Tag Archives: Trayvon Martin

Scary Reason To Live In A Homeowners Association

The news from North Carolina sounded horrible at first. Twenty-one people were standing on the deck of a rental home on the Outer Banks when the deck collapsed. Most were injured and taken to the hospital. It could have been far worse, of course, but the final chapters haven’t been written.

Trial lawyers will be all over these injured people like ticks on a picnic blanket. This beach home rents for 10,000 bucks a week. It’s obviously owned by someone who has deep pockets. It’s also in a private neighborhood of wealthy homes and the lawyers will be looking for every deep pocket in sight. And that means Homeowners Associations. HOAs take out insurance against calamities like this one, but every one of those policies has an upper limit. They also have exceptions for things like improper design and maintenance. The bottom line is that rich people in a rich HOA are legally bound to each other under the CC&Rs. Dang, that’s a lot of deep pockets! This series of lawsuits is going to put a lot of lawyers’ kids through college.

When you join a Homeowners Association you and your assets are community property. If you don’t believe that, then pay attention to property values in the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman neighborhood. And watch property values in this nice HOA on the beach. Lordy, Lordy! Smell the money. 







My Typos

I usually write these blogs in the middle of the night when I’m barely awake. So I’m constantly finding embarrassing typos. Of course, I realize you’re never supposed to admit these things publicly, but after forty years in a TV newsroom I’m used to having others correct my spelling and grammar. We’re all on the same team, here, right? And we all want to be credible, right? So please don’t hesitate to point out errors that need correcting.

I’m easy to reach at Ward@NeighborsAtWar.com.  And I will correct any and all errors when I get the signal. Egads, I love the Internet!


“Kansas City, Here I Come!”

Actually, it’s “Kansas City, there I was.” Doesn’t do much for the old Chuck Berry/Beatles tune. “They got some crazy little women there, and I’m gonna get me one.”

In answer to the many emails, yes, my website was crashed/hacked a week and a half ago. Sadly, this time the intruder so corrupted each file that my poor webmaster has been sweating blood trying to rebuild the old site line by line. This time we’ll make sure it’s mirrored in several places to keep us up and to keep this vandal frustrated. It’s rather wild, but I’ve learned that several other anti-HOA websites were trashed the exact same hour as mine. Of course, that’s only a coincidence, isn’t it?

On that same weekend my computer motherboard was fried and I had to make some quick, new purchases.  The Geek Squad was here early on a Sunday morning to set it all up.  Windows 8/Windows 12 is an impossible program for an old guy to learn <Ward, quit whining, wouldja?!?>.

The trip to Kansas City was actually a total surprise to me. It all started with a request for me to overnight a thousand pounds of books for a show that opened the next day. That was impossibly expensive and wouldn’t have made any economic sense. So, in a moment of questionable judgment, I was in the car within an hour. Fourteen hours, two ice storms, and five Red Bulls later I was lost and driving in circles through Kansas City and Overland Park. By some miracle, I finally got to my hotel. And yes, the back of my Blazer was full of boxes of books.

I met some great people at the Kansas City book event, tasted the best barbequed ribs in the world, and heard some war stories you would not believe. In fact, I gathered enough information for a full year’s worth of HOA horror story blogs. More to come on that subject. I thought the worst states in the country for HOA lunacy were Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. But nooooo. Homeowners Associations in Kansas and Missouri have a level of corruption, violence and fascism that could rival any of the other states. It all boils down to this: the absolute worst, most horrible HOA in the country happens to be…..wherever you are!

Another thing: I learned of a few really wild happenings/events/stories that have to be kept confidential for the time being, but they’ll ultimately appear on this blog. I’m an open book, of course, but I do respect a source’s request for confidentiality. It’s an old newsguy’s habit.

In any event, for new visitors to this blog, we are desperately trying to get everything working again. Thank you for buying my book. And please email me any links to HOA horror stories you think I might have missed. My email address is:  Ward@NeighborsAtWar.com and I do read every single email. Since I’m a lifelong insomniac I also respond to as many emailers as I possibly can.


Calling All Lawyers! “Ready, Set, Sue!”

Now that I’m out of mainstream journalism, I can afford to occasionally get my hackles up at the kinds of things written by other journalists. Indeed, most reporters don’t write their own headlines, but this one got my goat. It was an article in Main Street, a real estate magazine, which discussed the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida. The headline said, “Homeowners Association Could be “Eden” of Liabilities.

The headline writer was correct, of course. And the reporter, Jeff Brown, was also correct in saying that questions about legal liabilities could “wreck your worry-free Eden.”

This blogger has long been saying that the scariest HOA in America is YOURS! Why? Because the slightest slip and fall at the neighborhood pool, or the workman who cuts his finger mowing grass at the front entrance, now has unrestricted access to the pocketbooks, bank accounts and home equity of every single person who owns a home in the community. By joining “the club,” or the HOA, you have essentially pooled all of your net worth with your neighbors, thereby creating an irresistible deep pocket to which the tort industry just hasn’t paid much attention in previous years.

But with lawyers being graduated at the rate of 104,000 a year, and the with law firms clogged with too many lawyers and not enough lawsuits, there’s going to be a huge upsurge in lawsuits against this previously untapped “resource.”

You can buy liability insurance, of course, but you can never buy enough insurance to dig your way out of the kinds of jury verdicts that tort lawyers like, John Edwards, for example, are able to wreak out of a dysfunctional court system.

The HOA system is broken. The tort system is corrupted. On this entire Earth could you find any uglier twin sisters than that?


Trayvon and Zimmerman: Some Reporters “Get It”

Not many reporters understand how dangerous Homeowner Associations are. It took the death of Trayvon Martin, but Mary Shanklin of the Orlando Sentinel showed she “gets it.”

Her story of March 29, 2012 is about the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida. That’s where Trayvon Martin died, allegedly at the hands of HOA crime-watch captain George Zimmerman.

Understand that this blogger has absolutely no opinion about who’s guilty or innocent in Trayvon’s death. But I do have some observations based on forty years of experience covering the courts.

Lawyers are schooling around this case like sharks on a whale carcass. Lawsuits are going to be filed by both Trayvon Martin’s family and by George Zimmerman. Whichever lawyer gets involved in the case will become a millionaire whether he wins or loses. And who are the ones who’ll have to come up with all those millions? The 200 townhome owners at The Retreat at Twin Lakes.

They all bought homes at The Retreat, thinking they were buying their way into a bit of financial safety. Many of them are elderly and they figured this Homeowner’s Association would protect their retirement savings forever. Well, welcome to the American System of Civil Justice.

Each and every one of these homeowners signed documents that essentially pooled all of their equity, all of their retirement savings into a common pot. They may even have bought insurance to indemnify their HOA against frivolous lawsuits. But all those insurance policies have limits, and this is one limit that’s going to be exceeded by millions of dollars.

It doesn’t matter who wins or loses the various lawsuits. The finances of these HOA members are going to be shredded. By joining an HOA, each of these homeowners created a “deep pocket,” and deep pockets are like rotting meat. They attract flies.

No homeowner can move out of this nightmare. These HOA members have handcuffed themselves together forever. It’ll take two or three years. But check back with me to see if my prediction comes true.

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