Website of

Concerned Homeowners

832-685-8770

concernedhomeown@hotmail.com

 

 

We believe:

***HOAs should not be one of the 4 entities with the power of foreclosure.
Their liens should be treated like other creditors that have lien on a homestead.

***HOAs with current unfair laws can be breeding grounds for corruption.

***There should be an independent State agency to regulate HOAs , train and certify Board members.

***HOAs that hire a management company should not hire management company affiliated contractors. This in time can result in getting bids only from them at the exclusion of others. It can deny the homeowners the best possible price resulting from competitive bidding. Major jobs should be put out for bids from at least 5 different companies. These bids should be verifiable by interested homeowners.

***Just like other types of elections, in this quasi-government, where 60 million people live in, the elections should be allowed to be monitored completely by interested homeowners .


Two Board members have been elected to the Board of Directors without being an owner of record and in direct violation of Article 3, section 3 of our bylaws. They were nominated and subsequently elected with the power of unverifiable proxies and Tina's full knowledge.


For petition to remove Tina & Co. and the 2 illegal Board members please

click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 10,2016

Maintenance fees and invoices

On Thursday last week a day after the board meeting, CH emailed Tina. We wanted to know if the maintenance fees were raised or stayed the same as last year. CH as being a watchdog group also monitors checks paid by the association for every quarter to see all checks paid to vendors and contractors during that quarter. We asked Tina about 3 large checks paid to a plumbing company and another known vendor. One of the checks to the plumbing company approached 5 figures and the other over $5,000. We wanted to get a copy of the invoices to see what kind of plumbing job around here would be about $10,000.
We haven’t got a response to either question. The delay is kind of understandable about the invoices as probably some research needs to be done. However, you have to remember we are only talking May and June, but due to holidays may be there are some delays involved. The issue about maintenance fees of course could be a one word answer, yes (increased) or no (stayed the same). Her delay in answering takes us to the side of increase. If that is true there would be cause to worry that the 80%ers could still be at work , as this would be the second year in a row and again with absolutely no logical reason. This could be far fetched but with two illegal board members continuing to sign official documents here you cannot let your guard down.

 

 

 

December 4, 2016

Maintenance fee meeting

The October meeting for deciding on maintenance fees which was changed to November and then as Tina said “it’s always held in December” will be this Wednesday. There has been virtually no improvements this year and the only major job , the fencing job at 2121, building , the Board on purpose did not want to see what the 4 lower bids referred by CH and called at random were all about. The maintenance fees were raised last year also and with the highest reserve in 20 years there were no major improvements either. There was one rush fencing job at 2101 building before CH went to work and got the extra bids for 2121 before they rush to that one. Of course as you know they stopped the work for 6 months and then were not even minutely interested in those lower bids. They could have saved everybody money by about $15,000. That was money that could have gone to other improvements. As we mentioned earlier an investor has various means to get our property. One of those would be to increase our maintenance fees and every year and probably even exponentially if things don't work out in their favor, like everybody sells. It could start small like the measly 3% that was increased last year. It didn’t make sense and if it increases again this year it could be alarming ,suspicious and worrisome. We will keep you posted unless Tina says that it's always held in January.

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 26, 2016

A common complaint among the two

Ever since CH has started getting multiple bids we have heard complaints from two entities: Board and the management company. The first one was from the management company and one of its members (not Tina). She complained that by submitting extra bids ,CH is trying to “inject itself”. This is strange since the management company is essentially a hired hand. It is paid to do whatever they are supposed to do which coincidentally includes handling our elections in its entirety. It has been shown of course that in the person of Tina at least does whatever it takes to put whoever is desired on the board even if it means looking the other way and violating our bylaws. The other activities could include signing her contractors with the cooperation of the board even at sometimes 3 times the cost. All this is currently and in the past has been done but getting upset about it is new. A board member recently also was heard saying the same exact two words: that CH is trying to “inject itself”. Let’s also mention that CH at this time is not thinking about getting a thank you for its efforts to lower the costs for all homeowners and the board is not happy about it. Both entities are upset and they just complain. They can’t explain why.
What they both are missing or ignoring is that the reason CH “injects itself” is primarily for the benefit of our fellow homeowners. It is a data reporting function provided free of charge to let homeowners know how much we are losing in each project and the board seems very willingly to work with Tina only, to sign her vendors and contractors. They frown upon others injecting themselves. Let’s also not forget that the homeowners are the ones footing the bill for Tina’s services, and her management company’s fees and other expenses. The bids provided are always non-binding and the board can and will always hire its own (its usually Tina’s). Just the fact that it is not welcoming or even listening to other contractors speaks volumes.

 

 

November 19,2016

Heavy trash


Many homeowners see heavy trash, like couches, furniture, beds etc. pretty much on a weekly basis left by the trash bin. The board policy is that this it is ok as long as you are not caught. They don’t even actively look for those who do that. They pay the extra fee to have it hauled away . There are no signs advising against heavy trash dumping, no questions asked, no investigation is ever done as to who dumps trash on a regular basis. All this changes if somebody is caught . Then alarm bells go off and the board who is rarely seen walking the property gets all upset and would want to impose fines. There is even an outcry about spending extra fees and by all people Tina. She is actually concerned about people dumping trash and the association would have to pay the extra fee to have it hauled away. Let’s not forget that Tina is the one that has her own contractors signed to 3 times the cost (as in the fencing project that cost us about $15,000 needless spending). She is the one who tries to delay sending any contracts signed to CH, and keeping it vague on purpose to leave wiggle room. She is also the one who oversaw the election in 2008 that elected 2 board members who were not owners of record at that time. Yes the same Tina who had the board renew the contract with the energy company one floor above her own company before CH could get competitive bids and potentially save everybody money. She claims people have been fined but she can’t produce a list of those fined. She is now worried about spending fees to have heavy trash dumped. Most amazing is that one of the two illegal board members is the one who is most upset about heavy trash dumping. He is the one that signed the fencing projects with Tina’s contractor a week before meeting with 4 contractors called at random by CH. One thing about getting illegally on the board is that, you don’t have a legal leg to stand on. As one observant homeowner put it when people see heavy trash dumped on a pretty much weekly basis then everybody thinks its ok. A sign was put on trash bins after this thoughtful comment as of yesterday.

 

 

November 12,2016

Maintenance fee meeting

As long as homeowners remember the monthly board meeting to decide the maintenance fees has been held in October . Ever since CH has started checking vendors and contractors hired by the board, the board and Tina have become more evasive. They used to send the letter informing homeowners when the meeting would be 2-3 months in advance of the annual meeting. The letter usually stated how much the maintenance fees would be, either staying the same or increase and other information. In its efforts to lessen the impact of a probable increase for 2017 ,they now have postponed the meeting to December. When CH asked Tina when the meeting would be for decision on maintenance fees, she initially said November 2. When asked on November 3 if they did increase the fees the night before, she said they would decide on that in December meeting. When asked why the change, she responded they have always had it in December. She probably forgot what she wrote a month earlier in her email. She carries water for the board. An increase in maintenance fees would reflect on the board hiring her and her most used bidder and the usually higher cost(like 3 times in the fencing project alone) passed on to us. For the homeowners, please remember we pay for her services. Its time to ask her and her company to manage elsewhere. There are quite a few associations that we know of that have asked them to do the same. You can fill out the form by clicking at the top to ask her to do so. There have been quite a few other homeowners have done the same. She and the board are no friends of the homeowners.

 

 

 

November 10,2016

These stories don't ever get old, do they?

A property manager who reportedly stole more than $350,000 from 11 condominium homeowner associations in Birmingham ,Alabam,pleaded guilty this week to one count of wire fraud.
She entered her plea agreement to a U.S. District Judge. Her sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 17.
The maximum punishment for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. As part of her plea agreement, she will have to pay $375,750 in restitution.
She was employed as a property manager.
According to federal court documents, she has managed 11 condominium associations within the city. She attended association meetings, assisted with the use and accounting of the homeowner association funds, coordinated maintenance services at the properties, helped bid contracts for maintenance and improvements to the properties, and assisted the associations with budgeting.

She also owned and operated an interior design business.
She said in her plea agreement that she created fraudulent invoices for goods and services in the name of her interior design company and submitted those invoices to the 11 condominium associations. The invoices contained descriptions of items billed, but those items were never actually purchased.

 

_________________________

November 3, 2016

The chase

Looks like Tina and the board are doing everything they can to keep the project a secret.
Numerous emails to Tina as to when the project will be done has gone unanswered or vaguely answered with a date of sometime next year. If it is to be done next year, why was a board member taking pictures about 10 days ago from part of the area scheduled for remodeling? For the homeowners it should be clear by now that Tina and the board want to give the job to Tina’s guy. This could cost us all. It’s a cost that could easily be avoided. The fence job that they did not want to even meet with other contractors called at random before signing with Tina’s guy speaks volumes. We lost about $15,000 on that job alone. This money could have been spent on needed improvements around here. It’s really a chase and a game of hide and seek. Our money is at stake. Please remember the wasted money would be expected to be paid by you, the homeowner in the form of increased maintenance fees in just a few months. Homeowners can voice their displeasure and demand multiple bids by calling the board spokeswoman Tina.

October 29, 2016

A lucrative project?

It sounds like the project created from a 10 inch crack is more lucrative than originally thought. It is so lucrative that Tina is dodging questions about specs and tries to leave wiggle room at the end. By the end we mean when her guy gets the job.
As posted here earlier, we tried to get bids for the project. Please remember these are non-binding bids and the board can start the project at anytime and at any price they want. Our whole mission is to show our fellow homeowners how much more expensive this becomes when they don’t consider outside bids and at least with the fencing project, on purpose. There is no doubt the board and Tina are in this together and they try to give all jobs to Tina’s guy. When we finally got the specs after a lot of drama from Tina, according to her it was from a similar project in 1996. The drama continued with the fact that it was left from a previous manager! She has been the manager here since 1990. The drama was piled on when the specs were there but the financial records had been destroyed!! Then all of a sudden she says on Friday that we were given the specs already. When CH forwards her own email showing that these according to her were from 1996 and only a minute later, she sends an auto-responder saying she has left the office!! Let’s couple that with the fact that a board member was seen taking pictures from across Fountainview just a week ago and from areas marked in the specs (the 1996 specs).
All that drama and running away from CH and changing the date of this project from September to October and then to November and then to sometime next year, indicates this could very well be a lucrative project. No other informative, non-binding bids considered. The board who is in possession of your money does not want to hear or see any bids other than Tina’s guy.
The result of these one bid projects could only mean the homeowners have to pay for it.
We will know this in December board meeting. The maintenance fee decision, that as far as homeowners remember and in previous postings here has always been in October was changed to November just this year. As part of the drama it is now postponed to December. According to Tina and her drama it has always been in December. She forgot that, when she said November a few weeks prior. She needs to at least remember her drama (or storyline) accordingly.

October 25, 2016

Annual Meeting- 1st reminder

Our Annual Meeting is set for 3rd Tuesday in January. That date falls on the 17th. You might think it’s a little bit too early to remind you. Before Concerned Homeowners started complaining about the yearly increases in our maintenance fees starting back in 2003, a reminder would be sent out to all homeowners’ right about this time of the year. That didn’t mean they wanted to encourage participation, far from it. They just wanted to appear to do the right thing without risking anything like having to answer unpleasant questions about the increases.
For the past 10 years or so they haven’t wanted to do the right thing anymore. They send the notice a couple of weeks before the meeting and hope only the friends of the board show up and have some fun and renew their friendship and answer some friendly non-pressure type questions. They can and possibly change that date to throw homeowners off and have even less participation. Don’t even think establishing a quorum would be a problem. If people not being owners of record can be board members establishing a quorum would be the least of their problems. Let’s remember the possible sale of the property that had all homeowners in a tiff last year. That’s what CH had considered a possible conspiracy against the homeowners. According to our calculation they had worked on it for 4 years only to see it thrown back in their faces. People who thought of that plan might still be planning. Only a healthy and full participation by homeowners again will let whoever was planning it to think elsewhere. We also like to find out why the board now plans to increase our maintenance fees for the 2nd year in a row. We will know that for sure by November 3rd. If they do we could ask them why with highest reserves in 20 years or so according to them, they don’t solicit more than one expensive bidder, Tina’s. Please remember your participation will make all the difference in protecting your interests.

October 19,2016

Condos for sale here

An online look at our area shows the condos for sale here. These are both 1 and 2 bedroom condos. The 1 bedroom condos are listed at what CH had predicted 2 years ago to be right around $100K with one priced at $115K. As we had mentioned this is a very special location with billion dollar developments walking distance from us. However there were some 2 bedrooms that have been listed as low as $110K to $130K. These are way below our prediction. Houston does have a little bit of a down market but as we have mentioned before this particular area is special. The newly built luxury apartments only 50 feet away from us together with a brand new HEB walking distance from us and more luxury apartments about 500-600 feet south of us and a few more buildings scheduled to be torn down for new developments promises even more appreciation in our values. There are several reasons in the low prices for the 2 bedrooms. Number one is always the necessity to sell for whatever reason. It could be a desire to move to a house with a big yard which comes after owning a 2 bedroom condo, getting tired of the neighborhood or plain needing to cash out. One other reason is that these homeowners consult a real estate agent and agree without further research on whatever price the agent advises. For these agents a price of $130K is reasonable. The agents that know about the brand new developments a $130K price can still be good for them. Typically an agent makes 6% commission. This commission most of the time is split with the brokerage firm that they work out of and further split if there is another agent that introduces a buyer. That leaves them with 3% or 1.5% commission respectively. If they raise the price to its real value which could be $170-180K , a 3% commission could translate to another $1200-1300 or just $600-700 more. However this would require more advertising, more time in doing open house and no money in the meantime. With a $130K price they can sell the condo fairly quickly and get a nice $3500-4000 commission check . The deal would make sense for the agent, but may or may not be the best for the owner who has been made to believe this is the most he or she can get for their 2 bedroom. The owners are best advised to do their own research and consult more agents, preferably the ones that can get them what their 2 bedroom is really worth.

October 15,2016

Taking pictures


A few days ago a board member was observed taking pictures of the front of our building. As posted earlier here, there is a big project by the board planned here started by a 10-inch crack on a ceiling over a boardwalk. The area being photographed by this board member included the area discussed in the plan according to specs given to us by Tina. Lets also remember that Tina stated that she didn’t have the specs and she could only give CH the specs of a similar project dated back to 1996. This was odd. How could she know that? She had no way of knowing that unless the specs from a month or two months ago, i.e. the new specs were given to her. In other words we believe she refuses to give to us. The reason: we could get competitive bids and derail or postpone the signing of her contractor without checking a most probably lower bids provided by shopping around by CH. She has promised to let us know if there would be any changes. We don’t believe her. We are getting some bids to see what the values really are. Basically we think Tina and the board are now hiding any upcoming renovations in the fear of homeowners knowing the truth. The truth is how much extra they would be paying just because board wants to sign Tina’s contractor at the exclusion of others no matter the cost to the homeowners. This could show up in the form of increased maintenance fees in a few months. After all somebody has to pay.

October 11,2016

Vendors and contractors here- a summary

About 1 ½ years ago CH decided to do research on different projects done here by Tina’s contractor and compare that to the outside bids. The results have been mind boggling but the most surprising has been the board’s reaction to all this. First the fencing for 2101 building was done early 2015. CH decided to get comparative bids and found 3 companies that charged 2/3 less. That was huge and about $15,000 less than Tina’s guy. The board hadn’t shopped around and we potentially lost $15,000. As they were getting started to do 2121 building we got into quick action and got 4 bids that showed again 2/3 less than Tina’s guy. The fencing project for 2121 that was planned to go on very shortly was stopped without any explanation. In the meantime in April of 2015 we found the gas provider was a company one floor above Tina’s company. That was odd. Why didn’t they shop around and again they stuck with a company very close to Tina’s office? Knowing what we knew about the fencing we decided the get comparative rates for gas. This was different and we found out that we could only get valid rates near the expiration of the current term. This was going to be November 2015. Realizing what was awaiting them which were them not being able to renew with the company very close to Tina’s office, they beat CH to the punch and renewed with the same company in October 2015. We don’t know how much the homeowners lost as we have seen contractors that are close to Tina have a higher rate. We don’t expect vendors to be any different specially when they hurry up to sign them before CH gets a chance to do competitive bidding. What did they have to lose in looking at extra bids ?

The fencing project for 2121 that was stopped due to lower bids by CH resumed but they signed with Tina’s contractor on 2/29/16 and set a meeting to meet with CH contractors that were called and found at random on 3/6/2016, a week later!! This was a total disregard for homeowners’ money. The homeowners lost about another $15,000, money that could have been used for other improvements here.
There was an asphalt repair here done with more needed to be done. It was done by Tina’s contractor at $9.40 per square feet. We suspected more needed to be done so we went ahead and got some extra bids. There was one that came at $7.20 per square feet and we sent that to Tina. No more asphalt job was done.
A crack appeared just a few months ago on a ceiling over the board walk. The board turned that into a full project. When we asked for the specs from Tina, as you know from the previous posts here, we got one from 1996. It’s very hard to believe that they decided on doing repairs but not giving any specs to Tina. These can be good projects but can be done at lower price and not necessarily with Tina’s contractor.

What is most surprising is that the Board was adamant NOT to check CH’s bids in advance to see if it can benefit the homeowners. The job is given to Tina’s contractors no matter the cost. The Board is not interested in saving homeowners money. They don’t even consider outside bids. All this is costing homeowners money and it could rear its ugly head in the form of increased maintenance fees. It is understandable to talk to all contractors including the ones presented for free to the board and pick the best one by making an informed decision and save homeowners money, but not to talk to them at all? There is no reasonable explanation for that. We suspect there is a sinister reason behind it. All this comes at homeowners expense. Its time for homeowners to demand competitive bidding to start saving money desperately needed for repairs not for the board's pet projects.

 


October 5, 2016

Drama is back. Specs are here but…

As of yesterday posting, the project was suspended indefinitely. The specs by Tina’s email were not given to her even after couple of months asking her.

All of a sudden Tina sent the specs today. Not only they were clearly written out but had 3 proposals. There was a catch though. The specs are from a similar project done in 1996.
She had typed them in based on specifications in 1996 complete with handwriting in color!!

CH asked her to send the corresponding proposals. After all if she had access to 1996 specs she should have access to its proposals. No such luck. She didn’t have it. When we asked her what month it was done, she didn’t remember. When we asked her to send CH each quarter of 1996 she responded they were destroyed. Why a management company not even scan all let alone the most important documents on its computers belonging to 20 years ago which was the accounting part of it; but keep the specs of a project remains to be seen. We’ll keep you posted. As you can see the drama continues and all because CH wants to get non-binding bids.

 

October 4, 2016

Project suspended indefinitely

As you recall in previous postings, how a little crack turned into a “big project”
according to Tina. The little 10 inch crack on the ceiling became a project for top, bottom and other areas and by the boardwalk. That is until CH asked for the specs to compare the prices with Tina’s bidder. As we all know these are non-binding bids and it would just show how much the board is in bed with Tina’s bidder and they like to do pet projects at any expense. Just look at the fencing project on 2121 that cost us 3 times as much as our non-binding bids. The word came today that probably because CH wanted to comparison shop for the good of everybody, for no given reason the project was suspended indefinitely. This project was supposed to take place in July or August. When CH wanted to get extra bids it was postponed till November. Now this seemingly good project that shouldn’t cost homeowners an arm and a leg has been suspended indefinitely.
It just goes to confirm, if Tina’s bidder doesn’t do the job, the Board will not do the job at all no matter how beneficial to the homeowners the job could be.

 

 

 

October 1 ,2016

Type of investor

As posted earlier here and in the letter to homeowners, we believe the sale of the condo has been in the works for at least 4 years. There has been lots of planning and different strategies employed to trick homeowners. Plans like only a simple majority needed, or 75% needed, and finally 80% which is the magic number to terminate a condominium association. We are not the first association to face such a threat. There have been many both in good areas and not so desirable areas. Some have been done with good reasons like dilapidated areas that were in dire need of repair for the good of the neighborhood to curtail illegal activities, improve the neighborhood in general or other reasons. There have been some with not so good reasons like eminent domain going to private development .Accordingly there have also been investors with lots of resources that could buy all residents at top price to get them out quickly and start demolishing like many new developments we have seen here and some with scarce resources. We believe whoever was behind our property grab was of the latter type. An investor that probably needed to borrow a lot of money , was highly leveraged , probably partnered with alike investors and depended on lowering the prices of our condos to get our property which is located in a highly desirable area with brand new developments at a bargain price. After all why anybody with lots of money would have to plan for years and depend on a Texas property code to buy our place? For an investor time is money and they would proceed quickly, not with a 4 or more year plan (at least). Homeowners should keep their eyes and ears open. Chances are the threat has not disappeared.

