CONDO CRAZE & HOA'S
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published July 22, 2010
Guest on this show was State Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff. Ellyn Bogdanoff was the main sponsor in the House for Community Association Bill S 1196, the bill that Governor Crist signed publicly on June 24 in three locations. The bill creates new condominium and HOA laws that will become effective July 1, 2010.
The bill got very mixed reviews -- and it is obvious that it will fail to solve the main problem: Budget deficits caused by unpaid dues and/or foreclosures.
It is very interesting to listen to Bogdanoff's explanations why the bill failed to address the actual serious problems and her excuses for pushing a bill that has in the meanwhile been dubbed as the
CONDO ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY RELIEF ACT.
Here is what she actually said in her discussion with host Eric Glazer -- and in [BRACKETS] my comments -- and adding what Bogdanoff didn't say!
The most revealing part is most likely the sequence where Bogdanoff and Glazer discussed the failure of the bill to increase the liability of the banks for unpaid dues for foreclosed upon units.
Ellyn Bogdanoff: "I am working with these gentlemen for quite some time. Condominium legislation is still a work in progress."
[JB: Let's face it: This bill is regression. It takes us back to the times before the HOA Task Force bill in 2004. I'm not sure what she calls "working" -- if in her opinion "working" means ignoring their input, then we come a lot closer to the facts. Everybody knows that Ellyn Bogdanoff is only "working" with people who come with an opinion and big campaign checks.]
Ellyn Bogdanoff: "It keeps moving down the line. I had a couple of things I thought were critical to get done -- and then -- of course - the bill became THE vehicle for condo legislation. There are a lot of really good things in that bill."
[JB: Bogdanoff failed to name them, because the closer you look at the wording of the bill, the worse it gets.]
Ellyn Bogdanoff: "There is no question, we need to keep doing stuff, certainly as you pass legislation. Good things happen, but certainly you see the problems. We have something to do with condos in every legislative session."
Hopefully with some success, we really need reforms that will help associations
and owners, not just the service providers!]
Ellyn Bogdanoff: "I mean, most of the people have to realize that there are 120 representatives in the Florida House and then there are 40 members of the Senate. And clearly, when you have something like this, you need to get the votes to pass it."
And the banks surely got away with giving absolutely nothing!]
[JB: Don't believe one word she is saying. Ever tried to figure out why Committee Chair Carl Domino voted YES on the bill in committee -- the only Republican committee member who voted YES? Because Ellyn Bogdanoff didn't dare to contact him and tell him to vote NO. Don't forget, Carl Domino is Bogdanoff's opponent in the race for Senate Seat District 25 -- her campaign is widely financed by special interest -- including banks -- see Bogdanoff's Campaign Finance Report.]
Ellyn Bogdanoff: "I have no closer ties to the banking industry that I have to any other, meaning these are all people that come in and make their case. And the banking industry didn't even come to me, they were trying to kill this thing in the Senate for a long, long time."
[JB: That is one statement where I may agree with Bogdanoff: She is known to sell her vote and legislative power to the highest bidder, I may agree!]
Ellyn Bogdanoff: "You finally have to realize that the Senate President, by the way, is a banker. You have to come to the table and you are going to accept something -- you are not getting a free ride here."
I am really not sure if I understand that
correctly. Because the way the bill was enacted, the banks got away with a
free ride -- PERIOD! As to Jeff Atwater, the banker and Senate President
Bogdanoff is referring to?
Ellyn Bogdanoff: "Now, was it enough? Probably not, but it's what we could get, what we could sell to the membership. They are very receptive to make their case, whatever case they make and say 'we financially can't continue to do this.'"
[JB: Not enough? It was absolutely nothing -- and because of this bill many more good families will lose their homes!]
were focusing on a bill that created great consensus and would be signed
by the Governor and not vetoed. The key reasons when this legislation
started was with the retrofitting requirements for sprinklers, the repeal
of the mandatory insurance requirements that became too arduous and too
difficult for people to manage. Those were the key issues. Then everybody
started to put in all other kinds of stuff."
The "EVERYBODY" was special interest and specialized
attorneys. Merging her bill H561 with Senator Mike Fasano's S1196
gave them the power to pass this bill and steamroll over all the other
consumer-friendly bills that other legislators, especially Representative
Julio Robaina, had filed. That is why associations/owners are left with a
bill that surely doesn't help to put much needed money in the coffers.]
What direction? Protect special interest to the detriment of the unit owners?
Because that's all this bill really does! We are jeopardizing lives and
safety of especially our elderly condo population by allowing unit owners to
opt out of safety requirements and
sprinklers because our legislators were unwilling to put the foot down and
create legislation that would force banks and mortgage companies to pay
their fair share!]
CONDO CRAZE & HOA'S will present a forum for Board members and owners to tell their side of the story. The show randomly has guest speakers who are experts on the daily problems associations encounter. All issues that our associations encounter each day are proper topics for discussion. Expect to hear from politicians, Board members, owners, tenants, community association managers, developers, community association accountants, construction industry personnel and other government officials. Listeners call in and ask questions of attorney Eric Glazer and his legal team as well as any guest present. Eric has been practicing association law since 1992, and his firm Glazer and Associates has represented associations and unit owners throughout the state. There is lots of great discussion and we have certainly had some screaming and yelling, not unlike your typical Board meeting. However, at the end of each show, our listeners come away with a greater understanding of the law and hopefully an appreciation of the various sides of this ongoing debate.
Nearly every Floridian today lives in either a condominium or HOA community. Ideally, the concept of many families all living together in one beautiful building or in one sprawling community, sharing expenses, sounds great. Then, everyone is told that there are laws, codes, bylaws and rules that everyone must live by and suddenly they're all miserable.
The Board members who are put in charge by their neighbors of enforcing all of these provisions are often vilified for simply performing the job they were elected to perform. Many of these unpaid volunteers feel that you never hear anything positive about people who choose to serve for free on their condominium or homeowner’s association’s Board of Directors. They object to the term “Condo Commandos.” and can't figure out why you always hear a million stories about Boards gone bad, but never one about a Board who has worked hard to save their association from financial ruin or even closure. They say that the owners don't know what it's like trying to keep the association financially afloat despite a massive foreclosure crisis or what it's like to be woken up in the middle of the night when a pipe bursts somewhere in the community. Their battle cry is: instead of sitting by the pool complaining about your Board, how about stepping up to the plate and giving us a hand!
On the other hand, the residents argue that there's no doubt that some Board members take the reigns of the association for their own personal benefit and view it as the opportunity of a lifetime to line their own pockets. After all, recent arrests of some Board members prove them correct. No doubt some Board members have awarded lucrative association contracts to themselves or family members, or have simply been brazen enough to funnel the association's money to their own bank accounts. Some have simply let the power of the Presidency go to their heads.