Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Stanford Prisoner Syndrome and HOA Rage

Posted By CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - From covering homeowners association disputes for over ten years, we can comfortably say that the  Stanford Prisoner Syndrome is alive and well.  Otherwise insignificant residents who get elected to homeowner association board of directors, quickly get intoxicated  with a new-found power that they become abusive, autocratic and vindictive when residents do not do as told.

Board of directors can tell you what color to paint your house, what kinds of trees you can plant, and  whether you can fly the American flag.  In other cases they have been known to rig elections, assess bogus fines, harass residents they do not like or peek over backyard fences to look for violations. 

To make matters worse, residents often are not cognizant of the differences between living in a city as opposed to a private community.  As Professor Evan Mckenzie writes:   “Residents in common interest developments (HOA//CID) commonly fail to understand the difference between a regime based formally on rights, such as American civil governments, and the CID regime which is based on restrictions.  This often leads to people becoming angry at board meetings and claiming that their ‘rights’ have been violated – rights they wrongly believe they have in a CID.”  Disputes between homeowners and their associations are common, and sometimes they can result in shouting, fighting and legal action. 

Just like The Stanford Prisoner is alive and well, so is HOA Rage and in some cases, the consequences are tragic.    Consider that on April 4, 2000   Ventana Lakes development resident in Peoria  Arizona , Richard Glassel opened fire on a homeowners association meeting claiming two lives.

Prior to the tragic incident, on July 31, 1998 the Ventana Lakes Property Owners Association sued Glassel in Maricopa County Superior Court, accusing them of harassing maintenance crews.   On June 23, 1999  the Ventana Lakes association wins a judgment against  Glassel for $1,054 in attorneys' fees.  By July 17 the homeowners association files a notice of lien with the Recorder's Office, claiming $507 for maintenance assessments.

On September 6 in Kentucky, during a Spring Creek Homeowners Association meeting, Dr. Mahmoud Yousef Hindi is accused of gunning down board members 73-year-old David Merritt and 69-year-old Marvin Fisher. Hindi is charged with two counts of murder and multiple counts of wanton endangerment . He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to return to court Nov. 2

According to a report by the SanFrancisco Gate, Hindi told police officers after the shootings in eastern Louisville, "They just made the killer in me. I had to do it,…Those are not human beings. Those are actually big time racists."

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