 

 

 

September 24,2106

Another HOA, another theft by a property manager

As you can see these are becoming vey common. A property manager sees all that money going through his/her hands every month . With all the daily problems they face and bills to pay why not them having a share in it?
These are the ones that are caught and are reported. There are many cases that the homeowners’ through a banana republic type election, in most cases one-contractor and same-contractor bidding see their money going to waste. Remember in most states the only remedy available is a lawsuit or with a forensic accountant a criminal referral. There are some states that have setup a very weak commission (which is a good step though). In those commissions which usually is part time, they most of the time tell the parties to solve the problem among themselves. Texas has a ridiculous one, in that the commission is run by CAI which is basically the head agency overseeing property management companies. CAI is no friend of the homeowners.

This theft happened in Arizona.
You can imagine how many homeowners are affected by this theft. As a result how much increase their maintenance fees will be. This after all affects the reserves, operating account, etc.
He stole over $250,000 over 10 years. Why did it take that long to catch him? Could it be the rotating carousel of board members benefitting from that embezzlement? It is not impossible. There is a reason for banana republic elections.

September 17, 2016

Another HOA, another theft by a board member

When we first started putting true stories of embezzlement by HOA officials many readers of this website were skeptical. After all they see their own board members with righteous attitudes sitting across the table from them in homeowner meetings and watch them signing contracts or issuing orders in other occasions. Many thought they were at most incompetent but thieves? We get this from homeowners all over the country. They just write that prior to these reports they never thought board members and property managers were capable of doing such things. They are and with unchecked powers and nobody watching, adding some loose morals and value system , they can turn out to be full-fledged crooks.
Best case scenario would be that they justify their theft in their mind that they need the money to pay some overdue bills, and they would put the money back in the account when they are able to. The worst case would be to get a license for theft just by getting elected to the board and just rob the bank accounts. In most cases they get elected by proxies leaving the homeowners powerless to stop their election.

The following happened in Florida.

 

A former homeowners association president has been sentenced to prison for embezzling more than $180,000 from her community.

Court records show that she, changed her plea to guilty on a grand theft charge and was sentenced to five years in prison followed by 15 years of probation. She also was ordered to pay $192,416 in restitution during a court hearing.

She was president of the HOA from January 2009 through December 2013 and forged signatures on dozens of checks she deposited into her personal bank account, authorities said.

A letter filed in court in January from a homeowner, spoke of her wishes for prosecution of the crime and said more than 200 people in her community had suffered from her actions.

"She has caused hardship for many of her victims. Families with children, elderly on fixed incomes, laid off and unemployed people struggling to pay their bills," she wrote. "She stole from all of us."


Her attorney, said his client has two young children and stole from her community at a time when her husband had lost his job due to an injury and she was a pregnant stay-at-home mom.

"She engaged in this conduct at a point in time when her family was suffering a great financial tragedy and she made a foolish decision stealing from her association," he said. "I know she regrets it. She's remorseful."

Court records show that she pleaded guilty to charges of grand theft and uttering a forged instrument in 1997. At the time, the judge withheld adjudication, meaning there was no conviction on her criminal record, and she was given three years of probation. She also was ordered to pay about $4,500 in restitution.
With her record in grand theft she was elected as president of the HOA , 12 years later. Guess nobody bothered to check her record.

She probably got elected by proxy votes and wink and a nod from other board members and was unleashed on the homeowners by their action.

September 13, 2016

Break-ins

Recently there have been some burglaries at our complex. These have included some break-ins into cars with some items stolen. A few years ago we proposed a camera to be installed overlooking all buildings. With proper notices it could have deterred many robberies. This idea was shot down because of concerns over liability. This brings up the question: how can monitoring what is actually happening on the ground create a liability? The city of Houston and many private businesses monitor various areas of the city and many streets all the time. In fact the police go to many businesses near where the crime occured to see if they have any film footage to assist them in catching suspects.
It became even stranger when instead of cameras the board discussed the idea of hiring a private security guard. If cameras could be intrusive probably by monitoring non-common areas, a security guard would potentially go into non-common areas to pursue thieves. Of course both ideas were abandoned. Hiring a private security personal cost too much money. Of course they don’t care about money when they do repairs that are not necessary like the fences and at potentially 3 times the cost and only with Tina’s bidder.

September 4, 2016

Investor tactics


CH will continue to discuss the 80% rule in depth and continue warning homeowners about it. For investors there are other ways also. Please remember that this is a very valuable location with old buildings very close by as well as brand new $200-300M buildings and brand new commercial buildings walking distance to ours. Investors are most probably eyeing ours. We believe the process of getting ours which is the only condo building in the area started probably around 2010-11 or possibly even earlier. This plan looks like to be doomed with the strong showing by the homeowners and rebuffing the idea at the last Annual Meeting. However, being resourceful people that investors usually are, they have other methods at their disposal. One method is to levy a huge assessment fee for renovations. This happened in a high-rise Inner-loop luxury condo with many well-to-do homeowners that a one time $100,000 assessment per homeowner for upgrades seemed unnecessary and came at a steep cost. It was one person on the board that was pushing for it and already had a contractor in mind. The project was met with protests solely because it was not necessary ,even though homeowners could afford it. In here and usually in other HOA controlled condos and houses, for the board this could be a win-win situation. They can give the project to their favorite contractors (like Tina’s in ours). Let’s not forget they signed the fencing project without even meeting with 4 independent contractors that they knew had much lower bids than Tina’s contractor. When people can’t afford these assessments, there would be the investor with open arms who would gladly take their ‘problem’ off their hands. They can also increase the maintenance fees on a yearly basis ( like ours with a 3% last year) or a big one , like we had one 11 years ago at 25% which caused many people to put a for sale sign on their property overnight. However back then the issue was not the property but the board’s incompetence and some other factors that had caused a budget shortfall and they wanted to make up for it at homeowners expense. Now it is the actual property, 11 years later and a much more vibrant Houston economy ,a very desirable street, in a very desirable area with some greedy investors that could be looking at our property as red meat.
Let’s see if we have another totally unjustified maintenance fee increase like last year. That could be a telling sign for things to come.

August 28,2016

Fraud by management company

More than $500,000 may have been stolen from 29 home owners associations in 2 counties in North Carolina that are managed by a property management ,Police say.
Police said Tuesday the possible embezzlement was discovered after some HOAs came to authorities about the matter last week.
Police said that the issue will take some time to examine because of extensive bank records involving the 29 possibly affected associations.
The management company is accused of fraud and embezzlement.
It can happen anywhere and with no governmental agencies overseeing HOAs and the management companies that in many cases are in bed together, the homeowners can only resort to courts to get justice.
When homeowners talk about creating a governmental agency to oversee potential , suspected or perceived fraud, people who benefit from HOAs start talking about how expensive creating an agency is , ignoring the fact that about 60 million people live under HOAs and need an agency to address homeowner complaints, mostly about fraud. Board members and by extension the management companies are accountable to no one. With all the government waste, this is where these people who receive benefits from the way things are now, get concerned about losing a lucrative livelihood under a supposedly non-profit organization, and put their foot down.
Solution: Keep calling your congressman and demand a creation of exactly such an agency.

August 18,2016

First time ever


A recapping of events: Ever since we found out about a job made much bigger than a 10 inch crack repair reported to Tina, CH has been after the specs for that job. CH asked Tina over and over again and she responded that it was just a work order. When CH asked for a copy of that work order she responded that ‘she just called it a work order and it was really 3 other cracks’. It was a total nonsensical answer. When we asked her to send whatever she called it , she stopped responding altogether. This is the first time that she is holding on to a financial document (after all it is written for money). Lets keep in mind she is only a hired hand and the homeowners are paying for her services.
The crack was finally repaired. We don’t know if the other cracks have been repaired as well or if they exist at all. We can’t trust her or the board none whatsoever. Let’s recall the board signed with Tina’s contractor for the fencing project a week before the scheduled meeting with contractors CH had referred at random. There clearly was a financial motive.
The “big paint job” as she put it has been postponed till November. We think they plan to do it in October and all of a sudden we could be confronted with a done job, like Tina’s contractor trucks showing up at our doorsteps without notice. Of course the result could be another 3% increase in our maintenance fees for the board’s newly found pet project.
We have let her know that CH will be after the specs and we want ample time to get extra bids and see if there are any significant differences like there was with the fences, asphalt, and who knows even the gas service which they renewed in a hurry and one month before Tina had told CH. We let her know that we could ask her boss and/or complain with applicable agencies. You might ask how a hired hand can wield so much control? Answer: the board totally wants her to at homeowners’ detriment.

August 13, 2016

We were right

As you know, CH was trying to get a copy of the “work order” from Tina that all of a sudden had turned into 3 work orders. For some reason Tina was not releasing it and we suspected it was because it was given to her usual contractor. She was sending, what we believe and many homeowners are also familiar with her style, nonsensical, contradictory emails on purpose. The crack was finally fixed yesterday. We talked to the workers and they confirmed they were working for Tina’s contractor. What is left now is the project created for the whole walkway, up and down the stairway and so on scheduled for November. We have it in writing that she would give that to us in time to get competitive bids. There is no need for us to pay another 3% or more in maintenance fees just to have Tina’s contractor do the job while other bids ignored.

 

August 11, 2016

Drama postponed till November


In our ever pursuit for the elusive specs, we contacted Tina again. She didn’t have the specs yet. Let us remind you that they were going to write the specs on last Wednesday’s board meeting ( 8 days ago) and the crack repaired in a couple of days. We asked her who was writing the specs. She then said no specs , but a “work order has been submitted” . We asked her to send us a copy of the work order. She said “I called it a work order but there are 3 cracks”. We asked her again to send us whatever she calls that was submitted. There was no response. After reminding her again the next day, she said it was postponed till November. So the 10” crack that was supposed to be fixed in a couple of days was not fixed and the whole project (a big paint job) has been postponed till November. We think the signature at the bottom of the work order for the 10 inch crack belongs to her contractor and she didn’t want us to see it. That would mean the whole job would be done by him. We just wanted to get the work order and specs and do a comparison and see how much other contractors charge. These are not binding at all. We just want to report to homeowners how much they could be losing as we lost about $15,000 in fence job alone just a few months ago. They just didn’t want the truth to be revealed.
In November the drama will pick up where it left off and who knows may be before then and unannounced, we will see the trucks of her and the board’s favorite contractor showing up at our place ready to do the job. In other words, a project will not be done, even though it could be beneficial to the homeowners and overall appearance of the property, unless it is done by the Tina’s contractor. Both Tina and the board have agreed on that. When it is done, it could mean another 3% maintenance fee increase for us in 2017.

 

August 7, 2016

The drama continues
The crack repair is becoming a never-ending, never-starting story. This 10 inch crack first reported by a homeowner and CH to Tina and to the Board, is still not fixed after 3 months. The homeowner had talked to some workers who were already working on sheetrock and paint job about 60-70 feet from the crack which she was told they would need to get a work order when she asked them to do this one also. When we asked Tina and the Board to fix it 3 months ago , it evolved into a big project to be paid by the homeowners and to be done probably by Tina’s guy. Apparently the 10 inch crack was not enough to move the Board and Tina , and they had to look for something bigger and totally unnecessary ( like the fences)to what could be another project for Tina’s guy and the whole bunch.
According to Tina, on Wednesday’s meeting they just submitted the work order for the crack repair. Why wasn’t this done 3 months ago?
According to Tina, they are writing the specs and they will be given to CH to get bids.
Is the Board writing the specs by themselves or Tina’s guy is helping them to write it and then do it himself? Once completed, we are promised to get the specs so we can get bids.
Anybody see the gas and fencing project repeat themselves? With the former they renewed the contract before CH could get a chance to get bids for homeowners and with the latter they signed the contract with Tina’s guy and then setup meeting with other contractors.We think so. We think it is another ruse to have Tina’s guy get the job again. Watch for their trucks to show up at our doorsteps and without notice to do a job that could cost us probably 3 times as other contractors in the area. That could be another increase to our maintenance fees come this March.

August 2, 2016

Great news

Sent by a homeowner

Mayor Sylvester Turner does not plan to present the Houston Housing Authority’s (HHA) proposed project for 2640 Fountainview to City Council for consideration. HHA had requested Council consideration of a Resolution of No Objection, which is required to obtain federal funding provided through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.

“After careful review of the costs and other concerns, I am asking HHA to look for an alternative location for this project that is still in City Council District G in what we refer to as a high opportunity area with access to good public services, quality schools, and thriving businesses ,” said Mayor Turner. “I also want the Authority to begin a conversation with private apartment owners about making more units available to our public housing clients so that those who rely on the federal government’s voucher program are not limited to living in certain geographical areas. I look forward to working with HHA to accomplish the important mission of providing for fair housing and quality affordable homes in safe neighborhoods near great schools throughout all of Houston.”

HHA had proposed to build a 233-unit apartment complex on property it owns near its administrative headquarters on Fountainview. 23 of the apartments were to be set aside for extremely low-income tenants and the remaining 210 units would have been reserved for a mix of workforce and market rate housing. The price per unit was approximately $240,000, which included a $6 million developer’s fee to HHA.

HHA provides affordable homes and services to more than 58,000 low-income Houstonians. The organization also administers one of the nation’s largest housing programs for formerly homeless veterans. HHA board members are nominated by the mayor and approved by City Council.

 

July 31,2106

Properties for sale


Latest check on har.com shows 5 postings for sale in our complex. Four of those are 1-bedrooms and one a 3 bedroom (which is really a 2-bedroom and a den for $199,000). The 3 bedroom already has a contract on it and since in Texas you do not have to disclose the sales price we can assume it is sold for the asking price or pretty close to it. The 1-bedrooms have 2 that are asking $85k and $90k and one at $101k and $115K. The last 2 surpass what CH priced the properties over a year and a half ago. Lets all remember this homeowner who was trying to change our bylaws so that we could have a “quick sale”. If her plans had succeeded we would have all lost our properties by now getting $60-70K for a one bedroom and probably $100-110K for 2 bedroom. The upper number would probably be if the investor was going to be generous. Usually in the case of old properties like ours, people who hold on to the end get the highest price for their properties. One homeowner who is in no rush to sell at all and is enjoying this truly great location, which is appreciating more and more everyday, was asking $500k for his 2 bedroom which the rate things are going looks more and more achievable. If there is an investor who decides to buy our place, usually there would be funds for those amounts for the last holdouts. Please remember it is not the building, it is the location.

 

Sounds like the death knell for the project.

July 24,2016

The contractor's trucks

The date for the next board meeting in August is only a little more than a week away. Please keep in mind that this is not an emergency. A homeowner reported a small crack no more than 10 inches, with no leaks that was first spotted 6 or 7 months ago. This mushroomed to a whole project with upstairs ,downstairs and everything else associated with a small crack being considered to be painted, remodeled, redone, etc. CH offered
extra independent bids only to see the whole project tabled till August. We think just like the energy, fences, this is also a ruse. According to Tina, there are no specs given to her but they want painting up and down the stairs for the whole section. Sounds like she already has the specs . Are she and the board hiding the specs from CH? We will know soon if all of sudden on August 4th or some day shortly after or even before. CH let her know couple of weeks ago that we would notify her boss through our attorney to release the specs, with an invoice attached to reimburse us for this information which should have been readily available. That was when she said that it was tabled for August. We will try to prevent another expensive and newfound pet project for Tina and the board. Just like the gas and fence bids, they both show no eagerness for extra bids. Please be on the lookout for the Tina’s guy trucks from now till August 4th and even shortly after.

July 17,2016

Other repairs

As homeowners have noticed by the posting here over the past couple of years, there have been some changes in the board’s attitude with regards to repairs. First there was the issue with the fences. After they did the 2101 building and were confronted with much lower bids, 2/3 lower than Tina’s bidder they stopped the same repair for 2121. The stoppage lasted for 6 months and no reason given as to why the project that was gong so fast , all of a sudden stopped. The project continued, as we all know with the second Tina’s bidder when they had a charade of ‘meeting with CH contractors’ a week after they signed the contract with Tina’s guy to continue the work. We paid about $15,000 extra for no good reason. We called it a suspected kickback. This disrespect for homeowner money continued with the repair. A little crack repair that all of a sudden turned into a project for a whole section including paintings up and down the stairways and probably a super deluxe service. When we requested the specs to get extra bids, all of a sudden the project was tabled till first Wednesday in August. We let Tina know, we will be back first Thursday in August to get the specs. We had told her previously if she didn’t give us the specs we would go to her boss through our attorney and bill the management company for going through an expense that should be available for any interested homeowner(s). It was then that the project was tabled till August. Let’s not forget that the gas company providing service, a little know company that was one floor above the management company. When in April 2015 we wanted to get competitive bids for that, Tina told CH that the time for renewal would be in December. However, knowing CH would get competitive bids they renewed the gas contract a month before. With their track record we probably lost some money there too.
Where does all this drama come from all of a sudden? Is it because we started getting competitive bids trying to show homeowners how much we lose when Tina and her contractor get involved and with the cooperation of the board? Contracts mean money which can go all around. What is the problem with a homeowner(s) providing extra bids at no charge ,that actually have been proven to be less than Tina’s and by substantial amounts and save everybody money? Why is the board shunning these bids? Are they getting kickbacks?
We do have water shutoffs all over the complex and at various times and for long period of times. We all know they use one company. Did these start with one little leak turning into huge water projects like the crack repair turning into a whole section?
We have to check into that too. Homeowners should not pay for expensive and unnecessary repairs which can only increase our maintenance fees as they did this year

July 9, 2016

The crack is going the way of the fences


As you might recall, on the fencing project as soon as CH got involved and got a few extra ( and 2/3 lower bids than Tina’s bidder) the whole project was stopped. The Board tried to whitewash it by planning a meeting with the 4 independent and called at random
by CH, fully 6 months later. The result was about $15,000 loss to the homeowners as a result of none of them showing up (and justifiably so) and therefore by default Tina’s expensive bidder won. Now with the crack repair, CH volunteered to provide extra bids to save homeowners money. We asked for specs and Tina said she didn’t have any but was asked to give proposal. When we asked to clarify this ridiculous statement she said they have a meeting Wednesday (3 days ago). Now we heard that the whole project has been tabled till August meeting. Apparently they didn’t like CH providing extra and most likely lower bids and again, called at random. The whole thing looks like is being set up for another job for Tina’s bidder. It seems like if Tina’s bidder doesn’t do it, the whole job will not be done.
To recap, the whole started with reporting a small crack 2 months ago that still not repaired. We will keep you posted.

July 3, 2016

When the Board is turning a few inches to a whole project


Our memories are still fresh with the fencing project that cost 3 times as other independent bidders. The project was completed with Tina’s bidder at the exclusion of others with the cost being charged to the homeowners in the form of increased maintenance fees.
A couple of months ago a homeowner approached CH and pointed to a crack on the ceiling under the roof over a boardwalk at 2101 building. She told us that there were workers working on a similar problem and asked them to fix this one too which was about 80-100 feet away. They told her they would need a work order, which made sense. We relayed the message to Tina and then a couple of weeks later we did it a follow up with her. She said that the Board is looking for similar problems in the area. This was strange but we could try to understand. We did another follow up a couple of weeks later and found out the Board did not go very far to check for other problems in different buildings. If they did they couldn’t find anything but decided to turn this into something bigger. Now they are trying to paint the bottom and top of the walkways and trim around the fire and exit gates, and basically add to the bill. We all know the repairs to the fences were not necessary and just added to our maintenance fees. These repairs could also add to our maintenance fees. We tried to get other bids for this one too. However Tina told us that no specs were given but the Board has just asked for one proposal! It is just preposterous. How could she get a proposal with no specs? All we can say for now is watch for your maintenance fee coupons in 2017. It is increased again , just like last year it could have been avoided. Sounds like the crack of a few inches is turning to another pet project for the Board, Tina and Tina’s contractor at our expense.

June 26,2016

Corruption no longer tolerated

Looks like State of Nevada has adopted some common sense approach that has been advocated by many concerned homeowners. HOA problem and corruption associated with that has been very common. The problems arise from dictatorial attitude to downright corruption which includes under the table funding. This is where the “ordinary folks “ make money off the back of real homeowners who just pay tax and in most cases mortgage and then have to be answerable to a president of an HOA and its associates for the color of the door, or a satellite dish that they might not approve or anything else they don’t like and perceive it to lower the property values. This is nothing but the attorneys stroking the egos of the members and assuring them they cannot be held personally liable.

In the case of Nevada, they have created a tribunal of 7 persons that oversees HOAs. They just removed a corrupt president there and had him pay the legal fees himself. The reason was that he chose the association attorney to represent him and now he has to pay legal fees not from the HOA account but out of his own pockets. Good news for the homeowners is that the law is retroactive.

Lets hope these tribunals become nationwide.

