Category Archives: Uncategorized
ACLU Challenges Subdivision Rules Limiting Freedom of Speech
by Special to the Post |
Feb 24, 2021
Pagoda Daily Post| News/Politics
ACLU of Colorado filed suit this week in federal court to challenge a subdivision’s rules that arbitrarily prohibit residents from displaying certain flags and signs on their own property.
David Pendery, the ACLU’s client, wishes to display a Pride flag at his home to convey solidarity with LGBTQ+ families like his. He also wants to post a “We believe …” sign to encourage inclusivity and kindness. But both signs are prohibited by the rules of the Whispering Pines Metropolitan District #1 (Metro District), where Mr. Pendery lives in Arapahoe County. “Mr. Pendery has a constitutional right to fly a Pride flag and to post a social justice sign on his own property,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director. “The Metro District’s rules, which carry the force of law in the Whispering Pines subdivision, violate the First Amendment and the Colorado Constitution’s guarantee of free expression.
”When Mr. Pendery displayed a Pride flag last summer, he received a violation letter from the Metro District, which has the power to impose fines and place liens on the homes of non-complying residents. The Metro District subsequently granted approval for Mr. Pendery’s Pride flag, but specified that this “approval” would expire on December 31, 2020. The Metro District warned that Mr. Pendery was required to re-apply for “approval” if he wished to fly the flag in 2021.
The Metro District’s rules allow certain flags but prohibit others, like Mr. Pendery’s Pride flag, unless and until advance approval is obtained from the Metro District’s Design Review Committee. Similar rules allow signs with certain messages, but other signs, like the “We believe …” sign Mr. Pendery wants to post, are prohibited without advance approval. The Metro District has complete discretion over whether to grant or deny approval. There are no written guidelines to prevent censorship on the basis of the subject or viewpoint that the flag or sign communicates. Read more: ACLU Challenges Subdivision Rules Limiting Freedom of Speech | Pagosa Daily Post News Events & Video for Pagosa Springs Colorado
WFTV.COM – Central Florida couple threatened with foreclosure for debt they didn’t owe
By: Todd Ulrich, WFTV.com
Updated: February 16, 2021 – 4:35 AM
It’s one of the most extreme home owner association nightmares Action 9 has seen.A Central Florida couple claims their homeowner’s association threatened to foreclose on their house for a debt they did not owe. But these homeowners fought to save their home of 26 years, and now the HOA must pay them $33,000.
Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich reveals how this family turned the tables, and how you can protect yourself. Watch this story Monday at 5 p.m. on Channel 9 Eyewitness News. Read more:
Texas HOA’s: what’s wrong with this picture?
What is it about “freedom-loving” Texans that tolerates the covenants, conditions, and restrictions of Home Owners Associations (HOA’s)?
HOA’s occupy an odd public-private fusion, with some aspects being similar to special districts such as being required to respond to Open Records Requests [Reference 1], while in other ways being regarded private property with the privacy protections accorded [Reference 2].So unless a lawsuit is filed, how can HOA residents determine that their HOA, and more importantly the management company, is actually following the law? What government entity oversees them and, for example, has the power to inspect that they actually counted the ballots in an election properly? Read more:
cbsaustin.com: Cedar Park family distressed after HOA fines turn into lawsuit, possible foreclosure
by Melanie Torre
Monday, November 23rd 2020
Some Central Texas homeowners are facing lawsuits and potential foreclosures brought on by their Home Owners Associations during the pandemic.
“Everybody has their challenges,” says Soc Lindholm. He and his wife, Misty Lindholm, moved to the Highlands at Gann Ranch in Cedar Park 16 years ago. They’ve had their ups and downs with the HOA primarily due to landscaping violations, according to the Lindholms. In June the family received a $1,505 bill for several past-due fines and fees including landscaping violations and trash bins. The violations dated back to last year but were news to them.
“This is the one piece of mail we got,” Misty says showing the bill to the camera while speaking with CBS Austin over Zoom. “Up until then we had paid all of our dues. No emails. No phone calls. No nothing,” she says.
In the days that followed, Misty’s grandmother died and she left town to be with family. Shortly after that the couple started virtual school for their two special needs students. Both she – a breast cancer survivor with an auto immune disorder– and Soc—who has lung damage– were out of work before the pandemic started.
“I know that maybe it seems like that was enough time to take care of that, but for us right now it obviously wasn’t,” Misty explains.
In early November Misty’s dad died from COVID. That was the same week her family was served with a lawsuit from their HOA.
