By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Updates on HOA, condo, co-op disputes
Poinciana, Florida (Osceola and Polk Counties)
Homeowners and residents in Poinciana have encountered one obstacle after another, as explained in several previous posts. Now Keith Laytham, Friends of Poinciana Villages, has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to continue their legal battle to gain voting power in their HOA, Association of Poinciana Villages (APV).
APV has announced an increase in annual assessments from $252 to $276. The Association blames ongoing litigation from Plaintiff homeowners for the increase, as well as writing off $100,000 bad debt.
Looking at the big picture, however, Poinciana has not raised assessments in six years, and the monthly increase is relatively small, from $21 to $23.
Keith Laytham, director of Friends of Poinciana Villages (FOPV) says if Plaintiffs fighting for voting rights in APV can prevail, “A victory for us is a victory for the other homeowners in the state of Florida.”
Poinciana homeowners seek help with HOA court battle (WFTV)
Updated: Dec 21, 2017 – 7:35 PM
Poinciana, Florida – The courts have sided with Poinciana’s HOA again in a feud that’s been running for years now. Homeowners there are turning to GoFundMe to raise money.
Channel 9’s Field Sutton found out what they want to pay for, and why they believe people all over central Florida will want to donate to the cause.
The question here has always come down to who really controls the Association of Poinciana Villages, and who gets to spend the money that it has to spend. But after a series of legal setbacks, the question is what do the homeowners who are upset do now? Opponents of the APV and developer AV Homes take a cynical point of view: that the companies are pocketing money collected from tens of thousands of homeowners, instead of invested into this community.
Read more (video):
Leisure World Maryland
Since my August post on the Leisure World controversy over a $5.2 million administration building, residents have been keeping up the pressure to stop the project, and consider more cost effective options. For now, the County Planning Board has decided not to approve plans for a project that is now estimated to cost $7.2 million, after more than 2,000 residents signed a petition in opposition to the project.
COUNTY DEFERS ON LEISURE WORLD PLAN
08 Dec 2017 Written by Suzanne Pollak, The Sentinel
The County Planning Board voted 3-1 to defer a decision on plans for a new $7.2 million administration building for Leisure World after some two dozen residents testified in opposition to the proposal and nearly 2,000 residents from the 5,659 residential units signed a petition opposing the new building,
The Board urged Leisure World executives to try and work things out with residents and return in a few weeks with improvements to the plan for a two-story, 20,555 square foot administration building where there currently is a parking lot.
Attorney Scott Wallace, who represented Leisure World, questioned the board’s right to defer a plan because residents opposed it. “You are basically saying that if enough people like the building,” it will be approved. “That’s not how you act.”
But board member Natali Fani-Gonzalez countered that the board’s “legal authority is to see there is a quality of life.” She seemed surprised that Leisure World had held only one meeting with residents and noted that the most successful applications take place when the community is involved.
“What is the justification of a new administration building?” questioned board member Gerald Cichy. “It’s difficult for us to perhaps move ahead” when it appears that “you aren’t meeting the needs of the residents.”
State Parkway Condo Association in Chicago
The long-running legal battle between Michael Novak and his condo association continues, even though both Travelers and General American Insurance Company have refused to pay legal expenses for lawsuits involving the Novaks, especially since legal costs have far exceeded their $1 million dollar policy limit.
The condo board of directors was able to pass a $500,000 special assessment this summer, to cover its legal expenses. Owners have already begun to pay installments.
But now Jason Hunter of Litchfield Cavo LLC is suing State Parkway Condo Association, seeking to withdraw as State Parkway’s legal counsel, and claiming unpaid legal fees of $117,000.
Believe it or not, State Parkway has now hired a different attorney, William Jones of Canel, King & Jones, to represent its interests from this point forward.
Despite $500k special assessment…
Gold Coast condo association in dispute with law firm over $117k bill
By Steven Dahlman
25-Dec-17 – The Gold Coast condominium association that needed a $500,000 special assessment to pay for legal expenses is now in a dispute with its law firm that says it’s owed $117,000.
State Parkway Condominium Association approved the special assessment on July 24. The 160-unit condo cannot claim the expenses on its insurance policy because the carrier says they are maxed out and is refusing to pay.
Travelers Indemnity Company says State Parkway exhausted a $1 million insurance policy that covered legal expenses. The condo association had planned on using Great American Insurance Group as the excess carrier, but Great American has refused to pay and has asked a federal judge to declare it owes no insurance coverage obligations to State Parkway.
Much of the legal expenses were incurred responding to complaints and lawsuits filed by one unit owner who is deaf. Michael Novak has filed complaints with the City of Chicago and battled his condo association in Cook County Circuit Court, Illinois Circuit Court, and United States District Court.
Metrowest, Orlando Florida
In September 2015, the Hamptons at Metrowest was deemed “unfit for human habitation” by Orange County officials. Two years later, according to a letter from the Hamptons at Metrowest board of directors to owners, a construction defect settlement has been reached. Unfortunately, the settlement falls far short of actual expenses necessary to make critical repairs to every building in the Association.
According to a homeowner website ( The Unofficial Hamptons at Metrowest Website ), condo owners are on the hook to repay $10 million dollars in loans to cover the cost of extensive repairs, which will take at least 2 years to complete.
Some condo owners are concerned about the quality of repairs, and the likelihood that dangerous mold will remain within the walls, if not adequately addressed during reconstruction.
You might also recall a previous post regarding a homeowner’s free speech rights involving a court ordered settlement agreement. The appellate court ruled that the lower court’s blanket prohibition of speech (criticism) of Hamptons at Metrowest was unconstitutional.
This important case law is a must read for all housing consumer advocates. But keep in mind that this ruling is not against the Association, but against the court that ordered Howard Adam Fox to refrain from all public criticism of his condo association.
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.
HOWARD ADAM FOX, Appellant, v. HAMPTONS AT METROWEST CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC., Appellee.
Case No. 5D16-1822
Decided: July 21, 2017
In this case, the trial court erred when it prohibited Fox from making any statements whatsoever pertaining to the Hamptons or to the Association on his websites, blogs, and social media websites without conducting a proper constitutional inquiry.3 Accordingly, we reverse the portions of the contempt order prohibiting Fox from posting on any website, blog, or social media, and remand for further proceedings. However, we conclude that the trial court did not err when it enforced the agreed upon terms of the settlement agreement and affirm the contempt order in that respect.