By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
This month: Jury rules that HOA board member, local commissioner must pay for their malicious prosecution of homeowners; condo concierge sentenced in jewelry heist case; plus, more fraud and theft allegations against an HOA manager, a bookkeeper, and now-deceased treasurer.
Jury awards $400K to homeowners falsely accused of theft by HOA
In 2010, when Michael and Joyce Salandy offered to clean their HOA’s clubhouse for a reduced rate, they never imagined that HOA board member and Fulton County Commissioner, Marvin Arrington, Jr., would later accuse them of stealing $15,000 as compensation for their work.
Between 2011 and 2013, the Salandys were hired to clean the clubhouse of the 200-home Regency Oaks development in southwest Atlanta. The couple paid themselves from the HOA’s petty cash account. But in 2014, board member Carro’ll Driskell, working in tandem with fellow board member and County Commissioner Arrington, filed a criminal theft complaint against the homeowners.
The couple were arrested and spent one day in jail, tarnishing their reputation. Michael and Joyce Salandy sued their HOA and board members Driskell and Arrington for filing false criminal reports.
The malicious prosecution case was recently resolved at a seven-day trial before Judge Henry Newkirk. A jury agreed that the HOA had falsely accused Salandys. The jury decided to award the couple $225,000 plus another $186,459 to pay for their attorney fees.
Fulton Commissioner, Neighborhood Association Hit With $400K Malicious Prosecution Verdict
A southwest Atlanta neighborhood association and Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington Jr. were among the defendants sued by a couple for malicious prosecution and other claims.
By Greg Land | March 24, 2020 at 05:57 PM
Read the judgment — Salandy v. Regency Oaks
Condominium concierge gets 6 to 9 years in prison for burglary, theft of jewelry from residents
Residents of the Bratenahl Place condominiums on Cleveland’s lakefront put their trust in their building’s concierge, Anthony Djurovic, to welcome their visitors and guests. But Djurovic broke that trust when he entered four private condos and stole $200,000 worth of jewelry from them last fall, then sold it to a local pawn shop.
Following his conviction, 27-year-old Djurovic has been sentenced to 6 to 9 years in Cuyahoga County prison.
The pawn shop owner convicted of receiving the stolen items, 44-year-old James Rigby, will also be sentenced in May.
According to the residential community’s website, “Bratenahl Place is a gated community on 16 park-like acres on the shores of Lake Erie in the historic village of Bratenahl.”
In addition to a concierge, the 2-building, 200-unit community offers 24-hour security officers, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis, fitness facilities, gardens and walking trails.
Sale prices for units at Bratenahl Place currently range from $125,000-$250,000.
Bratenahl condominiums concierge sentenced to 6-9 years for stealing over $200,000 worth of jewelry from residents
By Julia Tullos | March 18, 2020 at 12:06 PM EDT – Updated March 18 at 12:06 PM
Bratenahl apartment concierge accused of stealing $200,000 in jewelry from residents
by: Jen Steer
Posted: Nov 5, 2019 / 08:28 PM EST / Updated: Nov 5, 2019 / 08:28 PM EST
Suspect faces additional charges of theft from multiple condo associations, alleged thefts total more than $1M
Early this March, Chester County District Attorney Deborah Ryan announced the arrest of William Huyler III, on multiple charges of theft and forgery. Police say Huyler stole nearly $1.5 million from several homeowners associations in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Prosecutors allege that Huyler laundered the money through his business, East Hill Property Management, by commingling funds from several condominium associations that he managed.
Several of the reportedly victimized communities include Crooked Lane Crossing Condominium Association in Upper Merion, Goshen Valley III association in East Goshen, and Kings Mill at Kings Grant Condominium Association in Marlton.
Police say this man stole more than $1 million from suburban homeowners associations. Now, he faces new charges.
by Vinny Vella, Philadelphia Inquirer
Updated: March 5, 2020
Former HOA bookkeeper arrested on felony theft charges
Following a police investigation, Dolanna K. Burnett, former bookkeeper of the Clearwood Community Association, has been formally charged with embezzling nearly $400,000 from the HOA.
HOA officials filed a complaint last fall, alleging Burnett wrote mulitple unauthorized checks to herself beginning in 2014.
Nisqually Valley News reports that Burnett was arrested on felony theft charges, with no bail. Burnett was briefly detained at Thurston County jail, then released on her own recognizance.
Alleged Clearwood Embezzler Arrested on Theft Charges
By Nisqually Valley News Staff
Mar 3, 2020
HOA board discovers that now-deceased treasurer embezzled $40K
The late David Jensen had served 12 years as a municipal judge and 11 years as treasurer of his HOA in the Indian Hills neighborhood.
Soon after his death in February, HOA board members discovered financial irregularities. The HOA asked the local police to investigate, and what they discovered was shocking. The police report reveals that Jensen diverted over $40,000 in checks to his insurance business, Southern Lakes Capitol.
Of course, the criminal investigation ends here, since Jensen is no longer living. The HOA does have the option of filing a civil suit against Jensen’s estate, in an attempt to recover their losses.
But Jensen’s widow says he left her $60,000 in debt. So there’s not much chance of recovering money for the HOA.
Ironically, reports no mention of dishonesty and theft insurance coverage for Indian Hills HOA.
Police say Fontana judge embezzled $40,000 from neighborhood group
Mar 27, 2020 Updated Mar 29, 2020 ♦♦