Tag Archives: HOA Nightmare Stories

Massive HOA Fraud Discovered in Oregon

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!

http://portlandtribune.com/news/print_story.php?story_id=134013470305516200

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Holy Cow! A Reason to Move to Texas!

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.

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=8694677HYPERLINK “/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=8370040”

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Two Important Updates to our List of Friends in Texas

Harvella Jones, a real champion in the struggle for homeowners’ rights, has a new website. It’s at:

         http://thenationalhomeownersadvocategroup.com/

Second, independent film maker Rodney Gray is working on a documentary, The HOAx. This kind of project is extremely expensive to produce, but we’d like to help him as much as we can A film like this can be an incredible catalyst for a movement that depends on mass education. On this site you can see his trailer, and help him raise the needed funds. If everyone in the fight would link to his website, his fund raising will be almost self-working.

               www.indiegogo.com/thehoaxfilm

We are growing. You can tell that from the attacks by HOA industry insiders who refer to us as “whiners.” No, we’re not whiners.  We’re awakened.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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News from the Peoples’ Republik of North Karolina

The Oakhurst Homeowners Association says it’s going to start fining a local veteran $100 a day, because he doesn’t understand his responsibilities as a member of the Association.

Before buying his home in Cornelius, John Dillon was a proud member of the U.S. Marine Corps. So from his porch each day he flies two flags, the Red, White and Blue, and the Marine Corps flag.

“I served under these flags. They’re all about fighting for our freedoms as Americans.”

The Board of Directors sees it differently. They sent a letter to order their removal. The penalty, $3000 a month is a huge one. But unless Dillon has a change of heart, this Association has some even worse news for him. It plans on hiring lawyers. It plans on charging Dillon for those lawyers. It plans on hiring debt collectors. If that fails, it plans on filing a lien on Dillon’s home and selling it at auction to the lowest bidder. Very few homeowners win these fights. Very, very few.

Cornelius man fighting HOA to keep flying American, Marine flag – News14.com

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Calling All Lawyers! “Ready, Set, Sue!”

Now that I’m out of mainstream journalism, I can afford to occasionally get my hackles up at the kinds of things written by other journalists. Indeed, most reporters don’t write their own headlines, but this one got my goat. It was an article in Main Street, a real estate magazine, which discussed the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida. The headline said, “Homeowners Association Could be “Eden” of Liabilities.

The headline writer was correct, of course. And the reporter, Jeff Brown, was also correct in saying that questions about legal liabilities could “wreck your worry-free Eden.”

This blogger has long been saying that the scariest HOA in America is YOURS! Why? Because the slightest slip and fall at the neighborhood pool, or the workman who cuts his finger mowing grass at the front entrance, now has unrestricted access to the pocketbooks, bank accounts and home equity of every single person who owns a home in the community. By joining “the club,” or the HOA, you have essentially pooled all of your net worth with your neighbors, thereby creating an irresistible deep pocket to which the tort industry just hasn’t paid much attention in previous years.

But with lawyers being graduated at the rate of 104,000 a year, and the with law firms clogged with too many lawyers and not enough lawsuits, there’s going to be a huge upsurge in lawsuits against this previously untapped “resource.”

You can buy liability insurance, of course, but you can never buy enough insurance to dig your way out of the kinds of jury verdicts that tort lawyers like, John Edwards, for example, are able to wreak out of a dysfunctional court system.

The HOA system is broken. The tort system is corrupted. On this entire Earth could you find any uglier twin sisters than that?

http://www.mainstreet.com/print/26716Posted

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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I’m in Love with Darcy Spears!

Darcy, you have done it again! You have located and exposed one of the worst HOA presidents in the country. I sincerely hope you’re winning a whole series of Emmy Awards for your HOA Hall of Shame feature on KTNV-TV in Las Vegas. Since I retired from the TV business four years ago I don’t have a chance to go back and emulate your reporting. But dang! Keep it up, girl!

For those not familiar with Darcy’s work, you owe it to yourselves to click on the link below. With perfect manners and charm, she picks out these slugs and losers and shows the world what life in an HOA can become. With the rampant organized corruption in Las Vegas homeowner associations, with the suicides that really don’t look like suicides, with the numbers of people who’ve seen their home values plummet up to 90%, you’ve gotta believe there’s a lot more subject matter for the HOA Hall of Shame series.

The FBI investigation in Las Vegas is going far too slowly. The FBI usually moves with lightning speed, but for some reason this investigation is just dragging. Maybe some of you Vegas homeowners who’ve lost your shirts to the Quon/Amesbury organized crime ring ought to be turning up the heat. Where are the judges and state legislators who were supposed to be indicted? How high up the political ladder does this corruption go?

Finally, when is the FBI going to take its new knowledge of HOA corruption and start hitting other cities? There’s not a city in the country that’s immune from the kind of crookedness the feds have uncovered in Las Vegas. Embezzlement, rampant racism, bribery, fixed court cases, theft, animal poisoning, vandalism, laundered money, death threats, murder: every one of those crimes is going on across America as gated neighborhoods continue to fester.

Now that the Internet has become the “Fifth Estate,” news about this scandal is finally leaking past the traditional media and making its way out to the public. Skeptical? That’s OK, I like skeptics. But just start Googling and the number of HOA crimes might begin to look a little scary to you.

By the way, here’s Darcy’s link:

http://www.ktnv.com/news/local/152681415.html

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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What Went Down In Wisconsin

With what went down in Wisconsin on June 5th, one blogger who looks more and more precognizant is the webmaster behind RightToOwn.org.

A sea change is coming; at some point Americans are going to begin realizing that one of the biggest scams in history has been perpetrated against the typical suburban homeowner.  This societal shift will fundamentally change the way people look at the dollars they’ve poured into their investment homes.

One of the safest investments, we’ve always been told, is the money we put into our own homes. Home values will always go up, we’ve heard. You just can’t lose the money you’ve invested in your personal home. But homeowner ownership profits are just about as ephemeral as profits bet on the horses or the craps tables in Las Vegas. We just never believed it.

We’re all quickly learning that a single change in law or HOA covenants can determine whether or not all that equity in your home is worthless or not.

RightToOwn.org has a slightly different take as he compares the wild parallels between Right To Work states and the mystical Right to Own Your Own Home states. In Right To Work states, you make a voluntary choice whether to become members of an employment union or not.

In Right to Own States (which don’t really exist), you might get to voluntarily choose whether to join the local Homeowner Association. The nasty secret, of course, is the fact that if you make a decision to join the local HOA then you don’t really own anything at all. Your neighbors essentially own what you have. It’s insidious, and confusing enough for most homeowners who don’t understand the puzzle palace they’re entering.

When you agree to abide by an HOA’s covenants, you give away part of your soul on a vague promise that your property values will always be protected. The bottom line is that they are not protected.

Back to the Wisconsin (a non-right-to-work state), public employees did not have a choice whether to join a union. Just like an HOA, membership was mandatory. As a result, union leaders tried to overreach at the expense of all other Wisconsin workers. As we all saw in the election, government acted and a major of voters upheld its actions.  Right or wrong, the net salaries of all public service employees will soon be coming down. And it could spell the doom of public employee unions across the country.

In the housing sector, on the other hand, there may be a similar awakening at some point as Homeowners suddenly realize that the HOA industry, the lawyers, the managers, the hangers on are also overreaching. A growing movement is beginning to balk at the micromanaging, the mismanagement and abuse that are increasingly destroying access to the “American Dream.”

For a more coherent understanding, explore: http://www.righttoown.org/

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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