CAMs and Kickbacks—only all too common
An Opinion By Jan Bergemann
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.
27 September 2014
I have over the years seen many attempts to “bribe” CAMs, but none as
blatant as this postcard:
This postcard was mailed to a myriad of licensed CAM’s (licensed
property managers that manage Common Area Maintenance properties) in
South Florida, offering them a 10% “KICKBACK” – on the
postcard politely called “referral fee.” This attempt to get business
by “Old School
Plumbing” is clearly aimed at licensed CAMs, tempting
them not to give the business to the best offer, but giving it to the
company that offers the highest “kickback.”
Look at the condition of this offer: “Must be an active LCAM with FL
DBPR (Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation) to
Especially since many CAMs are empowered by contract to hire vendors
without prior board approval if the amount of the necessary repair
(work) is below a certain dollar amount ($500 or $ 1,000 for example),
it’s clearly very tempting for any CAM to call this company and quickly
earn a “referral fee” – in reality a kickback.
This is just one example for the “kickback” scenario that is going on
daily in Florida’s community associations.
KICKBACKS are very common in daily business of our
associations. But make no mistake: The offer of a 10% referral fee is
actually on the low end of the se offers – or even demands by the CAMs.
I have heard from vendors that CAMs approached them, telling them that
they could only do business with the specific association if they are
giving 25% of the invoice to the CAM. NO KICKBACK – NO BUSINESS!
And guess who pays for the kickback: The owners of this community – or
do you honestly believe that these vendors are paying these kickbacks
out of their own profits?
My advice to board members trying to avoid these financial shenanigans:
Get three bids, compare the cost and vote on it at a public board
meeting – no matter what the amount!
Don’t just rely on CAMs! Don’t tempt your CAM by allowing him/her to
cash in on kickbacks!
Never forget: Your CAM may have just received a postcard like the one
above and figures it’s some nice extra income without doing anything
but making a simple telephone call.
DO YOU WANT TO PAY FOR THAT?