35 years in the slammer! That’s what a judge handed out to Taggert Mayfield, a property manager who stole about two million dollars from a number of HOAs he managed. Rarely, kind readers, rarely will you ever see this kind of a sentence given to someone who steals from his neighbors. More often, it’s a wrist slap and a restitution order that never gets paid.
But 35 years! Homeowners in Houston ought to be out in the streets celebrating!
The term “Homeowner Association” is almost synonymous with embezzlement. If you spent a month of Sundays on Google you could never track down all the stories of HOA embezzlement. The American HOA system rewards them, its lawyers cavort in the shower of dollars, the property managers take vacations to places most of us will never see. While homeowners pay higher and higher dues, while front entrances decay, and neighborhood swimming pools turn a bilious green, the word “embezzlement” is sort of like an employee benefit. “Help wanted. Property Management Company needs another manager. Free soda, medical marijuana, and all you can skim from the homeowners. People with ethics need not apply.”
35 years! These neighbors, of course, are going to have to pass millions of dollars worth of special assessments which could cost a lot of people their homes. The elderly and the disabled will suffer enormously. It’ll be tough for them to celebrate this judgment. Still, it might be a slight warning to other HOA embezzlers across the country.