Author Archives: Beanie

TEXAS – Plan to convert Sharpstown association to HOA ‘causing a lot of division’

Plan to convert Sharpstown association to HOA ‘causing a lot of division’

R.A. Schuetz

 March 16, 2020 Updated: March 16, 2020 6:53 a.m.

Brenda Harris couldn’t believe her eyes.

She had heard that the civic association in Sharpstown, the west Houston neighborhood where she had grown up and now owns home, was thinking of updating its subdivision rules, but she hadn’t given the matter much thought. Then a neighbor began posting the proposed updates, paragraph by paragraph, on a social media platform called Nextdoor. She called over her husband to take a look.

The new rules would convert the local civic association, a group with voluntary dues-paying membership and limited legal powers, to a homeowners association with the authority to impose mandatory assessments and foreclose on homes.

“I just think it’s wrong,” Harris said. “Community is not about pushing people out of their homes. It’s not about threatening people, twisting arms.”

While HOAs have proliferated in recent decades, they’re generally put in place when a neighborhood is developed, meaning homeowners agree to the arrangement when they buy. And so the Sharpstown Civic Association’s unusual proposal to convert to an HOA 65 years after the neighborhood was founded has roiled the community.

The plan has pitted those who see a more powerful way to ensure the upkeep of homes and raise funds for security to restore the neighborhood’s appeal, alleviate the area’s reputation for crime and, in the process, boost property values against those who fear such tools could ultimately displace them.

Neighborhood divided

Membership in the civic association, which pays for enforcement of deed restrictions, private security patrols and a Fourth of July fireworks display, among other services, is currently voluntary, and for years only a quarter of the roughly 6,800 households have chosen to join. They pay dues, currently $250 a year, that benefit the entire neighborhood.

“It is time for all homeowners to participate and pay their $250 per year,” the civic association wrote in its September newsletter.  Read more:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Plan-to-convert-Sharpstown-association-to-HOA-15129501.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=HC_DailyHeadlines&utm_term=news&utm_content=headlines#

Pennsylvania – Police say this man stole more than $1 million from suburban homeowners associations. Now he faces new charges

Police say this man stole more than $1 million from suburban homeowners associations. Now, he faces new charges
Article Courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer
By Vinny Vella
Published March 7, 2019
 A Chester County man facing trial for allegedly embezzling money from multiple homeowners associations in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania has been arrested again, accused of running the same scheme at additional locations.

William Huyler III, 41, was arrested late Wednesday and charged with theft, forgery, and related offenses. He was released on $250,000 unsecured bail, and waived his preliminary hearing. Huyler was expected to go to trial Tuesday in West Chester on his previous charges, but that case was continued because of his latest arrest.

Huyler now is accused of stealing more than $1.5 million from multiple condominium associations in the region, according to Chester County District Attorney Deborah Ryan.

“Our office will continue to investigate any allegations of theft and unlawful activities until we are satisfied that we have uncovered any potential victims,” Ryan said. “The defendant betrayed the trust of these victims for his financial advantage and must be held accountable.”

Huyler’s attorney, Lee Ciccarelli, did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday. Previously, Ciccarelli said Huyler was taking the allegations “very seriously.”

Investigators said Huyler was contracted by homeowners associations in Exton, Marlton, and Glassboro, and Kent County, Del., to manage their business accounts between January 2017 and January 2018. Over the course of that year, Huyler used “multiple methods of deception” to steal more than $240,000, Ryan said.  Read More:

http://www.ccfj.net/HOAPAStole1Mill$.html

NATIONAL – Taking the Golf out of Golf Communities

The New York Times: Taking the Golf out of Golf Communities
Around the country, planned developments are adapting and reinventing in order to appeal to a wider range of buyers

By Steven Kurutz

March 6, 2020

This article is part of our International Homes special section, which takes a look at homes and golf, from planned communities and sustainability to course designers and where they live.

MacDonald Highlands is a master-planned community of less than 1,000 units in Henderson, Nev., a wealthy suburb of Las Vegas within squinting distance of the Strip. For years, its main selling point was DragonRidge Country Club, a private 18-hole golf course sculpted out of the desert foothills, with emerald fairways that wind past multi-million-dollar homes.

But lately, the property’s owner, Rich MacDonald, has had more on his mind than golf. Mr. MacDonald opened the club in 2001, sold it in 2014 and bought it back in 2016. When he did, he said: “I wanted to make sure we have the equivalent of a cruise director. Someone who does fun things, interesting events. We’ve had to adapt quite a bit because the social aspect seems to be the main focus for new residents.”

