An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published July 3, 2012


In my opinion Travis Moore and Peter Dunbar (representing the Florida BAR) are most likely the most dangerous enemies of associations and homeowners in Tallahassee.


I have known Travis Moore for ten years – and we have never been on the same side in regard to community association bills.


The explanation is easy: Travis Moore is the lobbyist for the CAI and Becker & Poliakoff – entities with interests that clearly oppose the welfare of associations and their paying members – the owners. Those entities are in it for the money – while we owners want a nice peaceful home in a friendly neighborhood.


Let’s make one thing very clear: The CAI (Community Associations Institute) is the trade organization for community association service providers. Its membership is the “industry” – attorneys, managers, developers, insurance brokers and bankers – all the folks that are after your money. Latest example: The CAI in North Carolina, supported by homeowner coalitions, just killed a very owner-friendly bill!

For more than ten years owners’ interests collided with these so-called “lobbyists for associations” in Tallahassee. At a time when Donna Berger still worked for B&P, the homeowner coalition groups involved in the HOA Task Force were facing the opposition of Donna Berger, Gary Poliakoff, Peter Dunbar and Travis Moore – aided by lobbyists of developers, insurance companies and bankers.


That is exactly the opposition we faced when we tried to create an enforcement agency for HOAs and many other owner-friendly proposals that were part of the bill created in 2004 by the HOA Task Force and the House Select Committee. [See:]


Names have changed, but the attitude of the “players” hasn’t. Don’t forget, CALL was created as a response to the deteriorating reputation of the CAI among board members and homeowners. CAN was created when Donna Berger left B&P and joined what is now KGB (Katzman Garfinkel Berger). No matter what names they choose, the idea behind it is still the same: Create bills that increase the service providers’ profits to the detriment of homeowners and condo owners. It’s easier to fleece unprotected homeowners, if there is no enforcement agency to ensure that the statutes are upheld.


Anybody who believes that these organizations are lobbying in favor of associations/owners may as well believe in fairy tales.


These “lobbying” entities woo association boards because they need their “numbers” and political power. They can’t impress legislators when they claim: “We represent the few attorneys of our firm.” No, they need the impressive numbers of associations and the owners living in these associations. Donna Berger’s crew ran around this year trying to impress legislators with the claim: “We are a non-profit organization that represents over 60,000 homeowner and condominium associations throughout the state.  We actually represent the associations and their interests.” 



NOTE: According to OPPAGA, the entire State of Florida doesn’t even have 60,000 associations!


Many homeowners’ organizations and board members supported the CAN bill filed by Rep. Moraitis – a bill that initially included reasonably good provisions. CCFJ was willing to support that bill with some slight changes -- until deals were made behind closed doors among the “players,” the lobbyists and some legislators that turned H319 from a “friendly” bill into a bill that was detrimental to the welfare of owners.  Many owners’ coalitions still supported this bill, because they were never made aware of these changes. In cooperation with many other interest groups, CCFJ was finally able to defeat the bill that had turned into an anti-owner bill with the help of lobbyists like Travis Moore, who agreed to deals behind closed doors.


The excuses used by organizations like CAN and CALL in support of the strengthening of the Bankers’ Bail-Out provisions were more than ridiculous. Strengthening the protection of mortgage lenders against liabilities for unpaid dues is for the interest of associations/owners? Give me a break! [See:]


If associations and their board members support these special interest lobbying groups, as for example Travis Moore urges them to do with the help of town hall meetings using false promises, these associations and board members will in the end lobby against their own interests.  As soon as lobbying groups have the consent of these associations, they will use their numbers and political powers to lobby for their own interest – not for the interest of associations. Groups supporting these law firms have no influence later on. Their lobbyists will not inform them – or ask for their consent to amendments, once they can claim that they represent all these associations.


Associations and board members should start lobbying for themselves, for the interests of the homeowners they are representing. They have enough political power to lobby for themselves.


Association boards BEWARE: Don’t ride on the coattails of organizations that use your political power to push legislation that increases their income at the expense of the owners of property in community associations.


CCFJ works as well with law firms, management companies and other service providers, but we are in charge of our own lobbyists. They report to us, not to law firms or trade organizations. We are in charge -- and we hear immediately about deals made behind closed doors!