By Jan Bergemann

Published March 29, 2024


In the past board members were pretty much protected against prosecution other than embezzlement of funds. That might change on July 1, 2024 – if Governor Ron DeSantis signs HB 1203 into law.


The “Business Judgment Rule” allowed board members to use the ”I acted in good faith” defense. But the education requirements in this extensive bill (39 pages) will make this defense likely moot.


For many years we heard from many sides that there will be no more volunteers to run for the board of directors if such provisions are enacted. Well: Are you not going into the branch of your local bank because bank robbery is a felony?


How about all these new provisions holding board members and CAMs  liable for certain actions?


Board members will now be under scrutiny for disallowing access to public records, defacing or destroying accounting records or refusal to release records.


And there are lots of other issues that may get board members in hot water.


Other chapters of the bill deal with kickbacks, use of debit cards and especially “fraudulent voting activity”.


It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, especially since certain county DAs still claim that all the illegal shenanigans are civil matters and should be dealt with in civil court. Will the provisions in this bill finally change their attitude?


It will still be up to the owners to hand the proof of the illegal actions of board members and/or community association managers to the local law enforcement agencies, but in the end – especially with the very strict public record requirements – it will be a lot easier to have bad actors prosecuted.


In the past it has been pretty easy for board members to enrich themselves – not only by embezzlement – or committing election fraud.


Will the provisions in this bill slow down all these bad actors or even end these fraudulent activities?

I doubt it since there is still no regulatory agency helping owners with investigating complaints and helping to prosecute these bad actors. But it may still deter quite a few board members from becoming “bad actors” – since they have now to be afraid that they will not just get a slap on the wrist if caught red-handed!

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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: http://www.ccfj.net/.

Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.

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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