“There’s so much going on that’s so heartbreaking and then we get hit with this,” says Soc. The stress of the lawsuit has caused additional anxiety for the family and health complications for Soc, who according to Misty suffered a vasovagal episode days after CBS Austin first spoke with them.In the days that followed, Misty’s grandmother died and she left town to be with family. Shortly after that the couple started virtual school for their two special needs students. Both she – a breast cancer survivor with an auto immune disorder– and Soc—who has lung damage– were out of work before the pandemic started. Read more:
|Article Courtesy of WKMG Channel 6|
By Adrienne Cutway
Published October 6, 2020
|TITUSVILLE – Over the course of three years, a former homeowners association president stole $20,000 from the community he served and used the money to expand his stamp collection and buy lawn equipment, according to the Titusville Police Department.|
Brett Rowe, 51, was named HOA president of Shady Oaks Pine in 2017 and records show at that time, there was about $21,000 in the HOA’s Bank of America account.
Police said there was about $180 left by the time Rowe left the position and he refused to show other board members receipts to prove where the money had gone.
The new HOA president, who contacted authorities on Sept. 9, said he was able to find proof that Rowe spent $2,000 on medical expenses, made various ATM withdraws, bought $1,000 in stamps for his collection, purchased chain saws and lawn equipment and made purchases at stores and restaurants, according to the affidavit.
Rowe was arrested at his home Thursday on charges of theft over $5,000 and scheming to defraud. Read:
FLORIDA – Residents of a South Florida condo building have a pool problem, and it could take 50 years — yes, 50 years — to fix. Karen Hensel explains in tonight’s 7 Investigates.
The pool at the Maison Grande Condominium on Miami Beach is currently closed for repairs.
|It may even have to be replaced, but once the pool is fixed and filled, the money being sunk into it will not stop because the pool problems here go much deeper.|
Alan DelForn, unit owner: “We’re looking at three generations that are paying for this pool.”
Three generations, or 99 years to be exact.
Part of the monthly maintenance fees for the 502 condo owners here goes to lease their own pool because it’s not actually theirs to begin with and hasn’t been since the building opened in 1971.
Kim Alessi has lived here since 2011.
Kim Alessi, unit owner: “What he did was he sectioned off and kept a portion of the property where the pool was going to be built.”
|In what’s called a recreational lease, the building’s developer retained ownership of the pool and a portion of the deck.|
The condo owners are charged to use it, even when they can’t swim in it.
Kim Alessi: “The pool has been closed since June of 2019, and we still had to pay $75,000 a month for a closed pool that no one can use.” Read more:
PENNSYLVANIA – Civic association head is charged in land theft that rattled South Philly’s Grays Ferry community
Civic association head is charged in land theft that rattled South Philly’s Grays Ferry community
Posted: August 3, 2020
A South Philadelphia man has been arrested on charges that he stole land owned by a neighborhood organization that he helped start decades ago, long before the city’s economic revival made the properties valuable.
Mark Meighan, 60, of Grays Ferry, was charged last week with theft by deception, records tampering, forgery, and other offenses, court filings show.
The Inquirer reported in October that Meighan was said to be under investigation over his handling of seven rowhouse-size parcels on South Dover Street, which he is accused of taking from the Guenther Street Civic Association neighborhood group.
Records show that he had deeded the properties — together worth upward of $300,000, based on other sales in the area — to himself for $1 each in September 2017.
After taking ownership of the parcels, Meighan allegedly continued to collect payments from people who parked at the properties, keeping the cash for himself, according to the warrant for his arrest.
Neighbors told The Inquirer last year that he had also openly discussed selling the properties to a developer or building houses on them himself. Soaring property values in some Philadelphia neighborhoods have made the city an attractive hunting ground for real estate scammers, who in some cases forge deeds to seize ownership of homes and vacant lots they can flip. Read more:
MICHIGAN – Woman says her homeowener’s association is making her take down BLM flag, they say it’s against bylaws
WNEM.COM: Woman says her homeowner’s association is making her take down BLM flag, they say it’s against bylaws
July, 30, 2020
“I’ve lived here for three and a half years, said homeowner Kaila Genovesi. “It’s not my first garden flag. It’s not my only garden flag. Now, all of a sudden, it’s an issue.”Genovesi says she’s being singled out by her homeowner’s association for the Black Lives Matter flag in her front yard.
She says she put it up there to show her support for the movement, but this week she received an email from the homeowner’s association asking her to take it down as it violated their bylaws.
