An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

Published August 20, 2009


In my opinion it adds insult to injury when a regulatory agency that proudly states on its letterhead: "LICENSE EFFICIENTLY. REGULATE FAIRLY" sends you a letter that your complaint about more than $1 million in insurance money being unaccounted for has been closed without a "finding" -- because the association claims that the records were destroyed.


The DBPR, as usual, makes it easy on itself, blaming the CPA for incomplete audits -- but adding the disclaimer that they are not regulating CPAs. 


The letter was signed by a person with the job title of Financial Examiner/Analyst of the Division of Florida Condos, Timeshares & Mobile Homes: Bureau of Compliance.


And this “Financial Examiner/Analyst” didn't forget to explain at length that actually recent changes in the law may have taken away the Division's authority to regulate associations’ insurance damage assessments and payments for incidents. And if that wasn't enough, the Examiner gives the "prudent" advice: "You may want to explore whether a judge in civil court will issue a ruling on the dispute."   




In that case we should ask the question: Why do we have a DBPR -- why do condo owners pay $4 annually to fund this agency that is always busy explaining why it shouldn't take any action?


I thought we are supposed to go GREEN? So why these useless letters and the total waste of money?


Maybe I can't follow the DBPR logic? For me the lack of accounting for money is clearly a financial matter -- once the money is in the association's account! In this case it's not a matter of Did the insurance company pay the correct amount? It's really What happened to the money after it was received by the association?


And the association's excuse of documents being destroyed? Try that with the IRS and you will see fireworks! 


Don't forget: Nowadays any financial transaction is saved in some computer. I'm sure the insurance adjuster didn't show up in the association's office with a suitcase and counted out $1,053,643.34 in crisp notes on the table. The money surely ended up in a bank account and from there it's relatively easy to follow the money trail -- if you so desire!


But none of the people with the power to demand such a reconstruction was really interested -- it was much less work to send a pre-formatted warning letter!


According to Florida Statutes 718.111(12)(b), the association has to keep all financial records for seven (7) years. If the records get lost -- or destroyed by an imaginary hurricane -- it's clearly the obligation of the association to reconstruct the records -- no question asked! Or I guess it is not, if you ask the DBPR?


But -- and this is by far not the first case we have seen -- it's a lot easier for the DBPR to declare that they can't investigate due to lack of documents: CASE CLOSED!


Why are we paying these DBPR folks who are about as useless as they come?