Tag Archives: handicapped

Abusing the Handicapped

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

Wow! Sometimes I read about egregious HOA acts of discrimination that boggle the mind.

This is one of those times.

Gary and Renee Kuhn are the parents of a severely disabled adult daughter. Khrizma has Down’s Syndrome, autism, chronic digestive problems, scoliosis, and the intellectual capacity and functionality of a 2-year old child.

In 2005, they purchased a home in The Fountains at McNary Estates, making them subject to not one, but two, sets of HOA restrictions.

For the first five years of residence, Khrizma lived with her parents part time. Beginning in 2010, their daughter became a full-time resident. In 2014, her medical condition worsened, causing Khrizma to experience urgent bowel movements. Unable to care for herself, the Kuhns must provide round-the-clock care, which includes quick access to toilet facilities and access to a shower for clean up after use of the toilet. The curvature of Khrizma’s spine makes it necessary for her to lie down when being transported to various medical appointments and treatment centers.

The Kuhn’s were faced with the difficult dilemma of how to best care for their daughter’s needs, particularly during transport to and from appointments and medical treatment. In conjunction with her doctors, it was determined that the best solution would be to purchase a specially equipped RV with toilet and shower facilities, as well as a bed for her to rest. The doctors recommended parking the RV in the driveway for immediate access as needed. However, HOA rules prohibit parking of RVs in driveways.

Khrizma’s doctor provided a written explanation of the necessity of accommodating the family’s need to care for their disabled daughter, and the Kuhns made several requests for reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act, both at the federal and state levels.

Both McNary Estates and The Fountains HOAs denied those requests, under the advice of their attorney, Kevin Harker, owner of Community Associations Law Group in Portland, Oregon. Harker insists that the HOA is not obligated to provide accommodation for the RV, as it is merely a method of transportation, and does not involve Khrizma’s use and enjoyment of the dwelling itself.

I told you it was egregious.

Fair Housing Council of Oregon (FHCO) vehemently refutes Harker’s claims, but the HOAs both stood firm in their convictions to deny the civil rights of Khrizma and her parents. FHCO informed both HOAs that Kuhns were legally entitled to park an RV in their driveway, and, after months of delay, the Kuhns proceeded to do just that. The HOA immediately began threatening to sue the Kuhns in order to force them to remove their RV.

According to the complaint, several of the Kuhn’s neighbors, two of them former HOA Board members, allegedly engaged in hostile behavior, including spying on the Kuhn’s from the residence across the street.

This is a common theme we see repeated in Association Governed Residential Communities all over the US. The Board often discredits and demonizes homeowners with whom they disagree. Many homeowners then either avoid the alleged “troublemaker” or engage in further harassment.

The family was forced to sell their home to remove themselves from the hostile environment, and to obtain necessary accommodations for their daughter’s disabilities.

The story has been covered by Oregonlive.com, and includes a link to the Legal Complaint filed on behalf of the Kuhns by their Civil Rights attorneys, Dennis Steinman and Scott J. Aldworth, of Keller, Alterman, & Runstein, based in Portland, Oregon.

Parents sue homeowners association that wouldn’t let them park RV to help disabled daughter

Another story on the Kuhns

Read the Complaint filed on behalf of the Kuhns

Upon reading the complaint, I was able to discover some disturbing claims brought by the Kuhns:

  • Richard LeDoux, President of The Fountains HOA, has physically and verbally threatened Mr. Kuhns. He has also engaged in what appears to be a smear campaign by emailing all Fountains HOA residents claiming the HOA has no legal obligation to accommodate an RV in the driveway.
  • Both Teresa Girod, President of McNary Estates HOA, and LeDoux have led their respective Boards to deny reasonable accommodation not only for parking the RV in the driveway, but also to honor a request made by the Kuhns to move the location of board meetings from the personal homes of Board members to the HOA clubhouse, a facility that is ADA compliant.
  • The HOA has attempted to force Kuhns into mediation over their request for accommodation, and to binding arbitration over their refusal to remove the RV from their driveway.
  • In the process of selling and moving to a new home, the Kuhns were forced to spend $76,000 more on the new house, and had to vacate their former home for a month before they could close on their new home. That meant they had to spend thousand of dollars to live in a cramped hotel room. The unexpected extra expense forced them to sell their car. This situation caused immense stress for both Khrizma and her parents. Mr. Kuhn had to be placed on medication for anxiety related to extreme stress during that period of time.

 A few other nuggets:

  • The Kuhn’s attorneys, Steinman and Aldworth, are noted experts in Civil Rights litigation in the Portland area. They are demanding a jury trial.
  • McNary Estates HOA’s attorney, Kevin Harker, is the owner of Community Associations Law Group, a member of Community Associations Institute (CAI) Oregon and Utah Chapters. He has been a speaker at CAI national conferences in 2013 and 2010. The topic of his 2010 speech was “Keeping out the Riff-Raff: Making Your Community Safe.” He has co-authored the 2006 Washington (state) HOA Handbook.
  • According to the news release, McNary HOA has been involved in a previous Fair Housing lawsuit, which they lost.

It appears that HOA members will be on the hook for more legal expenses, which may very well be denied by their insurance policy. Stay tuned for updates.


“Damn the Disabled!” -Brookfield Farms HOA

Discrimination has long been a hallmark of the modern HOA movement. The disabled, Negroes, Orientals, members of the Mongol race, gays, the handicapped, non-married adults. I’ve seen that in my own Colorado HOA, stories I relate in my book, Neighbors At War. I’ve seen it firsthand, but since starting this website I’ve been stunned at the number of blatantly racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic stories that are happening daily in American homeowner associations. There just aren’t enough courtrooms to handle all those cases, Ah, there are enough lawyers, to be sure. More than enough. Just not enough courtrooms.

In Lafayette, Indiana the Brookfield Farms Homeowners Association has made it clear they don’t want three handicapped people living in their neighborhood. “It’s a group home,” they’re screaming. “We don’t allow three unmarried handicapped people to live in a single home. And we’ll take it all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary!”

Stupid people. They’ll lose, of course. Federal law is pretty clear about abuse and discrimination against handicapped people. But in the meantime this idiot board will cost its homeowners tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands in legal fees.

Avoid HOA life like the plague. It looks good on paper. But when planning to buy into the HOA scam just remember you’re putting all of your personal assets into a common pool of money with people you don’t know and have never even met. All your assets including the equity of your house are being pledged to pay for moronic legal positions like the one being taken by Brookfield Farms in Indiana.

(link to Indianapolis Star article on discrimination against the disabled)


A Dark Cloud Over St. Cloud, Florida

guest blog by Nila Ridings

First a little back story about the connections we are making in our fight for justice in HOAs. This time our focus is on a boy in the ESPRIT HOA near Orlando, Florida.

A few weeks ago I was reading a story that was posted on Facebook about an HOA issue. Many comments were made but one stood out for me. It was a man stating his son had special needs and the HOA was refusing to allow a fence around their back yard. I responded to his comment by mentioning he should talk to Dave Russell. Shortly thereafter, Dave Russell came across my comment and took the time to send his personal phone number to the gentleman.

Once Dave talked with Shawn Seekings and learned his son has Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHA, and Epilepsy and his wife, Kristin is pregnant, he took action. As we all know, Dave Russell is a property manager in Arizona and understands the laws pertaining to fair housing and he has connections to the media. Shawn knows the fair housing laws as well. He had already contacted the government agency that he hoped would give him some assistance. But time is of the essence because Kristin is not able to chase the child since he moves much faster than her these days.

The HOA will only allow an open-spaced wrought iron fence. Shawn knows his son will scale that fence and be at risk with the alligators in the water directly behind their house. He has a letter from his son’s doctor outlining his conditions and the need for a vinyl fence. The vinyl would be a surface his son could not climb up and over. On the other side of the HOA the homeowners have vinyl fences, but next to the alligator pit they only allow wrought iron.

I know. I know. It makes no sense to me either! After seeing a video of an alligator that took one bite and removed the plastic bumper from a truck I would want an eighteen inch thick concrete wall around my yard!

In an HOA the rules are the rules and the dictators on the board always follow them except when it applies to them or one of their cronies. They fail to recognize HOAs cannot legally override or violate a federal law. According to attorney S. David Cooper this HOA is violating the Fair Housing Act. The attorney for the HOA will not return phone calls. And, now another child that just needs to go outside and play remains in the middle of an HOA battle!

A special thank you to Louis Bolden of WKMG6 for reporting this story. Long ago we learned the only way to solve HOA issues without nasty expensive litigation is to turn the cameras on and have the reporters take control. I laughed when the property manager decided she should give the reporter some advice to which he responded he didn’t need any advice!

HOAs…they are a guaranteed headache!

(link to Orlando Sentinel article on autistic child’s treatment by HOA)


HUD Cracks Down on Housing Discrimination Against Disabled

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

It saddens me that housing discrimination against the disabled is so common. An apartment complex, an independent living facility, and two HOAs are among four offending housing providers in HUD’s early November report.

From denial of an accessible parking space, to reluctance to provide wheelchair access; from denial of an emotional support animal, to terminating residency after short-term hospital stays, management of these communities continues to find ways to try to skirt around the law.

“We continue to see more cases of discrimination against persons with disabilities than any other type,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “It is unacceptable that individuals with disabilities have to fight for the opportunity to live where they want, or to have reasonable accommodations extended to them so they can enjoy their dwelling. The cases we’re announcing today reflect our ongoing commitment to leveling the playing field for all Americans when it comes to housing.”

In 2013, almost 54 percent of the complaints filed with HUD (4,426) alleged housing discrimination based on disability.

The stark reality is that most of us will face disability at some point in our lives. For some of us, it may be temporary. For others, it may be a long-term progressive health condition that leads to limited mobility, depression and anxiety, or limited mental capacity.

Therefore, shouldn’t we all be compassionate and understanding? No one guarantees that life will be tidy and convenient for the disabled, their families, their neighbors, or the managers of their housing developments.

It is truly a silver lining that at least our Federal government still takes a role in enforcing fair housing laws. In fact, it seems as though filing a fair housing complaint is the only way to get some HOAs to comply. What a shame that some HOAs are so willing to waste assessment dollars and cause so much suffering in the process.

(link to housing discrimination news release)

Beating Up The Handicapped!

When, oh when, will these low IQ HOA boards ever learn? Federal law DOES NOT PERMIT a Homeowners Association to discriminate against handicapped residents!

But the High Meadows (low IQ) Homeowners Association in St. Charles County, Missouri decided that the family of two handicapped girls will not be allowed to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van large enough to carry two wheelchairs.

How many times have we heard of this kind of idiocy by HOA boards and management companies? It’s a slam dunk for a federal discrimation lawsuit.

The sad thing is, when the damages from such a lawsuit are assessed, the ones who’ll have to reach deep into their pockets to pay for legal fees and judgments are High Meadows homeowners who probably never even knew their board was making such stupid rulings.

If anyone knows the names, phone numbers, addresses (email or otherwise) of these board members please share them with me. Since these board members became public figures when they decided to run for office, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind hearing from disabled people across the country.

(click here for KSDK-TV story)