and Video Courtesy of Channel 10 News
By Bob Norman
August 25, 2015
MARGATE -- The Applegreen condos in Margate are a lot
like other complexes, seemingly rundown with crumbling door frames,
holes in the walls, cracks in the ceilings, lousy laundry machines and a
lot of residents wondering what they are getting in return for their
monthly maintenance fees.
"I call management, he never have a solution, never," said owner Jorge
Calvet, who pays $214 a month in fees at the modest condo. "No money ...
I don't understand that."
|Calvet said that after he and
another resident, Amparo Macias, began complaining about
the board they still got no answers, but they did get
lawsuits. The association's attorneys at the law firm
Tucker & Tighe sued both for allegedly having
unauthorized tenants in their units.
Macias said the association also began towing cars
associated with her unit. She produces three towing
receipts totaling $600, one for a tire over a white
parking line and another for the crime of backing into a
space instead of pulling in forward.
Perhaps most unsettling, though, were the
letters, threatening, discriminatory and anonymous ones written in their
native Spanish, some sent under the apparently bogus name "John Kelly."
"You are a blackmailer petty thief son of a [expletive] and I defend
this country," read one in translation. "Don't say anything. Shut your
mouth. I am going to report you to the police."
|"Right now give this apartment to the
state," read another. "I am going to make sure they take it
from you and they put you in prison. Do not tell anyone.
Colombians are sons of [expletive]. We do not want you
around here ... I am going to make your life impossible."
It has never been established where those letters came from,
and the board said it had nothing to do with them, but the
attorney representing the residents, Lourdes Ferrer, said
she believes it is part of a "pattern of retaliation."
"These board members are handling the money for the
rest of the community," she said. "They are supposed to be looking out
for the best interest of the community, not themselves. They are
basically self-appointed dictators."
The man at the center of the conflict is Applegreen Vice President Abdul
Sattar. Macias others collected more than 40 signatures seeking his
removal from the board for allegedly harassing residents. Macias even
called police and filed a restraining order against Sattar, claiming he
followed her and cursed at her and that she "feared for her life that
one day this will get out of hand."
In response, the association's lawyer, Sara Noonan, sent a letter
threatening to sue Macias for libel, writing that her claims of
discrimination and harassment against Sattar were "malicious
fabrications" and warning her she would have to reimburse the
association's legal fees.
Noonan said there has been no retaliation, that Calvet and Macias, who
have admitted having visitors living with them, were sued legitimately
for having unauthorized tenants, that the board wasn't involved in the
anonymous letters. She also claimed that board members had nothing to do
with towing the cars, that it was prompted by tow company patrols.
Ferrer said she's not buying it.
"That part is very clear and obvious that they are trying to shut them
up based on the letters and the lawsuits, that's classic retaliation,"
The next court hearing in the legal war is scheduled for next month.