Judy Thomas On The Commons

Most people in our network already frequently check into Shu Bartholomew’s incredible weekly radio show, On The Commons. Everybody who’s anybody in the homeowners rights movement has been interviewed by Shu at least once. But this weekend’s show had a ‘first-timer.’ And what a first-timer it was!

The guest was Judy Thomas, the reporter behind the huge HOA investigative series in last week’s Kansas City Star. Judy says she’s gotten responses from all over the country. Strange, because so many other major newspapers have turned down stories about the HOA mess because they assume it’s a non-issue.  It’s getting more and more difficult for professional lobbyists like the Community Associations Institute (CAI) to pretend that almost all homeowners are happy with their HOA. It’s obvious that millions, even tens of millions of homeowners have been burned by the national HOA scam.

Definitely listen to how this Kansas reporter uncovered the truth about HOAs.

(link to OnTheCommons.net)


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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 “Judy Thomas On The Commons

  1. Alice

    Glad more voices are being heard; hope more journalists pick up the mantle. Grateful to Judy for her reporting!

  2. Nila Ridings


    Just a suggestion: It would be kind of you to email Judy Thomas and express your appreciation for her efforts to write the expose’ on HOAs. jthomas@kcstar.com

    We are so fortunate that Judy took this project seriously, using her integrity and massive research to help spread the message of the risks of HOA ownership.


  3. Don

    Integrity in reporting includes both sides of the story. One of Judy’s HOA from hell has 153 members. Four, maybe five members consistently complain about the HOA and each of them has violated the CCRs in the past. What about the other 148 or so members who support the HOA? Judy knew the story but chose to focus on one member who blatantly ignored the rules which he agreed to when signing his real estate contract. Know the facts before you comment.

    1. Nila Ridings


      I will make an assumption here. You are speaking of Avignon.

      I know more about the “facts” than what was written in the article, but I didn’t learn them from Judy Thomas. As a matter of fact, long before that article I heard complaints from homeowners in Avignon, none of which were mentioned in the article. And their names I will not share. I was not at all surprised by the contents of the article because I’d heard “Nazi board members” and “Little Nazis” pertaining to Avignon in the past. I saw the photos and there was something like 20 board cronies standing there supporting the president. Where were the other 130?

      Violations of the CC&Rs in any HOA can be subject to who is sitting on the board. Since the rules can and often are changed on a whim by board members, trying to follow them is like trying to hit a fly in a dark barn with a slingshot. It’s nearly impossible to follow every rule 100% of the time. When a homeowner knows the laws allow for something and the board members do not know the law that adds to the frustration in any HOA. You may not be aware that many HOAs have been sued and lost in court based on breaking a law such as a Fair Housing Violation.

      The Avignon case is not about rules. It is about power. Apparently, a homeowner did not say “mother may I” and a lawsuit was filed over it. A quite costly lawsuit at that. If the homeowner wins on appeal the HOA has a lot of risk and will probably come to the realization that the wall really wasn’t such a big deal after all. Careful what you push for because every now and then a homeowner is going to push back!

  4. Nila Ridings


    I have been heavily involved in HOA issues for nearly a decade. I dare say more deeply involved than any homeowner on Kansas soil. It evolved into a national involvement because the more you dig for the truth the uglier and more corrupt HOA Amerika gets. Nobody has taken me down the garden path.

    With the experience I have with HOAs, I can recognize the rotten ones, those that are close to being rotten, those what will fall into a rotten abyss, and those that just might be a decent place to live UNTIL some power hungry despicable person is elected to the board….and it only takes ONE VOTE to sink the entire HOA.

    I’m glad you are following this website and blog. You’ll learn a great deal about HOAs here and hopefully take that knowledge back to your HOA board members. Living in a war zone surely is not how most of you wish to live.


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