Tag Archives: New Jersey

Free Speech Rights Upheld in NJ — Six Year Legal Battle‏

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

Great news! The Supreme Court of NJ did right by the First Amendment, upholding free speech rights for residents of HOAs, Condos, and Co-ops in the state.

It took six long years, and the determination of resident of Mediterranean South, Robert Dublirer, a semi-retired, former criminal prosecutor from NY.
Dublirer was a critic of the former condo Board, and in 2008, contemplated running for a seat on the Board. However, the Board at the time prohibited him from placing campaign leaflets under the doors of residents, so Dublirer sued the Association for violating his rights to free political speech.

The Supreme Court’s finding sets the records straight: First Amendment free speech residents in HOA, Condo, or Co-op in NJ must be upheld, and cannot be unduly limited by the Board. Constitutional free speech protections trump CC&Rs and Rules barring solicitation of residents, when such speech goes to the heart of democratic process of engaging in political discourse.

Kudos to Frank Askin, Rutgers School of Law professor who filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

Thanks to the NJ Supreme Court’s unanimous decision upholding the state’s Constitutional rights in Common Interest Communities, the tide of decades of injustice is finally turning.

(link to story on fighting over leafletting)

Crazy Birds

imagesCAVA9UV9How the heck did we lose all our freedoms in this country? When did it happen? Did it begin with Political Correctness? Is it an actual political movement, or just what happens when a government grows too big? I have no answers. But I do have the ability sometimes to point to a bureaucracy gone nutz.

Alfred and Annette Rockefeller of Ramsey, New Jersey were shocked to discover they were criminals because they had installed a bird feeder in their yard. A simple birdfeeder. Not a mass wildlife feeding center, just a bird feeder.

The couple are in their 70s. Alfred is disabled. At age 77 you’d think he’d be allowed the simple pleasure of sitting back and watching the birds. It’s done by millions of homeowners across the country.

But a neighbor complained. He complained that the bird feeder was attracting other unwanted creatures, like ducks, deer, chipmunks.

This week, the couple had to appear in court to be fined anywhere from 250 to 500 bucks for illegally feeding wildlife.

In years past, feeding the birds would just be considered an old man’s pleasure. These days, you’re a creep for wanting to watch the wildlife.





Creating Daily Disharmony in HOA Neighborhoods

Across the country each day, thousands of homeowners are discovering that their neighbors have almost complete power over how they live their private lives. And tens of thousands of homeowners are having second thoughts about their HOA “investments.”

One out of many disputes is typical and involves homeowners Chris and Lavina Marmo of the Glenmont Commons Homeowners Association in Parsippany, NJ. The HOA warned its residents about a series of smash and grab robberies in the neighborhoods townhomes. Chris and Lavina purchased some wrought iron doors to install on their back patio where all the breakins are occuring.
Wrong choice. Glenmont Commons said the security gates were illegal and the couple was going to face daily fines and possible lawsuit. The HOA won’t even compromise or try to find reasonable common ground.

Is it just a power trip by board members who held HOA offices for too long? Or do HOA officials really believe that their properties are better protected by stark sameness on street after street? Who knows?

But a pretty good reminder to Chris and Lavina is “Don’t fight. Just lie back and take it.” You cannot and will not win. Reasonableness is not at play in the HOA system.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

If it’s Tuesday, it must be another HOA Embezzlement

Millions of people move into Homeowner Associations, thinking they’re protecting the value of their home. They sign covenants promising to abide by a byzantine set of covenants that amount to a surrender of all Constitutional rights. They reason, “At least I’m protecting my investment.”

But in a massive number of Homeowner Associations, someone on the inside is embezzling staggering sums of money, all of which have to repaid by the homeowners. If the crook is caught, the judge generally orders restitution, but that’s just pro forma. It rarely happens. When homeowners are forced to make up for the stolen money, for all intents and purposes it’s a direct devaluation of every home in the neighborhood.

Ah, I shouldn’t close out this blog without giving credit to the latest embezzler.

Theresa Tierney.

Strickland Farms Homeowners Association, New Jersey.

600,000 dollars.

You go, girl!


Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association