At existing golf communities around the country, a similar story of adaptation and reinvention is playing out.  Read more:


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/automobiles/golf-communities-reinventing-adapting.html?action=click&module=Features&pgtype=Homepage

FLORIDA – Gov. DeSantis signs bill that bans HOA restrictions on police vehicles

Gov. DeSantis signs bill that bans HOA restrictions on police vehicles
Article Courtesy of ABC Action News
By Heather Leigh
Published February 24, 2020

 CLEARWATER — Law enforcement officers in Florida are now allowed to park their work vehicles in their driveways, despite what HOA has to say about it.
 On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed S.B. 476 — the law enforcement vehicles law — which protects law enforcement officers from being told by their HOA they can’t park their work vehicles in their own driveways.

This comes after ABC Action News reported the story back in August of 2019.

Holiday Isles Management is the company that manages the HOA. They told ABC Action News in October 2019 the company can make recommendations and consult for the HOA, but they say final decisions lie with the HOA’s board.

The HOA of Eastlake Woodlands sent the Clearwater police officer and her husband a letter that threatened them with violation costs if they didn’t stop parking a marked police cruiser in their driveway.

The family told the HOA they were grandfathered in by a former board president but the HOA did not recognize that letter at first. After ABC Action News reported on the story twice, the HOA changed its tune and decided to honor the grandfather letter but told the family if they sell the house, they must inform the next owners of the HOA rules.

“My gut reaction was ‘this can’t be real, this flies in the face of common sense,’” Chris Sprowls, a House Rep. for District 65, previously told ABC Action News.

Sprowls posted about it to Facebook and linked our article saying it’s time to clarify the law. Ed Hooper, State Senator in District 60, agreed.Read more:
http://www.ccfj.net/LEGSESS20SB476Law.html

FLORIDA – A vet put a flag on his porch 7 years ago – he’s still in court for it today


connectingvets.radio.com: A vet put a flag on his porch 7 years ago — he’s still in court for it today

FEBRUARY 21, 2020 – 1:51 PM

ELIZABETH HOWE

It’s been seven years since Air Force veteran Larry Murphree put an American flag in a flower pot on his porch — he’s still appearing in court over the issue today. “I took a small 4-inch by 6-inch flag and put it in my flower pot on the front porch. I was in a condo complex, but we could do that no problem,” Murphree said. At least he thought he could.

“I got a violation letter from the HOA that the American flag was an unauthorized object. And I lost it.”The homeowner’s association (HOA) fined him $100 each day the flag was in the pot, which eventually ran up $1,000 in fees. So, Murphree enlisted the help of lawyer Gust Sarris, who filed a lawsuit in federal court. Sarris says the HOA settled in 2012 and the two sides agreed that the flag could fly. But the fight didn’t end there.

“Two weeks later they implemented new rules about where you could put a flag and what you could put in a flower pot. Obviously, my flag didn’t make the cut,” Murphree said. “They decided they weren’t going to regulate flags, but flowerpots,” Sarris said. “Some people call this the ‘Larry Law.’” For years, the violation notices have continued — and the HOA has expanded the fight beyond just the flag. Once the HOA sent a violation because the lights wrapped around his outside tree were solar-powered when the HOA requires them to be battery-operated. Another time, they complained that the lights on his bushes were too bright, and cited Murphree once again because his car was not parked directly in front of his garage door. “It’s been seven years. It’s gone on and on. We’ve been to county court, state court, circuit court, federal court. It’s a cash cow for the law firm. But there’s no end to it,” Murphree said.   Read more:
https://connectingvets.radio.com/articles/veteran-fighting-hoa-over-his-porch-flag-still-in-court

FLORIDA – Elderly blind man says homeowner’s association fined him $2,020 for weeds in his yard

WFTV9:  Elderly blind man says homeowner’s association fined him $2,020 for weeds in his yard


February 14, 2020

Jose Torres is 79 years old and legally blind. He faced $2,200 in homeowner association fines for weeds.“I don’t understand what they’re doing. I don’t understand,” Jose Torres said.

Jose Torres relies on friends to read his mail. He found out last May that the Chickasaw Trails Homeowners Association fined him $184 because his yard had more weeds than grass. His friend, Dorothy Torres, sent the HOA a letter last May after reading the notice, explaining his disability and asking the HOA to include her on all correspondence.

She said the association attorney ignored her.

“You didn’t even make an attempt to respond to the letter and say we’re not authorized to talk to you,” Dorothy Torres said.

Eight months later, Dorothy Torres said the association’s attorney went to court claiming Jose Torres refused to mediate rules violations and he faced fines and legal fees totaling more than $2,200.

“I find that unethical, unprofessional and an abuse of seniors,” Dorothy Torres said.

The family contacted Action 9’s Todd Ulrich.  Read more:

https://www.wftv.com/news/action9/elderly-blind-man-says-homeowners-association-ran-up-2000-fines/UCUD6LBKLZAQFJWNQ7Y6SHRC5I/

FLORIDA – $400K reportedly embezzled from PCB condominium

CCFJ.Net:  $400K reportedly embezzled from PCB condominium

Article Courtesy of  My Panhandle
By Karla Tucker 
 Published February 4, 2020

  PANAMA CITY BEACH — A Panama City Beach woman is facing multiple charges after deputies say she embezzled more than $400,000 dollars from a Horizon South Condominiums Homeowners Association.

