be part of the incorporation debate. Facebook: Hispanic American Cultural, Educational and Recreational Club, LLC.

    Donna Kayden

    Reply
  2. Deborah Goonan

    Donna, thank you for the update. Can you tell us, do you think a majority of Poinciana residents want to make Poinciana a city?

    Clearly, you are all frustrated with the current situation.

    And if owners vote on referendum to incorporate, would the HOA be officially dissolved?

    Reply
    1. Donna Kayden

      This would change the economics for Poinciana as in being able to bring in business to this community, which will enable job growth. Poinciana will be able to receive tax revenue instead of our tax dollars being spread over each county (Polk & Osceola). By forming a City the homeowners will have more property rights instead of its current homeowners association where they have no property rights. I have read the feasibility report that was returned strangely enough 1 week after each counties delegation hearings. This report should have been presented at the delegation hearings but was held up on someone’s desk at the request of a state representative they have yet to know which one requested the hold up. According to the feasibility study if Poinciana becomes a City this community stands to receive about $8 million plus dollars in revenue without increasing the current property taxes. This community as a whole is feed up with a developer and management run HOA, which by the way do not live in this community. There are so many complaints against the current management company First Service Residential formally known as Continental all over the United States.

      I do believe this community is ready for change, so yes I do believe that most residents would vote in favor of incorporation and once the city is solvent than quit possibly the newly properly elected Board of Directors can and should dissolve the HOA in favor of a City run community. They are feed up of being control by the developer and their so called appointed management company. As per the incorporation committee, the HOA would remain intact, but the city would provide service at a far less cost to the residents. I can only speak for myself, but I do feel once the residents understand that the HOA will remain intact I seriously doubt the residents would back the incorporation why would we need another governing body on top of the HOA all for the sake of saving money would that mean our HOA dues would go down and that is pure speculation. At the current rate of how the HOA money is being spent and with a few law suits against this HOA, how in the world will that money be made up of course higher HOA dues, and I would doubt the Board of Directors at that time would reduce the HOA fees, plus if the incorporation did happen how long would it be before they add city taxes to our property taxes on top of HOA dues. I would take a very serious look before I would vote for incorporation at this time I am not convinced.

      Reply
      1. Donna Kayden

        The residents here want the APV (Association of Poinciana Villages) homeowners associations to go away (dissolved) in favor of a City run government, where the developer can not be on any City board nor can they place their employees on any City Board like they do now with our HOA. Nor can they place any person on any committee that is in favor of the Developer like they do now. Nor can any management company that was brought on by the developer run City affairs like they do now. There are a few board directors who were appointed by Avatar to sit on the Master board who are nothing more than the developers and the management companies’ First Services Residential puppets, these people have broken a number Florida Statues without any retribution from Chapter 720 all because the law makers here did not include one sentence like they did in chapter 718, 719. All Complaints besides election can be filed with The Department of Business and Professional Regulation for review. How sweet of our representatives to leave out that one sentence in Chapter 720 which becomes worthless.

        Reply
  3. Valentin Ramos

    There are many issues confronting Poinciana, one of which is the breach of fiduciary responsibility exhibited by some Board members. Although it has been brought to their attention that contracts were being issued without proper competitive bidding and that finances appear to be skewed, some Board members continue to leave the membership vulnerable to their actions.
    As to Poinciana’s desire to incorporate, until the Legislators allow a referendum, we will not know. However, we feel confident that once the community is properly informed, the community will support the action.
    Can the HOA be dissolved? If and when Poinciana becomes a city, and the membership votes to recall the directors who breach their fiduciary and are replaced by community members wishing to properly represent their community, I am sure they will vote to dissolve the association.

    Reply
  4. Donna Kayden

    I agree with Mr. Ramos opinion; there has to be resolution to our current problem with the developers/managements HOA , most of the residents here do understand what has been going on for a few years, what is now being called the “People’s HOA”, the issue is getting truly voted residents on the board and not appointed directors by the developer or the management company but a open and fair elections which has not been the cases in years with exceptions of Village 1, 5 and now Village 7 of this year. And thank “God” the people’s HOA board of directors opened their eyes and so has the people. The People’s BOD has explained in great detail and have showed their proof as to the findings. Now it is up to the Judge who heard the case today who will render her findings this week. More and More residents are joining the movement to rid ourselves of a developer and a developer appointed Management Company from running our HOA here. First the HOA issues need to be address before this community can move forward to incorporation but it is a move in the right direction after 40 years of developer run HOA it is time. The other issue is also getting Florida’s Laws change concerning chapter 720 with more teeth which it is very lacking in its current form. “Homeowners’ Bills of Rights” the movement is spreading for HOA Reform all across this nation it cannot continue in its current form with laws that where on the books from years past that was developed by developers and the HOA industry. We did not buy into HOA Slavery and that is what it has become. It must change or before long no one will buy into a HOA community then where would the HOA Industry be. It is for the people and by the people and not at the hands of the HOA industry thugs. May God have you ever looked at these companies profit reports, there is never a dip like you see on Wall Street.

    Reply

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