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Tag Archives: HOA Blogs
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!
Hallelujah! It took years, but members of the Sunchase Condominiums in North Austin have decided to quit being stupid. Sunchase homeowners have been paying dues for years, but their HOA board and the property manager, Nancy Thompson, refused to show them the books! Last time I looked, Texas law mandated that HOA members be allowed to see where their dues are going.
Homeowners have poured more than a million dollars down a black hole that hasn’t been audited in more than five years. Readers of this blog know that I’ve got a very low tolerance for the stench rising from tens of thousands of HOAs in almost identical situations. And Sunchase stinks to high heaven!
Investigative reporters from KXAN followed the skanky trail behind the property manager and found that it leads to some other HOAs in Austin where large sums of money vanished like some magic trick at Circus Circus. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of checks have been written to various members of Nancy Thompson’s family. Damn, those no-bid contracts sure are profitable.
Someone at Sunchase should consider calling the huge FBI unit that’s rooting out identical corruption in Las Vegas.
BTW, great investigative work by reporter Chris Willis and KXAN, Austin!
How could I live if I didn’t occasionally run across these stories and have the ability to mock them?
But God is good, and He sends me lots of links.
The Massapequa Park Village Board has decided that unmowed lawns are more of a safety hazard than letting child rapists roam the streets.
That’s right, folks. Let your grass grow an inch longer than your neighbors, and you could soon be slapped with a 10,000 dollar fine. Let’s spell that out, so there’s no mistake about the zeroes: A TEN THOUSAND DOLLAR FINE.
Sex offenders usually get off with a far lesser sentence than that.
But in the hoity toity village of Massaqua Park, New York the ten thousand dollar law apparently passes muster.
Massaqua Park. A new reason not to live there. Stick with my Colorado double-wide. Be grateful.
Yep, I know that’s an insect, an annoying little insect. Wikipedia says katydids disguise themselves brilliantly as dead rotting leaves complete with holes in them.
I do strain for metaphors once in a while, but an HOA manager in Katy, Texas, disguised himself as a worthless piece of dead, rotting debris when he decided to steal a million dollars from his neighbors. 34 year old Taggert Mayfield pleaded guilty to money laundering, scoffing at his fiduciary dutues, and bald-faced theft from homeowners who profoundly trusted him.
Many of those homeowners were elderly and had saved all their lives to buy their retirement homes. Mayfield, who owned Arrow Management Company did lots of business in Fort Bend andHarris Counties. An Assistant D.A. says Mayfield was really “living the dream,” as a parasite sucking the life blood out of his neighbors’ financial dreams. He devestated a number of helpless homeowners, who will never again see the American HOA movement the way they once did.
Don’t think for a second, though, that Mayfield is alone. And don’t think that Las Vegas homeowners are alone as they struggle to recuperate from a hundred million dollar swindle the feds are still investigating in Nevada. No, folks, this kind of raw theft is going on in cities across the country. When an HOA demands total trust but refuses to install any safety checks, the HOA board officers are absolutely as guilty as the embezzlers. When lawyers are hired to suppress any protests by suffering homeowners, there’s something evil going on beneath the surface.
Just check it out.
You don’t hear many stories about HOA nightmares in Oregon and Washington. Well, folks, that’s changing.
Here’s a story that claims 31 Homeowners Associations in Oregon were ripped off by their management company. Homeowners are facing huge special assessments to make up for the loss. The management company employee embezzled up to two million dollars. HOAs from Portland to Forest Grove are struggling under the weight of the financial disaster.
Stunned homeowners were heard saying, “Gosh, you just don’t hear about this kind of thing happening.” To which our only comment should be “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!”
But heck, lets unload some more comments. The victim HOAs in Oregon are the rule, NOT the exception. HOA embezzlement by board officers and management companies may be the most underreported financial crime in America. One problem is that embezzlements embarrass Homeowner Associations. They do everything in their power to cover them up. It’s hard to sell homes in a neighborhood that has a track record for ripping off the homeowners.
Second, if you’re an HOA president or treasurer there are amazing ways of stealing from your neighbors so they never actually know they’ve been robbed. Hmmm, if there’s enough interest, I might even create a list of 101 ways to steal HOA funds and not get caught. I’d hate to further educate the bad guys, but it might provide some important information for future victims.
Last, it’s my belief, based on some pretty good evidence, that the vast majority of Homeowner Associations in America have already lost money to HOA corruption. That’s what the FBI is discovering in the massive federal investigation of HOAs in Las Vegas.
Although life in some HOAs is rather pleasant, each homeowner may as well have a huge bull’s eye tattooed on his or her backside. To quote a famous Gary Larson “Far Side” cartoon character, “Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.”
BTW, the link below contains the whole story on the Oregon theft, along with the 31 HOAs that got ripped off. Good reporting by Mara Stine and Jim Clark of the Gresham Outlook. Now, if they’d just expand their investigation to the rest of the Pacific Northwest!
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.