and Video Courtesy of WFTV Channel 9 News
By Janine Reyes
September 15, 2015
Some Orlando residents whose homes are at risk
gathered Wednesday night in hopes of finding out who's running their
But following the meeting many of the Vista Lago residents said they
still aren't clear.
Residents said that over the years
different entities have collected money from them.
Some people said they paid dues twice just to avoid
losing their homes, while some said they were so
confused they didn't pay.
Forty-seven residents have liens on their homes and the
question no one can answer whether the company who put
the liens on the homes, One GMA, had the right to do so.
"They disagree on who is what and we're not here tonight to determine
that because we don't have all the facts," a representative with the
city of Orlando's neighborhood relations department.
The city's neighborhood relations representatives can't tell homeowners
who is in charge of Vista Lago. A lawsuit will determine that.
Wednesday night, the two people battling over control
of the HOA faced homeowners.
One of them, David Santiago, who runs One GMA, walked out
and wouldn't answer many of Channel 9's questions.
He did say he has liens on 47 homes at Vista Lago and
claimed he has the right to collect on dozens more, saying
former HOA president Merle Wills signed these accounts over.
Wills said he does not have that right.
"Those were illegal. One GMA was not authorized to do
the collection after we fired him," Wills said.
Homeowners with liens said they are concerned.
"These are real liens," attorney Carlo Martin said.
Melva Brown has a lien on her home
"I've already paid it. I've already paid it," she said.
Brown said she's paid thousands to wipe away that debt over the years.
The man who placed that lien on her home says he's out money too.
"Zero percent interest loaning my money to the HOA and now I'm getting
ripped off. I feel like a jerk," Santiago said.
It's still not clear who has the right to collect money. Some at the
meeting said they paid their dues to the former president.
"Where's the money that I sent to you Merle? Where is it?" one resident
The city representative suggested homeowners unravel this mess by
It was suggested that resident get together and elect a new board.
Those homeowners plan to meet Thursday to draft a letter to all their
neighbors in hopes of getting enough people together to vote on a
legitimate board and work out details of the bylaws.