By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Edited August 19, 2018 6:53 AM
Reports of corruption involving condo and homeowners’ associations have become so common, I usually group several articles in a monthly “roundup” post.
But today’s post involves corruption so outrageous, it needs to be highlighted.
According to an exclusive investigative report by Bob Norman, Local 10 News, a former Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR) financial examiner, Eduardo Quin Iglesias, is being sued by condo owners, while also under investigation by his former employer.
Norman’s investigation reveals that, while Iglesias was still employed by DBPR — as a Financial Examiner investigating alleged wrongdoing by the association — the condo board of El Dorado Plaza West voted to hire Iglesias’ management company (Real Asset Management), and signed a contract with one Attorney Anatalia Sanchez, Iglesias’ wife.
The blatant conflict of interest caught the attention of condo owner Robert Petrasek, the Plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against both Iglesias and Sanchez. Petrasek is represented by Attorney Robert Cooke, Miami.
State regulator accused of hijacking condo association he was assigned to investigate
Wife also contracted as association attorney; DBPR confirms it is investigating
By Bob Norman – Investigative Reporter, Local News 10
Posted: 11:38 PM, August 16, 2018
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The state is investigating one of its own now-former regulators after accusations that he abused his power at a condominium he was assigned to investigate, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation confirms.
Eduardo Iglesias duped residents into hiring not only his own association management company, but also his wife as the condo’s attorney after he’d been called by the state to investigate a complaint at El Dorado Plaza West in Hallandale Beach, numerous unit owners and an active lawsuit allege.
From the lawsuit, which names both Iglesias and Sanchez as defendants, filed by Miami attorney Robert Cooke:
“What was discovered shocked plaintiff and all others similarly situated who assisted in the investigation. The DBPR investigator Eduardo Quin Iglesias was in fact Edy Quin, the new property manager hired by defendant Sanchez. Furthermore, unknown, and undisclosed to plaintiff and all others similarly situationed (sic), [Sanchez and Iglesias] were husband and wife.”
Iglesias resigned his state position in early January, citing financial reasons. Iglesias insists he only worked for the condo after he resigned and signed a management contract with the board on Jan. 13.
“I was not employed by the DBPR while working for the association,” he said.
Yet El Dorado Plaza West approved his management company on Oct. 18, while he was still working for the state, and he described himself as manager of the condo in an email addressed to several residents on Oct. 30.
Read more (video):
What better way for an allegedly corrupt condo board to cover its tracks than by hiring a state regulator and his attorney wife, both with apparently non-existent ethical standards?
It’s a match made in condo corruption heaven.
The transcript of Norman’s report also makes note of the fact that Eduardo Quin Iglesias is suing three condo owners for defamation. Of course, the typical legal response of a ‘Condo Commando’ is to try to silence whistleblowers, regardless of solid evidence they may have against the perpetrator.
A search for readily available consumer information about El Dorado West Condo Association in Hallandale Beach, comes up dry, except for condo sales information posted by Condo Vultures Realty (CVR), but no listing of the condo association’s current board and Registered Agent available from Florida’s Divisiorn of Corporations.
You won’t find any information about current condo assessments, financial statements. Far, far down on the Google search list, you’ll fing this rudimentary website with a link to governing documents for the condo association. A disclaimer states that Florida Statute may override portions of the Declaration.
Of course, that’s typical protocol for association-governed communities across the U.S. Although a few model communities operate with transparency and integrity, most provide little to no consumer information to either real estate buyers or unit owners.
State and federal disclosure laws are weak to non-existent.
In some states, like Florida, condo associations are legally required to provide pre-sale disclosures, management companies collect millions of dollars in document fees from housing consumers.
But state mandated disclosure documents might omit important information about lawsuits and ongoing financial investigations, especially if someone on the board or in a management position chooses to engage in cover up.
So what if the seller chooses not to comply with state law? Truthfully, there’s not much a buyer can do, other than go back and try to sue the seller and the association after the fact.
That’s why local media investigations are so important.
If not for Local 10 media coverage of the scandal at El Dorado West, condo buyers would probably be completely unaware of the mess and potential financial risk of purchasing a unit in the 5-story, 1960s-era Hallandale Beach condominium.
Now what about the potential risk for owners and buyers of more than 1.5 million units in the Sunshine State?
Floridians and others concerned with reining in abuse and corruption in association-governed communities are left wondering: if the public cannot trust the state’s regulatory board to screen its condo financial examiners, who can the public trust?