Tag Archives: North Carolina

That’s The Christmas Spirit!

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?”

http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/3165100-74/lights-association-council#axzz2GOzuIjvj

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Finally, A Good Court Decision!

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.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-state-of-nova/post/restons-shadowood-condominiums-make-new-va-case-law-cant-impose-fees-on-rule-violators/2012/12/13/52fb582c-4554-11e2-9648-a2c323a991d6_blog.html

 

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‘Tis The Season To Be Folly

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

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More Las Vegas HOA Crooks To Be Indicted

Our buddy from Las Vegas sends us the latest news link (at bottom of this page). The Federal Prosecutor there will soon be indicting its last round of HOA scammers.

These are the guys, you may recall, who ran phony HOA board elections, got the fake board officers to start diverting millions of bucks worth of homeowners’ dues into the pockets of corrupt Nevada lawyers, police officials and building contractors. More than two dozen pleaded guilty; the feds say they may indict a dozen more before ending its racketeering investigation. It’s one of the most massive public corruption cases in the history of the FBI.

But the bottom line here is an awful one. It means the feds are wrapping up their investigation into HOA corruption. That is tragic news! They only looked into a couple dozen Las Vegas HOAs and found most or all of them to be fundamentally corrupt.

Folks, we have 300,000 HOAs in this country. If you think this same kind of Las Vegas corruption is NOT going on in every state in the country, then YOU are the fool.

Across this grand country of ours, countless numbers of HOA officials and managers have pleaded guilty to embezzling from gullible homeowners. And those thefts are never EVER investigated by the feds. It all falls on local cops who are untrained in complex organized crime investigation.

This squad of federal investigators in Las Vegas is now fully trained in how to flush out complex and sophisticated HOA corruption. When they disband their team to go back to chasing bank robbers and credit card thieves, we will all be the losers. The organized crime HOA network will go back to sapping the strength out of the American homeowner.

Sad, sad, sad.

http://www.lvrj.com/news/prosecutors-say-more-hoa-charges-imminent-181053081.html

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I Need Some Help, Here

I’ve gotten some emails from Maryland asking the impact of the proposed state proposal to change the status of the Columbia Association (an HOA) into a ‘newly created’ nonprofit community services corporation, whatever that is. Any help on understanding this issue would be hugely appreciated. A public answer here, or private (NeighborsAtWar@hotmail. com), and I will be eternally grateful.

Current news at the link below:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-board-tables-hoa-bill-20121120,0,1314067.story

 

 

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HOAs Demand Police Power!

More and more Homeowners Associations around the country are actually demanding and getting police powers. Most homeowners are standing idly by and letting it happen.

In Illinois, in Colorado, in Florida and elsewhere HOA boards are purchasing traffic radar equipment and handing out speeding tickets. Fines against speeding homeowners can run anywhere from 50 to 3500 dollars! All by itself, that’s an outrage. But like gasoline thrown on a campfire, HOAs are actually fining homeowners when their guests are caught speeding!

As crazy as it seems, a case bubbling through the court system in Illinois has actually made it to that state’s supreme court.

Homeowner Ken Poris lives in the Lake Holiday Property Owners Association. Four years ago he was issued a ticket for going 34 in a 25, and he’s been fighting it ever since. He wasn’t pulled over by the cops. He was pulled over by the HOA’s private security guard. The guard even confiscated Polis’s driver’s license. The Lake Holiday HOA claims it has an unrestricted right to fine homeowners, EVEN IF THE HOMEOWNER HIMSELF WAS NOT IN THE CAR!

This private security guard’s radar was not even licensed as required by federal law.

Something has gone seriously awry in the American Homeowners Association Movement. If you, Dear Reader, are not screaming from the rooftops about this fraud, this complete collapse of Constitutional rights, then you will mightily deserve the society you get!

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/39/3956.asp

 

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Good Lawyers? God Forbid!

It’s not often that I post blogs from lawyers or law firms in the HOA industry. But when one of them truly ‘gets it’, they deserve praise. Jean Winters, an attorney who frequently blogs and answers questions in Florida’s Sun Central, occasionally shows a spark of brilliance. I’d be dishonest if I didn’t pass such material along.

http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/condoblog/2012/11/thanksgiving-a-time-of-reflecting-on-how-to-create-harmony-in-your-community.html

 

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