June 19, 2016

HOA fraud: another prime example

Ever since we have started putting news and articles about HOA fraud, we have had some owners who have expressed disbelief and surprise. They just can’t believe that the board members of associations can embezzle and commit more dastardly acts which we will present in the future. Yes, everything published here is true and direct from news stories regarding the moms and pops , grandpas and grandmas and “people like yourself ” board members. This is a direct result of accounting to no one, being treated as a sovereign government with practically no checks and balances. This is especially true if the individual board members have loose or no morals, lack any legal training to interpret the laws and are motivated by greed. They end up lining up their pockets at homeowner’s expense.

The latest happened in Florida. A board member who also served as a treasurer is charged with stealing for than $41,000 from the association. He would write the checks to “cash” and then endorsing and signing them his self. He is charged with organized fraud and money laundering. They were deposited in 3 separate accounts to conceal and minimize large transactions. He had initially stated that he worked hard and deserved the money!
The association bylaws state that these board positions are voluntary and no compensation is given. Just like ours and all non-profit corporations.

After noticing that the association was turning him to the police, he offered a repayment plan. This is the way the person with loose moral thinks. They can justify the theft as taking money temporarily and then putting it back when they can. Board members with no morals just take them. No justifications meeded. Some can conceal fraud with under the table money from vendors that do business with them.

June 11,2016

The latest on housing project on Fountainview

There are efforts from everybody available to stop this project politically. If not the attorneys are ready to take it to court. With the price of each apartment at about $270,000 it is about twice the amount as the same size in private sector apartments. You just need to look back at our fencing project with the price we found by calling contractors at random, at about 1/3 the price of Tina’s guy. The Board couldn't wait to get on with the project no matter the cost to us.
The latest is that ,Houston Housing Authority is planning to bring this up to the City Council. Could an OK from City Council be another nail in the coffin and have the issue considered done?
Homeowners have been recently victorious in stopping private developers like the Ashby High rise and another one on Post Oak Blvd. Don’t be surprised the homeowners win again even though this one is backed by the federal government considering its administration will be expiring in a few months.
Also check the stopfountainviewproject.org which is redesigned and improved.

June 5,2016

Normal for an HOA

This happened in New York. It could happen anywhere there is an HOA.

The president of the association was accused of embezzling about $367,000 from the association. It allegedly happened between 2011-2015 and without the approval of the other board members. He had the authority to sign checks for the association. He claimed he use the funds to buy pool materials. When confronted by other board members he told them he told them he used the money to buy pool supplies at lower prices in New Jersey. Apparently he didn’t declare this as income on his tax returns for 2011-2014. He was indicted by a grand jury in Staten Island and arrested. He is due back in court on June 30th.
This is what happened when the other board members weren’t aware of this. We believe a rogue member operating on his/her own in an HOA without the knowledge of others is an exception rather than the rule. HOA can be a legal organized crime.

 

 

 

May 29,2016

Uncomfortable hours

Majority of residents here are renters. The renters are mainly good professional people who just want to live and work here and enjoy the benefits of proximity to major highways, shopping areas and ease of access to all things that everybody uses. Sometimes there are problems that other neighbors can’t solve and complain to the Board or their landlords. Prior to the Annual Meeting of January 2014 these problems had gotten so out of hand that the Board anticipated a rowdy meeting with full of questions that as usual was unable to answer. In response and to preempt the homeowners’ complaints against some renters and homeowners, they distributed a handout that outlined new guidelines when signing a new tenant. They even told everybody in attendance that the actual bylaws were tougher. In other words they were forced to do something. This didn’t mean actual acting, but putting up a show to quiet those in attendance. Does this sound familiar to you? It should because after numerous talk about the sale of the property they put a small flyer (called a resolution) that they would never change the bylaws to make the sale from 100% to 80%. It was just a show, just like the tenant guidelines was a show. They never mailed either one to the homeowners who sent their proxies or just didn’t attend the meetings. We found out a few months after the 2014 Annual Meeting that the Board did not enforce tenant guidelines with the big presentation they did. You could forget about any action, they won’t even interfere, they stated . It was one uncomfortable hour to listen to the homeowners and hope they would go away, forget about the whole thing, see you next year or may be even the homeowner would sell by next year and the problem be gone. It’s the crowd that they don’t want to face. Just like the housing project when the city presenters said at the beginning they would only listen and not answer any questions. In that case it was an uncomfortable 3 hours that they put up with. It was the crowd that had gathered that they didn’t want to answer to. Just like ours they wanted the crowd to go away and forget, or be occupied with other matters after a few months or so. They cared about the new construction. Over here its pretty much the same thing. If there is a new remodeling project, they try to have one of Tina’s bidders on the ground ready to go and quick and finish it before homeowners can ask any questions. Are they on such legal thin ice with having board members who are not owners of record, Hurricane Ike documents redacted and etc. that they don’t want to go beyond words? Do they have homeowner friends that they want to protect? This shows even more that the homeowner here has to watch out for their property. Do not believe what the Board says or puts out as resolution or guidelines but see what it does. A push for a voting on this 100% to 80% law would be the beginning of the end to condo ownership and most likely living in the area for many current homeowners. Homeowners have to be very aware of any new actual action on the ground and not to trust Board’s words.

May 21, 2016

80% rule and existing mortgages

We heard from some other homeowners who also did not attend the Annual Meeting and who thought their new refinance or mortgage would stop any sale. Nothing can be further from the truth. In cases where there are existing or even new mortgages are in effect if the amount is low enough the investor would pay it off or not pay it at all. The effect would be the homeowner loses the title to his/her house and has to give up possession but the obligation to pay will remain. They will be stuck with what is owed on their property and the mortgage company could come after them for the amount. The mortgage company cannot do anything about it because the 80% is in Texas Property Code 82.068, that is if the homeowners allow their 100% rule become 80% . We all know with proxies and the election that cannot be verified independently what happens. The 80% rule will win. A similar situation would be if the property goes to a foreclosure auction and the proceeds do not cover the mortgage, the mortgage company can sue for deficiency and try to collect what is owed to them. You would be left to your own devices and with the association dissolved by then , there would be no place to go to get information and nothing else to do but to vacate the premises for the investor to clear , build and sell or rent the new building(s). Of course none of these were mentioned in that homeowner’s speech and for 2 years in a row. Just that it would be a quick sale. You just cannot let any voting that compromises your total ownership and freedom on when and at what price to sell take place here. In other words there are no upside to this , just a big downside.

May 18,2016

Details on a 80% sale


Many homeowners who received our letter before the last Annual Meeting were aware of the events that could be in the offing. They came with some standing room only and watched and participated in a debate of events that could directly affect their property. They knew they had to watch out for a board that has no problem breaking our bylaws, redacting documents and having one-contractor same-contractor Tina’s bids. In some of our conversations with a few homeowners who did not attend the meeting however, we found there were some homeowners who did not attend the Annual Meeting, who thought the sale of their property would be impossible without their notarized signature. In short they were willing to leave matters of utmost importance and probably their biggest investment in their lives to chance. They did not know about the 80% rule that has taken property away from so many homeowners all over the US. The 80% rule is in Texas Property Code 82.068 section a.
It states:
(a) Unless the declaration provides otherwise and except for a taking of all the units by condemnation, a condominium may be terminated only by the agreement of 100 percent of the votes in the association and each holder of a deed of trust or vendor's lien on a unit. The declaration may not allow a termination by less than 80 percent of the votes in the association if any unit is restricted exclusively to residential uses.

This is where that homeowner and we believe the Board also who let her talk for 2 years in a row about the figure 80%.
They were trying to convert our 100% condominium project to 80% and then use Texas Property Code 82.068 section to sell it. If that happens, the association becomes a trustee and gets the power of sale on behalf of all homeowners. The sale would be accomplished with much less than fair value of your valuable property in your pockets and you will be left to find someplace else to live and in a relatively short amount of time.

May 8,2016

Another condo association, same story

We just learned that the homeowners of a luxury high rise condominium project in Inner Loop are experiencing some problems with their board. The problems are similar to ours. The scale is of course much higher. It seems like they have a board member who pretty much self-elects himself and his friends, and has come up with an expensive and needless project. This board member has decided to remodel a whole area that according to many homeowners doesn’t need to go through what in effect is a revamping project. The price for this project is about $3.5M. There are plans for an assessment fee to be added to the 4-digit maintenance fees. There is nothing to stop him. There is only one contractor assigned to this project (sounds familiar?). The homeowners are trying to organize and oust him from the board. A good place to start would be to verify his homeownership. They could be in for a surprise. He might not even be an owner of record, just like ours.

 

May 3,2016

As posted last year

As posted on January 4,2015 it is now confirmed that there will be a bank at the intersection of Fountainview & San Felipe . This very welcome addition will only help increase the already high values of the properties in the neighborhood. Let’s hope the homeowner at the meeting and we believe the Board, will leave the decision to sell or not sell of each condo to its owner and stop trying to change the rules and bylaws of our association. In other words, let’s hope they stop meddling in other people’s business.

 

May 1,2016

Another HOA embezzler

A condo manager admitted on Tuesday he stole more than $95,000 from the condo association of an HOA to feed a gambling addiction.

He, admitted in Lowell District Court to sufficient facts to one count of an association officer embezzling more than $250.

"I'm truly sorry for what I've done," he said in court.

He was placed on probation until 2020, with his case continued without a finding. He has repaid $43,826. If he pays the remaining $51,939 in full, his case will be dismissed.

 

 

 

April 25, 2016

Invoice for the driveway repair

Some homeowners living in the area 2201 and 2121 were aware of the driveway repair being done in an area 20’x24’ or 480 square feet just over a month ago. They notified CH and we asked and received a copy of the invoice from Tina. As posted here earlier, this was a one bidder and it was Tina’s guy who got this job as well while doing the fences at 2121 building. The price for that relatively small area was $4230. This came to $9.40 per square feet. We got some estimates of our own from contractors called at random. We had 2 contractors that gave us bids and the average was $7.20 per square feet. Tina told us that there were no future driveway repairs scheduled. We didn’t believe that. There are more areas that need repair and it just seems logical that they would be next and quite possibly the same guy would get the job at the exclusion of all contractors.
This could be another excuse for another maintenance fee increase without getting other estimates and only using Tina’s guy. We have notified Tina and asked her to forward that quote to the Board. We will get more estimates and send them to the Board in the coming days and weeks and post here. The Board as you recall in the fencing case, did not like competition either even though it could benefit all homeowners. If you see your maintenance fee increase again next year you know it could well possibly be due to these expensive one-bid jobs at the expense of homeowners.

April 16,2016

Another HOA crime family

This one happened in Massachusetts .

A condominium manager told the homeowners that she would need a $1,000 assessment from each owner because there were insufficient funds to pay National Grid for utilities.
An association trustees, said the request drove him to investigate the association's finances. What he found prompted him and other owners to alert authorities.
The trustee who has since become condo manager -- and condo trustees met with officers in August to discuss multiple bank statements from the association credit union showing a man they identified as condo manager’s son, allegedly cashing fraudulent checks for years, amounting to more than $100,000, according to a police report.
Now, both of them are charged with stealing more than $180,000 from the Condominium Association from 2010 to 2015.
And all 72 condo owners are now paying dearly to erase a debt of $163,596 related to the alleged thefts.
For two years,now one-bedroom condo owners are being assessed $80 per month above their usual association fees.

At the end the mother told authorities that her son put her under pressure to commit the fraud to pay for his child support, IRS fees and other people and businesses. However she also wrote checks to herself for $31,925 in the span of 3 years.

Please note that the homeowners had to call authorities, were lucky to find detectives who would listen to them and pursued the case. Barring that, they would have had to hire expensive forensic accountants, attorneys etc. to prove their case. All these could have been avoided with a state agency that would solely handle HOA complaints and not give them the dignity of being treated as a sovereign governments. This is too much responsibility for a commom man/woman to be able handle effectively.

April 9, 2016

Asphalt- another one bidder


The homeowners are in for another one bid job. This time is the drive way between 2121 and 2201 and the asphalt repair. Tina’s main bidder is at work again. He is still not finished with the fencing job at 2121 and they put him at work on the driveway. No other bids were solicited. No other bids were welcome or accepted as we saw in the fencing project. As a reminder, Tina’s contractor bid was 3 times as ours. The work was not announced in advance perhaps thinking CH would get outside bids for this one as well.
Chances are the homeowners will pay for this lack of competitive bidding again in 2017.

April 7 , 2016

Theft - Same old story in many HOAs

A former 42 year old condo manager admitted last tweek he stole more than $95,000 from the condo association in Lowell, MA to feed a gambling addiction.

The apologetic manager admitted in Lowell District Court to sufficient facts to one count of an association officer embezzling more than $250.

"I'm truly sorry for what I've done," he said in court.

He was placed on probation until 2020, with his case continued without a finding. He has repaid $43,826. If he pays the remaining $51,939 in full, his case will be dismissed.


March 31,2016

It can run in the family too

Theft and fraud can be rampant in HOAs with some members can work together and even as part of a family . Its easy when nobody watches and people who like to oversee, can't or the only recourse available to them would be a lawsuit.

This happened in Florida .

A woman and her son were arrested a month ago after an investigation revealed they stole more than $122,000 from an HOA from 2004 through 2015, according to the Sheriff’s Office .
The woman, 59, and her son 32, were booked into the County Jail and charged with one count each of grand theft and fraud. According to their affidavits, she was appointed treasurer of the HOA in 2003. She had sole custody of the HOA’s debit card and checks its bank account and was responsible for making payments to various businesses on behalf of the HOA. In 2015 she was dismissed as treasurer, after the other board members discovered a $27,000 deficit to the HOA lawn care provider, and responded to TD Bank and found there was less than $50.00 in the HOA account, deputies said.
The deficit was previously undiscovered because she had falsified documents showing payments to various businesses. The board members were alerted to the deficit by the lawn care provider and contacted the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said they collected evidence that showed the woman and her son used the HOA debit card to make multiple items such as food, clothing, mattresses and rental vehicles. Additionally, the son is listed as owner of a business and in 2015 he used the HOA debit card to purchase equipment, vehicles, and signage after he was hired by a regional medical center to work their “Promise Run” charity event, deputies said. He also booked a cruise with the card, deputies said.
Both confessed to using the HOA funds without permission, deputies said. The woman told detectives that for 11 years she attempted to put money back into the account. Detectives found evidence that she made four separate deposits into the account, totaling $12,622.00. Detectives calculated the total amount of funds stolen by her and her son equaled $122,779.47.

March 24, 2016

Yellow card investigated


We did call the advertiser from the card. He seemed like to be an investor looking at tax rolls trying to find a bargain. He was trying to find desperate sellers. In this great economy of Houston, he should be hard pressed to find a seller who is ready to depart with his investment or a place to live at half the market price. The guy seemed to be dealing with the Houston prices of the mid 90s. More than that, he did not even know the eye-catching developments and billion dollar investments at Fountainview, the heart of Galleria. This is the reason we suggest, if you want to sell, consult with real estate agents and people who know about the area. It is not in every place that you see brand new 200-300 unit luxury apartments within feet and yards of your place. That together with a brand new HEB and more developments scheduled at 2401 and other places on this tiny stretch of Fountainview makes this a developer magnet. Our advice is ,if you get this card, don’t waste your time calling him and throw it away.

March 22,2016

Official copy


The fencing project on 2121 building started after a 6 months delay. The delay was due to the 4 contracts provided by CH and an effort to get rid of them by Tina and the Board. The work is going ahead at 3 times the cost of 4 bids provided by CH’s 4 called at random bidders. The Board didn’t care about howto spend our money . It did not even talk to our bidders. So we decided to get an official copy for our files. Tina sent CH a copy of the contract by the other bidder. This means that the bidder who did the 2101 is not doing 2121 but Tina’s other bidder does. Somehow it didn’t look good to do the job with the same bidder that did the 2101. However, this bid comes with a typo which we addressed in an earlier post. Tina said she had already crossed it. We asked that she or someone from the Board initial the crossing. She refused. For now we have a copy of the contract with a typo of the address and a crossing. Lets think about this. This is a contractor who is very familiar with this property and with about $22,000 worth of contract makes a typo ( address of the whole building where he would be replacing fences) and Tina and the Board don’t even ask him to retype this one-page contract. Like everything else here , this is very suspicious. Could it be the contractor who did the 2101 building is doing 2121 too and it just would have looked bad for the same guy to do this job as well after a dog and pony show getting rid of CH referred contractors? In other words ,could this contract be a fake and the 2101 bidder is also doing this one behind the scenes? Remember faking things like home ownership is a breeze to this people. We would need to see who actually gets paid for this contract.

March 20,2016

Yellow solicitation card

Recently a homeowner received a yellow postcard expressing interest in purchasing his condo. The card was specific and had the address of the property posted in all caps. It looked like it was coming from an investment company with a website. If you have received such a card please let us know at concernedhomeown@hotmail.com. We'd like to know how widespread this solicitation is.

March 13,2016

The other meeting

Homeowners who attended the March 9th meeting saw something similar to our own Annual Meeting about 6 weeks ago. There were 500 or more homeowners in attendance with questions and concerns about the planned government project here at 2640 Fountainview. After the introduction by the Housing Authority representative, homeowners started expressing concerns along with boos from the audience ( like ours with the homeowner who was trying to sell our property with 80% vote). As far as we could see, all homeowners were against it. They saw it as an attack on home values . What was very obvious from the beginning and to people who were following the whole process including HISD trustees, was lack of transparency (like ours with our fencing and other projects as well). There were hardly any notices to the public, but bunch of misinformation (like ours). There was only one contractor (like ours). This contractor was getting millions (6% of the cost). The project is ready to go no matter the complaints or costs (like ours).
One attorney who is fighting this project asked a very simple and revealing question from Housing Authority representatives : Is the project moving forward because of kickbacks?

We all live in the real world. CH provided 4 bids at random and at 1/3 the cost of Tina’s bidder. As you know our contractor meeting was a sham and the contract with Tina’s contractor was signed a week before the meeting with CH referred contrators. These bids were shelved and only Tina’s bidder is proceeding with the project. We ask the same question from the Board: Is the fencing project moving forward because of kickbacks?

March 10, 2016

2121 Fencing & a typo

As many homeowners are aware the fencing project at 2121 has already started. The contractor meeting was set for March 3rd. When the project started a few days later CH asked Tina for a copy of the contract to see who is doing the project. We got the contract. It was as we had suspected for about $21,000. It is being done with one of Tina’s not awesome for homeowner’s money twosome. The contract was signed on 2/26/2016 a week before the contractor meeting set for March 3rd!! This is a blatant disregard for homeowner interest. It showed what a charade the contractor meeting was. The contractors also saw through this charade and did not show up. This is your money being spent unnecessarily for a job that 4 other contractors were willing and able to do at 1/3 the price. These contractors put a legitimate written contract, bound by homeadvisor.com regulations and were denied even a chance to make their presentation at the appropriate time. This was the Board wasting our money away. When CH received the contract from Tina it was for 2101 building. Tina’s response to the question as to why it was not 2121 was that it was a typo. What she wanted CH to believe is to trust her at her word. She said she crossed it and put the right address on it. When CH asked to see the final official contract with her initials on the crossing or a retyped contract she refused to send it. We will pursue our legal right to see what happened. Was that a typo? Its hard to imagine Tina’s contractor with long history here making a huge typo like the address of an entire building and to top it off Tina refusing to turn over a contract to homeowners who pay her salary.

March 5, 2016

Contractor meeting

CH went to the contractor meeting held on March 3rd. As expected it was what we believe a ploy to get rid of the 4 bids that that were 1/3 of Tina’s bidder’s. The Board truly showed it was no friend of the homeowners as it waited 6 months for no given reason to hold this meeting. The contractors, all professionals contacted from a legitimate website gave legitimate written professional bids. These bids were on purpose laid dormant by the Board to hopefully fade away and they did. No contractor showed up. There was no reason for professionals to wait 6 months when many things had changed and then come and at noon on a busy day ,take off their busy schedule and go back 6 months or so and explain their bids. As we explained in our latest letter to the homeowners, the Board could have contacted them a week or so after they gave their bids and enthusiastically , if they were really thinking of the homeowners pockets and meet them then and right on the spot. They didn’t. As a result the homeowners can potentially lose another $13-14000 for a job that 4 other contractors could do for about 1/3 the price. This is in addition to $13-14000 that we potentially lost had the Board asked Tina to get more than 2 bids, rather than get her usual Tina’s 2 and only 2 bidders. This was supposed to explain the reason the maintenance fees went up. As you can see, they probably didn’t have to, if they had just shopped around and stop getting Tina’s expensive bids.