Under the bylaws, signs or flags displayed outside the home are not allowed unless authorized by the association.“It was very discouraging, extremely disheartening that with everything going on in our community right now, that’s the focus of my homeowner’s association,” said Genovesi. Read more:
|Panama City Beach woman allegedly defrauds $230,000 from several condominium associations|
|Article Courtesy of My Panhandle|
By Risdon Bonnell
Published July 20, 2020
PANAMA CITY BEACH — A Panama City Beach woman has been arrested after allegedly being involved in theft from numerous condominiums.The Bay County Sheriff’s Office says they were alerted to the alleged theft back in May, when $230,000 dollars was removed from one local condominium association’s bank account, and deposited into a second association’s account.
The second association began reviewing their bank records and found that money had been removed from their account since at least 2017 by their association manager, Lynn Price, 52.
Deputies say as the investigation progressed, it was discovered this fraud began in 2016 when Price was employed by another condominium management firm and had removed money belonging to that company to at least one other condominium association.
Price was taken to the Bay County Jail on one count of an ongoing scheme to defraud in excess of $50,000, a first-degree felony. Read:
|CCFJ.NET: 4th Cir. Holds Each FDCPA Violation Subject to New Statute of Limitations|
|Article Courtesy of The Consumer Financial Services Blog|
By Maurice Wutscher
Published July 17, 2020
Joining similar rulings by the Eighth and Tenth Circuits, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently held that each violation of the FDCPA gives rise to a separate claim governed by its own statute of limitations period.
On April 16, 2016, the homeowner plaintiffs received a notice from a law firm retained by their homeowners association (HOA) stating the homeowners failed to pay $77.09 in HOA assessments and a demand for $1,000 to satisfy both the HOA assessments and the costs and attorneys’ fees.
The homeowners disputed the debt and mailed a letter to the law firm with copies of cancelled checks. The law firm acknowledged that the disputed payments had been received, but asserted that the homeowners still owed the costs and attorneys’ fees.
The homeowners and law firm exchanged several letters with the homeowners denying making any late payments and the law firm insisting that late fees, costs, interest, and attorneys’ fees were owed.
On May 18, 2016, following another demand for payment, the homeowners delivered a letter to the law firm “requesting that [it] stop contacting us about this claim” and stating that the [homeowners] would consider “any further attempt to collect a debt against us or record a lien on our property [as] harassment[.]”
In January 2017, the homeowner hand-delivered a payment at the annual HOA meeting and was told to leave. The homeowner later received a notice that he had been banned from the HOA’s premises for one year.
In February 2017, the homeowners received another letter from the law firm acknowledging receipt of the January 2017 payment, but noted as outstanding the accumulated fees and costs associated with the original disputed payment from 2016.
On March 10, 2017, the homeowners responded to the February letter, writing that “in our correspondence to you on this matter, we had requested that you stop contacting us about that claim . . . As both my wife and I dispute the debt referenced in your most recent letter, I am now requesting once again that you stop all communications with my wife and myself concerning this debt.” The homeowners received additional correspondence from the law firm on March 14, 2017, including an updated ledger of the homeowners’ account showing that a fee had been added for preparation of the February letter.
In January 2018, the homeowners requested to attend the annual meeting and was told by the law firm that the homeowner would not be allowed to attend, and that “this whole thing would not have happened if you would just pay your bills.”
On Feb. 6, 2018, the homeowners received an updated ledger from the law firm and although this correspondence purported to provide the homeowners with “verification of your account as you requested,” the homeowners deny having made any such request for verification.
On April 5, 2018, the homeowners filed a complaint against the law firm brought under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. In their complaint, the homeowners alleged that the law firm violated various provisions of the FDCPA by engaging in unfair debt collection practices and by improperly communicating with the homeowners after they had disputed the debt and had made a written request that the law firm cease further communications. The law firm responded by seeking dismissal of the complaint as untimely or, in the alternative, for summary judgment.
The trial court granted the law firm’s motion to dismiss the complaint based on the statute of limitations holding that the entire complaint was time-barred because the more recent violations that the homeowners alleged were of the “same type” as other violations that occurred outside the one-year limitations period.
The homeowners appealed.
The sole question on appeal was whether the trial court erred in concluding that all the homeowners’ claims were barred by the FDCPA’s statute of limitations.
The homeowners argued that the trial court erred in dismissing all their claims as time-barred because two of the alleged violations occurred less than one year from the date they filed suit. According to the homeowners, under the language of 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d), a new statute of limitations arose with each “violation” of the FDCPA. Read more: