Tag Archives: Homeowner Association movement

Tiny Mice Gang Up On Big Rats in California

Homeowners usually get the raw end of the deal when they try to fight the “Bigs” in the HOA industry. Some Homeowners in California are trying to turn that trend around. An HOA in Riverside County has sued three former property managers for “fraud, conspiracy to defraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.”  They had employed the management companies for eight years.

Canyon Lake Association then sued its own law firm, Fiore, Racobs & Powers, accusing them of “fraud and malpractice.” They say a lengthy investigation found “no cash management, no separation of accounting duties, credit card abuse by employees, employee salary increases that were not approved by the board.”

The lawsuit further claims that three HOA managers “created and concealed a secret, systemic pattern of conversion and theft of (HOA) assets and funds…and made representations to the board that were not true and were a cover up designed..to delay discovery of the cover-up.”

By the way, this information comes to us from the CCHAL organization in California. It’s dedicated to helping out the “tiny mice” in the HOA movement, and it’s an outstanding organization that every homeowner should join.

One final thought comes to mind here.  We haven’t heard much from the federal investigators in Las Vegas. We hope the widespread corruption they found in the Vegas HOA industry hasn’t depressed them to the point that they want to throw in the towel. Actually, we hope the opposite is true.  We hope they take a look around the country and discover that the legal scams in Las Vegas are as identical and numerous as the legal scams in Riverside County, and Modesto, and Weld County,  Colorado. and Dallas and Houston and Miami, and North Carolina.

If you don’t think it’s happening in your own community, you are either naive or dumber than a box of rocks. When we signed those CC&Rs, we stepped into an entirely new form of government with no checks and no balances. We essentially told law firms and property managers, “It’s OK to steal from us.” And then we whine when they steal from us. What gives?

Ward Lucas, author of Neighbors At War! The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Some “Inside Dope” on the Las Vegas FBI Investigation

With four decades as an investigative reporter, I can tell you a few things about what’s going on inside the FBI investigation into HOA corruption in Las Vegas.  First, I happen to know that about half the readers of this blog are federal investigators. That’s not ego, it’s just past experience. So, some of this is written for them.

Second, federal agents are extremely worried about the number of indicted suspects who are getting “whacked.” With ten people under indictment, and four of them suddenly dying, the feds know that a large part of their case is going down the tube. For the time being, those are all being called “suicides” for obvious reasons. But no case in FBI history has had forty percent of its indicted suspects die before trial.

It doesn’t take a CSI-head to know why suspects are indicted early. It’s to make them talk. It’s to force them to rat out co-conspirators. Give ‘em a lesser sentence to testify about the scope and breadth of the conspiracy. And for about a month, the feds were on a roll. But then, top figures in the case ended up being beaten, drowned, hanged. By the way, how does a 57 year old attorney (David Amesbury), who’s beaten to a pulp and both his knees shattered by a baseball bat just two ot three months earlier, climb up onto a rafter in the barn and hang himself? Anybody who believes that one desperately needs some psychiatric help.

Anyway, the feds had two dozen other people right on the cusp of agreeing to work out plea deals by testifying against up to a hundred others involved in the Las Vegas HOA scam. Suddenly those swindlers are clamming up. The feds are promising protection, which absolutely cannot be guaranteed.

Reporters have acronyms for contemptible organizations: NASA (Never A Straight Answer), FBI (Famous But Incompetent). And there’s not a doubt some of those organizations have the same contempt for the news media.

But for the feds to salvage this thing they’re going to have to work faster and harder and forget about offering plea deals to get some lesser player to testify against a major figure two years in the future. It’s not going to happen. This spaceship is going to crash.

The very next thing we’re going to see is the Feebies refusing to release any information at all to the public. Remember, this is an embittered public, many of whom have lost their homes and their entire life savings to these HOA scammers. Shutting down all communication about progress of the investigation is a horrible idea. Homeowners are desperate to get some relief.

The best solution? Recognize that the entire Homeowner’s Association Movement is rotten to the core from Miami to Seattle and from San Diego to Maine. Announce to the world that it’s all organized crime. The entire HOA system was designed to allow racketeering. These RICO organizations have to be attacked everywhere. National legislation has to be enacted to take away most HOA powers. Enact a reasonable Homeowners’ Bill of Rights. Take away the ability for any HOA to foreclose. Ensure that every dispute has an entirely independent “judiciary” which will arbitrate away the small disagreements that turn into huge lawsuits. But most of all get the lawyers out of the HOA business. The current structure is just too profitable for them. That’s why so many lawyers are facing indictment in Las Vegas. But this stench is rising not just out of Las Vegas, but from neighborhoods across America. 

End it!

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

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Think Las Vegas HOA Crime is Bad? Try Hawaii!

“Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceedingly small, though with patience He stands waiting with exactness grinds He all.” -Friedrich Von Logau (“Retribution”)

Many of us have dreamed of having that condo on the beach in Hawaii. You know, the one you get to visit a few times a year, the ones where the kids go when they want a break from work.

Now imagine what life is going to be like for folks who live at Ne Nani Kai. Jim and Nancy Bevill, as it’s reported in the Molokai News, have just been awarded 3.87 million dollars. The jury found that the HOA board of directors and its employees have been engaged in a course of racketeering, civil conspiracy, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional stress along with a host of other crimes.

Guess who pays that four million bucks? The Bevill’s neighbors. Guess what happens now? Other HOA members are going to start coming forward and claiming they were victimized by the same kind of HOA thuggery.

Folks, you’ve got to believe that the HOA industry is right on a verge of a moral, emotional and financial collapse. Crimes committed by HOA thugs have been going on for far too long and the civil and legal establishment is starting to recognize it. (Actually, to put it more bluntly, a whole bunch of lawyers have suddenly decided to switch sides, stop defending the national Homeowner Association Movement and search for new profits defending the victims of these crimes.)
As an HOA homeowner you’re a sitting duck, not just for abuse, but for the financial ramifications of HOA abuse handed out to others.

I’ve been right in all my other predictions. I was one of the first to warn people to avoid buying into the Las Vegas market. I warned of Florida, and Texas, and the Carolinas. Now I’m warning about the HOA/condo market in Hawaii.

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

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The Short Sale Trap

For those of you wanting to make a short sale on your house, you’d better keep an eagle eye on your good old Homeowners Association. They’re starting to get pretty crafty in keeping the neighborhood operating budget full.

For homeowners who are suffering through the housing mess and living with underwater mortgages, working out a short sale might help you save some of your retirement nest egg. The banks take a well-deserved loss, but you’re happy because you’ve found a buyer and you’ve escaped your nightmare of a mortgage.

But wait!  Your HOA has superior rights over your bank. If it moves quickly, it can snatch your home and foreclose on it before your short sale can go through. Just about any violation of HOA covenants can make your home a nice grab.  If you were a little behind on dues, if your grass became a little brown during those months you failed to water the lawn, if you got fined for leaving the trash can outside, once you add fines, collection fees, legal fees, late fees and all the other fees that can be conjured up, your HOA can actually claim you owe it tens of thousands of dollars.

Like a rat trap, the HOA springs shut on your pending short sale. You lose, the bank loses, your potential buyer loses.  Ah, but your HOA wins. It gets to put your house on the auction block. Sweet, huh?

Ward Lucas

Author of

Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Jesus Christ, What Happened To Us?

One of the saddest stories out of Washington this Christmas is that Congressmen are forbidden from wishing their constituents “Merry Christmas” if they’re using Congressional franking privileges. In fact, the newest rules accept “Have a happy new year,” but do not permit “Happy New Year!”

It seems the PC crowd doesn’t want tax dollars used for anything that even hints at any connection to religion. The First Amendment doesn’t mandate that life in America be absolutely secular, it simply says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” But 200 years of Supreme Court rulings have decided that the First Amendment doesn’t say what our common sense tells us it does.

Jesus warned his followers that “all men will hate you because of me.” But who knew that such hatred would be so virulent?

And yes, the PC movement has also hog-tied the Homeowner Association movement. Even though HOAs claim they are not government agencies, across the country they are falling in line, banning Christmas lights, religious displays, Mezuzahs, crosses, figurines of Mary.

Most Christians are not offended at Hannukah greetings from Jewish friends, Jews are generally not emotionally shattered if someone wishes them, “Merry Christmas.” Presumably, as other religions are more widely recognized, greetings connected to their own holidays, celebrations and customs will gain additional traction.

But it’s a sad, sad world that doesn’t acknowledge the mysteries and majesty of God.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

No offense.

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

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Homeowner Associations: an International Problem

When critiquing the Homeowner Association movement, most of our attention is directed at problem HOAs in the United States. But the out-of-control HOA board, it seems, is an international problem.

In Dubai, residents of Palm Jumeirah were furioius when their water was cut off for five hours. The problem was that a homeowner was late paying a water bill so all other homeowners were forced to suffer for this one person’s mistake. Dubai has a history of out-of-control neighborhood governance. Property rights there are somewhat vague and ill-defined.

In the Philippines five members of a family, including the president of a Homeowners Association, were recently murdered. The suspects are reportedly some HOA residents who are afraid they’re going to be losing their homes.

In South Africa, the major Property Owners Association is in a zoning war with the City of Johannesburg over the power developers should have over the quality of their construction projects.

What distinguishes American Homeowners Associations from others across the world is that Americans are protected by a Bill of Rights, which guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly, the right to due process, the right to protect the integrity of one’s home and private papers.

On second thought, don’t Americans sign away all those rights away when they buy property in a Homeowners Association? They do?

Never mind.

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

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