Search Results for: blossom park

After Judge ousts Receiver, no improvement at Blossom Park (FL) condos

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

Last time I told you about Blossom Park condos in April, owners had decided they wanted to take back control of their Association from Receiver Frank Barber.

Several of the owners had high hopes of turning the place around, after many years of neglect. A judge terminated the Receiver’s contract last month.

Well, it didn’t take long for the newly formed Condo Board to throw in the towel. Assessments are seriously delinquent, and remaining owners are apparently not interested in paying for a place that has become a haven for crime and a safety hazard. Reportedly, the trash is piling up now, too.

Where are the developers willing to swoop in like White Knights and rescue this dilapidated old motel turned into low-income condos? Isn’t that why Florida clings to its “eminent domain for condos” law?

It appears Blossom Park has reached the end of its useful life.

(link to requiem for Blossom Park)

Blossom Park Disaster: Where did all the money go? Forensic Audit Coming

guest blog by Deborah Goonan
I’ve been blogging for the past few months about a crumbling Florida condo conversion called Blossom Park. Orange County has cited the Association with numerous code enforcement violations, and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist residents in relocating to safer housing.Now the condo owners have hired an attorney, Mark Lippman, to represent them in a case to oust court-appointed Receiver Frank Barber. They contend that Barber has been collecting assessments since 2011, yet Orange County’s Engineer has determined the building has structural defects in the stairways and balconies that make the condo unsafe. Owners want to know how their money has been spent, and they are about to find out with a forensic audit.

Be sure to watch the video in the WFTV Channel 9 news link below, so you can see for yourself how the structure is crumbling. The words “misappropriation” and “negligence” are being used by Lippman to describe Barber’s management of Blossom Park condominium since 2011.

But, on the other hand, where have the condo owners been all these years? How could they have not noticed such obvious levels of deterioration? It’s amazing that owners did not make a move to replace Barber several years ago. Now all of a sudden, with Orange County’s code violation report made public, and most of their tenants sent packing, the owners want to take back their Association and give their buildings some love.

But is it too little, too late? It’s rather obvious the exterior condition of the buildings is in very poor condition, and perhaps the cost of necessary repairs will exceed the value of the condos.

By the way, Frank Barber is also the Receiver for nearby Tymber Skan condominium, where rats, violent criminals, and squatters live among its few unfortunate tenants and remaining owners,

When will Orange County put an end to the madness and terminate both condos, that have already cost taxpayers more than $1 million in unpaid utility bills, crime enforcement, fire protection, and condemnations?

But this is Florida. It seems the only people terminating condos are hostile investment groups, and those condominiums are still in relatively good shape with good profit potential.

Wouldn’t you know it, investors aren’t that interested in vermin-infested, wood-rotted money pits.

See how well privatization is working to provide affordable housing?

Orange County officials dealing with Blossom Park, Tymber Skan Residents living in unsafe condos

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

I have blogged about the Blossom Park condo conversion recently. In recent weeks, Orange County Fire Department has stationed one of its trucks at the scene, and a structural engineer has examined the buildings, including the staircases and upper decks, deeming most of them unsafe. An official report is due this week, and in the WFTV report linked below; Orange County officials expect to order an official evacuation within days.

The County is now providing financial assistance to move the residents – mostly low-income tenants – to safe housing.

Court-appointed receiver, Frank Barber of Deer Run Realty & Management Company, insists that the problems are not that dire, and has reportedly urged residents to stay. He is relying on fees collected to pay for needed repairs, and — let’s not miss the obvious — to pay for services provided by his company.

Left unsaid in the many news reports: the taxpayers of Orange County are footing the bill to assist Blossom Park residents. And the bill must be substantial, as it includes increased police protection due to high crime and three recent murders in Blossom Park, stationing the Fire Department adjacent to the condo complex, assigning a structural engineer to inspect the condo buildings, and evacuating and then providing 30-days of free housing to hundreds of low-income residents.

Nearby Tymber Skan is another troubled condo complex, complete with squatters, criminals, dilapidated structures, and rats climbing the walls. Taxpayers have paid hundreds of thousands to cover unpaid water bills, police protection, demolition of buildings, and relocation of residents. This has been going on for several years, and its still not over.

So are HOAs really “no-impact” or “low-impact” tax revenue cash cows for local governments? Perhaps in the short term, but what about over the long term?

And are County officials now “heroes” stepping in to save the day? Hardly. Where have they been all these years, when these distressed condos have been left mainly to their own defenses, living conditions growing progressively worse? No one has been held accountable for allowing residents to live in squalor, for failure to manage the financial affairs of these failed Associations, for creating the conditions that allow violent crime and blight to flourish unchecked.

