A homeowner’s association is set up, in theory, to help to protect the common interests of the residents of the association. They work to upkeep common property, and to enforce rules that are meant to insure the welfare of everyone in the community.
Of course, sometimes, as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. People, including members of the board, push the envelope so far that it starts to burst at the seams, leaving the community unsure of who to trust, if anyone.
This brings us to another question and answer session.
Q: Good afternoon.
I came across your website today. I am hoping you can help guide me in the right direction. I would like to know what I can do if the President of the Board has admitted at an HOA meeting in front of other Board members, the property manager, and other homeowners that she (the President) signed the name of her neighbor on a recall ballot to get me removed from the board. Basically forgery. The President said something like…she didn’t know she couldn’t sign someone else’s name.
Long story short, The President of my HOA went around with another homeowner and got residents to recall me, saying the document they were signing was for things like speedbumps, petitioning the Board to not get speed bumps, etc. Lying about a great many things and unfortunately the homeowners did not read and see that it was actually a recall ballot.
This was done last summer.
The recall passed by one vote.
Since then, the President recommended to the Board that the husband of the woman she walked around be placed on the Board as my replacement; the majority voted him on mid year.
At the last HOA meeting, the President was questioned about why the two signatures on the recall ballots from her neighbor’s house were different (The neighbor’s house was empty as the neighbor had moved already; there were two ballots because the 1st recall the President tried was dismissed because my name was preprinted on the ballot-therefore they had to redo the recall …so we had two ballots supposedly signed from the President’s neighbor).
The President admitted in front of people and Board members that she signed her neighbor’s name on the recall ballot. The President is not her neighbor’s Power of Attorney, etc. and has no authority over her neighbor’s house.
So, I would like to know if you could recommend me to a regulatory agency that could assist me an investigation of this forgery and possible mail fraud since the ballots were sent through the mail, or if you know of what I may be able to do about this matter. I am not interested in joining the Board again but want to involve some type of investigation so that this person stops doing things like this.
Thank you for any help,
A: The writer has very few options given that she lives in HOA. The State is not likely to investigate her complaint nor are the police. She says she does not want to be on the board any longer but perhaps she should rethink that position. The only way to stop board members from doing things that are illegal or improper is to elect board members that don’t.
Since this president admitted that she forged a signature, did anyone ask her to resign her position? If not, why was that not discussed? If the president truly did not know that forging another person’s signature on a recall ballot is wrong, then it is not too late for her to do the right thing and resign her position. At the very least, she should not be re-elected to serve on the board and the writer should either run or help support a slate of candidates that is more fit to serve her community.
Best of luck to her,
Donna D. Berger, Managing partner of Katzman Garfinkel and Berger, and executive director of the Community Advocacy Network.
The West Palm Beach HOA Examiner wishes to thank Ms. Berger and the rest of the people at Katzman Garfinkel and Berger for all their assistance.
In any community, there are one or two people who feel it is their sole responsibility to be the eyes and ears of the community. These people can be an asset, but also a liability. It is in the best interest of everyone in the community to remain involved in what goes on around them, and take an active role in their neighborhood. Meanwhile, back in the real world….
Be sure to subscribe to this column, and stay abreast of issues involving you, the homeowners of Palm Beach County! If you’ve had any issues with your HOA that you’d like me to try and delve into, and possibly write about later, please let me know. Also, if you’d like to join the discussion on Twitter, you can find me at http://twitter.com/#!/faborplumbs. While you’re at it, please read my articles about local getaways, motorsports, elections, and restaurants.