Cynthia Hayes, 55, reportedly stole the money while working as a bookkeeper for the resort.

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office started its investigation at the beginning of 2019 after reports from several homeowner association members, deputies say.

News 13 spoke with Sergeant Stephen Rhinehart on Friday morning about the investigation he says that dates back to 2012 or 2013.

He says Hayes was terminated from her position after the investigation started.

“From that point on, they had a forensic audit conducted on all their accounts because the homeowners association is a whole giant entity and then it’s got a lot of small entities inside of so they had to go through everything throughout the entire HOA bank accounts to figure out exactly what was going on,” Rhinehart said.

Rhinehart says the search had to be extra thorough due to the level of access Hayes had.“She was the bookkeeper and had access to all the funds, dozens of bank accounts involved so she had taken out credit cards, she had taken out loans, moved money from accounts in people’s names.”While the amount of money reportedly stolen was significant, Rhinehart says Hayes used it for day to day expenses.  Read more:

http://www.ccfj.net/HOAFL$400KEmb.html

FLORIDA – Manager Stole Hundreds of Thousands from Sunny Isles Beach Condos: Cops

NBCMiami.com: Manager Stole Hundreds of Thousands from Sunny Isles Beach Condos:  Cops


January 28, 2020  

A property manager for two Sunny Isles Beach condominiums is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from condo boards that was spent on gambling at a local casino, authorities said.Georgina Pineda, 56, was arrested back in November on a first-degree grand theft charge, and was arrested again on Monday on a similar charge, according to jail records and arrest reports.According to the reports, Pineda had worked as the property manager at the Eden Roc Condominium on N. Bay Road, as well as a condo association manager at the King David Condo on Atlantic Boulevard.

While working at the Eden Roc, Pineda had access to the condo’s four bank accounts. The condo board president said he had continually requested a full accounting of board’s operating funds and Pineda made excuses until he went to the bank himself and discovered that hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds had been depleted, the reports said.When the King David did a financial audit of their accounts, it was discovered that between $140,000 and $400,000 in condo funds had been embezzled by Pineda using electronic fund transfers and debit card withdrawals at Miccosukee Gaming and Resort, the reports said.Pineda even transferred bank funds from an Eden Roc account into the King David’s account “and then emptied those accounts as part of the scheme,” the reports said.Pineda remained held on $20,000 bond Tuesday, jail records showed. Attorney information wasn’t available.  Read:

https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/manager-stole-hundreds-of-thousands-from-sunny-isles-beach-condos-cops/2182987/

ARIZONA – HOA orders teen out of grandmother’s 55 and over community after both his parents die

ABC ACTION NEWS: HOA orders teen out of grandmother’s 55 and over community after both his parents die


 January 16, 2020

Prescott, Arizona (WPVI) — A story is gaining a lot of reaction in Arizona after a homeowners association forced a family to move because of who was living there.

Melodie Passmore lives in a 55 and over community in Prescott, Arizona where the rules dictate no children are allowed to reside.

When Melodie’s 15-year-old grandson moved in with them, she knew it was a violation, but she was still shocked to get a letter from the HOA ordering him or them to move out.

Her grandson Collin had been tragically orphaned by the sudden death of both of his parents.

The HOA told them it had to balance the interests of all parties not just the Passmores.

Although, after the story went viral, the HOA changed its tune.

They are now saying they are working with the family to resolve the living situation.  Read:

https://6abc.com/5856444/

NEVADA- Homeowner beats HOA in fight that went to Nevada Supreme Court

KTNV-13:  Homeowner beats HOA in fight that went to Nevada Supreme Court

By: Darcy Spears

January 13, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Alongside the American flag and patriotic bunting, a banner unfurls across the roof-line of Jonathan Friedrich’s home.

“Somebody finally has to stand up against these HOAs,” said Friedrich’s attorney Joel Hansen. “He fought hard for what was right. For truth, justice and the American way!”

The banner proclaiming the Rancho Bel Air HOA is guilty of fraud proves Friedrich is not one to shy away from a fight.

Tune in to 13 Action News at 11 p.m. on Jan. 13 for part 2 of the investigation. Darcy Spears’ looks into on the cost of fighting for your rights.

“When you’re right, you’re right!” said Friedrich. “It’s that simple.”In addition to the banner, there are a couple of other new residents in Friedrich’s front yard: large metal birds painted pink. The pink flamingo is an iconic anti-HOA symbol.  Read more:
https://www.ktnv.com/13-investigates/homeowner-beats-hoa-in-fight-that-went-to-nevada-supreme-court