HOA, Condo dysfunction and corruption: Florida

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


A collection of reports specific to the state of Florida.

Please note that Florida has several state regulatory mechanisms in place as listed, none of which appear to have had any impact in preventing or reducing the level of chaos in Association Governed Housing in the Sunshine State.

In addition to a weak regulatory environment in Florida (as in most other states in the U.S.), Association Governed Housing developments often lack proper administrative support as well as access to security and law enforcement services at the local, state, and federal level.

Florida Regulatory Measures:

State level Condominium Ombudsman

Department of Business and Professional Regulation has limited oversight of condominium, cooperative, and mobile home associations. (But no oversight of homeowners associations also known as planned communities, with the exception of arbitration of election and recall disputes.)

Licensing is required for community association managers and firms


Is this how HOAs protect property values?

The untold truth about Association Governed Housing is that HOA Boards have very little control over zombie foreclosures. Furthermore, local and state governments do little to assist, due to the powerful influence of banking, finance, and mortgage industries.


House in foreclosure limbo becomes eyesore for Clearwater neighborhood (Video)
By Shannon Behnken

CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) – Beyond the gates of the exclusive reserve neighborhood sits some of Clearwater’s swankiest homes. But then there’s this house, also known as the rat-infested eyesore.

Don Boesch lives right next door and tells me rats actually sit on this wall outside his window and stare at him.

“I see them, as I’m watching TV, going up and down the bamboo,” Boesch said.

The home, at 3009 Oakmont Drive in Clearwater, has been sitting in foreclosure limbo for four years. The homeowners took off, Citi Mortgage filed for foreclosure, but the bank never actually took it back, meaning it’s legally not theirs.

“We sent an email to the CEO of CITI Group to basically say, “This is deplorable”,” said Nermine Rubin, the president of the homeowner’s association.

Read more:



Foreclosure Fraud Schemes continue

The zombie foreclosure backlog is made even worse by fake bidders at Florida foreclosure auctions. Several of these fraudsters are associated with HOA Problem Solutions, a company that makes money by acquiring title to homes at HOA foreclosure auctions, and then renting them to tenants. Of course, the company has no incentive to allow the bank to successfully sell these properties in foreclosure. That would mean the end of the rental income stream.

The Attorney General has been investigating HOA Problem Solutions for years without resolution.

Sadie Daiquiri and other phony foreclosure auction bidders are profitable ploy for Tampa company

Susan Taylor MartinSusan Taylor Martin, Times Senior Correspondent
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Several times this year, a woman with the intriguing name of Sadie Daiquiri has been the winning bidder at Tampa Bay foreclosure auctions.

Daiquiri has an intriguing address, too — 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York City. That’s a 49-story tower near the United Nations headquarters that houses the permanent missions of France, Italy and several other countries.

But it turns out that there is no Sadie Daiquiri in Manhattan, or anywhere else. So it wasn’t totally surprising that she defaulted on the bids, failed to pay up and forced the auctions to be rescheduled.

Daiquiri is one of three phony bidders whose names have repeatedly popped up at bay area foreclosure auctions — all involving houses linked to a Tampa company called HOA Problem Solutions. By walking away from their bids, they’ve enabled HOA Problem Solutions to continue to collect thousands of dollars in rent from houses facing foreclosure even while the company is under investigation by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office.

“I’m not sure what is taking the AG’s office so long, but they seem to be moving at an extremely slow pace,” Clearwater lawyer Brandon Mullis said. He represents several homeowner associations that have tangled with HOA Problem Solutions over rents, association dues and other issues.

Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/realestate/sadie-daiquiri-and-other-phony-foreclosure-auction-bidders-are-profitable/2284019

Do you know who lives next door in your condo?

Failure to perform a thorough international background check on a tenant has resulted in an international fugitive living in a South Florida condo. And because of strained foreign relations, there’s not a darn thing the landlord-owner and condo association can do about it. (Note – although this story was published in a CA news outlet, the condo in question is located in FL)

He rented his condo to a fugitive — and the guy won’t leave

Background check failed to note he is on Interpol’s wanted list — and pays rent late

The trouble started in April, when Sergey Umrikhin’s new tenant paid his $1,500 rent a month late — surprising, considering records showed $138,000 flowing into his bank account in December alone.

Then Umrikhin received a violation letter from the property manager at Avant Garde, the highrise Hallandale Beach condominium complex where he owns a unit. Umrikhin’s tenant was throwing cigarettes over the third-floor condo balcony and drinking out of glass bottles on the pool deck, the letter said.

Umrikhin filed eviction papers in mid-May, after two months of late payments.

Three weeks later, his rental problems still unresolved, Umrikhin searched online for his Russian tenant, Vladimir Kholodnyak, using a Russian search engine. That’s when he learned that Kholodnyak was wanted by the international police agency Interpol.

At this point in time, the U.S. Marshals Service is not investigating or looking into Mr. Kholodnyak. Since there is no treaty between the U.S. and Russia, Mr. Kholodnyak can’t be picked up on the Interpol notice,” explained Senior Inspector Barry Golden, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Foreign money, some of it from individuals with questionable financial backgrounds, has flooded the South Florida condo market, so much so that the Treasury Department announced temporary regulations requiring title insurance companies to identify the owners of shell companies buying high-end Miami real estate in cash.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article86921712.html#storylink=cpy


Are gated communities more secure than non-gated communities? Apparently not

Robert Gulick was a construction contractor in this exclusive Florida community. He had a history of violent criminal behavior and poor workmanship, yet, according to a recently filed lawsuit, he was regularly allowed unrestricted, unsupervised access to common grounds and private dwellings. Homeowners and residents were not made aware of Gulick’s prior criminal history.

Not only was there an avoidable, tragic double murder, but now the HOA faces a potentially costly liability lawsuit.

Lawsuit filed against Yacht and Country Club of Stuart, former homeowner in murder-suicide case

By Melissa E. Holsman of TCPalm

STUART — Two family members related to a mother and son shot to death at the Yacht and Country Club of Stuart by a man who later killed himself, on Wednesday filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the property owners’ association and the former homeowner where the murders occurred in 2014.

On Nov. 9, 2014, Martin County Sheriff’s Office officials discovered Gloria Bono, 72, and her son, Michael Bono, 45, at a home in the 3200 block of Southeast Fairway West some time before 5 p.m., according to Sheriff Will Snyder at a news conference following the murders.

Snyder said they believed Robert Gulick, 32, of Stuart, who was found dead inside a Best Western hotel room in Stuart, killed the Bonos before turning a gun on himself.

A negligence lawsuit filed in Martin County Circuit Court claimed the Yacht Club’s property owners association and Judith Matthews, who owned the home where the homicides happened, could have prevented the murders had they taken steps to warn others of Gulick’s 35-page criminal rap sheet and that he had access to a weapon.

Martin property records show Matthews, who lives in New York, sold the home in February for $1.1 million.

The suit claims Robert Gulick “was a drug addict and a drug dealer” and was “a dangerous criminal with an unsound mind.”

“Yet he was handed the keys to a vacant mansion, a loaded gun, and unfettered access to an exclusive gated community,” wrote Miami lawyers John Elliott Leighton and Max Panoff in a news release announcing the suit. “Unsurprisingly, the results were tragic.”


Read more: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/crime/lawsuit-filed-against-yacht-and-country-club-of-stuart-former-homeowner-in-murder-suicide-case-3698b-385272331.html

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