Video Courtesy of  WFTV Channel 9 -- ABC

ORLANDO -- Daytona Beach

By Todd Ulrich

Published August 18, 2010

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A Winter Garden couple fears their son will be arrested just because he is trying to live with his parents. They blame the same homeowners' association that already adopted several controversial measures to deal with delinquent dues.


Action 9's Todd Ulrich found the association's latest HOA policy could mean that you have to kick a son or an elderly mother out of your own home.

Todd Ulrich: "Are you afraid somebody will arrest your son in this house?" 


Answer: "Yes, I am!" Wilma Wright fears what the Stoneybrook West Homeowners Association could do next. 

She says this month the HOA banned her 24-year old son from living with his parents.  Wilma says Gordon is a part-time masters’ student trying to save money. Now the HOA was enforcing a year-old policy of only two adults, 21 or older, in each home. "I feel trapped; I feel like I can't take care of my family."


Wilma says the security manager told her if her son ignores the policy, the HOA could ask the police to arrest him for trespassing. 


"It's like you have no rights at all." 


The Wrights admit that they are seriously behind in their dues and feel the ban is punishment. 


But the HOA told Action 9 the policy affects every homeowner who has options. 


According to the association, adult children must now

apply for permission to live with their parents, pass a criminal background check, and meet certain requirements, such as being disabled or a full-time college student.


When asked, "Doesn't that seem extreme?" Association attorney Jim Gustino answered, "No, don't think so!"  Gustino said the policy was a response to increased crime the HOA blamed on the foreclosure crisis and while it may seem controversial (Gustino): "The feedback that I’ve received to date is that most folks that are considering purchasing a home in the community perceive this to be a virtue."  

Wilma said she applied to keep her son in their home, but he doesn't qualify under their rules. "I have no idea why we need to ask for permission to take care of my children.”


Now many cities and HOAs have a two-adult limit, but that's usually enforced to prevent owners from renting out rooms or having more than one family in a single house. 


I have never imagined that there could be people in their right minds being able to pass outrageous weird rules.  But Stoneybrook West, led by attorney Jim Gustino, is always able to top the last outrageous rule with a rule that's even worse.  Below are the links to two stories that made Jim Gustino look really bad. Even in front of a camera, now he is defending a rule that is about as outrageous as it gets.  Actually, it contradicts basic rules of Private Property Rights 101.  And then he claims that homebuyers consider this rule a virtue?  In my opinion it kills property values -- or what little there is left.


Imagine your son -- over 21-- wants to move back into your home because he needs to save money in order to continue his studies.  Association says: "CAN'T DO. Your son doesn't ‘qualify’ because he is not a full-time student!"


Imagine your Dad passes away and you need to take care of your Mom, who is elderly and shouldn't be alone, but isn't handicapped?  Association says: "CAN'T DO! Your Mom doesn't 'qualify', because she isn't officially handicapped!


I am wondering why attorney Jim Gustino is willing to create and defend such controversial rules.  Does he hope some owner finally will be fed up and take the bait and fight these outrageous rules in court, creating a huge lawsuit with many billing hours -- hopefully with appeals up to the Supreme Court?  Enough billing hours to pay for his retirement?  He knows, if that happens, he will get paid -- WIN or LOSE!


In my opinion, an attorney who defends such rules -- and even created them -- should be disbarred for violating every humanitarian rule in the book.  Don't forget that Jim Gustino was board president and association attorney combined when the rule was created.


Maybe Gustino should be issued a license to practice law in China, where human rights and private property rights are trampled upon on a daily basis!

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