Yep. Another HOA demanding doggie DNA tests. Please follow me to: NeighborsAtWar.com
Yep. Another HOA demanding doggie DNA tests. Please follow me to: NeighborsAtWar.com
The Georgetown Commons Townhome complex is a cheesy little place. You can buy in for, say, 100,000 or so. But lots of neighbors there are spitting mad at each other during this nice Yuletide Season.
Seems there’s a new rule about decorating for Christmas. Just don’t. Whatever you do, you’re bound to fun afoul of a fascist group of HOA leaders who have some strict new rules about decorations.You can only have one free-standing decoration on a porch or sidewalk. NOTHING in the yard! No Christmas wreath, nothing at all attached in any way to the building itself.
Now, Christmas lights are permitted indoors. But absolutely every decorative light that’s likely to be seen through a window MUST be white. And no decoration of any kind can be placed two weeks before or two weeks after Christmas.
Oh yes, and did I mention the fines? Yup, there’ll be fines. The Eric Rehak family has already rung up more than $500 bucks in fines and the season’s not even half over.
Now, wouldn’t it be fun to have a cheesy little Christmas in cheesy Georgetown Commons?
“Honey, let’s go look at a new townhome in Georgetown Commons in Murrysville, Pennsylvania. Betcha property values will be in the toilet soon. You know we could get a real deal. Honey?”
I really shouldn’t take space on this HOA Hell Blog to comment on the horrific mass murders of small children in Connecticut. But since HOA board meetings have also experienced some mass shootings by deranged homeowners, I do have some observations about the current anti-gun hysteria. I am a supporter of the Second Amendment and the reasoning behind it. And yes, I support any law that would take guns out of the hands of criminals, drug gangs, children, untrained gun owners and the mentally ill.
But consider this: not a single one of the current gun-ban proposals will work. Just last week, an Illinois judge ruled that a gun ban in that state was unconstitutional.
And there is the rub. The U.S. Constitution. If firearms are to be banned the only appropriate way to do so is to change the Constitution. I’m not advocating it. I’m just saying it.
I’m also linking to a related news story that most of America probably missed.
Yes, folks, it’s another million dollar embezzlement from trusting homeowners in California. At least the Feds are finally taking action. A Federal Grand Jury has indicted Chris Barna for stealing $950,000 from Homeowners Associations that once trusted him. Although he hasn’t been convicted yet, I have no problem calling him a dirtbag. Prosecutors say he misappropriated 342 checks, spent the money on nice things for himself, and manipulated the records for M&C Association Management.
He’s currently free on $200,000 bond, which is a crime all by itself. But heck, California is so broke they can’t pay to feed one extra prisoner. And with state finances in such bad shape, does anyone really think Barna will get any kind of prison term? Ah yes, it’ll be a federal prison, not a California prison. But then again, aren’t the Feds about to “go over the financial cliff” in the current parlance?
Mark my words, Barna will get to keep the 950,000 bucks, he’ll get little or no prison time, the court will order restitution, and Barna won’t pay back a dime. The homeowners will be on the hook, though. Each homeowner who lives in a Barna-swindled association will be hit with a special assessment to make up the stolen money. Ain’t California great?
Oh, and I almost forgot. The owner of Barna’s company is Associa. Who or what is Associa? Well, Associa is owned by Texas Senator John Carona. Ask anyone from Texas.
Or better yet, let me link you to Jan Bergemann’s website where he discusses Associa in detail. And God bless you, Jan Bergemann!
It’s not often that the lowly homeowner has much of a chance of getting a fair hearing in court. The vast majority of all rulings are against the homeowner and in favor of the private non-profit corporation. And many’s the judge who’s told a miserable homeowner that he or she should have read his covenants before signing the real estate documents.
Last week’s ruling, though, by the Supreme Court of Virginia was a clarion call to the National Homeowners Association Movement that it can’t stomp on the homeowner’s Constitutional rights forever. Basically the court ruled that the Shadowood Condominium complex in Reston, Virginia cannot assess fines against residents because there was no such permission granted in the development’s master deed. Bam! Pow!
Stone-faced attorneys in Virginia said the ruling will have a profound impact on 10,000 Homeowners Associations across Virginia. It certainly will have a profound impact on lawyers who make a fancy living from dragging homeowners into court over stupid covenant violations.
Just reading about the wrongdoing by certain Shadowood officials over the years is enough to make one weep. Millions of dollars spent on ‘improvements’ with no accounting oversight. Tens of thousands of dollars paid to certain HOA board members for ‘services rendered’. Towing cars right before Thanksgiving. Turning off the heat and air conditioning to ‘punish’ rule-breakers. It’s ugly, and I’ve linked to the Washington Post’s story below.
Law professor Evan McKenzie predicted in his last book, Beyond Privatopia, that Homeowners Associations were going to face a day of reckoning. He was precognizant, a man of real genius.
Folks, the mightiest dam in the world can collapse. The collapse, no matter how large, starts out with a microscopic fissure somewhere.
This dam has not yet collapsed.
But it will.
Ah yes, Good Friends. This is the season where bad neighbors are supposed to join hands, ill will is forgotten and life is reborn. After all, the Christmas holiday theoretically celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the human form of God Almighty. The birth of Jesus and His subsequent ministry changed the world in a mightier way than any other man, religion, idea, or concept in history.
True Christian brotherhood should never have permitted the Crusades, or the enslavement of races, or a host of other things that Mankind has brought upon himself. Belief in Jesus Christ mandates that believers forgive, forget, and make a moral and spiritual change that amounts to a profound rebirth of the inner spirit. True Christian brotherhood also mandates that even non-believers and skeptics be given as much respect, consideration and love as those inside the faith. Christ was inclusive, not exclusionary, and Christ-followers do not have the right to assume themselves better, or wiser, or more blessed than non-believers, or to demand that non-believers change their ways and accept a belief system against their wishes and without question.
Christ-followers make just as many mistakes as those outside the faith, and human conflict doesn’t vanish simply because someone wishes another “Merry Christmas.” No, strife goes on, and will always go on because all men and women, including Christians, are imperfect.
This blog is usually about that odd American institution known as Homeowners Associations, an invention originally devised to keep blacks, Orientals and Jews out of white neighborhoods. Doesn’t sound very ‘christian’, does it?
Some believers like to play the WWJD game when confronted with a controversial and puzzling life situation. WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? Trying to understand the life and ministry of Jesus, in light of a given current controversy, which side would this incredible figure in history take?
For example, WWJD in a neighborhood where widows have their homes foreclosed upon when money is short and the HOA dues are late? WWJD in a neighborhood where a child with Down’s Syndrome is forbidden from playing outside because the HOA won’t permit a porch enclosure to keep the child from wandering into the street? WWJD with a neighborhood where Negroes are subtlely steered by Realtors away from Caucasian enclaves? WWJD with a Homeowners Association that threatened to sue, seize and auction off a home where a child used firewood and branches to set up a temporary kids’ fort, or where a grandmother was told to face a lawsuit because her daughter’s backyard playhouse was pink instead of beige?
And what about neighborhoods that sue to force homeowners to remove Christmas lights that are set up to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ?
That last question is actually pretty easy to answer. Jesus was not a maniacal egotist. He would never have demanded that humans set up displays to celebrate his birth. He would have preferred that warring neighbors just find a way to treat each other with love and respect, lights or no lights.
Ward Lucas, author of:
Neighbors At War! The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association
Since I’ve covered chicken wars in the past, I figured I’d link the latest pertinent news story. One of my neighbors has a chicken coop. Never in a million years would I complain. But I have to confess to having accepted some eggs in the past.