Monday, June 25, 2012
Help Me Howard: Condo--No Proof
Say condo association and some people start to curse under their breath. One families complaint about their board are amazing, accused of something and the board refuses to show them the proof. Is that legal? Its why we bring in Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser
WSVN -- If you live in a condo it can be great unless you live in the dark shadows of one of those meddlesome condo boards.
Christina Cook: "I like living here. I don't like living under the dictatorship of the board president, a lot of us don't."
Christina has lived at Green Glades Condos for 17 years, raising her four children here. But now she has had enough.
Christina Cook: "I mean its like I was there was a judge, jury and executioner."
Christina got a letter from Kaye and Bender, the association's law firm telling her she had to pay $205 because her 16-year-old daughter rode a bicycle near the pool.
Christina Cook: "We don't own a bike, we don't have a bike."
Nicole says didn't ride someone else's bike. Didn't ride any bike near the pool.
Nicole Cook: "I don't ride bikes. I broke my toe riding a bike so I'm afraid to ride them."
Christina knew it was a mistake so she called the condo management company.
Christina Cook: "And I want to dispute it and I was told I was not allowed to dispute."
The boards representative told her they had witnesses who saw her daughter on a bike. Christina asked for their names.
Christina Cook: "And they told me that they are not going to provide proof."
The association has surveillance cameras near the pool. Christina asked to see the video of her daughter on a bike, the association said no.
Christina Cook: "No right to dispute if they said you did it, you did it."
Christina called the state of Florida's condo onbudsman who suggested she explain the mess to a board member. She did.
Christina Cook: "I went to her house, who is a friend of mine and she kissed and hugged me hello and we talked about our kids."
A couple of days later, Christina got another letter from the boards...love to write letters lawyer.
Christina Cook: "For another $205 that I'm not allowed to speak to one board member ever, contact them, speak to them, approach them, knock on their door or call them."
Christina was dumbfounded.
Christina Cook: "I thought I lived in the United States and I had the freedom of speech."
Christina went to a board meeting to try to explain what was going on.
Christina Cook: "So I really don't have the right to dispute."
Board Meeting: "No, no."
So to battle back she called Help me Howard to ask a simple question. Can a board refuse to show you to show you proof of a violation and block you from talking to a board member?
Howard Finkelstein: "This is easy no and no. This is America if you accuse someone of something you have to show the proof, and in American that document called the Constitution. Says you have a right to speak to anyone doesn't matter what a condo lawyer says."
We contacted the management company and they told us to contact the associations attorney.
A representative at Kaye and Binder declined to comment.
Christina's only option, go to court. Karen Sullivan has agreed to represent her.
Karen M. Sullivan: "Court or DBPR arbitration by basically a legal proceeding. Its either go forward or back down."
Sullivan has gathered all the associations relevant documents and found many other people have also complained about Green Glades and Sullivan has a suggestion for them.
Karen M. Sullivan: "There is an other alternative is to gather a recall petition to recall the directors who are being unreasonable in the way that their administering this association."
Christina wont argue with that cause her entire family is tired of some things their board is doing.
Nicole Cook: "I think its stupid. I think they need to check their facts."
Patrick Fraser: "And according to the Green Glades Condo, records people have had to pay for things like a child bringing a doll to the pool, for kids playing on the grass. Some serious violations."
A board becoming a bore to you? Ready to shine a light on them? No need to pool your money contact us. No fine from us, but helping is fine with.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: email@example.com (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org