By Jan Bergemann

Published April 5, 2024


The Hammocks case made it possible: HB 1203 is making criminal investigations in homeowners’ associations much easier.


While the collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, that cost the lives of 98 people, caused a myriad of condo bills to be enacted, the huge embezzlement case in the Hammocks – according to latest numbers about $4M have been embezzled by the board – caused legislators to finally act on protecting association funds against “bad actors” in homeowners’ associations.


I guess Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle fumed when her office was sued for issuing subpoenas to get the financial records of the Hammocks Homeowners’ Association, even if she finally succeeded with the investigation and the five board members were arrested!


But she did an excellent job in pushing for legislative action to prevent future disasters like this. Many provisions in HB 1203 reflect her requests for changes – including strengthening of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes. Thank you Katherine Fernandez-Rundle!


FS 720 – the HOA ACT – reflect now multiple provisions that allow criminal prosecution of “bad actors” – board members and CAMs. From “hiding records” to kickbacks and serious election violations – all this can now be prosecuted in addition to embezzlement of association funds.


And as we have seen in the Hammocks case, even attorneys have to be a lot more careful when it comes to protecting bad board members and/or CAMs, helping them to cover up criminal wrongdoing.


But the big question remains: Will certain state attorneys – the same still claiming that embezzling of funds in community associations is a civil matter – make use of these new weapons given to them by HB 1203?

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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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