and Video Courtesy of Channel 12 CBS
May 25, 2011
man took the questions that he could not get answered, and
found the answers himself, raising quite a ruckus along the
way. There's a new law that could help you do the same.
Robert Bernhardt got fed up,
he says, of asking his west Boca Raton homeowner's
association board members questions about money and not
"I wasn't going to put
up with that type of response, that 'I know better than
you'," Bernhardt said. "They say, 'well this is
the way we've always been doing things, why change? If it's
not broke, don't fix it.'
"I said, it is broke."
So, he started researching HOA's and laws
and wrote all the homeowners a letter about what he calls cronyism
Boy, did he get their attention.
Homeowners, who pay $3,000 a year in HOA
fees, came out in droves to vote him in as the new president,
changing Timberwalk's board after 13 years.
So, what did Robert find so suspicious?
First, he says none of the service
contracts had been up for bid for years. Like a $165,000 annual contract
The property management company got a
whopping $567,000 dollars a year. $148,000 for bookkeeping, including
a charge of more than $4 for each letter sent out to homeowners.
We've learned that associations don't have
to take bids on certain services, but Bernhardt feels it just makes good
"It's very frustrating when you're not
part of making the decisions and you're on the outside," Bernhardt
Ritchi Kuperman is a property manager for a
totally separate community, but he knows all about unhappy residents and
concerns about spending money and about homeowners feeling like their
voices are not heard.
Kuperman says anyone who has questions
should do what Bernhardt did and ask for copies of everything,
in writing, by certified mail.
The new Timberwalk board is now reviewing
contracts to save money.
"We have a lot of people living
paycheck to paycheck right now," Bernhardt said.