money

By: Sharon Aron Baron

The bill is in for the legal costs incurred by our HOA President in trying to shut down this website: $3,000.

In May, TheWoodlandsTamarac.com and parent company Talk Media Inc. were issued a cease and desist letter initiated by HOA President Patti Fox when she contacted attorney’s Becker & Poliakoff. The letter alleged that this site was infringing on the association’s intellectual property and tarnishes the goodwill of the association. The legal costs included drafting the letter, trademark research, and speaking to other attorneys.

Although this website had disclaimers that it wasn’t affiliated with the Woodlands HOA, as the HOA is known legally as The Woodland Homeowners Association (minus the S), It wasn’t enough for the President, who not only tried silence our first amendment rights to speak on this forum, she silenced the homeowners rights to speak at the May HOA meeting.

Not only were residents not allowed to speak at the meeting, legal council was not allowed to speak on behalf of this website. It was only after several board members made a motion to allow him to speak at the meeting was he able to do so.

Struggling to maintain communication efforts, the WHOA has no one running their current website. Their once quarterly newsletter which was mailed to everyone’s doors stopped last year, then resumed in January with a new monthly that seemed promising, but those have stopped as well.

With so little communication, to try to shut down what little the homeowner’s have was reprehensible.

The cost to you and me was unjustifiable.

To our section presidents and board members: We can never get that $3,000 back, but it only takes two-thirds of your vote to ask our President to step down at the October 14 HOA meeting.

Related Articles:

Our Woodlands Association Wants to Shut This Website Down

Sun Sentinel Article

What is Our Association’s Legal Name Anyway?

Video From Homeowners Association Meeting in May

Website Stays: Freedom of Speech Prevails in the Woodlands

Sun Sentinel

 

Author Profile

Sharon Aron Baron
Sharon Aron Baron created the Woodlands Tamarac in 2010 for original News for the community. In 2011 she went on to create Tamarac Talk, in 2012, Coral Springs Talk and 2017, Parkland Talk.

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5 Responses to "The Bill Is In: HOA President Costs Homeowners a Whopping $3,000"

  1. I’m curious. When someone questions your objectivity, creditability or accuracy of an article you have written involving conflict between parties, and you are one of the parties, will you put it on this website?
    Will you give it the same upfront positioning that you gave your article?
    Will you put this “comment” on this website?

  2. The right of members of a homeowner association to attend and/or speak at a board meeting is guaranteed in Florida law, Chapter 720. To be denied that right would open the association to a lawsuit. There are a few instances where member attendance is not allowed, but, they are very few and are very specific. I would encourage WHOA board members to take advantage of the FREE Board Certification training being offered by The Broward Coalition and several local law firms.

    Editor: Patti Lynn, thank you for your input. I have consulted with our management company and we are not under Chapter 720 and are incorporated differently. It’s complicated, but we can change it, but it would be hard. Our President could, in fact, do the honorable thing and allow homeowners to sign in and speak as if we were under 720 but she chooses to allow them to speak when its convenient. It may not be under our current bylaws have a sign in sheet at each meeting so homeowners could have the floor for three minutes, however, it would be the right thing to do.

  3. Michael McMichael, obviously Sharon does, she printed your comments or should I say questions? The article above refers to practices, motives, principles and approvals of an action taken without board consent for a considerable amount of money. You did not comment on that, and it kinda perplexes me. The issue here is was it warranted for a board president to make a decision on her own, to spend our money, a large amount in my eyes, on such an unimportant issue, without consent from the rest of us. I think here is where the concern needs to directed. Myself and others made it very clear that night that we did not agree with what happened, and when asked how much the letter and legal fees were, I was told the bill was not in yet. Do you spend money blindly, especially when it is not personally yours and don’t ask for an estimate beforehand? Let’s not skirt around the issue here, the rest of the board was not in approval about what happened in that meeting, we in turn voted to allow Sharon and her leagal advisor to speak, and the situation was eventually resolved, but now at the cost of $3000.00. That money could have been better spent, but we were not given the couresy, the chance, nor the legal right, I feel , to vote on it. The Prssident of the WHOA can spend a defined amount of money without board approval in an emergency, but this clearly was not. This can not be allowed to happen again, and all expenses incurred should be discussed, not us having to go and dig it up elsewhere.

  4. What is the difference how any of us found out about the cost of that letter, the point is that we are entitled to know. The issue here is why it happened, how it happened, and to make sure that it does not happen again like this, plain and simple, no legal advice needed here for that conclusion…

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