Homeowner Group Gone Bad

Condominium living can be a pleasure much of the time, especially if the development has wonderful amenities such as swimming pools, golf courses, dining facilities and more.

The life can also be stressful and irritating if there is a problem with inconsiderate neighbors or with dishonest or overreaching members of the ruling body, whether it is a board of directors or an association.

A recent case in the Las Vegas area is a prime example of the latter situation.

Taking control

In that particular instance, there was a scheme afoot in which members of the conspiracy would take control of a homeowners’ association for the purpose of steering the association’s construction and legal work to members of the conspiracy.

So far 41 defendants have been convicted for their roles in the association takeover plot. Thirty-six people pleaded guilty and a few others were found guilty after a trial.

At the recent trial of one of the conspirators, a 57-year-old woman, it came out that she agreed to run for the association board in return for a small property interest in a condominium unit.

The woman was later subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury investigating the association takeover plan. She was also interviewed by a law enforcement officer. In both instances, she denied knowing about the takeover effort.

She was subsequently found guilty of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice. Sentencing is scheduled for 2016.

A diverse population

It’s difficult to find the right people to make the key decisions in a large community that is home to a large number of diverse residents with different experiences and expectations.

Many of the residents most qualified to serve are reluctant to do so because of the time commitment they would face and because many people get highly emotional when there is legitimate disagreement on issues that affect them.

And then there are the crooks, like the woman mentioned above, who are out to deceive their neighbors and serve the community only to line their own pockets.

The best course of action, if you live in such a community and do not wish to be a decision-maker yourself, is to attend the meetings, read the literature available, stay well informed, and keep an eye at all times on those who have the power.

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