June 15, 2005
Joe Adams, chair man of the Condo Advisory Council and
managing shareholder in a statewide law firm known as Becker & Poliakoff,
P.A., wrote two weeks ago in his
weekly column in The News Press about
the "progress of the Condo Advisory Council".
He headlined his column: "Advisory
council finds its footing"
haven't figured out yet where his opinion is based upon, but I sure have to
disagree. Please read my "Letter To The Editor" below.
all over the state wish that this headline would be true and the Council
would finally start doing what it is supposed to do, but so far the leading
members of the Council seem to have different things on their mind than the
legislators intended to be achieved when they created the Council.
They seem to have made up their own personal agenda -- serving their own
to Editor – NEWS PRESS
council finds its footing
difficult to find good columnists, especially some with unbiased opinions,
willing to write about facts! Most columnists are easily tempted to write
their own opinions, trying to sound factual.
is my opinion – and that of many others – about one of your columnists,
who many readers think is using your newspaper to spread his propaganda for
his own financial gain and that of the law firm for which he works.
Adams is an attorney with the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, the biggest
law firm in Florida specialized in association law. Critics claim that this
law firm’s aggressive style creates many of the problems owners are
experiencing. The law firm of Becker & Poliakoff is as well the home of
CALL (Community Association Leadership Lobby), a lobbying group that so far
tries to squash any attempts to reform association laws. Even people wearing
blindfolds have to realize by now that reforms are desperately needed to
protect Florida’s consumers. But reforms would most likely reduce the income
of these specialized law firms – the main reason why reform attempts find
these attorneys on the opposing side!
my opinion, Adams is using his position as your columnist and his position as
chairman of the Condo Advisory Council to push his – and his firm’s –
personal agenda. Considering that CALL heavily opposed HB 1223 in 2004 – the
bill that finally created the Condo Advisory Council – it seems obvious that
his law firm has changed tactics by now. Wasn’t there the old saying: "If
you can't beat them, join them to covertly plot for their demise”?
to the Florida Statutes, the Condo Advisory Council was mainly created to
obtain input from the public and to listen to the citizens’ suggestions
regarding necessary changes. And according to the legislators who pushed for
the creation of this Council, that was exactly the legislative intent. So far
the Condo Advisory Council, under the leadership of chairman Joe Adams, has
pushed for the passage of one bill (HB 1593) and has been asking Governor Jeb
Bush to veto another bill (SB 1520). In
both cases, there was no public input, ONLY the consensus of the Council
members, consisting of a majority of service providers. In both cases, the
decision heavily benefited members of the Council.
big obsession seems to be his campaign against the newly appointed Condo
Ombudsman Office -- produced by the same bill that created the Condo Advisory
Council. Members of the law firm
of Becker & Poliakoff had declared in very early stages that the new Condo
Ombudsman Office would be a “catastrophe” and “needs to go”! Now It
seems that the Condo Advisory Council is being used as the tool to construct
the necessary stage for a campaign against this new Condo Ombudsman Office.
2004 Legislative Session had created the Condominium Ombudsman Office to
investigate complaints, to report findings and to help achieve equitable
settlements between boards, members and service providers. Also, the Office
was charged with the responsibility to monitor association elections.
Election misconduct often leads to serious complaints and costly legal
fights among unit owners. According to reliable data, this Office responds to
more than 400 calls a week and has a 75% success rate. Please note that the
establishment of the Condo Ombudsman Office has received very positive
feedback and has been applauded by many condo owners.)
it seems that its Chairman Adams forgot to read the Florida Statutes that
created this Condo Advisory Council – and the duties to be performed. This
Council was definitely not created to serve as the tool – paid by
taxpayers’ money – for certain individuals to promote their own agendas.
This Council was created to help find solutions to problems many unit owners
all over the state are experiencing.
Unit owners are supposed to submit their ideas, to make their proposals and to
suggest remedies in front of this condo advisory panel. The members of the
Council are supposed to listen and to ask questions, then come up with
feasible solutions to present to the legislature. Instead of trying to
evaluate the work of other officials, the Council should concentrate on the
task on hand! Plenty to do!
far the Council has failed to do so! After four meetings public input has
obviously not been used to form any conclusions. Council meeting minutes
barely mention the contents of these presentations from Florida citizens.
as long as the chairman blocks every attempt to follow the guidelines created
by the legislature in form of the Florida Statutes, nobody can honestly state
that the “Advisory council finds its footing.”
leaves the question: Are you doing your readers a favor by printing this
column week by week? Your area of distribution contains many condos’ and
homeowners’ associations. Many of the readers are retirees who grew up in a
generation that still believed that attorneys are “officers of the court”
and working to “uphold the law.” Meaning a column signed by an attorney
still carries a heavy weight!
might consider employing somebody as columnist who doesn’t use the space in
your newspaper to spread his own private agenda for financial gain. Your
readers should get a fair and unbiased evaluation of facts when reading your
columns! I personally think that
this is not the case with the column written by Joe Adams!