March 1, 2016

The upcoming March 3rd meeting

Here we are March 1st , only 2 days away from contractors meeting for the 2121 fencing project. These are the facts:
The Board asked Tina to get 2 bids for 2 fencing jobs at 2101 and 2121 buildings early in 2015.
Tina got 2 bids from her usual 2 bidders.
The fencing job was done at 2101 very shortly after that.
CH got a copy of the invoice for the 2101 building and the specifications for the 2121 building and got 4 outside and at random bids averaging 2/3 less than Tina’s.
The Board stopped the project at 2121 without any reason.
They set up a meeting for March 3rd , six months or so after the stoppage with contractors introduced by CH.
Tina’s bidder won’t be attending the meeting, even though his bid is 3 times as much as other contractors. He won’t be there and is not asked to attend the meeting to defend the high bids.
When Tina is asked a month or so before the meeting, to make sure everything is correct and the only questions asked would be of the pricing, Tina budges.
To correct whatever is wrong ,CH asks Tina to have the Board come out and ask smooth over all the problems before the meeting, but the Board refuses to meet with them.
Tina and the Board say there are problems with the bids. They won’t specify which bidder or bidders and what the problem is.

Apparently the Board doesn’t mind us paying about $14,000 extra for the same job, when there is a potential for saving.
What could happen on March 3rd : a dismissal of all 4 contractors and making up stories that all 4 of them had something wrong with their bids , even though they did not want to meet them beforehand. The result could be a $14,000 loss for the homeowners in addition to another $14,000 or so for the 2101 building, had they solicited other bids, other than Tina’s for a total of $28,000 or more.

February 28,2016

Money missing from HOA account

This happened in Corpus Christi but with these unfair HOA laws that are biased towards HOA Boards who are accountable to virtually no one, it can happen anywhere.

A lot of money is missing from a local homeowners association account, and residents there met a few nights ago to get some answers.
The association is still working to figure out the exact amount missing, but sources say it's definitely in the tens of thousands of dollars.
This money is collected every month from those who live there, and is intended for things like improving the landscaping in common areas.
The emergency meeting for residents drew a large turnout.
It was intended to inform them of the findings so far and where they go from here.
The current leaders of the association didn't name any names, but sources say a person who recently held a leadership position with the HOA and had access to the bank account is accused of making several withdrawals over a period of at least several weeks.
A police report was filed in the past few days, the HOA has contacted an attorney, and many people at the meeting made it clear they want their money back, through whatever criminal or civil process is needed.
According to residents, the missing money was supposed to pay for improvements to benefit the kids of the neighborhood, by enhancing the park space and adding some playground equipment.
The neighborhood is now considering contracting with a company to collect and maintain all the HOA fees.

February 20,2016

Upcoming March 3rd meeting

March 3rd at noon about 2 weeks from today is set for a meeting of contractors and the Board for the fencing project at 2121 building. These contractors were contacted at random (all 4 of them) by CH. The project was stopped inexplicably about 6 months ago after the bids were submitted to Tina. The bids averaged out to 1/3 of Tina’s bidder. It’s fair to say that the Board and Tina did not exactly jump up with joy to embrace CH’s bids. Instead of a meeting right away to see about the new bids and in theory the new findings, they stopped the project all together. Our subsequent emails with Tina showed a pattern of accepting the new bids and then reversing her position. She finds faults with them but only states they are unprofessional. There are no specific issues and even when confronted with her own words, she either doesn’t say why they are unprofessional or accepts it with some wiggle room. We still don’t know why they are unprofessional. All 4 bids were unprofessional ? Really ? And Tina’s bidder who up until a year ago only had a voicemail and not even a website meets Tina’s standard for professionalism? A standard that is described by many as being very unprofessional with her not even giving many homeowners the courtesy of returning their phone calls.
The meeting on March 3rd which is planned to be at noon when these busy contractors are at work, homeowners are at work with no time to attend, is designed in our opinion, to sweep those bids under the rug. They will then announce that either CH’s bids didn’t show up, or come up some excuse to dismiss them. The fencing (both for 2101 and 2121) was the reason stated for our 3% maintenance fee increase. At the Annual meeting it was changed to “also need the drainage under it” to justify even more, this unjustifiable increase.
If the fencing was the reason for the increase, why not jump up with joy when you can save homeowners money and even ask for more bids?
CH puts the question to the homeowners. The homeowners can draw their own conclusions.

1. CH’s 4 bids chosen at random from homeadvisor.com average out around $7,000.
2. Tina’s usual bidder comes up with about $21,000 for the same project.

Will the winner come out one of the 4 bidders in number 1 or will it be Tina’s bidder?
We think Tina’s bidder will win no matter the cost to the homeowners.

February 16, 2016

Homeowners angry at the HOA Board

This Annual Meeting of an association happened in Arizona about the same time as ours. There are a lot of similarities between theirs and ours. The number of homeowners attending was double the usual number, kind of like ours. The room was packed to standing room only (like ours). They had brought 2 attorneys (we have seen attorneys at our meetings too) and a security guard (one uninformed homeowner who probably was attending our Annual Meeting for only the second or third time suggested a police officer for our next year’s meeting). Looks like with the unfair laws that are stacked against the homeowners, this sort of thing happens all over. A common man given powers that it is too much for him to handle. Apparently the Board in Arizona, in a small association with about 50 or so homeowners had hired a management company. The homeowners were upset that the Board had subrogated their responsibilities to an outside management company that was only interested in making money. They had started enforcing things they hadn’t enforced before, like the gates were not the right color or something equally insignificant. Of course we don’t have to worry about code enforcement here. The Board itself doesn’t care about our rules and regulations.
If the Board brings an attorney for the next year’s meeting may be they can answer the question how come 2 Board members don’t have proper credentials, like being owners of record?. Or does the violation of our bylaws mean anything to them? May be the uninformed homeowner should have been more worried about what had a lot of homeowners worried , mainly the loss of our condos at half price and by force. Maybe if he was better informed he would have been worried like us ,about the consequences of people on the Board signing documents they are not authorized to sign, including one that still is not an owner of record.

February 11,2016

Fencing- a summary so far


The Board asked Tina to provide 2 bids for fencings for 2101 & 2121. Tina got her usual 2 guys and the one that usually gets the lower jobs got it. The guy who until a year or so ago, had only a voicemail and did not have a website. The fencing at 2101 was done with rush and at about $21000. When CH got a hold of the contract and also what the specifications for 2121 were, went ahead and got 4 bids at random. The bids came out as 2/3 less than Tina’s. CH submitted the bids to her that were supposedly got to the Board. The work at 2121 was all of a sudden rescheduled. We now know it will be March 3rd for a meeting of the contractors. Even though Tina had said all the bids were ok and in accordance with the specifications, we decided to do a last minute check. To our surprise she just had found incompatibilities! We showed her, her own words and she decided they were ok after all. When a week later we discussed the meeting, again to our surprise she wasn’t sure about our bids. We asked her to meet with our bidders on the ground and she referred us to the Board. Then 2 members of the board declined to meet with the bidders. We asked her to come and defend the exorbitant price her bidder charges and meet with our bidders and clear any issues prior to the meeting. She did not want to address the issues and kept on playing games. The meeting to us is scheduled to be a ruse. It will be a meeting that n purpose is left convoluted so as to dismiss all 4 and get on with Tina’s guy.
It is her bidder and looks like she wants to get him through at any cost ( to us), even though there are lower bids available. This is why our maintenance fees go up ( according to the board). Only homeowners can stop this by calling the Board through Tina and voice their concern and displeasure about expensive bids and higher maintenance fees. In the meanwhile you can attend the meeting at noon at March 3rd at the management office.

 

February 6, 2016

Tina’s game back on


We finally got a date for the contractor meeting for the fence project at 2121. The date is Thursday March 3rd at noon at the management office. The time is difficult for interested homeowners to attend. It used to be a time for the monthly Board meeting hoping less homeowners attend and was changed due to homeowners protest.
The fences at 2101 were done fairly quickly and with Tina’s bidder. When CH got involved and quickly got bids and outbid Tina’s bidder by 2/3 , all of a sudden work stopped for 2121 , the building next to 2101. This was very questionable. Why didn’t they just get all the bidders together fairly quickly and continue the work? Did the new bids shock them? They are all pros and could discuss it in a matter of days or couple of weeks and let the most qualified, experience wise, price wise, etc. win.

Yesterday we got some clues as to why. First of all Tina said there were 3 bidders. We reminded her they were 4. When the contractors provided by CH (called at random) were contacted just recently, one of them had told Tina that their bid was only good for 30-days. We haven’t heard from the other 3. As you know in previous postings Tina had said she saw some problems in the bids about 3 weeks ago. When we asked her to be specific and also specify the contractor(s) with problems and that CH has emails form her stating they were ok, she agreed they were ok.
We think she just let it sit for a while and then made an announcement about the meeting and bring problems anew. By now which is about 7 months later the contractors bids are older than 30 days, as example above, or just busy and not being able to make it and the number could be cut from 4 to 2 or may be 1 or even 0. She also hoped that we would not ask for a re-verification at the last minute. The noon meeting could also be inconvenient for these busy contractors to attend. By the way, wherever you see her mentioned please add the Board. The Board is in on it. Tina technically and legally stopped the work with their order. Tina brought imaginary problems with their knowledge and then she and the Board retracted when pressed on. The problems came back up again with their knowledge. The Board should have been very happy, to see the new much lesser bids, and felt lucky to have homeowners saving them money. Why didn’t they? Why it took almost 7 months to get on with meeting these contractors that could save us all money? To add to the mystery and let’s be frank about it, suspicion, Tina’s bidder won’t attend the meeting. Why isn’t he attending to defend his exorbitant price? This makes the meeting more like a dismissal meeting. A meeting to be held at noon with probably few or nobody around, find problems with all of them, dismiss them right out or quietly and with little notice a few days later. We will get verification so all the questions asked at the meeting would be the contractors credential and work experience. Just to remind all, Tina’s bidder had only a voicemail and no website up until a couple of years ago. They cannot argue about a missing fence or incorrect measurement at this late in the game. The meeting will be held when we are all in agreement that the bids are all up to par and with what Tina’s bidder worked with. The amazing thing is that we had a 3% maintenance fee increase with 2 buildings to be done in 2015. Only one was done after we submitted the new bids, with 3 times the price of our bidders and the Board still increased the maintenance fees.

January 30,2016

Old fence dumping?


As many of you who have been following the postings here, the fencing project at 2121 was stopped a few months ago. The Board wants to have a meeting between contractors introduced by Tina (one of her usual 2) and contractors provided by CH which turned out to average 1/3 of Tina’s contractor’s bid. Frankly we can’t figure out why they are waiting for about 6 months now. Recently some homeowners contacted us reporting some old fences dumped in the trash bin by 2121 building. Three days ago was the second case of dumping. We asked Tina in both incidents and she pleaded ignorance. A quick look at 2121 doesn’t show any fences torn down but some homeowners have reported hearing woods being sawed. There is a Board member who the homeowners see frequently walking around pretty much most of the day and a lot of times around the dumpsters. Also the president’s condo is not far from the trash bin. How come they haven’t approached whoever is dumping these old fences and tell them to stop it? Our trash fees are paying for these reportedly illegal dumps.
If anybody has seen or knows something about this please contact us at concernedhomeown@hotmail.com.
The dumping and the Board’s behavior is very suspicious to say the least.

January 26,2016

Not For Sale Resolution

We didn’t want to dignify the pathetic Not For sale Resolution presented at the meeting, but some homeowners who did not attend the meeting were not clear on it. We have posted it here below. Of particular interest is the last sentence in paragraph 1. This is the same argument that proponents of 80% control like developers, investors make. Its what makes the job of a developer easier to buy and demolish. It also makes it faster and cheaper for them to build . To this date and with the 2 speeches this homeowner has made and the Boards rambling in this resolution we have yet to see one benefit for the homeowners. Only that it could be a quick sale. We also found out that the 2 ½ bedroom (or what is called here a 3 bedroom) was sold at the asking price of $199,000. This is again right along our price analysis for these properties. All these help create comparisons that will boost our properties’ prices and even if there is a take over, would make it harder for the company to offer anything less.

Lets not forget that none of this, including Not For sale Resolution, homeowner concern and this posting was necessary had the Board not listened to this homeowner speech in silence for 2 years in a row trying to wrest control from the homeowners in making their own decisions as to the sale of their property.

 

 


January 23,2016

Annual meeting- more analysis

Some homeowners who were not able to attend the meeting have asked for more clarifications about the Not For Sale Resolution. The letter basically in all cap letters and in a panicky tone shows the Board trying to distance themselves from this homeowner, who has talked about the quick sale of the property as a whole for 2 years in a row. It “boldly” declares our place is not for sale, never will be, they will not enter into negotiations with developers to sell the property. It basically “boldly” declares that “we will not sell” your property right under you even though we know we are only proxy-elected Board members, i.e. we know the Board is not the owner of the place. There will not be an 80% rule. It is amazing that none of this would have happened if they hadn’t let this homeowner start talking about it and them listening to her in silence starting January 2014 and then again in January 2015. People who have attended these meetings know that there are mainly questions that hover around, trash, cable TV, maintenance of the place and other mundane homeowner issues. This is the first time ever anybody heard and saw a homeowner get up and the Board as if expecting it , had the room quieted and listened to her give a speech. Why was there no announcement prior to her speech? Why didn’t the homeowner ask permission to give a 5 minute speech while other homeowners just ask a one sentence or two questions? After CH sent a lot of homeowners and posted numerous times online alerting homeowners to this speech and the Board allowing it, homeowners started expressing concern and started talking to each other and CH. The Board thinking of a rush of very concerned homeowners which actually did happen (a correct assessment on their part) in spite of a cold January night (some standing room only), thought of a way to “boldly” declare we had nothing to do with her. Nowhere in the resolution even mentions why they let her talk in the first place, nor to this date have we heard as to why this homeowner wanted to act on everybody’s behalf without their permission. We have our suspicions though. In their “resolution” however, we believe they inadvertently tipped their hands in cooperating with this homeowner. In the condominiums where the 80% rule has become the law of the place, the excuse for creating such a rule has been that not to let one homeowner object to prevent the sale of the whole property. This is also the exact wording in this Not For Sale Resolution. That to us shows a veil attempt at telling us what could happen and what we could be missing (which is a wholesaling of our property). What if 5 people object? How about 10? How about 19%?
It just shows that when living under HOA you cannot let your guard down. She could be back next year or we could get a letter from somebody, entity etc.as we predicted before, telling us about the merits of a wholesale deal and reminding us it wasn’t us and to remember the resolution. If one or more want to hold the sale of a property, the developer will not be stumped. They can take over the Board and quadruple the maintenance fees and force the homeowner(s) out legally. The Board, homeowners or this homeowner should not be spending time as to how facilitate the sale of our extremely valuable property. Anybody doing that will only invite suspicions onto themselves.

January 21, 2016

Annual meeting

Many homeowners remember when we had an Annual Meeting to decide on a proposal to have a $1000/month assessment. Homeowners came with force and the awful proposal which primarily was for borrowing was defeated. This Annual Meeting was one of those nights. We had let many homeowners know about the homeowner who had been advocating the merits of selling our property on a wholesale level. This was a serious threat to all of us and CH let many homeowners aware of her speech. She had talked about it for 2 years in a row and the Board had let her spread this unsolicited , nonsensical notion. We had questioned the reasons behind this speech and the Board allowing it. Homeowners who attended the meeting saw a Not For Sale Resolution waiting for them on the tables. It looked like the Board had taken notice of this alert put up by CH and was trying to distance itself from this homeowner’s speech.
The question comes up which is why now? Is that because they felt the homeowners who had not heard her speech, were rightfully upset and were going to ask the Board questions? It sure looked like a pre-emptive action. After going through all the agenda they wanted to address the sale of the property. By that time which was nearing the end, the Board had pretty much lost control. The homeowners were upset. They took a show of hands resolution. It was a pathetic attempt at demonstrating a hands-off policy towards this very important issue. How would that matter if an investor steamrolls over us? The action of this homeowner which has included direct talk (according to her) with investors and the Board’s willingness to let her talk might have already damaged our position. She and the Board might have already turned an individual issue to an “us” issue. The homeowners united let her know in no uncertain terms that she did not have their permission to talk about their property. They also told her again in no uncertain terms that she was welcomed to sell hers and leave. This is a subject that is for each homeowner to decide. It is an unwritten rule of negotiation that when a seller approaches the buyer the price is automatically reduced. She tried to defend herself by saying that she started the talk when the gas prices were not so low!! That did not even make sense. By that she meant the market was hot. If it was hot why did she advocate a quick sale of the property at a wholesale level? For her information, Houston has not cooled at all and most certainly our property. This is not a one-trick pony kind of city anymore. After the last oil price reduction, Houston city leaders pledged to make the city economy a diverse economy. So far it looks like it has worked. The real estate prices are still high and construction is going up non-stop in virtually most areas of Greater Houston. You see signs for hiring in many areas which were not there in the last recession. There is a great medical center with visitors coming from all over the world, a new International Hobby airport, a great high-tech field, more active ship channel, a great climate and much more. The oil job losses could translate to something else on the future but nobody can foresee the future. With no visible signs of weakness this homeowner assumes we are in difficult times and she wants to sell what that doesn’t belong to her. We found out that a homeowner, reportedly just recently has sold her one-bedroom here for $85,000. That is right along with our prediction that a one bedroom here could be worth $100K. If she takes a hands-off policy and just minds her own properties we could very well get that and probably more.
There was also the issue of the election. We had predicted that all 3 incumbents would win re-election. This time however only 2 were elected and at first glance looked like CH was off by one Board member. However this requires more knowledge of these people. The Board member who was not re-elected came to the meeting with the assistance of a walker. He was guided to his seat. He was absent in last year’s meeting and had been absent many times in 2014. The Board wanted to get done with the charade of elections. His pitch for re-election lasted 20 seconds. The first 10 seconds were inaudible and homeowners could only hear a mere 10 seconds of what he had to offer for the upcoming year. This another one of the Board’s banana republic type of voting looked more like a retirement ceremony for him and passing of a torch to yet another relatively new homeowner. Someone who has not been as familiar with the whole set of issues here like redaction of files, closed elections , one-contract (Tina’s contractors) bidding and much more emanating from a typical HOA with a management company, like the other homeowners who have resided here for 30 years or so. Let’s hope he turns out to be different. Some homeowners who were appointed ( we just can’t use the word elected since we can’t monitor the election) to the Board quit in disillusionment a couple of years later. Some found out they were there to sign papers only or were there to agree with whatever they say. Its worth mentioning that the losing Board member was also on the Board when 2 non-homeowners were elected to the Board in 2008. Its amazing that he had voted to remove the Board members in the 2005 removal meeting and then switched positions and got on Board. He was also the one who gave the disastrous pitch in that $1000/month assessment.
Going back to the issue of wholesale selling, the homeowners cannot let their guards down. She could come back and the Board could let her talk again under the guise of a new heading but with the same intent. Living under this HOA ( and HOAs in general) means never resting comfortably and plan for retirements or other things. If her plans had succeeded, we could been out with measly amount in our pockets and move to much less valuable locations. After all what could you buy in the still very expensive Galleria area?

January 14,2016

Elections

There is a homeowner who is running for the second time in 3 years in this election. There are also 3 current board members who are incumbents, one of them a homeowner who has owned a unit here starting just in 2014. She has been appointed as a temporary Board member since a few months ago. The non-incumbent homeowner is asking homeowners who know CH to support him. While no doubt he can be very useful to homeowners here with his expertise, he is of no use to the Board and Tina which we see has an active role in elections and even breaks our bylaws by letting non-owners get on the Board. The Nominating Committee has not had any member in the last 10 years or so who have nominated themselves and got elected. The Nominating Committee is name only. We fully expect the 3 incumbents to be re-elected and this homeowner lose. The election here is a sham. They want certain members which would include yes men/women who are there sometimes to fill the quorum. Expertise does not matter to them. Homeowner’s interest is of no interest to them. You can see with the fact that they show no interest in fencing bids provided by CH and just stop the 2121 fencing project all together with no valid reason. Let’s not forget redacting the documents a few years ago. Most important of all lets not forget the fact that elections here cannot be independently verified. Last year the incumbents won all seats. CH will not participate in any election held by Tina and this Board until elections can be independently monitored. We cannot trust a bag of proxies Tina brings every year and call it legitimate votes. We fully expect the incumbents win again and this homeowner who apparently has a lot of experience probably lose again. This is banana republic on display.

January 13,2016

The bids were ok after all

After a flurry of emails back and forth and showing Tina her own words, she finally agreed the bids obtained by CH, and called at random using homeadvisor.com were ok. We have asked to be present at the meeting some time in February or March, and we know some concerned homeowners want to attend the meeting too. We just want to make sure that all bidders get a just treatment. We all need to go over this huge $13-14000 difference and see why Tina’s bids are so much higher than the other ones. This is after all what is causing the 3% increase in our maintenance fees.

Question: why did the fees go up by the full 3% when only one of the two buildings was done in 2015?

January 12, 2016

2121 fencing project -The plot thickens

 

When we inquired about the proposed meeting all of a sudden Tina said she had read them thoroughly and found that they left out a whole fence! CH asked as to why she has taken 4 months to tell us that and only when we inquired about the meeting. She replied “I am just assuming they are missing a fence. I don’t know.”
When we brought that up that you said you went through them thoroughly and now you say you just assumed she replied that she did go through them thoroughly and that the proposals were unprofessional. We asked why she waited 4 months and again after our inquiry to say so and which ones (or all of them), there was no answer.

