By Jan Bergemann

Published May 19, 2017

Over the years I have learned that the CAI “specialized” attorneys will come up with all kinds of desperate excuses – no matter if they make sense or not. But this year these excuses were not only sounding desperate – they were in my opinion outright silly.

Their biggest fear: Criminal charges for folks violating the provisions of the Condo Act (FS 718)!

Who in his right mind can be against criminal prosecution of election fraud, or prosecuting board members who knowingly and willfully damage their neighbors’ finances?

In my opinion their reason for being against criminal prosecution: It will stop these attorneys from making a financial meal out of these cases. Believe me: Dealing with the arbitrators of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes or private attorneys representing unit-owners, or the folks from the SA office makes a huge difference. No more: Playing Games! Criminal charges prevent these attorneys as well from milking the association funds – unlimited funds they can normally play around with.

Personally, I think it’s outright silly for a “specialized attorney” to write in a newsletter: “Go to jail! Do not pass go! Unbelievable, but still true. The legislature, exceeding all expectations as to how to discourage good individuals from serving as directors and making it more difficult to attract volunteer directors, adopted House Bill 1237 to expand the criminal code to include many more areas of the Condominium Act."

So did Michael Gelfand, a senior partner of the law firm of Gelfand & Arpe, a so-called “specialized” attorney who chaired the Florida Bar's Real Property, Probate and Trust Law section -- according to the Daily Business Review.

When reading all the comments published in regards to the provisions of the Condo Reform Bill one starts wondering if all these folks actually went to law school – or if they just missed a few very important classes. I didn’t go to law school, but I think there is a huge difference between "unethical” and “criminal” conduct.

Don’t forget, these “criminals” often do more financial damage than bank robbers – and they often target the elderly in communities with lots of retirees who just want to live in peace.

In all honesty: I expect some better arguments from “specialized” attorneys trying to dismantle an owner-friendly bill than the nonsense we heard this legislative session!

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Jan Bergemann Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community  

associations. He moved to Florida in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues for his own purposes. End of retirement!


CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in Tallahassee - finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.


The organization has two websites to inform interested Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website:

Educational Website:

We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all service providers surely have a different interest! We are trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking in Florida !

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