6-Year Old Condo – $8.7 Million Special Assessment

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

St. Petersburg’s Signature Place condo is in the news again. Condo owners have known for months that there were construction defects with leaky windows. Well, now that portions of stucco have been removed and walls have been opened up to assess the extent of the problem, it turns out that someone forgot to put re-bar in the concrete walls. Oh, and, by the way, the stucco job has allegedly been botched, too. The Condo Board is concerned that residents or pedestrians walking by the tower could be injured by falling stucco. Not a concern to be taken lightly with Florida’s offshore winds and threats of hurricanes.

The owners are looking at major construction noise and disruption through December 2016. Although there is pending litigation between the Association and the Developer Joe Cantor and several construction companies, these are apparently emergency repairs that cannot wait for a painstakingly slow legal process. So condo owners are facing hefty special assessments, spread out over 10 years of monthly assessment increases.

According to the Tampa Bay Times report, those assessments range from about $10,000 to $132,000, depending on the size of the condo unit, with many around $50,000. Sale prices of units have ranged from units auctioned off in the $200-300 thousand range to $1.3 million for the grand penthouse. Owners of the more modestly priced units will be hit hardest, because they are living on relatively modest fixed incomes.

Of course, construction defect litigation can drag on for several years. Who knows if condo owners will recoup any of this money. Quite often, the Association is lucky to end up with about half of what it actually costs to fix shoddy construction, by the time the attorneys are paid.

And what are the chances that all of these condo owners will be able and willing to pay these huge assessments? Even spread out over ten years, will it still be “affordable living” in this proclaimed “monumental piece of art?

Also, note that, once again, the developer gets to hire his own engineer to inspect and sign off on his own project!



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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.

5 thoughts on “6-Year Old Condo – $8.7 Million Special Assessment

  1. Cynthia

    For those who may not have seen this, you may want to read this article written by Fran Nelson, for the LA Times back in 2008. Obviously, in this 6 year old condo, owners found out how responsible they are! Isn’t this fraud on the part of the developer, or officials who did, or were supposed to do inspections during the building phase?
    Fraud traps await unwary associations
    A lack of safeguards and financial acumen can leave homeowner groups vulnerable.
    April 06, 2008|Frank Nelson | Special to The Times


  2. Pingback: FLORIDA – 6-Year Old Condo – $8.7 Million Special Assessment | HOA Reform Coalition

  3. Patricia L. Whiteside

    I bought a condo in Lake Worth Fl. my balcony rebar slab unknown to me had Spalding on the ceiling downstairs for 12 years. The Association hired a contractor who requested I sign liability disclaimer that they would not be liable! for any damages if there were Accidental Holes or Cracks Etc. I Refused & they have not started any repairs & Have taken 22 unit owners moneys. The Association is liable for that common area, the contractor & negligence in not maintaining or repairing the rebar/slab in a Timely manner. I’m Not Assuming Any Liability. This Association Is Corrupt & Bilking People. Owners have the right to review all Carried Bills & Invoices.

  4. Patricia L Whiteside

    Since my last correspondence. The President sent a lawyer letter with the same contract I refused to sign in June veiled with the Threat of lawsuit if I Did Not sign the contractors letter & assume liability for their Damages\ I Refused Again! There Is No Judge That I Know Of who Will Enforce A Hold Harmless Liability Letter Failure To sign. Also, the manager has an Extensive Criminal Record, Has All Residents Social Security Numbers, Alarm Codes & Key To Condos!


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