Homeowners have to remind themselves that she works work us and we pay her salary. We have shown a potential of $13-14000 loss to us if we go with her bidder. This already happened at the 2101 building. She is in no rush to have that proposed meeting. Since the Board picks her bidder and shows no interest in getting outside bids, we can assume the Board is ok with that too. To sum it up, looks like the Board is Ok if homeowners spend needlessly $13-14000. They look to be ok with us losing money

 

Janury 9, 2016

2121 fencing update

A few days ago we tried to get an update on that planned meeting of the contractors. If you recall this was a meeting that was supposed to be between Tina’s contractor, Concerned Homeowners 4 suggested and called at random contractors, the Board and Tina( the property manager) . The meeting was for the fencing project for the building at 2121. Lets remind you that the average of the 4 contractors we introduced were about 1/3 of Tina’s. For some unspecified reason this fast track fencing project stopped dead in its tracks after we introduced the 4 contractors about 4 months ago. When we inquired about the meeting, she said it would be in February or March. However for the first time ever she said one of the fences from the 4 contractors were left out. We reminded her that we already have 4 confirmation emails from her , one for each contractor , after we had submitted their bids to her that they were Ok. We also reminded her that we have all those emails available. There has been no response to that. Its also amazing that after a 4 month period of silence and no activity and after our inquiry into the matter, all of sudden she says there could be a fence missing in their bids.
CH has asked to be present at that meeting to make sure it will take place. After all for 2101 building fencing project and other matters like signing up with the gas provider one floor above the management company one month before we could get rival bids they were not too concerned for homeowners best interest. They signed up with the same gas company and before we could get our bids in and have not used our bids for the 2121 fencing that clearly are a lot lower than Tina’s.

December 31,2015

Expected

This is a direct result of HOAs being treated like actual governments except that they don’t have checks and balances. It is what happens when leaving things in the hands of ordinary people without proper education and training and then expect them not to succumb to human weaknesses especially when they know nobody is watching or even is allowed to watch i.e. having proper checks and balances.
The ex-president of an HOA in Ohio is charged with the theft of $66,000. He had charges of grand theft of $20,000 or more, scheme to defraud and money laundering of $20,000 or more filed against him. He was first elected as the treasurer and president of the HOA in 2013. The treasurer's responsibilities include maintaining all financial records, collecting dues, paying bills, providing financial statements to the Board of Directors at meetings or as requested and preparing all financial documents for the Board of Directors. The current president claims that the ex-president stole $75,000 worth of cash, keys, checkbooks and association documents during the previous past two years. Reports said he depleted three certificate of deposits the association had as well as its savings and checking accounts by spending the money on unapproved transactions. Investigators also were able to verify, he used the HOA bank account to pay $24,196 of his own bills such as mortgage and utilities bill from the account.
We have seen many reports about HOA corruption all over the country and there is still not a lot of movement tackling the main problem which is that there is no state agency monitoring the common man to keep him honest.

December 20,2015

It happens in Canada too


Recently the British Columbia Strata property Act was changed. It used to be like what ours is, meaning 100% homeowners had to agree in order for the building(s) to be sold. The change as you might have guessed it was from 100% to 80% homeowner approval. Right after the change was made one huge developer made an offer to the residents. The residents that didn’t want to sell would now have to sell. The executive director of the condo association was very happy about it. This is a person who is in reality a regular homeowner. He is happy that now everybody has to sell. Why would he be happy about this? If he was tired of his position and the responsibilities that goes with it ,he could have resigned and become a regular homeowner again, one without a title. If he wanted to sell on his own he had every power to do so.
This brings us to our situation. Why is this homeowner which CH has written extensively about , so busy trying to create a deal? Why does the Board let her talk for 2 years in a row now in the Annual Meeting?
Fortunately there is no force of the government here to try to pass this totally unnecessary law. Homeowners here have to beware and show up to the Annual Meeting on January 19 and demand she stop representing us.This could be here third unsolicited, unnwanted and terrible advice. If she and others in cahoots with her succeed, you will be forced to give up your property at a much less value that this special location deserves
and move to a less desirable area.

December 9,2015

Investor way

This happened in Florida. It happened in a retirement community condo building. Nine unit owners are suing another owner who they say has tried to wrest control of the building. This investor is trying to change the rules and bring in young renters who are not eligible to live in the retirement community. He has bought 15 units in the 26-unit building and has obtained interest in 2 more. He is also the association president. He contends that he has the rights to change the rules and lease out his units. This could reduce the value of the remaining units by $15,000. He is a board member so he might have his legal expenses paid by the condo’s officers and director’s liability insurance.

This in effect what could be happening in our condos but with different goal. We think there are plans to change our rules and regulations. As you can see it can be easily done and rather quickly. The 9 owners contend that the investor needs each owner’s approval as it states in their bylaws. The investor didn’t care about that and proceeded to change the rules. Only a lawsuit is putting what could be a temporary hold on that action. If ours, which we think its the 80% rule becomes a law, it would be nearly impossible to be overturned.

November 24,2015

HOA and the Mayor's office

Over the past two months the residents of 2121 have been complaining to Tina about not having hot water. None of the Board members (including the illegal ones) live in that building. The natural conclusion was that nothing was done about it. One homeowner approached the illegal president 3 weeks ago was told by her they were getting bids. Meanwhile the residents were taking showers and washing dishes without hot water. Finally after much complaining to Tina and getting no or slow results, a homeowner complained to the Health Department. After getting minimal results there, she took her complaint to the Mayor’s office. They called Tina from there and after letting her know they are calling from the Mayor’s office, it looks like finally after more than 2 months they are getting a new boiler. We can imagine these problems would have been solved long time ago and within a few days of the problem if the boiler was at the 2101 building.

 

November 23,2015

The Board did not want extra bids


About 8 months ago we inquired about the gas company’s contract with Tina. This was particularly of interest to CH as the company was located one floor above our management company. We asked Tina when the contract would expire so we can provide additional bids. Tina let us know via email that due to changing prices the Board would start getting bids around December. We contacted Tina this past week and were told Board had already decided to go with the same company!
They already knew about the fencing bids which were much lower than Tina’s why not wait for more bids for gas? Why does the Board seem to always hire Tina’s contractors which looks like they cost more?


If you see an increase of 3% in your March 2016 maintenance fees you know it could have been avoided. We don’t know what the gas company rate is but why not taking a chance on competition to help save everybody money?

November 18,2015

Is 2121 Fencing project going on?


We received information from a homeowner today that a torn down old fence was observed in the trash bin. It looks like part of the fence between two units, or inside fence.

As people who have followed this site are aware, we have got 4 bids, averaging 1/3 of Tina’s bids. Apparently they are planning to meet with all contractors, including theirs to see where the huge difference comes from. We already know. Tina’s bids have always been expensive. We asked Tina about it and she denied they are doing that.

The homeowner who notified us believes they are doing it bit by bit so it would not be noticeable and when it is done; they could just say the Board decided to go with them. If that happens, the homeowners who already have lost about $12,500 could stand to lose another $12,500 totaling a loss of about $25,000 for a few pieces of wood.
If you see any activity regarding the fences please send us an email at concernedhomeown@hotmail.com.

 

November 15,2015

2121 fencing project

As homeowners who live in 2101 building know, the fencing project started and finished sometime in August . It was finished in about a week. We asked and received a copy of the invoice and discovered the Board had only asked for and received only 2 bids (Tina’s usual bidders). We quickly got 3 additional bids ( 4 so far). The average of ours came up to be about 1/3 of Tina’s usual contractor. By the third bid, we were informed that the Board was planning to talk to all contractors, including the ones we had called at random. The meeting according to Tina has not been scheduled yet even though we were told it could be in January. For homeowners who visit the property, you can look at an odd scene. On one hand 2101 has brand new fences which were done over 2 months ago and next to it, its 2121 with its old fences. This is not rocket science. It does not need a whole lot of research to continue finishing the job. A question comes as to why the job for 2121 stopped at all? If the answer is that they needed to see if all contractors are on the same page, why not hold the meeting sooner, like 2 months ago, a month ago, in November or December? We think its just to let the whole issue be forgotten and without notice you would see the usual contractor back at work again doing the 2121 building at 3 times the price we got. He has done a good job at 2101, however if the Board really didn’t want to “have to raise the maintenance fees” they should have shopped around. If they really are looking for the best interest of the homeowners they should get at least 5 bids for major jobs .

 

 

November 12 , 2015

New Board member

According to Tina, the Board member who has been here the longest is not there anymore. Some homeowners had reported some problems with him and according to a homeowner he was not able to serve anymore. The Board has the power to appoint someone else to fulfill his duties for the remainder of his term. So how does this Board go about selecting anew Board member and best preserve the interest of the homeowners? By selecting a homeowner who has been a homeowner here only since May 2014. Somebody who barely knows about the depth of the problems we have here as to the process of elections, one-contract, same contractor bidding, redacting insurance documents, etc. Somebody who barely even knows her neighbors let alone the rest of the homeowners . In other words somebody who they conceive to be safe and won’t ask questions, help with establishing the quorum and just sign what the others sign ( by legal and illegal members both).

About the quorum however we don’t think it would be a deal breaker. After all they didn’t care about a person on the Board being an owner of record. So what does a little thing like quorum matter?

November 8, 2015

Maintenance fee increase

Every year around October or November the Board has its monthly meeting to determine on some issues including maintenance fees. This Board which has been operating illegally, with 2 illegal members ordered the fencing project for 2101 and 2121 for the year 2015. According to what the illegal treasurer said in the last Annual Meeting, they were going to raise the maintenance fees by 3% because of this project. When they did the 2101 project they only got 2 bids (according to Tina, it was the instructions of the Board to her), and the homeowners got 2 expensive bids, from Tina’s usual bidders. The less expensive bid did the 2101 building project, to the tune of about $21,000. When Concerned Homeowners got the notice of such an expensive job for a few pieces of wood, found 4 contractors and submitted (so far) 4 bids, some at 1/3 of the 2101 price. As we know the work at 2121 was stopped pending a meeting of all contractors. We think the meeting is just a plan to find faults with the bidders provided by Concerned Homeowners that were picked at random and dismiss them and continue with the contractor that did the 2101 job, meaning 3 times the cost. If the maintenance fee increases this year, brings up couple of questions: Wasn’t the increase supposed to be for both buildings with only one done? If they pick one of CH bidders then why would the increase be 3% and not 1.5% or less? Of course they should not raise the maintenance fees at all since it was a total disregard of homeowner maintenance fee dollars and getting one or 2 bid contracts from the usual Tina’s expensive bidders. In other words if they had got more bids and not rely on Tina’s bidders they could have easily saved us some serious money. This means they should account for their lack of good judgment to say the least, and not raise the maintenance fees at all for this coming year. They should realize that the days of one, two or same contract biddings are over. CH will be providing competitive bids for all major jobs if they don’t. It is now time to be held accountable to homeowner’s hard earned money that pays for everything from A to Z.

 

 

November 1, 2015

Annual Meeting

One of the results of no checks and balances with HOAs, is having a common man/woman be burdened with huge responsibilities which is usually way over their heads and can have disastrous results for the homeowners. It makes perfect sense for good HOAs (unbelievable but there are some) to send an invitation to homeowners at least 60 days in advance asking them to come to the Annual meeting and help discuss issues relevant to their property. Issues like how to better run our place, or addressing the needs of the homeowners. In our place which by most measures is a bad association and a group of people running the Board, this only used to happen. It stopped happening when they saw Concerned Homeowners was serious about getting to the truth. After all we have non-owners of record being on the Board making decisions, signing documents when they are not authorized to do so, getting property manager-only bids with expensive results ( as we see with the fencing project) , homeowners not being able to monitor the elections, etc.
They hope the homeowners don’t show up at the Annual Meeting. They hope they don’t have to account for increasing our maintenance fees all due to a project that did not need to be done. We even think the quorum has not been established in many years. Did anybody beside Tina count? Can you trust Tina when she knowingly let 2 non-owners of record get on the Board in Annual Meeting of 2008 and be currently in breach of fiduciary duty?
This year’s meeting is very important and probably the most important ever. The notice will probably be sent a week before hoping not a lot of people would show up. Better yet if the weather is cold, so even less people show up. This time we will count the number of homeowners to see if the quorum is actually real. We cannot leave anything to trust here. Homeowners should connect the dots. Let’s be on the lookout for what we perceive to be a real concern to us, which is the homeowner who is attacking our home values and tries to change our bylaws to that awful 80% ownership. If she gets up to talk for the 3rd year in a row, let’s ask her why she is doing this and for what purpose. More importantly let’s make sure the issue of changing our bylaws to allow for such a terrible advice never materializes by standing firm against it and reject any proposal for such a vote. This could cost all of us potentially half of our home value and a forcible move. All these can occur, have happened and currently happen elsewhere and are very real.


October 26 , 2015

The fourth bid

As our ongoing efforts to get multiple bids, we received the 4th bid last week. We sent that to Tina and after a minor question which was answered, we didn’t hear anything more from her. We assume the bid is acceptable since we told her to bring up any questions and told her that if we don’t hear anything more, then the bid would be ok.

Recently the traveling salesman from the Board who walks around and tries to sell this super expensive job on 2101, asked a homeowner what he thought of the fencing job that it only cost over $21,000. The homeowner was so shocked by the high price that he told him he couldn’t believe it cost so much! This traveling salesman is the same guy that is not even an owner of record and he is on the Board and wants to raise our maintenance fees by 3% this coming year.

The fourth bid was actually the lowest bid of all 4. It came out at $6616.00 and includes all the specifications given to other bidders. As you can see the homeowners lost over $12,500 at least by the Board asking Tina to get only 2 bids. She got 2 bids from her 2 contractors that cost us a lot more than we could have by shopping around. Lets hope the Board takes the right path and takes one of the bidders that we called at random from homeadvisor.com. This should avoid the unnecessary 3% increase on this fencing job that was not needed in the first place.

 

 

October 18,2015

Forced sale situation

This is the continuing evolving situation in Florida. The state has a law that if 80% of the owners sell to an investor the rest are forced to sell theirs at market value (read appraisal district prices) to that investor. Of course Texas doesn’t have this law, but as we mentioned here, each condominium project can have its own rules and regulations.
The law in Florida states that homeowners should be compensated for at least what they paid for it. However it was amended that this applies only to homesteads. This means that multi owners who bought their property recently and to rent them out could lose big in that forced sale. As example there is this couple who bought their condo in 2006 for close to $250,000 and now that they have to sell it by force of the law and the investor will only have to pay $127,000 for it. That means a loss of about half of what they paid for.
Let’s compare that situation to ours. If an investor is eyeing our property ( very likely), then we have to pay very close attention to this homeowner who is getting the floor to talk at the Annual meeting ( two years in a row now). She is trying to sell us this nonsense that if we make changes to our bylaws and make it 80% approval then we can sell easily (as if we have any problem selling on our own). She is trying to convince the homeowners that giving up your total control to a stranger is good for you. Once you lose your control to make your own decision, the kind of garbage that is happening in Florida could happen in our place. Homeowners can lose big in this highly popular location. Even homeowners who have a free and clear homestead can lose their property for half of what they can get for it themselves. Please make all attempts to attend 2016 homeowner meeting. It is very crucial for homeowners to attend this meeting. They could be talking about your property hoping you don’t show up so they can sneak this all-bad proposition into law here.

October 11,2015

Removal argument

Every once in a while we get emails from people who want to comment on the site. Most of these comments are about the Board and election. These comments usually propose that, there is an easy fix to that and we can remove the Board members ourselves and elect new ones. In essence they try to portray HOA as a another type of government that is functioning properly and has checks and balances. Nothing can be further from the truth. You are trying to remove people who are in charge. People who are in charge are also in charge of the election. In plain language it means you don’t trust these people and you want them to be removed from positions of power. How can you then trust the same people to hold the election for their own removal? This is a catch-22.
It’s a dog chasing its tail. In order to hold a true election, when there is no trust whatsoever, you have to be able to monitor the election from start to finish. In the absence of any trust of the election results, anything short of that would be meaningless. That means you should be able to see the letters put in envelope, stamped and dropped in mailbox and then be there everyday to open the mailbox and be able to open it and see for yourself and tally the votes.
We have found out people who make these comments are either people who are not informed but well-meaning and truly want to give suggestions or people who are afraid that their beloved HOA industry; you know the one that feeds them ,get another black eye. This industry includes attorneys who advertise their services sometimes exclusively to HOAs, insurance agents and adjusters, various contractors, utility companies and others. They have an interest to keep the homeowner in the dark and only trust a certain group of people to run the Board. What is amazing is that the laws governing HOAs are so in favor of keeping the status quo and oppose any change. This is where most people have made the biggest investment of their lives and yet they can’t even effectively voice their complaints or do something about fraud that is ongoing in many HOAs. There are no checks and balances. There is nobody to complain to. The only option would be a lawsuit. The average homeowner has virtually no chance to unseat people who at times could be the least qualified and at the same time being protected by strongest laws keeping them in power.
What we have in our HOA which is 2 Board members being on the Board in violation of our bylaws ,could happen in any HOA across the US. Please remember this has happened with the blessing of other Board members and they are still there over a year after the fact. One of them still doesn’t have a deed and technically should not even be allowed to be in any meeting involving homeowners and their concerns. Yet he is still the treasurer.

The solution: A state agency with enforcement powers who can listen to the two sides of a dispute and just like any other state agency be able to rule with effective powers like removal, fine , and also be able to refer corruption cases to District Attorney . The threat of being imprisoned can usually keep many Board members who get under the table funding, honest.
This does not even have to be another agency to counter the argument of some people who oppose yet another government bureaucracy. To get there, keep calling your congressman and ask for more transparency. At some point we will get to total transparency which is what homeowners deserve.
The office of Attorney General can open a branch just for HOA disputes and be able to shut down HOAs that are corrupt just like any other business and hold true and honest elections for new members. This is when you can advise people to just remove the bad ones.


October 4,2015

Shocking but expected- $2.8M embezzlement by property manager

This happened in an HOA in California. She was charged with 2 counts of felonies for stealing from the account of a 990-unit HOA from 2007-13. This is what is happening pretty much all over the country. The shocking part is the amount. It is amazing that one person was given so much control, to allegedly steal close to $3M for so long while being a property manager. It just depends upon the value of the property, location, number of units, etc .The expected part is pretty much is the definition of insanity. It is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Until there is no independent agency with enforcement powers starts looking over HOAs , these would be the result we would be getting for the foreseeable future. Who is looking when the manager or a Board member with access to bank accounts starts embezzling? When a homeowner starts investigating on his/her own they could get stonewalled. They could get denied been shown documents. They could get documents but heavily redacted so they could be rendered useless. They could get threatened with frivolous lawsuits just to shut them up. They could have to conduct expensive forensic accounting to get to the truth. These are steps that are normally out of the reach of an average homeowner. As you can see a state agency with enforcement powers is the only solution for this problem called HOAs run by ordinary people. Ordinary people can have money problems like bills to pay, sickness in the family , being behind in car loans, etc. The lure of easy money can be very strong for some ordinary people with weak morals. The property manager’s job would be to help the Board solidify their powers. This many times unsavory duo can work against the average homeowner, in the form of hiring the same contractor, getting under the table funding which could make the homeowners pay with higher maintenance fees at the end; since the contractor would simply jack up their price to make up for the bribe. The list of unsavory acts can go on and on. A state agency would solve this problem. They could look at rigged elections, access to records without delay or redactions, making sure the Board members are qualified to handle the huge power of foreclosure which can result from imposing fees and fines for sometimes simple matters like not liking a homeowner’s door paint and getting into a mutual disagreement and escalation of the matter. Let’s not forget many foreclosures held at first Tuesday of the month Family law Center downtown, result from HOA fees arising from fines and attorney’s fees that could become too much for an average homeowner. This could result in them losing their homes to sometimes a few hundred dollars. Only voicing your complaint to your congressman can help things out. They are after all worried about being re-elected ant that could be more powerful than any lobbying on the part of HOA industry.
In this case the manager was pairing with a guy who had a faked company. She created invoices, paid him and then the two split the money. They face aggravated white-collar crime and could face 6 years in prison. We have to re-iterate: Not all HOAs are corrupt
.

September 27,2015

Senility on the Board?

A few days ago a Board of Director member was observed at the 2101 building looking for coke machines. He was asking some homeowners as to where they are on this property. One of them told him that there have never been any here. The Board member responded that there used to be here 30 years ago! Guess it took him 30 years to get curious about their absence. Interestingly enough he was standing right underneath where the mutilated animals have been discovered. Looking disheveled he headed back in the direction of his condo.

