An Opinion By Jan Bergemann
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.
Published December 9, 2017
In an order granting plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment Circuit Court Judge William L. Roby ruled against Piper’s Landing, Inc. in Martin County in a case where the HOA had refused to allow a homeowner to inspect the management contract and the financial records indicating the specific compensation of manager Brian Reich.
In my opinion this lawsuit was a total waste of association funds. The owner should have never been forced to file this lawsuit because the association attorney Jane Cornett from the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff should have advised the board that the statutes force the association to reveal these documents. You don’t need to be Einstein to read the provisions in FS 720 (the HOA Act) that explain in no uncertain words that management contracts and financial records are public record which every owner and/or his/her representative can inspect after filing a so-called “public record request.”
The judge made it clear that there was no doubt that the homeowner had the right to inspect the requested records.
But to me it looks like the HOA board and attorney Jane Cornett are sore losers. Shortly after the court’s ruling they suspended plaintiff John Katsock for reasons unnamed in the letter written by Jane Cornett on November 7.
Katsock, the plaintiff in the court case that the HOA lost unceremoniously, wwas suspended from “all use of any and all of the common facilities for a period of one (1) year — acording to the letter Jane Cornett sent to the plaintiff’s attorney.
No wonder many homeowners call these homeowners’ associations GULAGS. On the other hand I think the legislature should add a provision into the statutes demanding that any attorney who allows such a “frivolous” lawsuit to go forward has to pay the legal fees for the opposing party out of his/her own pocket.
Homeowners shouldn’t be forced to pay for such legal actions caused by the unwillingness of the board to follow the laws.