Better yet, how were these condo projects approved in the first place, with such shoddy construction, and why weren’t regular inspections done to ensure deficiencies were identified and repaired early on? It should have been clear to planning and development commissions that many of these developments and redevelopments were doomed to failure and premature obsolescence.

And what about the social impact to residents and surrounding neighborhoods, where people fear for their health and safety? Can we really put a price on the total costs? Decades of neglect by local governments – preferring to allow thousands of HOAs to attempt to govern themselves and manage their own affairs, while collecting property tax revenues from owners – has led to this chaos.

From deteriorating infrastructure to Bully Boards to neighborhoods divided over how their money is being spent, more and more of these stories are being reported and brought to the attention of the public. And what we see reported on the news is only a small percentage of the problems, because, in many HOAs, owners resist going public for fear of scaring away future buyers (or tenants) and reducing property values. In fact, the outspoken owner is often intimidated, harassed, or ostracized for daring to air the dirty laundry, so to speak. It’s a sick, twisted mindset that threatens the very foundation of the American Dream for millions of Americans.

(link to WFTV story on Blossom Park)

(link to Tymber Skan story)

Blossom Park Condo in FL plagued by crime, drugs, and multiple code violations

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

This is the fate of a 1970s motel, converted to condos in 2003. By 2010, this low-rent condo hotel was in Receivership. Almost all of these units are leased to tenants, but apparently the Association is not putting the assessments to work, or dealing with a vacancy problem.

The condo complex has been reportedly plagued by drug trafficking, especially heroin, and was the scene of three murders in 2014. Residents say they fear for their safety.

According to reports, Blossom Park Owners Association has racked up $175,000 in code violations from Orange County. The staircases were recently deemed unsafe, and 2nd and 3rd floor residents had to be relocated until repairs can be made. Elevators are also inoperable. Some residents have moved to the first floor, but if repairs are not made to the seven buildings soon, the remaining residents may face eviction.

Where is all the money going? Obviously the owners are collecting rent from tenants (listed on for about $600-$650/month), and at least one resident was interviewed, stating that she pays $200 per month for maintenance fees.  And the attorney receiver states there will be a special assessment to cover the cost of needed repairs and payment of fines.

This is just one example of condo blight in Florida. The question is why does the state of Florida keep allowing condo conversions? What was the logic behind approval of Blossom Park in 2003? Did Orange County really think that an old broken down motel would become an affordable haven for some lucky owners? Or did they count on 350 separate landlords screening their tenants and keeping their units maintained? Clearly, it isn’t working. Orange County has been working with Blossom Park for almost 5 years, and conditions have not improved.


Failed Condos: Tax Burdens, Social Problems

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

For many months I have been following multiple news reports involving Blossom Park Condominium in Orlando, Florida. Blossom Park is a former motel that had been converted to condos about a decade ago. Its units were sold at “affordable” prices, most of them promptly leased to tenants. When the recession hit, so did mortgage defaults. Many owners stopped paying their condo assessments. The condo association couldn’t pay its water utility bills. Within a few years, the aging structure began to deteriorate. The stairways have been deemed unsafe by Orange County building inspectors. The building has been deemed hazardous. The pool has become a slimy green swamp.

For the past 4 or 5 years, no one has served on the Board, and the court had to appoint a receiver. The first receiver was later ousted and replaced by a second receiver. For several years, a criminal element has taken up residence in some of the units. Drug dealers prey upon the residents, mostly tenants, and now Blossom Park has become notorious as a site for drug overdoses. Several fatal shootings have occurred there as well.

Orange County has been trying to relocate residents for months. At this point, only about 40 remain, and half of those are reportedly squatters. Just take a look at the deplorable living conditions. The County has already poured millions of dollars into emergency services, crime control, relocation services, and social services.

But the social costs to condo owners, affected residents, and the surrounding communities are immeasurable.

What if you were one of the owners who bought into this condo conversion back in the early days, the very first person in your family to ever own a home, hoping this would be your small piece of the American Dream? And what if that dream became a nightmare, when you could no longer afford rising assessments? What if your home became worthless as your community started to crumble around you? What if you could not feel safe in your own home?

Imagine if you were a child forced to grow up in this environment, because your family had nowhere else to go. How would you feel? What would you do?

The sad fact is that Blossom Park is but one example of many failed condominium (and homeowners) associations. The housing concept that was supposed to improve upon financially impoverished cities – common ownership governed by private homeowners associations – has ultimately resulted in the lowest home ownership rate since the 1960s.

(link to home ownership in lowest level since 1960s)

(11 heroin overdoses at Blossom Park Condos)

(55 arrests since heroin overdoses near Blossom Park)