May be its time to replace the old timer. Notice we said “replace” not “elect”. In this sham of an election where 2 Board members are still there illegally, we don’t expect an open and honest election. The elections here cannot be monitored independently.

This Board member was one of the members sitting across the table from homeowners in January 2008 Annual meeting, when the 2 illegal members got elected. Tine admitted that she knew about their illegality and illegibility and we have no reason this Board member didn’t know. For sure he has known it since August 2014 and ignored our request in writing to remove them. Tina, him and the rest of the Board are in breach of fiduciary duty at least since August 2014.

September 22, 2015

HOA and SPCA


On July 23rd there was a mutilated mouse on the home of Concerned Homeowner activist. As posted here with the picture of the mouse, the police was called and a police report was filed. On August 14, a mutilated bird was put on the same spot. Again on September 10 another mutilated bird was put there. It is apparent that somebody’s interests are in danger. Concerned Homeowners has been very vocal in its opposition to one-contract (same contractor) bidding, non-verifiable elections, redacted documents, etc. This is the kind of stuff we can expect from HOAs with a common man in charge following his/her self-interest with the power to fine his fellow homeowner and most importantly in charge of interpreting laws sometimes with nothing more than a high school diploma.
Due to the nature of these intimidation tactics and ghoulish acts, we contacted SPCA and let them know about this cruelty to animals. They were very concerned and told us when identified in addition to local charges; they could bring additional federal charges which could range from misdemeanor to felony. We have a good idea who that person is.

As we are making every effort to positively identify this person, we ask anybody who knows about the identity of this night prowler who harms helpless animals to deliver a message, to contact Concerned Homeowners at 832-685-8770. We are also looking for people who are possibly aiding him.

September 19,2015

The third bid on fences

We received the 3rd bid for the fencing project. It was emailed to Tina and we got a confirmation email that the bid was right. As you recall, after receiving the bids, the Board all of a sudden suspended the fencing project for 2121 and postponed it till next year. The 2101 project has been completed without any other bids except Tina’s two bids. We later confirmed with Tina, that the Board had asked her to get 2 bids! So she went ahead and got her two contractors to bid against each other and they picked the lower one. The contractor that got it usually gets the smaller jobs anyway.
Here are the amount of the bids that we got:

First contractor: $7984.52
Second contractor: $8075.00
Third contractor: $9350.00

All these three were picked form Homeadvisor.com at random.

Tina/Board contractor: $20,800

So as you can see theirs is more than twice ours even the highest one we got. If the Board instead of asking Tina, had asked interested homeowners to help out and get extra bids, they, meaning us, could have saved $12-13000 on each of the building or a total of $25-26,000. We have already lost $12-13000 on the 2101 building. Now the Board facing this unforeseen, unwelcome and unexpected new bids wants in our opinion to muddy the waters. They want to meet in January with all contractors, ours and theirs. They want to repeat the scenario that we posted on September 13 about roofing 8 years ago. They want to muddy the issue so ours just go away, just like they made the roofers we brought in and again at random, from the Yellow pages go away. We don’t think they care about saving money. If they did they would have asked us to help them get bids as we have constantly told them we could. We will go to the meeting. We will follow up with our contractors afterwards and we will see if as they say its “apples to apples” or apples to oranges. Please keep in mind that we copied and pasted the specifications given to the Board contractors and sent them to the contractors that we called. Then they want to charge us 3% increase in maintenance fees because of the fencing! Just watch how they will try to discredit our bidders or show they are not the same or something to that effect. We will try to get 4 or 5 more bidders. Let the Board try to do away with 7 or 8 contractors. Our records will be open and so what Tina sent us as specifications given to their contractor.

September 13,2015

We will attend the meeting

At the Annual meeting about 8 months ago the illegal treasurer ( the guy who is not an owner of record and violating our bylaws everyday) brought up the subject of redoing the fences for both 2121 and 2101 buildings. This was first announced at a staggering $56,000 for a few pieces of wood. The “treasurer” also announced a 3% increase in our maintenance fees as a result of what we believe a totally unnecessary repair, and certainly at the expense of the increase. Apparently as we were discussing this with Tina , the work had already been contracted for the 2101 building at the price of about $21,000. Before long the trucks and the workers were there and finished the job in no time. We asked Tina how many bids were involved and she responded 2. We asked her who asked you to get only 2 bids and she responded, the Board. So Tina went and got her usual 2 contractors and one of them, the one that we see usually gets the lower priced jobs got the job. Please remember the company did not even have a website until recently. He only had an answering machine. We started getting bids for the 2121 building to save homeowners money. We thought he price was too much and we could save with the other building, the 2121 building. We got 2 bids. Both bids were submitted to Tina and she, through an email was ok with them. We also got a third bid which came up about $2000 more than our two bidders but about $10,000 less than the Board bidder. We need to clarify that bid and resubmit it. It shows all our 3 bidders if the Board selects one could save homeowners over $12,500. So now the work has stopped. The project that was supposed to be finished in fall, is now postponed till winter. They want to hold a meeting with all contractors, theirs and the ones we found. Why didn’t the Board get more than 2 bids for the other building? It appears the Board is not interested in saving us money so we don’t pay 3% increase in our maintenance fees. Now apparently they want to hold a meeting to see if their contractors and the contractors we found agree on the same specifications. Keep in mind that we copied and pasted the specifications given to us by Tina and our bidders submitted bids according to that, so they knew exactly what they were talking about. A fact that was further confirmed by Tina that the bids submitted by us was ok. Our contractors were found at random and through homeoadvisor.com. We don’t think this meeting is real.
A similar meeting was held more than 8 years ago. That one was about a roofing project. Concerned Homeowners invited 10 roofers to submit bids found through Yellow Pages. A time was specified ( by our insistence) for all bidders to attend. They all attended. The Board and Tina did not call back some of the roofers we introduced to them and found faults with the other ones. They ended up getting a predetermined roofer they had in mind all along. We suspect they are trying to do the same thing. They want to invite the bidders found by us and through some vague questioning and process show they are different, or find some fault with their bidding and disqualify them and go with their predetermined contractor. We don’t think it matters to them if it costs the homeowners money and a 3% increase in their maintenance fees. We don’t believe they are interested in saving us money. If they did, they would have got more bids for the 2101 building.
We plan to get more bids and will attend the meeting that they plan to hold in January only 4 months from now. We will also keep in touch with them after the meeting to make sure their bids have been given consideration in a fair and objective way. We will let the homeowners know if they decide to go with their own bidder even if its twice as expensive and would also cost us a 3% irreversible increase in our maintenance fees. At least this is what we believe they plan to do. Lets see if they are serious and are really interested in saving us money.

 

 

September 6, 2015

Fugitive condo manager caught

This is a story that we posted here on July 5. It was about a property manager in Florida who allegedly stole $228,000 form the HOA and then fled across the state. She had a grand theft warrant against her.

See below.


If your browser does not support a link, just copy and paste it to your address box.

http://www.ccfj.net/TVCh10CAMnabbed.html

 

 

 

August 29, 2015

Another opportunity for the Board to shirk responsibility

There have been many complaints by the homeowners against the cable company. They have been filed with the cable company itself and in many cases with the Board. Lets all recall they were introduced to us as the next great service provider just last year and many of us had to pay $98 or more for the new boxes, making the old boxes that we had paid for before worthless. We didn’t even get any rebates or any type of refunds for those. Homeowners who didn’t want to pay more for more mainstream albeit more expensive service paid the $98 minimum and subscribed to this new company. Some paid more than $200 for the DVR boxes. The Board apparently is planning to cancel their contract because of all the complaints and make homeowners get their own service, provider. Instead of asking them to be more efficient, repair faster, be more user friendly or negotiate a commercial rate with another cable company, they just want us to negotiate ourselves with a provider when we don’t have to and pay even more. In other words they are declaring what they did last year was a failure. A commercial rate is the preferred and economical solution for homeowners. It gives everybody a lower rate. It is the job and responsibility of the Board to serve the homeowners. Let’s not forget a few years ago, the Board wanted to get rid of commercial rate electricity and let us deal with individual electric companies. They ditched that idea real quick after outrage and concern from the homeowners. This is the same idea and opportunity to shirk responsibility. This is something the Board loves to do which is doing less . We need to stop this drastic and irresponsible action by calling Tina and letting the Board know that we want nothing but a provider for the whole complex. Besides the higher rate the logistics are hard to fathom. Can you imagine different trucks from different companies coming here at all times for repair and park in our small driveways as oppose to one truck repairing a mostly common problem? How about different satellite dishes having pretty much the same problems the current company has when it rains, except having many dishes from different companies occupying the roof and bringing their trucks with them while doing the repair? How about different cables from different cable companies to be traced for repair? Besides the logistics how would the average homeowner be expected to shell out another $100 -$200 when they just paid that last year and now having to pay more for Board’s failure.
We need one provider for all. If some homeowners want to choose a different one other than the main provider, they are free to do so as they can now.

August 26,2015

Investor backs off

 

In an earlier posting we reported that there was an investor that was planning to use the Florida 80% law to take over some condos. The law meant that if 80% of the owners agreed to sell the rest would have to sell too. This law was supposed to get investors to help rebuild some damaged condos and houses but instead its being used to evict senior citizens like in this case or people with fixed income who were planning to live where they are for the rest of their lives. The investor had sent a letter to the homeowners in this retirement community( many senior citizens) saying “ I am in the process of taking steps to dissolve the association, whereby all the apartments that I do not own would be forced to sell to me at the County appraised value. We don’t have such a misguided and probably unconstitutional law in Texas, but HOAs can make up their own rules. It would then take an expensive litigation to overturn it once it becomes law. We have to make sure our 100% rights will never be put to a vote with the closed and fraudulent elections in our own HOA.
Apparently the issue got media attention ( watch the video) and the investor has backed off. There are no guarantees he will back off forever though. May be when the heat is off he might try again under different circumstances
.

If your browser does not support the link below, just copy and paste it to your address box.

http://www.wpbf.com/news/palm-beach-gardens-investor-backs-off-threat-to-dissolve-condominium-association-force-out-elderly-residents/34787734

 

 

August 21,2015

More on the deceased homeowner


We talked to the homeowner living below the homeowner who had passed away recently. According to her she had passed away sometime in June and not July. The body was so badly decomposed that she was identified at the coroner’s office by her dental records. There was pretty much nothing left of her body. The homeowner below had to move out because of the foul odor and fly infestation in her condo. She has been living at a hotel paid by her insurance which is running out. The next of kin who apparently is the deceased brother, and lives in Houston has been taking charge but Tina has refused to reveal his identity to her. When this elderly lady asked her what could she do, Tina told her “sell your condo”!!!
This lady was very upset. According to her she and the other homeowner had notified Tina in June and she was thinking if a relative or somebody in the family was notified then, here life could have been saved. It takes somebody special to hear their concern and use accounting records as a sign that things were ok with her, which we found later on, were not. She works pretty much every day a block from where the homeowner lived and she did not even care to take a drive or call her relatives. In fact nobody that we have talked to, can remember the last time Tina , the property manager was spotted on our property.

 

August 17,2015

Suspected embezzler to appear in court

Another day another HOA embezzlement case. This happened in California. A former treasurer of an HOA is charged with two felony counts of embezzlement. She is scheduled to appear in court on August 25. She is charged with embezzling about $129,000 from the HOA between 2013 and 2014. She is charged with one count of grand theft by embezzlement and a count of embezzlement by a public or private officer.

How she came to the point of being charged is unknown. Somebody at the Board level could have seen abnormalities in accounting and pursued it further. In many cases the Board members are in involved too. Many homeowners see things that aren’t right and the only way to check further would be to conduct expensive forensic accounting, or bring expensive lawsuits . Either way they would face the wrath of the people involved in it , more likely the Board members. This in another example of the necessity of a government agency with enforcement powers to oversee HOAs. This would also mean certifying the Board members and training them in legal matters. Many Board members who get elected don’t even have college degrees and are left alone to interpret the regulations and bylaws that are created by the developer vague on purpose and subject to any type of interpretation.

August 9,2015

Similar incident

A homeowner commented on the deceased homeowner whose body was found a week ago in her condo. According to her, she had a similar incident in 2101 a few years ago. In that one she hadn’t heard from her neighbor for over a month. When she asked Tina, she told her she did not know and it did not raise any alarms in her head. According to the homeowner, she discovered the homeowner had passed away someplace else and Tina either didn’t know or didn’t care to tell her to help her out with her concerns for her neighbor. Who knows may be the homeowner was current on his dues or had automated pay . In both cases you can detect a level of detachment and indifference by Tina that is not shared by many. Rather than calling authorities or next of kin, she called the accounting department or like this one just didn’t care.

 

August 7, 2015

Treasurer larceny

Here is another one those all too familiar stories : HOA and embezzlement


This happened in Florida. The treasurer of an HOA there was arrested by the sheriff at her home and charged with larceny. The theft was discovered by an audit . The HOA had a periodic audit to provide documentation to the Board. She did not attend the meeting and other meetings arranged by the Board. She resigned later. After her resignation they did a special audit and found out there was about $29,000 missing from the HOA account. Apparently she had written checks to restaurants and other businesses, family members, ATM withdrawals using HOA account. She had served as the treasurer for the HOA from 2002 to August 2014.

Many of these positions are pretty much appointed by the current Board members and become self-electing. Lets not get caught in the rhetoric that “ well the homeowners elected them ”. In most cases there is a sham election conducted by secret ballots, proxies and most importantly unverifiable elections. Many proxies are filled in by Board members themselves if they are sure the homeowner will never check. If they do, they will destroy it claiming it was lost. Remember in our case we did not know that the two Board members were not owners of record only the other members knew they were perpetarating a fraud upon homeowners.The elections cannot be monitored independently from top to bottom. In many cases somebody that is pretty much an unknown to the homeowners gets elected. Do not be under the illusion that the rest of the Board members were innocent in this or other embezzlement cases. Some may and others probably were complicit in it. It happens in most HOA embezzlements. Until a state agency regulates the HOAs , the homeowners will be footing the bill for relationship between Board members and some favored contractors, vendors, and open to embezzlement and illegal schemes which at the end homeowners will end up paying for. In many HOAs we are dealing with legalized organized crime.

July 31,2015

Tina and the dead homeowner

We found out that yesterday an elderly long time homeowner was found dead in her condo. The neighbors had reported a foul odor and called the police. The police after knocking on the door and not getting a response kicked the door in and saw her decomposing body. Upon opening the door fumes got out. There were several witnesses who saw the whole thing including medical examiners taking pictures with flashes at night and taking the body out. One homeowner commented that about a month ago he had alerted Tina and told her that she has not been seen checking her mail and not answering her door. He asked her to notify the next of kin. According to him, she just dismissed that notion right out of hand. Another homeowner had told Tina also about a month ago that she was not answering her door and she thought something was wrong. Tina’s answer: well she is current on her maintenance fees so she must be ok. According to this homeowner she had auto-pay, where money was being deducted from her social security check every month to pay her maintenance fees. The neighbors finally after getting flies in their condos and unbearable odor of a decomposing body, called the police. Tina could have at least have the curiosity or care to see what was going on in that condo, like something more than her being current on her dues. After all she works one block away from the condo. What happened to the concept of a property manager actually managing the place and walking the place once in a while? By her inaction she put the health of the neighbors at risk. She also put the health of the police at risk due to the decomposition. This was also about the time when she was busy putting together the 2101 overpriced fencing project. She probably didn’t have time for the concerns of the homeowners. As a side note to the fencing project, if the Board goes along with Tina’s usual contractor and ignore the bids from different companies ( 2 so far) that we are submitting, we the homeowners could lose another $12,500, making it about $25,000 loss to the homeowners which could have easily been avoided hiring contractors other than Tina’s usual 2.

 

July 30,2015

Another bid

We are continuing to get bids for fencing project for the 2121 building. The fencing project for 2101 was finished last week for about $21,000. This was done with getting 2 bids both from companies that follow Tina to other properties, in other words the companies she has the Board hire time and time again. For 2121 which is about the same size as 2101 we got an outside bid for about $8000 for exactly the same work. We got another bid for it last week and this one came out for about $8100. That means the homeowners according to at least these outside bids paid $12,500 to $13,000 extra for the 2101 building. When we asked Tina why she only got 2 bids for 2101, she answered because the Board asked her to. So she gets on the phone and gets her two usual contractors (m one with a one-page website and no external links and the other that until recently had only an answering machine and no website) and gets us a winning bid that looks way overpriced. Surely the numbers can’t be that far off. Of course the outside contractors have insurance that satisfies the requirement. We asked Tina if she has even called them to ask questions if any and she responded that the Board needs to get more bids!!
So to put this in perspective, for 2101 they only got two inside bidders involved. For 2101 when Concerned Homeowners got involved and got extra bids that were substantially lower and met the requirements, all of a sudden they need more bids. Why weren’t there more bids necessary for 2101?
This is apparently what is costing us 3% increase in our maintenance fees. A project that could be signed by a president who is not even authorized to sign, and developed by the treasurer that is not even an owner of record!

July 25,2015

Stan “The Man” and the Transfer fee scam

This is from Ward Lucas an author, an investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has written a book “Neighbors at war”. He talks about HOAs racist origins and its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the legal industry. It’s a must read for homeowners who plan on living in an HOA.

He has reported on a man in Colorado , Stan Hrincevich (www.coloradohoaforum), who is fighting the HOA transfer fees. The HOA Managing licensing rules are very weak for home owners and purposely left out specifics and justifications regarding fees imposed by management companies on home owners. The HOA fee is rarely if ever disclosed as a legal obligation.
Stan has been trying to educate the legislators about this scam. They probably refer to photocopying costs which should not be more than ten bucks but can cost homeowners hundreds of dollars for each purchase and sale. The Colorado Legislature created an HOA Ombudsman office to muzzle Stan. However like other weak laws trying to protect the home owners, the office has no budget and no power. Texas and other states are pretty much in the same situation. Stan is on the list of CAI’s worst enemies. Stan is a hero to home owners.
Ward Lucas is another rare person trying to get justice for homeowners and bring checks and balances to the HOAs. It is amazing that HOAs who so many people live in them , have virtually no place for homeowners to file a simple complain. The only available option for the usually ordinary , middle class homeowner is an expensive lawsuit, pitting neighbor against neighbor. Ward Lucas is another hero. You can order his book “Neighbors at war” from Amazon. It is highly recommended.

 

 

July 23,2015

Dead mouse on the mat

This is what we found on July 23 on our doorstep. It is a mutilated mouse with blood on its belly. Police was called and a report was filed. We had our usual suspects which we told the police. This time however we added the contractor whose next job at 2121 might be jeopardized by competitive bid. He is after all, right now very close to our doorstep. This is all speculation but can’t be too careful. This is a job that according to the (illegal) treasurer might cost the homeowners 3% increase on their maintenance fees. We will not sit back and let non-bidding by Tina or anybody else at the Board to cost us this unjustified fee increase. We were planning to go to each Board member’s house and interview them to see if they knew anything about the mouse, but the timing wouldn’t allow it. We will follow this with the advice of our council.

 

 

 

July 19,2015

True & documented-thief continues to work for an HOA

Here is another incident of embezzlement in an HOA. This man had worked for an HOA for 15 years. The details are not revealed yet, but he could have created fake companies and presented fake invoices or just had direct access to HOAS account like a property manager in some cases or in some other capacity. One thing for sure, he must have been very close to the HOA Board. This was his second time. The first time he stole $160,000 and was convicted on that charge. This was his second time and this time he stole $100,000. The sentencing had been delayed for the first case but apparently somebody at the HOA let him continue working there and against the best interest of the homeowners. It just makes people wonder about some of these darn “non-profit” corporations that their board members supposedly work for free!

 

 

July 14,2015

Other bids-continued

Just as suspected Tina’s jubilation about having extra bids was not real. The newly submitted bid which beat the Board’s bid by over $12,500 now should sit and wait till Fall for other bids. Let’s recall the 2101 bid was obtained without any outside bids and just the two usual contractors. The Board was satisfied with the bid for $20,800 for 2101 (which is about the same size as 2121) with the usual 2 bidders and when CH submitted the new bid now they want to wait till Fall for more bids. In other words, they were happy with the higher bid until a much lower bid came around. Let’s add to the fact that they did not even ask us for more bids. We will provide more anyway just to prove to the homeowners these contractors that follow Tina to other properties, are the Board’s favorites at the expense of the homeowners who pay for these. As one homeowner emailed us: The fences don’t need to be repaired at all.

We agree.

