By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Updated October 9, 2019
Many residents claim they feel safer in a private HOA-governed community, citing its security staff. But residents of at least one Florida community are on edge about their unlicensed security guard with a criminal history.
An investigation by Karla Ray of WFTV 9 sheds light on this shocking story involving Turnberry Reserve HOA and Winter Green at Winter Park HOA.
HOA sues Raposo for failing to hand over financial records
Casselberry Police recently conducted an investigation of Sherry Raposo, owner of Management 35 Firm, after the new manager of Winter Green at Winter Park accused Raposo of stealing from that HOA’s bank account.
The police closed their investigation, after they were unable to gather sufficient evidence to file criminal charges.
Winter Green’s Association is now pursuing their complaints against Raposo in civil court. The HOA’s lawsuit alleges that the former manager is refusing to turn over HOA bank accounts and financial records.
There’s a separate legal dispute between the HOA and Raposo over a suspicious election held in November 2018.
Well, that certainly explains why local police couldn’t gather evidence.
Manager, security guard working, living together
Raposo currently manages and resides in Turnberry Reserve HOA in Kissimmee, with Joseph Conover.
Raposo, who previously served on the HOA board at Turnberry Reserve, has authorized Conover to redirect traffic in the community on weekday mornings.
Residents have complained about Conover’s aggressive behavior and threats. And they were not happy about his habit of closing off certain roads in the community during school hours.
When HOA members learned that Conover is not a licensed security guard, due to previous felony convictions, they called the local Sheriff’s office and asked to have him removed.
According to Ray’s updated report, Osceola County decided to revoke the permit that was allowing Conover and Management 35 to block off certain roads in Turnberry Reserve.
Conover’s criminal history
In 2017, Conover was convicted of assault and obstruction of justice, tied to his service as a guard for his private security company in North Carolina.
Ray’s investigation also exposed that Raposo and Conover were registered agents for Nova Security, a private security firm that patrolled several apartment communities in Osceola and Seminole Counties in the early 2000s.
At the time, residents of communities filed numerous criminal complaints against Nova Security and Conover. They claimed he used inappropriate force, such as mace and tasers.
Nova Security is no longer licensed in the state of Florida.
Zero transparency at Turnberry Reserve
A housing consumer seeking information about Turnberry Reserve HOA won’t find much. Just a website set up by Raposo’s management company, with a password-protected, members-only interface.
A quick internet search turns up several listing for vacation rentals at Turnberry Reserve, like this one at hotels.com:
Florida corporate records list the following three HOA board members:
Diana Boyd, President
Michele Aichner Jones, Director
Ivette Luna, VP/Secretary
Other than this bare bones information, home buyers in particular have no easy access to the financial health or inner workings of Turnberry Reserve HOA.
If it weren’t for WFTV’s investigation, consumers would have no idea that Turnberry Reserve isn’t exactly Utopia.
IAC thinks the general public deserves free access to important information about HOA-governed communities, so they can make better-informed decisions about buying or leasing property.
Abuse of power
The recent turn of events at Turnberry Reserve highlights that HOA-governed communities are quite vulnerable to hostile management takeovers.
IAC hears from many owners and residents across the U.S. An alarming number of them live in fear of their HOA board and/or management team, who often abuse their power over residents.
There are several reasons for this sad state of affairs.
First, although the board has the legal authority to manage the affairs of the HOA, it’s not uncommon for a weak board to yield power to a management agent. Perhaps it’s more convenient for the board to hand over the reins to the “experts” and let them run the show. But it often invites corruption and abuse.
Unfortunately, in some struggling communities, no one is willing or able to serve on the board. This creates a void that is often filled by self-serving or corrupt HOA bullies. This situation is particularly common in retirement communities or run-down condominiums with most units owned by absentee landlords and investors.
Likewise, sometimes a bad HOA board uses every dirty trick in the book to control elections so they can hold onto power over the community. In these cases, homeowners find it very challenging to overthrow the rogues on the HOA board , in order to replace them — and the manager — with fair-minded neighbors.
(Sound familiar, Winter Green?)
No state oversight
Residents of HOA-governed communities should be able to trust their neighbors, and they should feel safe and comfortable interacting with management.
Obviously, when an aggressive board member or manager employs private security as their hired thugs, community trust is shattered.
No HOA member should be expected to pay the wages of unlicensed or abusive security staff, only to be harassed and threatened with fines or physical harm. But apparently, that’s what’s happening at Turnberry Reserve.
And, Osceola Police Department dismissed complaints of abuse as “civil matters.” That leaves homeowners and residents feeling frustrated and helpless.
Homeowners are expected to spend their own hard-earned money to fight HOA bullies in the state’s overburdened civil court system. This is in addition to paying property taxes and HOA fees. Certainly not a good value!
Across the U.S. including Florida, state laws governing boards and managers of homeowners, condominium, and cooperative associations are totally useless when they aren’t enforced by the state.
The HOA bullies know it, and behave accordingly. ♦
Neighbors question ex-officer turned felon ‘patrolling’ Kissimmee community
By: Karla Ray | WFTV 9
Updated: Sep 17, 2019 – 9:13 PM
HOA property manager accused of refusing to turn over accounts, records
By: Karla Ray
Posted: Sep 25, 2019 05:38 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 25, 2019 05:51 PM EDT
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Osceola County Police investigated Raposo on behalf of the Winter Green Communities. Casselberry Police conducted the investigation of Raposo for Winter Green HOA.