By Jan Bergemann

Published July 7, 2017


When HB 1237 (aka the CONDO CRIME BILL) took effect on July 1, 2017 our legislature had taken a big step in the right direction fighting crime and abuse in Florida’s condominium associations. So far condo owners who got “robbed” and “scammed” had to live in the right county in Florida to see the bad guys prosecuted. Many county state attorneys considered embezzlement and/or election fraud a “civil” matter – based on contract law – and allowed the bad guys to get away with crime!


I’m not sure where these SAs got that from, because I doubt they learned in law school that embezzlement in community associations is different from embezzlement from companies or our government.


It should even be punished much more severe since it often hits people who can least afford to lose this kind of money.


We always hear, especially from the law firms that opposed this bill, that owners have the opportunity to remove their board members by recall or at the next election. Well: These same attorneys made it outright difficult, fought long – often totally useless but expensive – arbitration battles and threatened owners complaining about the outcome of the election with cease and desist letters. Too many of these “specialized” attorneys think that they get paid to defend the interests of the board members only instead of working in the interest of the owners, who ALL pay their fees.


We have seen election fraud in many community association elections – and believe me: The Russians or Putin can’t be blamed for the outcome of these elections. Fair elections are fundamental for democracies – and the laws and rules should be strictly followed. Violators should be severely punished – and so should the service providers who help with election fraud.


We will have to see how all these new provisions to the Condo Act work out in daily life – and if some state attorneys drop their attitude and will finally prosecute the violators and embezzlers.


And if the next six (6) months show that these new provisions work in the interests of the owners of condo units, we would really like to remind Senator Garcia on his promise to push for a very similar bill for HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATIONS in the 2018 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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