 

July 10,2015

Other bids

As you are aware, there is a plan to increase our maintenance fees by 3% for the year 2016.
We think this is very unjust especially with the highest reserves we have had in many years. At least the job should be done with no increase in maintenance fees. At the same time we have a fencing project that initially was estimated to be $56,000. There are only 2 buildings 2101 and 2121 that have their fences replaced and this sounded as a very high number for a few pieces of wood. We got the bids last month and for 2101 it was a done deal. One of the usual bidders, you know the one that until recently didn’t even have a website and only a voicemail won the bid. The price was $20,800. This sounds very expensive for one building and reminds us all of that infamous $300,000 carport deal that they got when most people thought it was not even worth $100,000. The same carports that leak, and in general are of inferior material.
For 2121 however we tried to stop this irresponsible spending behavior and shop around as promised in previous postings. The two buildings are about the same in size and number of fences and footage. We received a bid for about $8,000 from an outside contractor. This is over $12,500 difference that we could save from what we would presumably get from the winning bidder. Concerned Homeowners was told there was no deadline and we even provided the Board the required insurance that the company gave us. We sent that to Tina. She seemed elated and thanked us. Let’s see if the new contractor will actually get the job. We will keep you posted. If that happens there should be no need for an increase especially with highest reserves and the new savings. Why they use the same 2 contractors with one seemingly winning the bigger bids is only left to homeowner speculation. This habit has also caused homeowners to lose money and get stuck with interest to pay as in the case of the carports.

 


July 5, 2015

True & documented- embezzlement-Property manager as a fugitive-Video

The stories about property managers stealing money have become all too familiar ( see different examples in earlier postings here). This property manager in Florida is accused of stealing more than $225,000 over a 2 year period by creating a bank account under a name similar to the HOA’s insurance company. She would write checks and deposit them in that account making it sound like the insurance bills were getting paid. The police have been trying to find her and she is now a fugitive from justice.

Watch the video:

If your browser does not support the link, just copy it and paste it to your address box


http://www.ccfj.net/TVCh10CAMonRUN.wmv

 

 

July 1, 2015

Flag

One homeowner asked the Board for flags for the 4th of July celebrations. She was told by Tina that the Board is saving every penny for driveway repair! To our knowledge ,the subject of driveway repair has not even been discussed and for sure not to the point of budgeting for it. And how much do flags cost? $100 or so? What happened to having the highest reserves in 20 years? When they also do the fences that are NOT in need of emergency repair to the tune of $56,000 and then given to the usual contractor, designating $100 or so for a patriotic celeberation is not much at all.

We see this as a nature of many HOAs all over the country where they tell veterans to take down their flags and even threaten them with fines.

 

 

June 28, 2015

Investor writes...

This is what happened in Florida. It happened in a 2-story condo community made up of elderly residents. This is the exact wording in a letter sent by the investor to the residents:

“I am in the process of taking steps to dissolve the Association of ___________ whereby all of the apartments that I do not own would be forced to sell to me at the _____________ County Appraisers value,” .

The investor is using the Florida 80% law, which it says if 80% of the condos belong to one owner, the rest would have to sell at the county appraised value.
Fortunately we don’t have this law in Texas where it could be embedded in real estate property code. The 80% law can only help an investor, because clearly anybody who wants to sell can sell theirs at any time. The condos in Florida were sold 10 years ago for $35,000. The County appraised value is a little over $13,000 , clearly reflecting homestead values. An investor can easily take advantage of this law and save millions of dollars at the expense of the homeowner who thought they had a place to live for life.
That is not all the problem. This talk of taking properties by force could also scare away potential customers and drive down property values.

Texas fortunately being such a pro homestead state that it does not have this 80% law and the Bylaws are written at 100% homeowner approval. However, we do have this homeowner in our condo association who is also trying to introduce this nasty 80% law to us that can only benefit an investor. Lets not forget the Board has let her have the floor 2 years in a row in the Annual Homeowner meeting. Losing control of your vote can only bring disastrous results for you,the homeowner. Some homeowners have just bought their place recently with twice the county appraised value.

June 21,2015

A scenario

As posted earlier here, there has been nobody that submitted their name to the Nominating Committee that has been elected to the Board in the past 10 years or so. It is a known fact here that the elections are fixed. They are fixed because the vote tabulation cannot be independently verified. Every year Tina brings a bag of proxies that contains signatures. We also know they redacted the insurance files, they broke our bylaws by having non-owners of record serving on the Board (and they still do about a year after we discovered their 7 year old fraud), they use one-bid contracts, etc. The new phenomenon and the latest to be concerned about, as we all know is this homeowner who talks about how selling our property could be so painless if we just relinquish control over our own vote and let 80% decide the fate of the rest.
Let’s examine this scenario which could become very real. For example an investor who comes along and talks to the Board expressing interest in our property. His main objective is that only 80% need to be ok with it and the rest would then have to sell. He doesn’t want to convince everyone to sell and ask the Board to make his job easier. Presently this cannot happen here and all us would need to sign our deeds individually. The Board would then make things up and say many people have expressed interest in this proposal and let’s put this to a vote. Of course not everybody could be present and some would submit their proxies. Remember these could be the proxies that could not be independently verified. After getting all the votes, there could be a special meeting where all homeowners would be invited to show how the voting went. We would all have to trust that bag of proxies again. The votes would be tabulated (of course in front of us to convince the gullible ones who trust the Board explicitly that they have nothing to hide). The same way that the elections have been fixed year after year, this one could be fixed too. After all, how would we know that the owners signatures have not been forged? How do we know the No votes have not been thrown out? If they send blank proxies like some owners do, how do we know they have not been treated as blank and not a reflection of the Board and this homeowner’s view and subsequently converted to Yes? We could all lose our property with another sham election and getting just half of what they are worth. Lets just say from the estimated market value and averaging out for 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms here , the price for all 270 units could be $27M. By playing this scenario the investor could save $13-15M which is a lot of money for any size investor. This scenario might never happen, but with this Board and Tina you can’t be too careful . Don’t forget next year’s Annual Meeting.
Your biggest investment could be at risk.

June 16,2015

HOA helpline

Some homeowners could not find the HOA helpline we discussed before. The number is
832-251-1874. We have to let you know, however, this number is really CAI or the Community Associate Institute. In their article and announcement in the Houston Chronicle, they talked about how they could help homeowners deal with their HOAs. One of the areas they specifically mentioned was , legality of changing the positions of Board members without going through an election. This is what this Board does pretty much every year , after about ten years ago we gathered a petition and successfully removed the then president. They decided to rotate the position so there would be no more presidents be a target of a removal petition.
This is a question which clearly deals with the Articles and Bylaws. We called them but they could not help us with our current problem, another area of Articles and Bylaws, which is the obvious violation of Article 3, section 3. This states the Board members have to be owners of record. Two members of this Board were not when they were “elected” in 2008.
We also could not find anything in our bylaws that authorizes the rotating of our Board member positions. What would that matter to this Board when 2 its members are not even legally elected?
In other words, don’t get your hopes high when calling that number. We believe in the wave of current laws enacted against the runaway HOAs in all states, CAI pre-empted the legislation and angry homeowners ,and started this helpline to show there is help available for homeowners. It clearly was not for us.
The best hope for homeowners would be to call Congressman Jim Murphy at 713-465-8800 and ask for more transparency laws for HOAs.

June 14,2015

Proxies

Each year the Board mails out a notice for Annual Meeting being held in January. The notice before 2005 was sent every year about 2 months prior to the meeting. The candidate(s) names appeared on the proxy slip with a blank space next to their names for homeowners to vote for them or leave blank. It was democratic, just like many other types of elections at many levels, like city, state, etc. It was democratic because there was no danger from anybody they didn’t approve, to get on the Board.
This was the case prior to 2005 when that nasty 25% maintenance fee increase was imposed on the homeowners and made them angry and many had to sell. That was when Concerned Homeowners started running for the Board and all of a sudden the proxies had no mention of candidate(s) names. Also they were so afraid of homeowners reactions that instead of sending the Annual Meeting notice 2 months prior to the meeting they started sending it a week before. As a property manager, Tina deals with many HOAs. For her and the corresponding Boards, each HOA needs its own fix of problems ( theirs). Their main problem according to this Board and by relationship Tina was and has been Concerned Homeowners. We have long suspected that Tina was the main culprit in the plan to take out all names from the proxy slip. We still believe that to be true. Of course there is a possibility that the Board had some hand in it, but we think she had the most participation. As homeowners who have been to the meetings are aware, she does come up with solutions. That’s her job. Lets also not forget that according to her own admission , she was aware that the 2 “Board members “ were not owners of record and were in violation of our bylaws Article 3 , section 3, in 2008. She was also aware that in 2013 the new candidate that lost was also not an owner of record, but was allowed to participate by her. To think that she came up with the plan to take out candidates names off proxies, in 2005, and only give the Annual Meeting notice a week before the Annual Meeting is not much of a stretch. She has no respect for our bylaws. That’s why we think the laws are so heavily stacked against the homeowners. There hardly is any recourse for the homeowners as far as the laws are concerned. There must be an independent state agency with enforcement powers monitoring HOAs. The priority for us is to start fresh with another property manager and management company.

June 8, 2015

$14,000 difference

As mentioned in the May 31 posting , we got 2 bids from the same companies that bid over and over again and win small or larger contracts every time. This time the company that only had a voicemail and no website until a few months ago but had done many jobs over the past few years, got the lower bid and presumably will do the job. The bid for 2101 comes to about $20,800. Since 2121 is the about the same size as 2101 , we thought together could be about $42,000. As homeowners who were in the Annual Meeting recall, the Board member ( who happened to be one of the 2 illegal members , meaning he is in direct violation of our bylaws, and is the treasurer) told everybody the job will be about $56,000. When we asked Tina about this apparent $14,000 difference, she said she didn’t know why.

 

June 2,2015

Slow process continues

In continuation of our pursuit to stop the maintenance fee increase, we decided to introduce some fence companies. According to Tina, 2101 has already been approved; no need for new fences for 2201 and only 2121 would need new fences. We asked Tina how we could bring new bidders. She responded that new bidders are welcome with “correct insurance”. We asked a current copy of the “correct insurance” of the 2 which will bid and of course are the only 2 that were considered for 2101 so we could ask the new companies if they carried the same. The answer from Tina was to wait till next week. We don’t find her to be particularly eager for new bids. Let’s remember the other 2 bids for 2101 took 9 days to be ready for pickup.

 

 

 

May 31,2015

Same old cast of characters

 

We picked up the so-called bids from the management company. As expected it was the same old “bidders”. The one that always seems to be getting the smaller jobs and the one that always seems to be getting the major jobs. No other bidders were solicited. This is what is basically going on in many HOAs. Lack of competitive bidding. This is why we believe the primary reason we are paying 3% increase in our maintenance fees. We are pretty sure this is final, but we will pursue this in the coming days.

Let’s summarize: the repair is not urgent ,however it will be done, the reserves are at the highest level in many years, and the maintenance fees will be raised.

 


May 27, 2015

Slow porcess

As the readers of this site are aware, we are facing a 3% increase in our maintenance fees. Let’s remind everybody, we have had the highest reserves in many years and we are doing a minor repair: internal fences. The price tag is $56,000, provided by a Board consultant, which seems high to begin with for a relatively few pieces of wood. The Board as we have mentioned numerous times, seems to have gotten stuck on one vendor. This vendor has a website with no external, link but seems to be getting all the major repair jobs. He also follows Tina to other properties she manages. We had also asked the Board many times both in Annual Meetings and through emails with Tina, to get more competitive bids, and basically shop around. Last week, in the ever pursuit of transparency we asked Tina, the property manager and the Board spokesperson to see if there were any bids. She said there were but there were more expensive than the above mentioned vendor. So we asked for copies of those extra bids. She let us know they would be ready next Friday, in other words fully 9 days to get some recent documents for us. This was a recent bidding process. We asked her why it would take this long when she should have at least a copy on her computer. No answer.
Why does it really take 9 days to give us a copy of the extra bids?
May be the new HOA helpline could be of any help. Seems like dues paying homeowners have no recourse.

 

 

 

 

May 22,2015

Other bids

As posted here repeatedly, we are facing a 3% increase in our maintenance fees which we feel is fully unjustified. We have an energy company that has a 3-year contract with us . The contract is coming to an end in February 2016. The energy company is located one floor above the offices of our management company.We thought we provide some competition and find a lower bid and save us some money so we don’t have the increase. We found a company and gave the number to Tina 4 days ago. According to her she called the next day and found we have to wait till December to get a quote because of changing prices. She even gave us the contact as we had requested. We called to verify. They had never heard of her or talked to her!!

When we told her that she had no answer.

We will wait till December for that, but the fence job is another area that we could provide Tina some competition . Lets hope we can find a lower price. We will provide the numbers, will ask Tina to call and get a quote. We will then call the company to verify. If we save some money, and with the highest reserve they have had in 20 years , there should be no need for increase. Lets hope when we call these they have heard form her prior .

,

May 16,2015

Community Associate Institute

Community Associate Institute (CAI) is an organization that works with different
Management companies and HOAs and provide education, help, etc.
In 2008 and as you know with Tina’s full knowledge and other Board members full knowledge, two non-owners of records were elected to our Board of Directors. This was a direct violation of our bylaws Article 3, section 3 and have put us in legal danger . There have been 2 attorneys legal opinion that Tina and the Board were in breach of fiduciary duty. After 6 ½ years that we found out (with the efforts of one alert homeowner), and let Tina and the Board know, that we have caught on to their game. Of course as we all know , in HOA matters unless there is an outside agency with enforcement powers that can affect things, these common people (Board members and property managers) with extraordinary power given to them, can do anything they want which included breaking rules and regulations with total impunity. The only remedy for the homeowners would be through the courts, meaning having to go outside the HOA laws. The laws are woefully inadequate and do not protect homeowners, case in point.
We brought the matter to the attention of CAI and asked them to call Tina and see why she did that. Let us remind you that according to Tina the owner of the management company has also been aware of it at least since August 2014.
They did make the call and Tina’s answer as the Board spokesperson was that , one has been corrected. She referred to our illegal president and that after probate proceedings in 2013 (meaning 5 years after she got elected) she is now an owner of record. This is patently false. She would have needed to resign from the Board first and then run in her first legitimate election. She has not done so yet. We contend, any documents signed by her as president ( and there have been many even before she became president and as the secretary) can be legally challenged. The other one , CAI was told, has been addressed by the Board. This is the same Board who has known about the illegalities of these 2 since 2008. In other words nothing will change and the HOA games continue.
CAI has recently setup a helpline for homeowners which you can get from their website and can answer some questions. There was no help available in this matter as expected.

 

May 10,2015

Fence & energy bids

As readers of this website are aware, we will be facing a 3% increase in our maintenance fees when our reserves according to the Board are at their highest in many years. If we consider the age of the building, the magnitude of the job which is very small and an expected one-bid contract, the suggested amount of $56,000 seems very high.
We want to stop this unjust increase. To repair the fences would be ok if the costs are absorbed, but barring that, the interest of the homeowners should come to the forefront.
We asked Tina, considering the energy company's contract being up in 7 months, if the Board has started getting bids. The answer was no. When we asked why, she responded because they want to keep the low price. We asked how she knows this particular company which happens to be one floor above the management company, is the cheapest, she stopped answering. We will not stop pursuing this matter. Also the fence contract should have more bidders than the usual one-page website with no external links guy. Homeowners should be outraged and demand that the Board get more bids, so we don’t have the unjustified 3% increase in our maintenance fees. The management company after all is a hired hand. Is Tina making all the decisions for them?

 

April 29,2015

Energy company

As posted here before and many homeowners are aware of, our energy company which is basically a broker of energy, is located one floor above our management company. There were no other bids in hiring that company. The contract is up for renewal next February. When we asked the management company about any plans to get extra bids this time to find a company with lower rate, the answer was basically no. Let’s remember we are facing a 3% increase in our maintenance fees and we thought it would be a good idea to negate that by getting lower energy prices. Why would anybody be against that? Shouldn’t keeping the maintenance fees steady an important objective of our Board who seems hell bent on pleasing the management company? We say that because the contractor (the one with a one-page website and no external links) also seems to follow the management company at the exclusion of other bids and the Board has no objection to it.
This is only the result of one-sided HOA laws giving the power to the common man with no independent agency to supervise him and expecting fair results. Homeowners will end up paying for in this non-competitive bidding environment
.

April 27,2015

True & documented-Questions about management company mishandling money-video

http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/poinciana-hoa-leaders-meet-discuss-presidents-futu/nkrTp/

 

If your browser does not support it, just copy and paste it to the address box

April 19,2015

The implied success story

As visitors to this site are aware, the homeowner in the Annual Meeting had talked about changing our bylaws. She had “taken the lead” to change our bylaws so that if 80% of the homeowners wanted to sell the rest 20% would have to sell also. Currently its 100% meaning everybody would have to agree to sell. As how commonplace and presumably good this was she brought an example of a condo about 3 miles from us. We got some information of 3 of the former residents who had lived in that complex. They said that they were basically robbed and were very resentful of the fact that they did not have any say in the matter. They believed they could have got a lot more for their property but were forced to sell. They had maintained their property for years , just to see it taken away from them with no input from them, the owner. All this comes as a result of , in our opinion, not getting involved. The one thing that developers, and people who have interest in changing the bylaws regarding sale of the property as a whole, prefer, is a lack of homeowner participation. The less information about the process and its consequences the better and faster the process would work for them. They’d rather the bylaws be changed with no problem and of course legally ( to withstand a possible fight in court),with minimum homeowner participation and without light shining on the process. Just have the homeowners look at the finished process and abide by it.
As far as we know most people here would rather the property not be sold at all. This is a great place to live with properties appreciating more and more everyday. If there is a sale, it would be the responsibility and decision of its owner and nobody else. This right should stay with the homeowner throughout his/her ownership. Anything less than that , like losing your rights to sell or hold as you please is Un-American and not to mention costly to the owner.

April 8,2015

As posted a few months ago here, the Chevron station at the corner was demolished. It is rumored a bank will be put in its place. As we see another multi-million dollar project being built within walking distance from us, it also shows the loaded 80% project. We refer to the efforts of this homeowner who keeps attacking our property values at the Annual meetings with the blessing of the Board. Every day there is construction going on around us and this homeowner wants to reduce the requirement of selling our property as a whole from 100% approval to 80%. We ask again, what is her motivation? Why does the Board sits in silence ,letting her lecturing us? She wants to show us how we can get rid of our prime property by agreeing that with only 80% approval of homeowners , the rest would have to sell. This sounds ridiculous at the least and questions(several types) at the most.

