Judge also OKs homeowners’ 4th amended complaint, so legal challenge can proceed
By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
The Ledger reports that Friends of Poinciana Villages member Victor Destremps ran unopposed in Village 5 for the 2018 election cycle. Destremps was then appointed by the board of Village 5 to serve on the master HOA board, Association of Poinciana Villages (APV).
With the election and appointment of Destrempts, there are now two homeonwers on the board of APV, and a second voice for residents of one of Florida’s larges association-governed, common interest communities.
Following the 2018 election, seven out of nine members of APV are affiliates of the developer, AV Homes, or a Canadian investment firm, Fairhomes Properties.
Litigation against APV, filed by three homeowners, including Destremps, Peter Jolly, Martin Negron and Annette Brown-Best, is ongoing.
Poinciana group making progress after HOA elections
By Mike Ferguson
Posted Feb 14, 2018 at 7:11 PM
Updated at 7:23 AM
POINCIANA — The civic nonprofit Friends of Poinciana Villages seems to making headway in its stated goal to have the homeowners’ association controlled by homeowners.
During Tuesday night’s Association of Poinciana Villages election, FOPV-backed Victor Destremps ran unopposed to win a seat for Village Five. He was appointed to the master board Wednesday morning.
“I think there are visible signs of progress being made,” said Keith Laytham, a spokesman for FOPV. “At least two master-board positions are FOPV. We’ve doubled our clout.”
Judge denies APV’s request for dismissal of complaint filed by Poinciana homeowners
By Mike Ferguson, The Ledger
Posted Feb 18, 2018 at 7:04 PM
Updated Feb 19, 2018 at 9:09 AM
POINCIANA — The fourth time looks like it will be the charm for a trio of Poinciana homeowners.
According to court documents, Judge Catherine L. Combee denied the request by the Association of Poinciana Villages and developer AV Homes, more commonly referred to as Avatar, to have a fourth amended complaint dismissed. The complaint filed by homeowners Peter Jolly, Victory Destremps and Annette Brown-Best alleges a breach of contract by the HOA and developer.
“It’s been two years and almost $100,000,” said Keith Laytham, a spokesman for the civic nonprofit Friends of Poinciana Villages.
The three homeowners and representatives for the HOA and developer met in the Circuit Court on Feb. 2 and Feb. 5. The next hearing is slated for Feb. 26.
The trio of homeowners had three previous lawsuits thrown out. Combee’s denial came Feb. 12.
The claims by the homeowners are that the developer and HOA violated the 1985 agreement in which the developer was supposed to turn over control of the community to the homeowners. Part of the homeowners’ case is that APV violated Florida’s Marketable Record Title Act that forced the homeowners’ association to update its deed restrictions after 30 years.
For history on Poinciana, see the following post from Dec. 5, 2017
Court won’t uphold Arbitration ruling that made 2017 election invalid
Is regulation of association-governed communities possible?
Some states, such as Florida, California, New York, Arizona, Colorado, and Virginia have attempted to protect housing consumers with various state agencies: Ombudsman offices; Attorney General-Consumer Protection divisions; administrative offices that regulate businesses and issue professional licenses.
But all of these efforts have yielded disappointing results for taxpayers and consumers.
Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is a prime example. The state agency has very little authority, and, it appears, Florida’s judicial system has absolutely no respect for DBPR Arbitrators’ decisions.
Earlier this year, DBPR Arbitrator Terry Leigh ruled that Association of Poinciana Villages (APV) must void its February election, and conduct a new election. The DBPR ruling required APV to compel developer Avatar – also known as AV Homes – to provide proof of its actual number of buildable lots owned.
But AV Homes didn’t agree with the DBPR ruling. The developer filed a lawsuit in Civil Court, asking a judge to certify that AV Homes could cast one vote for each lot it owns based upon a decades-old vague provision allowing maximum number of lots (density) per acre, regardless of whether some of those lots happened to be under water or located on wetlands.
A judge agreed with AV Homes, and a second election was held this summer. But APV was forced to allow the developer to cast more than 9,000 votes, making it impossible for concerned homeowners to elect their own volunteers to Village Boards, and thus, gain some seats on the APV Master Association board.
Arbitrator Terry Leigh filed a Florida Bar complaint against Attorney Thomas Slaten, taking the matter to court while an appeal of DBPR’s decision was still pending.
Then Poinciana homeowner Martin Negron filed a complaint in the 10th Judicial Court, asking the state to enforce DBPR’s ruling, and to throw out the AV Homes vs. APV case, because Negron was not notified of the case and given a chance to intervene and present his own arguments.
Unfortunately, Judge Randall McDonald dismissed Negron’s plea, calling it ‘untimely.’
Court refuses to enforce arbitration ruling against homeowners’ association in Poinciana
By Mike Ferguson, The Ledger
Posted Dec 3, 2017 at 9:32 PM
Updated Dec 4, 2017 at 7:11 AM
POINCIANA — A judge ruled in the Association of Poinciana Villages’ favor against one man’s effort to enforce an arbitration ruling.
Judge Randall McDonald ruled in favor of the homeowners’ association in a case against resident and former board candidate Martin Negron on Nov. 21. Negron sought to have a June 23 Department of Professional Business and Regulation ruling enforced by the 10th Judicial Court and to have the ruling of another case thrown out because he was not given the opportunity to intervene. The judge ruled Negron’s motion was “untimely and did not establish a right to intervene.”
Negron successfully won an arbitration case with the Department of Professional Business Regulation in June. The arbitrator, Terri Leigh Jones, claimed that APV was “capricious” in the way it counted developer votes and ordered APV show that unplatted lots were developable. The ruling also nullified the results of the Feb. 14 HOA election and forced APV to hold a new one in August.
With increasingly insurmountable legal obstacles, is it possible for Poinciana homeowners to win control of their own neighborhood from a wealthy and politically-connected community developer?
If DBPR’s rulings are not respected by Florida state courts, what is the point of having a regulatory state agency?