Sheriff’s ofﬁce seizes property of MetroWest man who challenged condo association
By: Paul Brinkmann
30 May 2018
The Hamptons at
Metrowest, a sprawling condo complex with 700 units, is still blighted
by moldy wood and faulty stucco years after the association there won a
$20 million award in a construction defect lawsuit. Paul Brinkmann
A legal feud between a MetroWest condo owner and his condo owners’
association escalated over the Memorial Day weekend, as armed deputies
entered Howard Fox’s home with a judge’s order to seize all of his
I’m basically homeless now
“I’m basically homeless now,” said Fox, who is staying with family
temporarily. “The house was completely empty, so I couldn’t live there.
All that was left was the fridge and the carpet.”
Fox has sued the condo association several times, mostly regarding a
history of construction defects at the complex, called the Hamptons at
MetroWest. It’s the largest condo complex in Orlando.
The association obtained a judge’s order to confiscate everything in
Fox’s condo based on the court awarding the association $104,700 in
attorney’s fees. The order itself was sealed.
Fox’s attorney, Mark Lippman, said the property seizure was technically
legal, but he called it “dirty play” purely designed to get Fox out of
the complex. It also costs money to get what is known as a break order,
he said, and Fox’s items probably won’t satisfy the judgment if sold at
“I’ve not seen a collection effort to this degree,” Lippman said. “I’ve
gotten break orders in the past, but only after all other avenues had
The judgment against Fox had been signed in March.
An attorney for the association, Scott Newsom, said the group did what it had to do to enforce the judgment.
“Fox had an opportunity to satisfy the judgment or enter into a payment plan and chose not too,” Newsom said.
Another attorney for the board, Jim Byrd Jr., said the condo
association couldn’t comment on the matter any further because it is
part of ongoing litigation.
“Mr. Fox owes the Association in excess of $104,000 for legal fees
incurred as a result of litigation in which the association has
prevailed against Mr. Fox. The Association obtained a final judgment
for those amounts against Mr. Fox, and took lawful action to collect on
that judgment,” Byrd said in a statement.
Both sides of the dispute have had plenty of legal trouble for years
Both sides of the dispute have had plenty of legal trouble for years.
Fox pleaded no contest to brandishing a firearm, a felony, during a
confrontation with guests in the complex in 2013.
The condo association has racked up $3.5 million in code violations for
shoddy construction, water damage and other problems. Construction
crews are working on repairs to the buildings.
Fox has sued the association over the construction defects, and they
sued him alleging that he displayed “aggressive harassing” behavior
routinely in the complex and allegedly disparaged the complex’s board
in a blog.
Fox signed a settlement in 2015 agreeing not to defame the board anymore. It also restricted his ability to file complaints.
Lippman said he thinks the settlement and the break order may have violated Fox’s constitutional rights.
“They spent money on this, rather than on fixing their code violations,” Lippman said.
A spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s office said they couldn’t provide more
detail on its actions since the judge sealed the order. She said the
agency does not track break orders.
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