March 30,2015

Dear Homeowners,
We just had another Annual Meeting with some concerning news. The illegal president gave her address. The equally illegal treasurer talked about a new project. Let’s recall neither one of the 2 were homeowners , or more specifically owners of record as stated to be a requirement to be a Board member in Article 3, section 3 of our bylaws when they joined the Board in 2008. The public records are for everybody to check at County Clerk downtown. We also witnessed another illegal act. The president switched his position with the secretary. So the secretary who was illegal to begin with, was promoted to president. There is nothing in the bylaws that would suggest this is legal. Of course when they get on the Board without deed, you don’t expect them to follow anything else in the bylaws. For them it’s all play is ok at whenever and whatever. They hire one company and give all the major jobs to him, who still has a one-page website with no external links, and get on the board violating our bylaws , switch jobs with each other, redact documents from Hurricane IKE. This is the level of respect they have for homeowners. The former president according to himself was intrigued by the job of the secretary so they switched positions! Just like that. We of course did not have any increase in our maintenance fees for this year. This makes it a 2% increase for the past 6 years. However, things are changing. The illegal Board member leading this renovation talked about the fences. According to him they are in need of repair. He has gotten a proposal for $56,000. We found out it was from a consultant to the Board. The bidding hasn’t started and we believe there will be none. There will be the usual contractor with the familiar trucks that seems to be getting the major jobs every time. For primarily this he wants to raise our maintenance fees by 3% for next year. There are no major jobs left here, except to point to some obscure repair and make us spend $56,000 on it. Why that is all their bids are on the high side? It wasn’t long ago when we spent an outrageous amount of $300,000 (plus interest) on our carports that by many homeowners’ estimates were not worth more than $100,000. In one sentence they mentioned, we have the highest reserve in many years and then in the next sentence they say we need to raise the maintenance fees. There is no need for repairing the fences and subsequent increase of our maintenance fees. According to them we have the reserve to cover new ones, let alone a relatively minor repair. The cost should be totally adsorbed with no need for maintenance fee increase. You can call the Board and let them know you don’t want your maintenance fees increased.
The most disturbing news from this Annual Meeting was from a homeowner who single-handedly has decided to wholesale our property. This started 2 years ago at the January 2013 Annual Homeowner meeting when somebody raised the issue of selling our property as a whole and in response one homeowner ( a former Board member) declared that if 51% of the homeowners want to sell , the rest would have to sell. Tina added that she thought it was 75%. Both of these people should have been very familiar with our bylaws and such nonsense should have never been introduced. If you recall we consulted our attorney and found out that our complex is 100% ownership. That means every one of us individually needs to sign our deed for the whole complex to be sold. We sent a letter to the homeowners notifying them of this fact. The next year in January 2014 meeting, the Board who was silent up until then, was forced to admit that we really are a 100% membership complex. However a homeowner got up, was given the floor even though she wasn’t running for any position and told us that she had talked to a developer about buying our property as a whole. Of course, by her action she was in effect lowering our property values. By talking to a multi-millionaire (or probably a billionaire) developer, she was introducing a sense of desperation to the developer. She is free to sell hers but not make a decision on ours. This homeowner cited, for example, a run-down complex located near the ____________, who like ours had a 100% ownership and they changed it to 80% and were able to sell it! She didn’t even say when this happened. The fact is, we are still in a seller’s market. Our property is in a prime position to get the highest value for it. Our property is where at least half a billion dollars or more worth of construction is going around it right now, with more to come at our doorsteps. It is located in a prime area of Galleria. By changing from 100% to 80% as inherently suggested in the meeting, we could lose 100% control. Why should we do that? Why is she concerned about the rest of the homeowners? Why can’t the homeowner who wants to sell her property sell hers and leave the rest of alone to determine our own price? One would question, what is her motivation for doing this? Why does the Board let her ramble on about the subject of wholesaling our property with unlimited time to speak when everybody else has only a minute or so to speak or ask a question? We don’t need to lose control over our own property. In the coming months, we could receive a letter from the Board or some other source telling us some “good news” about an “interested developer”. This letter could suggest that we could “all make money” or “we can all easily sell ours with one signature” by agreeing to change the bylaws and go from 100% to 80%. Nothing can be further from the truth. Only the owner of the condo can get the highest value for his/her property. Only the owner knows how much money was put into it and sells it whenever and for what amount they deem proper. Check our website, concernedhomeowners.com of a developer who bought a complex on the West Loop, not far from us with 10% over the appraised value and not too long ago.
In our case, in our condos for example a 2 bedroom homesteaded condo was appraised by County Appraisal District at about $67,000 , could be bought by a developer for $75,000 if we lose 100% control of our condos. Where in Galleria or any place decent you could move to at that price? Let’s compare that to the new apartments that are currently built only few feet away from ours that the starting asking rental price could be $2,000 or more. Our place could be torn down with brand new modern-looking apartments built in its place where we could sell ours for half or less of what we could get for. This is a very special occasion that has come upon us. In a very short distance between ________ and __________we have seen half a billion dollars of construction or more being built right in front of our eyes. There is more planned with 2640, 2650 and even 2411 which are rumored to be torn down and luxury apartments built in their places. So in essence we could be looking at a billion dollars’ worth of construction walking distance to us with ours being the oldest and only multi-owned building in the neighborhood, but located in a prime location and ripe for new construction. We could be asking for the highest price for ours but instead what this homeowner wants could end up being a gift to a developer. It could mean that you could lose your property for half of what it’s worth. Nobody can predict the future, but one thing for sure: losing 100% control of the price of your property can never bring you the full price you deserve for your condo at this prime location. We don’t need this homeowner’s input as to how to sell our property, at what price and when. We are all adult homeowners and we can analyze the market ourselves and determine the price we could be asking for our condos. Any control less than 100% control by us, could mean 0% control by us. We think a price of $150,000 for a two bedroom and $100,000 price for a one bedroom is very reasonable. Some have even suggested a price of $200,000 for the ones located on ______________. These figures could go even higher as the new buildings get completed. Please make sure you come to the next Annual meeting and ask this homeowner to stop representing you in the sale of your condo .You will not be a winner if you let a stranger take control of your property and let you lose your say in this very important matter which is the sale of your own property. Homeowner participation in the next Annual Meeting is very crucial and in the meantime you can call the Board and let them know that you and only you should decide about the sale of your property and no other homeowner. As this property is coming to end of its natural life, please remember, that you cannot put your trust in a group of people who redact documents and disregard our bylaws. This cannot come to a happy and prosperous ending if you don’t have total control of your own property.

 

March 22,2017

Nominating Committee

Homeowners who in the past few years running for the Board, have been familiar with this Committee. This is the “committee” where homeowners who want to run for the Board first submit their names and then start campaigning. This is a committee and is supposed to be a group of people but it was just one person running it for the past few years. One homeowner told us that by definition this committee was illegal since it was only one person in it. Before Concerned Homeowners started questioning the finances and getting into the details of the operations, anybody who submitted their name and had the “approval” of the Board, won. After that however, homeowners who submitted their names to this committee batted zero. It was a sham and in the larger context it was part of what we saw like, redaction of documents, non-homeowners serve as Board members (which continues to today), one-bid contracts and so on. Even the person who was running it , was aware of it but wanted to be there anyway. Her reasoning was that she was trying to affect positive change. She was trying to improve maintenance on the ground which she complained to Tina often with little or no results.
She finally gave up and sold her property last week. It’s a shame that good hearted people like her have to give up on their own property because of lack of good upkeep by the management company which is their main responsibility. She wasn’t trying to make a killing on her property with all the construction going on around her place. She was just disgusted and left. Lets vote to get Tina and Company out of here and have a better management company here. It can only improve our place and bring the values up even higher. It will be very interesting who the new committee member will be . It would have to be a person(s) who thinks these are legitimate committees and that one person can define a committee.

March 17,2015

Incident at the exit gate

Homeowners who reside on the property and others might have noticed the repair that is being done at the exit gate. It happened about 10 days ago when about 2:30AM there was a noise outside and a homeowner got out to see what had happened. Apparently a tow truck had run over our exit gate trying to get in. The company was identified by this alert homeowner and even some pictures taken. It was reported to the management company and because of this homeowner’s efforts the tow truck’s insurance company is paying for the damages. The repairs started the next day and most probably without any bids considering the lapsed time between the incident and the start of the job . The company that is doing it and probably for about $10,000 or more, is the same company that has been doing all the work and without any substantial competition. The same one that has a website without any external links and only a business card on its only page.

Recently another terrific homeowner did some research on the internet and sent us some results regarding our management company which included all , as he put it, “ sorry reviews”. There was not one good one there. What stood out the most was that the same company was doing other jobs in other properties , again probably with no other viable competition.
We know that there are some plans to repair the fences and we believe the same company will get the job for $56,000. This lack of competitive bidding could bring us another 3% increase in our maintenance fees. We would be paying the price of what we already should have the money for ( highest reserve in many years). Please take the time and call the Board and let them know all cost for this unnecessary repair should be absorbed by the reserves. We should not have an increase in the maintenance fees in 2016.


March 13,2015
True & documented- Video
This happened in Florida. Homeowners accuse condo board of cashing in on their positions

http://www.local10.com/news/residents-allege-oakland-park-condo-leaders-cashing-in-positions/31096252

_____________________
March 8,2015
Fences
Apparently the fences that are under consideration for replacement were not redone after Hurricane Ike. They are the ones in the middle of the buildings. Not all of them need to be repaired and to do a total redo at this late stage is just another example of homeowners footing the bill for something not necessary. Let’s remember the carports that were done for $300,000 when many homeowners and even 1 or 2 professionals commented they were not worth more than $100,000. What makes it even more outrageous is that this is the main culprit that is causing the maintenance fee to be increased by 3%. Please take the time and let the Board know that you do not want your maintenance fee increased. The reserves that according to them is about half a million dollars and the highest in many years should cover that. By the way, why do the Board’s numbers almost always come on the high side?

______________________
March 4,2015
True & documented
This happened in Tennessee. There were several unauthorized withdrawals were made from an HOA account totaling about $28,000 . The HOA filed a complaint with the police. The person who was allowed to use the account for authorized purposes is suspected.

______________________

February 24,2015
You might be aware that 2640 and 2650 Fountainview are set to be demolished (we don't know when).
We just heard that across the street at 2411 Fountainview ( same side as our building) is also being bought ( or bought already) and will be demolished.
This shows the continuation of construction that we will see in the next few years.

______________________

February 17,2015

Legislation
Many homeowners , both visitors to this site and others who receive our letters are familiar with problems we have had over the years with the Board. They have ranged from increases in maintenance fees, to lack of care , but most importantly lack of transparency. They are using what amounts to be laws biased towards the Board that helps preserve the power of developers over the homeowners. It creates a Board of “yes” people to help the developer implement what it wants and whenever it wants it. It has created sham elections with a total control over everything. In reality it is a banana republic.
Our developer is long gone , but this quasi government remains and so are the laws.
There is not one good argument that can be made for a non-profit corporation redacting documents, not letting homeowners monitor elections and having executive sessions . Not one good argument can be made for a management company ( a hired hand) getting those redacted documents ahead of a homeowner, examine it first and then hand it over to the homeowner, after making sure it is ok. Matters regarding homeowners behind in their maintenance fees can be referred to our attorney for possible legal action. An executive session as far as we know, has no written minutes . Anything can be discussed in private. Due to lack of an independent agency to voice complaints, this Board and others like it have done what they wanted to do over the years. Lets not forget our 2 illegal Board members who were not homeowners when they joined the Board in 2008 with the blessing of our management company. One of them still isn't and plans to order a fence job for us and raise our maintenance fees by 3%. Many frustrated homeowners have done the most effective thing they could do in response. They have called their State Representative and registered their complaints against their HOA. For all the money donated by rich lobbyists, at the end of the day a representative would be most concerned with a vote against him/her in an election and losing their seat. Our representative is Mr. Jim Murphy and can be reached at 713-465-8800. We found his office to be very receptive to our complaints specially for lack of transparency. They were very attentive and caring and wrote down every one of our concerns. We urge homeowners to call Mr. Murphy’s office and voice your complaints. The legislation is in session now and because of so many complaints from all over Texas over the years, they are changing more laws to the benefit of the homeowners and are bringing accountability to HOAs and people who are running it. Lets not forget that we would need transparency specially now that we see a homeowner is attacking our property values and the Board giving her the floor for the second year in a row. Lets help ourselves in these uncertain times by calling Mr. Murphy's office and ask for more transparency for HOAs. Transparency can only help us ordinary homeowners.

______________________
February 12,2015
Update on Florida condo
As visitors to this website might be aware, we had mentioned the Florida 80% law in our earlier postings. This law states that if 80% of units in a complex want to sell, the rest should sell. It’s a rarely used law created in 2007 but no doubt pushed to become law by investors and developers . As you might recall, this did happen in Florida and our postings about that started April 6,2014. We don’t have such a law in Texas , but a subdivision can change its bylaws. The Florida homeowners who were going to lose joined together and filed a lawsuit to stop it, and just last week , they lost. How could they win? It was already the law. Its hard for an average homeowner to overturn the law. You can see some similarities with ours:
1. The homeowners in Florida bought their condos recently for over $300K and now have to sell for $75K (investor offering) . We have many new homeowners at our place who bought theirs recently for $100K and more. If an investor offers to buy ours as we said they could go about 10% over and buy our 2-bedrooms for $75K. This is a huge loss for a new homeowner.
2. We don’t have an 80% law but this homeowner (we believe with the cooperation of the Board ) is trying to bring this nasty and totally unnecessary law to us.
3. Just like the ones in Florida, ours is located in a very desirable part of town and very attractive to investors. Of course we don’t need for this homeowner to talk on our behalf. If she wants to sell hers, she can do that at any time. She should mind her own business and stop being a broker for the rest of the homeowners.

We have between half a billion dollars and probably $ 1billion dollars being built right near our doorstep from Westheimer to San Felipe. There is no reason to file sale our property. She needs to stop interfering in everybody’s business.

______________________

February 5,2015
only 67%
As you know we have warned homeowners about some activities regarding the sale of our property. One busybody homeowner who according to herself is “taking the lead” on this, at our Annual Meeting , told us that an apartment complex located about 2 miles from us had a 100% homeowner approval needed in case they wanted to sell the whole complex. No developer wanted that presumably because they had to get the deed from each individual owner . They had a change of bylaws and were able to change the requirement to 80% and the property was sold just like that! This self-appointed broker of our property compares our prime location in the heart of Galleria and on a major street to a side street with a much smaller area.
We did some digging into our bylaws and found out a change in our bylaws can also be done very easily. Just look at Article IX under Section4. Amending the bylaws can be done at a regular meeting of the members, by a vote of 2/3rd of the members present , in person or and here are the key words “by proxy”. As we know with fraudulent election that cannot be monitored ; and nobody in the past 10 years who has submitted their names to the Nominating Committee has been elected to the office and with Tina’s bag of proxies, a 2/3 vote can easily be achieved. Then the bylaws can be changed to 80% owner approval and our property can be sold by probably 10% over the HCAD appraised price. This could mean you can lose your property of lets say HCAD-appraised of $67,000 for $75,000 which is half of what you can get for if you want to wait (probably even more like $200,000 for the ones located on the main street).
Homeowners need to be warned of this homeowner’s activity which apparently had the Board’s approval too, because she got the floor for the second year in a row and was not even running for a position. They just sat there in silence and let her give her full presentation. We don’t know what hers and their motivation is , but at the end we cannot fare well with losing our 100% control.

______________________
January 30,2015
We received some inquiries about the 3% increase and the issue of the fences. The 3% increase is being planned for next year. We have no increase for this year. The increase comes for that little pet project of that illegal Board member (a person that with the blessing of the Board has been on the Board for 7 years without a deed under his name) has cooked up. He wants to repair the fences that along with other repairs that were done after hurricane Ike. This comes at the cost of $56,000 , all to be paid by the homeowners. Why does that need to be repaired at all? There is nothing wrong with the fences. We asked Tina and she responded it was just a figure given by some consultant and not any company per se. We got the person’s name. Homeowners need to be very vigilant on this issue. Before we know it, all the so-called bids would boil down to one company that has been doing all our work to the exclusion of any other bids. This is he same company that as of today’s post still has a one-page website with no links or explanation as to who they are, how they were founded or any relevant information about them. This also reminds us of that infamous carport project that was done for $300,000 and without consulting the homeowners. We paid interest on top of that. Lets not this bad history repeat itself at the tune of $56,000 and 3% irreversible maintenance fee increase. Please take the time and let the Board know you oppose this project if the cost is not absorbed. You can call Tina to reach the Board and express your opinion.

______________________

January 21,2015
Meeting last night-3% increase and conspiracy against homeowners

As expected the incumbents won last night. Some homeowners including the ones that ran last night and pretty much never campaigned or knocked on people’s doors, still believed the election was about qualification. Nothing can be further from the truth. They touted their experience in running other associations or their experience in real estate and lost to a bunch of proxies brought over by Tina which they had no way of validating them independently. Of course as we know one of the incumbents won re-election without a deed!! Please recall that 2 weeks ago we asked Tina a rhetorical question , that if we could inspect his deed. She said no ( there is no deed to inspect). The manegement comany committed another breach of fiduciary duty by holding this election. We will continue to follow that with appropriate authorities and we will let you know. It is too dangerous a liability to have at our expense for their friendship When people hide things , they naturally can only trust the ones that know what the truth is. Nobody else, as long as they could help it (like defeating them in election) should be able to be in on it. Lets also mention that the illegal president gave the address. A funny tidbit was when homeowners asked the previous president why there was a change and he is the new secretary. He responded he wanted to see the challenges involved with that position!! He didn’t mention what was so intriguing for him to give up his position and commence what amounts to clerical duties. Of course in an earlier posting we let you know that there is nothing legal that could be found in our rules and bylaws authorizing that. What we believe the reason is, was the removal of the previous president with petition after he had become a target. They learned their lessons and now they play musical chairs with the position so not one person becomes a target.
This also showed that people who submit their names to the Nominating Committee have yet to win an election ever since Concerned Homeowners started running for the Board 10 years ago. It just shows a sham of an election that we have. We asked the very well-meaning and well-intentioned lady who is on that committee to give up this ceremonial post that has never yielded a winner. It’s the Board way. It’s the common man/woman’s way who has figured out how to hide things by redaction, one-bids, etc. They ask people who have good names and really care for the property, to take over this role and legitimize this election.
We found out that the letter all homeowners received regarding the management company increasing its prices was actually not right. The true budget was handed out last night.
More importantly, the illegal incumbent who won last night introduced us to his pet project about fences. Apparently with the price of water and sewer going up by the city( we will verify that), there is an urgent need for $56K repair. After saying this is the highest the reserves have been since many years, now they would need to increase our dues by 3%. We attribute that solely to the fences. If the dues can be kept steady, and the fences don’t look like they are in dire need of repair, why go through an expensive $56K repair. This reminds us of the $300K carport a few years ago that we were told was worth only about $100K. We had to get a loan for that. With enough bidding the cost can be absorbed and no need for dues increase.
Most importantly last night, was a talk about developers buying our place. There has been no such talk or intentions as far as we know outside this annual meeting. There has been one homeowner who keeps insisting on that and she even mentioned she is a taking a lead on that. For the record nobody that we know has asked her to do that. As we let you know in advance a year and a half ago that it would need 100% of homeowners to sign on their deeds individually. This homeowner however brought an example of a condo nearby who had a 100% in their constitution and they changed it to 80% and were able to sell it!! That condo is not nearly well-positioned as ours ,it is much smaller than ours and moreover we don’t need to sell ours without a developer coming to us first. The action of this homeowner, talking to investors as if we are all desperate to sell is the height of irresponsibility. It was very soon picked up by some members of the Board and even some homeowners who rather sell at whatever price they think would be best for everybody. This is a conspiracy against all homeowners who can and should command a price of $100K for one bedroom and $1450K for a 2 bedroom, nothing less. This is our estimate for now and it could even go higher depending on more and more construction coming here like 2640 and 2650 FV. We also have heard from some credible sources that the ones across the street from these 2 buildings are also being sold for new development. This is nothing short of a conspiracy to get our valuable property with loose , inexperienced and dangerous talk. We demand that homeowners who have this plan to stop talking about the whole place as if they own it and talk about theirs only and leave the other homeowners alone. As you can see more homeowner participation and concern will let anybody ( developer or agenda-driven homeowners) that we will not let our constitution change for this. We will sign our own deed when the time comes and only when we feel we get the right price for our properties.

______________________
January 20,2015
Management company
As you might be aware, the management company will be charging us an additional 2%. There is nothing extra added, nor any new services . There have been several calls and emails to Tina regarding the condition of the property. There were concerns about filthy stairwell, driveways , trash in many places. Those calls did not do anything, and usually answered with one word “yes”,”No”, “Ok”, etc. in her emails. Nobody can remember the last time anybody has spotted her walking the property. The Board in cooperation with the management company and against homeowner interests has devised this budget. Why are we paying an additional 2% with the Board approval with no positive changes? It states the last increase was in 2013, as if now its ok for them to charge us another 2%. Then again what do you expect from a Board that in its membership has individuals who got on it without any deed in their names.
If you remember seeing Tina on the property for any reason ( we hope it would be inspection) please notify us at concernedhomeown@hotmail.com with the date and time.
Its time for the management company to go.

______________________
January 17,2015

Video

HOA-wrongful profit- click on the link below to see the video:
http://www.local10.com/news/holly-lake-residents-accuse-hoa-treasurer-of-wrongful-profit/30588108

______________________
January 13,2015

We just found out that there are 2 people who are running for the 2 positions available on the Board. Apparently they haven’t been to the Board “elections” or simply don’t know that this all a sham. As more evidence of this being a sham, the illegal and current Board “member” is running for re-election. He is campaigning and asking for your votes!! Lets remind you this individual should not even be allowed to be in the room on the 20th.
By the way, don’t these 2 candidates knock on doors and ask for votes? Do they think qualification is good enough to get on this Board? May be they should look at the 2 illegal Board “members” who are on the Board including the president.

______________________

January 11,2015
president
Lets all remember the president who will be giving the address on January 20th is NOT legal. All Board members are required to participate in an election (with overwhelming number of proxies or not) as a homeowner. She never did. This is not like rotating presidencies and musical chair that they play every year or so. They have to be legally elected. It doesn’t matter that they don’t care about the bylaws they are supposed to uphold. We are fighting this unjust and illegal Board “membership”. Lets also not forget, that the other illegal Board “member” is running for re-election.
______________________
January 10,2015
True and documented
This happened in Connecticut . A lawsuit was filed against a management company that managed 8 associations . It said that $1M was missing from the bank accounts of these HOAs. The comptroller for the company was sentenced a few days ago to 10 months in prison and 3 years supervised release. On a federal charge he was found guilty of embezzling $108,000. He was employed as the vice president and comptroller for 25 years.

 

______________________
January 6,2015
For the record
Concerned Homeowners emailed Tina last week and what we got was a rhetorical question.

Q. Can homeowners come and inspect (the incumbent’s) deed.

A. No

Q. Why can’t we come and inspect the deed?

We are still waiting for the answer from 8 days ago.

It just shows this fraudulent election. We have notified some private organizations and the latest news , they have not returned their calls either.

______________________


January 4,2015
HEB & Chevron
For those homeowners who do not know yet, current HEB will cease to exist on February 17th, and the new HEB will start operations on February 18th, the next day which is about a month and half from today. Across the street and at the corner apparently Chevron will change to a bank.
________

 

 

 

 

 

 

. .