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

Published February 14, 2012 


Remember the article about an owner who asked to inspect association records?  He received a LETTER stating "the Association is requiring a deposit of nine hundred and thirty four dollars ($934.00). Should you require more than one hour, please indicate the amount of time you will need and the deposit will be adjusted accordingly: i.e. two hours double the deposit. .. and so on."  [HOW ABOUT $934/HOUR FOR RECORD INSPECTION?]


It was apparent that community association manager Franklin G. Ball didn't like the letter he signed to be published. Two days after the article appeared on the website I received various e-mails from Ball asking me to remove the article and calling it "misleading."  First, he threatened with handing the case over to his attorney. Then he tried the approach of "he served his country in the army" -- and when all that didn't convince me to remove the article, he tried the approach of telling me that I should really do a background check on the recipient of this letter. None of his demands had anything to do with facts, just emotional arguments!


Let's be very clear: The wording of the letter speaks for itself! The excuse: "I wanted to charge him for the cost of making copies" is in my opinion disingenuous. If you send somebody a bill for making copies, you write "1000 copies x $0.50 = $500 + plus added cost for preparation." The cost of making copies surely doesn't depend on the owner requesting the records will "require more than one hour."


In my opinion there was absolutely nothing misleading in my article about the contents of the letter. It was very clear that the letter demanded cost for a RECORD INSPECTION -- not for the request for hard copies. 


But obviously CAM Franklin G. Ball is very unhappy that his letter can still be seen on the Internet. After he realized that I can "still sleep at night" despite not removing the letter from the website, he turned to the BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU, asking them for help to get this letter removed. I received last week a LETTER from the BBB, telling me that Ball filed a complaint with them, claiming that the "Website posts inaccurate information about Managers of Homeowners associations." The Desired Settlement: "Other (requires explanation); Request that they be asked to remove this article which is misleading."


Here is my suggestion to avoid these kinds of letters to be published on the Internet: DON'T WRITE SUCH LETTERS -- especially if the writer doesn't want the public to see that he/she is making demands that are not allowed by the Florida statutes. 


If the writer feels that the interpretation of his/her written word is misleading, here is my advice: Write letters in a way that they really say what the writer means to say.  It avoids having to come up with excuses that make very little sense!