Hundreds protest against condo fraud in South Florida
By Brenda Medina & Enrique Flor
16 April 2016
condo owners marched through the streets of Doral on Saturday, April 16
to demand that authorities take steps to stop a wave of fraud hitting
their neighborhoods. Roberto Koltun
More than 250 South Florida condo residents marched Saturday through
the streets of Doral to demand that authorities take steps to stop a
wave of fraud hitting their neighborhoods.
With posters, flags and whistles, the group of protesters marched
through downtown Doral shouting about alleged abuses by their board of
directors and the private companies hired to manage the condominiums.
“We want our demands heard in Tallahassee,” said William Mendieta, one
of the organizers of the march and resident of the Las Vistas condos in
Doral. “We have left behind apathy and indifference to unite with other
condos so that together we can make one request: Justice!”
the fifth public protest
It was the fifth public protest since an investigation by el Nuevo
Herald and Univision 23 in March revealed the systematic frauds facing
condos in Miami-Dade County — including at least 84 fraudulent votes in
November election for the board of directors at The Beach Club condos
in Fontainebleau Park, and a fraudulent bidding process in which a
company won a $5.2 million contract in a competition against two front
The protest involved residents of condos in several municipalities in
the county, including Aventura, North Miami Beach, Kendall and
Homestead. Condo owners from Broward County also participated in the
Mendieta said authorities have started to react to the condo owners’
complaints and are proposing the organization of a special group of
detectives from different police departments in the county to
investigate complaints of condo fraud. But Mendieta added that the
campaign should go further and involve legal changes in Tallahassee.
State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, head of the Miami-Dade delegation in
Tallahassee, in fact is working on a broad reform to the condo laws
that he expects to submit in November. County Mayor Carlos Gimenez last
week promised to go to Tallahassee to support the Diaz efforts.
“We want authorities to fulfill their promises,” said Mendieta. “We
don’t want this to remain a promise during an election year.”
The protesters asked for the support of more elected officials.
We want a solution!
“Where are our mayors and commissioners? Why are they not marching with
us? This affects thousands of families,” shouted Sol Barquero. “We want
a solution! Out with corruption!”
For Katherine Castro, president of The Beach Club, the protest Saturday
marks an awakening of condo owners who have been abused for years with
the complicity or indifference of authorities.
“This march is the beginning of what could be the end of the abuse of
working families who find themselves without protection” in their
condos, said Castro. “It is time for authorities to confront the
companies that manipulate the system to fill their pockets.”
Janvier Villar, an owner at the Buckley Towers condo in North Miami
Beach, said she was angry with the inaction by authorities in the face
of complaints about fraud in the elections for its board of directors
in December. A group of owners is pushing to recall the board members
elected in the balloting.
Ana Gutierrez. 74, who lives in a Doral condo, said he took part in the
protest to ask other condo owners for advice. She and several others at
the march exchanged information about the best way to document and
submit complaints about condo fraud to authorities
vandalized my car and my house
“Because I asked for information, they threatened me, they even
vandalized my car and my house,” said Gutierrez. “I pay the maintenance
and everything is dirty. It’s a disaster. I don’t know where the money
goes. I have a right to know.”
Aymara Sorhegui, who lives in the Park East condos in Fontainebleau
said it was important that residents of different condos unite to push
“This march is important because it has united us, condo resident, to
fight together for changes and stop the abuses that we have been
suffering at the hands of corrupt organization,” said Sorhegui.
Amoray Ricart · University of Miami
They need to investigate Lago Grande in Hialeah who is also managed by
Florida's Property Mgmt now known as Sunshine Management. The fraud
there is unbelievable. For one they haven't held elections in over 10
years. The place is disgusting nothing gets done. The roofs were done
in 2011 by guess who? Taylor Roofing who's owner was recently arrested.
And guess what? The roofs are leaking and the management company is
doing NOTHING about it. There's gangs, drug dealing inside the
The Board, the Management Company and all the Vendors they do business with are thieves !!
International Park 1
They need to investigate the lawyers as well. Condo management
companies and the lawyers they work with have incestuous relationship
that do nothing more than hurt owners.
A lawyer who is supposed to be
the condo's legal aide will never go against a management company even
if that management company is doing illegal things. Management
companies and Lawyers are in all in together. So if management
companies are being corrupt so are lawyers. Or just ask the lawyer from
International Park 1 who let a receiver mismanage funds and has done
NOTHING to seek relief from her for International Park 1.
was found to ask for more money than allowed by the courts but yet the
lawyer for IP1 does nothing why? The answer is simple the lawyer and
the management company are in bed together and asking to relief for IP
1 all of their behind the door deals will be reveiled.
We are absentee owners of a condo in Plantation and suffer from a condo
management company that acts if the owners work for them and our condo
board sits there mute and when you ask for a list of the board members
and their contact information the silence is deafening.
Luis Fonte · Broker/Owner at Fonte Realty & Investments
This whole mess with condo association need to be restructure. They are
all crooks and steal the money, especially management company. I just
caught the president of my condo association stealing thousands of
dollars and being help by the management company. They all need to be
behind bars. Politicians are sleeping on this issue, thats needs to be
taken care of.
CORRUPTION EXPOSED RIGHT HERE FOR YOU. Many say there is no incentive
for state involved government corruption, but that is a lie. There is
billions in cost reasons. Why the state shall give no help to stop
association corruption. In fact they would have more of it if they
could. There will be no help from Tallahassee. You can expect the exact
opposite. This fraud is well liked and well rooted in Florida
government, and public use infrastructure maintenance cost
offloading. The government supports all homeowner associations and
condo associations. Even with the massive fraud. The reason is
simple."infrastructure maintenance cost offloading"
All property under associations deeded lands and restrictions is off
the state books on cost to maintain. The state and counties have no
obligations to fix, roads, streets, sidewalks, install or maintain
street lights or even pay for power to light them, maintain grass or
shrubs. Nothing. Even the roadways all through the neighborhood are
all "cost to maintain" by the people living inside the deed restricted
community. Pot holes, repaving etc. Yes. Thats means even repaving,
repainting lines. All underground public utility lines etc.
So, this process of deed restricting communities has allowed the state
of offload many public use infrastructure maintenance costs. Hundreds
of billions are saved by the state, by passing these maintenance fees
to the associations to pay.
SO THE STATE DOES NOT CARE about the fraud the way you think they
would. They won't do a thing to put a damper on associations and
possibly cause the state to have to assume some costs the
associations have. Thus the state will take NO proper legal actions
against fraud by all Associations that can or may jeopardize the
corrupt way the STATE OF FLORIDA are funding the cost of public use
infrastructure maintenance fees.
Jose L. Cano
Woodgate Condominium Association.
Our Board of
Director members are being re-elected for more than 10 years, abusing
of the lack of quorum rule and manipulating the votes.