Author Archives: Ward Lucas

About Ward Lucas

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.

You Rotten Canadians!

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And here I thought Canadians were all so polite. Well, in my experience, they’re a heck of a lot more polite than your typical American.

Still, when people get involved in a Homeowners Association, on either side of the border, tempers can flare, guns get pulled, people get injured and are sometimes even shot to death. So far, all the HOA murders have happened on the American side.

HOA Justice Is Rare, But Sometimes Happens

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Do HOAs ever find true justice when they’re ripped off by property managers? Well, not often. But once in a blue moon a crooked HOA manager is held to account. Well, kind of.

A couple of property managers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire were caught with their hands in several HOA cookie jars under their control. Over a two year period they stole more than a hundred thousand bucks.

“No contest! No contest at all!” Judges love to hear those words. It means they can dispose of a case quickly, make the bad guys promise to pay back a few bucks, and not have to bother about putting the bad guys behind bars.

This Embezzler Filled With Remorse

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Gosh, how many times do we have to hear that line from these embezzlers? “Filled with remorse.” It’s such a load of horse puckey. If you’re going to make a bald-faced theft of 350,000 bucks from your neighbors, the only remorse you’re going to feel is that you didn’t steal enough.

Jill Rouse Boothby of Boothby Realty was a property manager for nearly a dozen Birmingham, Alabama condo associations. Plea agreements like hers are only made if she can plead guilty to a small fraction of the crimes she’s accused of. Halloween is over so we can’t really call her a witch. She’s worse. And with all the people she’s hurt, with all the elderly people who’ve been swindled out of their life savings, she deserves worse punishment than she’ll ever be given.

Another News Station ‘Gets It’ About HOAs

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Have you noticed over the past couple of years how more and more news media outlets are doing HOA stories? It’s a trend that will continue growing as HOA boards and management companies become more abusive. In fact, when the HOA bubble bursts in the coming housing collapse, HOA homeowners are going to be screaming about their vanishing home equity. They can’t complain that we didn’t try to warn them.

The NBC affiliate in Atlanta is the latest station to become a little more aggressive. Here’s the link to their story.

(link to 11Alive story in Atlanta)

This HOA Embezzlement Plea Bargain Stinks!

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Embezzling from Homeowners Associations in America is an epidemic. But when a federal prosecutor accepts a tiny plea bargain agreement from a chronic embezzler it stinks to high heavens.

Birmingham, Alabama… Realty company owner Jill Rouse Boothby admits to stealing more than 375,000 dollars from eleven condo associations she managed. She pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and faithfully promises she’ll pay back the hundreds of thousands of bucks she stole. Apparently, there’s not going to be any jail time.