HOAs on Steroids!

I’ve written about this before, but if you want to see what happens when Homeowners Associations take over the reigns of government, you need go no further than what was formerly known as the “Cocaine Capitol of the World,” Aspen, Colorado.

Aspen is sometimes known as ‘Hollywood East.’ All the big movie stars have second homes there. Visit a couple of neighborhood bars and you’re more than likely to spot a half dozen TV and movie celebrities. Millionaires and zillionaires everywhere.

But all of that glitz and glamour has to be supported by an infrastructure of waiters and waitresses, desk clerks, bartenders and room maids. And when every home within spitting distance of Aspen is worth millions, where do these ‘common people’ live? They simply have to find lower income housing dozens of miles and many commute hours away from town.

What to do? What to do?

Well, the glitzy ritzies have come up with a plan. Public housing, subsidized by tax dollars. If you’re a so-called Aspen ‘poor person’ you can apply for subsidized housing. Yes, you can live in a zillion dollar home for pennies on the dollar and the taxpayer foots the bill.

My explanation is admittedly simplistic, but Homeowners Associations in Aspen have discovered that they can make a fortune by sucking at the public teat. Drain money from the taxpayers to make up for million dollar mortgages in homes that are leased to renters who could care less about maintaining property values as long as they get free housing. And property owners are promised their share of the taxpayer pot if they make their winter homes available for occasional use by the city.

Gosh, where have we heard this kind of thing before?

It’s controversial. It’s not exactly what you would call free market capitalism. It’s a complete distortion of Marketing Principles 101. But Aspen sort of lives life its own way. As rich a community as it is, it’s hard to get away without snorting some money out of the community trough.

For the rich and poor, it’s hard to turn down free money.

(link to story in Aspen Times on taxpayer subsidized house)


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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.

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