|INCOMPETENT DIVISION ARBITRATORS TOTALLY MESS UP RECALL PROCESS|
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published June 10, 2014
process for recalling board members by written petitions in HOAs was added
to FS 720 in 2004 (SB
2984). As a member of the HOA
TASK FORCE I was very much in favor of adding this recall
process. We used the long established language from FS 718 to give
homeowners the same easy tool to recall unwanted board members as condo
owners enjoyed for many years.
goal: To avoid lengthy – and costly -- litigation as we had seen in the
past. It should have created a simple numbers’ game, with easy to count
the petitions. If the Owners Voting for Recall could present 50% + 1
valid recall petitions, the recall was certified. Period!
But in recent cases it got even worse:
In one case the majority of owners in Coco Wood Lakes Association, Inc. had to deal with the total incompetence of arbitrator Leah A. Simms, who plainly didn’t read – or comprehend – the motions – with documentation attached – of the representative of the owners voting for recall. When he made Simms aware of serious mistakes in her rulings, she treated him like a total moron and even said so – more or less -- in taped telephone conference calls. Simms even threatened to remove him as representative, because she obviously was sick and tired to be reminded by a non-attorney of her own serious mistakes.
made a complete mess out of the recall process and six (6) months after
the board was initially served with the recall petitions (November
25th, 2013) the Owners Voting for Recall were forced to file for Trial De Novo to
remedy the nonsense Simms came up with. If you want to know more about
this case, please see: “RULINGS
OF INCOMPETENT ARBITRATOR COSTS HOA THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS -- AND IGNORES
THE WILL OF THE MAJORITY OF OWNERS.”
if you think Simms is incompetent, then what would you think about
arbitrator Glenn Lang? He refused to deal with a recall case (Sunset
Point Association, Inc. -- Case No. 2024-01-5144) claiming that
the rightful president of the association failed to give the power
grabbers an ample warning before filing for recall arbitration. Here is
what really happened in this community: “POWER
GRABBERS IGNORE FLORIDA STATUTES!”
this recall scenario:
Let's make it very clear: This illegal recall didn't even meet the facial validity of the written agreement or ballots filed -- as required in FS 720.303(10)(g).
much for the "Coup d'état" in the Sunset Point
Association, Inc. in St. Augustine. This was a typical example for ignoring
the recall provisions -- and other provisions of FS 720.
short: NOTHING WAS DONE ACCORDING TO FLORIDA STATUTES.
that seems to be totally ok with arbitrator Lang, who is protecting people
who plainly ignored multiple provisions of FS 720 – obviously laughing
about the statutes. He refuses to accept the real president’s recall
arbitration filing claiming that there was a “LACK
OF PRE-ARBITRATION NOTICE.” Who is he kidding? His own lack of
these folks, now claiming to be the new board of the association, give the
sitting president notice that they would start an illegal recall in her
absence, violating about every provision in FS 720, taking over the board
and grabbing the money of the association? But, according to Lang, these
violators of Florida statutes deserve the protection of the arbitration
section of the Division, not the official board of the association.
just another case that will end up in court due to the total incompetence
of the arbitrator.
this is definitely not what the members of the HOA Task Force had in mind
when they voted to add the written recall process to FS 720.
Let’s make no mistake, the old saying always works: “You get what you pay for!”
arbitrators get paid less than the secretary in a good law firm. For me
them working for the Division at such a low salary is just a sign that
nobody wants to hire these attorneys – nobody but the Division. To me
it’s pretty obvious that they must have won their BAR license on the
county fair. Their actions speak volumes.
is really time for the DBPR Secretary to clean house and get rid of some
of these incompetent arbitrators who cost owners tens of thousands of
dollars – and make the recall process a joke -- a joke where only the
specialized attorneys can laugh.
if the DBPR Secretary is unwilling to take the necessary action to protect
the owners of property in community associations against the incompetence
of these arbitrators, the Governor should reconsider his appointment for
the DBPR Secretary.
forget: We owners can’t elect the DBPR Secretary, but since the
Secretary is appointed by the Governor, the Governor is in the end
accountable for the actions of his appointee.