Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reporter looking into CID/HOA collections schemes

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA -  if you live in a common interest development/homeowners’ association, and  have been involved in  a Small Claims court dispute against your homeowners association, you may have just been a victim of a collections scam.  Investigative reporter wants to hear from you – see brief survey at the end of this piece.

Small Claims is a special court of limited jurisdiction where disputes are supposed to be resolved quickly and inexpensively. There is no jury and no lawyers. The court is not bound by the rules of evidence and each party in the dispute is supposed to informally presents its side of the case. A board member or agent of the association may represent the association.
Owners can sue their associations for claims up to $10,000, but associations' claims are limited to $5,000 according to Code Civ. Proc. §116.221.

According to Robert M. DeNichilo, from DeNichilo & Lindsley LLP in Irvine, California, In certain circumstances, Small Claims is a very viable option for an HOA,  such as when it's a small amount of money. 

How HOA collections scams work

The property manager, as AGENT effectively becomes a paralegal working as a prosecutor, or defense.  It has a set of employees whose primary job is to sue and go around to court rooms and act as agent of HOA. The lawyer writes the brief, including legal theories, citing all the laws, character assassination and  often playing fast and loose withthe truth, - not unlike what happened in my Small Claims court case, or even the brief presented by the CZ Master Association board of directors  to block my candidacy to the board.  When does legal "representation" begin? When an attorney writes a brief for a client? 

The brief is then slapped on the judge as the "team" ambushes the homeowner, as I and others have, by a professional "hit" team of experienced prosecutors and attorney-written briefs. 

Meanwhile back at the home office, the property manager will do everything possible to defeat the homeowner, such putting roadblocks so directors are not served on time,  refusing to accept serve notices or refusing to disclose directors' home addresses, as happened in my case.

More often than not, judges, such as judge John Flynn,  are not able to see the scam for what it is, and may go as far as saying, "lying is not against the law."  

Legal fees, a very grey area with no specific definition, haphazardly written into the Davis Stirling Act. But not the Small Claims Act. So it will take a Court Battle to stop the process and clarify the law.  For the homeowner to prevail against the HOA requires a vigorous court battle  to educate the judge, as happened recently with judge Frederick Aguirre in Miner Vs. Huntington Continental HOA.  Something the average homeowner never planned or expected, whether as plaintiff or defendant!

In one case, the association paid $30,000 to a lawyer for a Small Claims action, is that using best business judgment?

In another case, a homeowner lost his property for an improperly parked RV, is that morally and ethically right?

Fighting the HOA collections scams

What is wrong with this picture:  CZ Master HOA Small Claims Court filings compared to other HOAs

the trial court  awarding attorney's fees in the amount of roughly $375,000! - This is what the CAI attorneys want.


Why are we doing this?

Because the scam even is deemed legal, is unethical and in most cases, violate the business judgment rule:  May be good for the property manager and the lawyer, but not the HOA.

The goals are to change the law and stop the property manager-lawyers team from raping homeowners through a bogus collection scheme and or figure out if there is some kind of a class action or group lawsuit that could be filed - fraud or civil RICO issue.

Please note that “legal fees" and "attorney fees" are two different animals.

Tips to avoid being scammed - By Mr. Joseph Miner

If you live in an Association you may know of these providers named below and you may want to check and see if they are doing the same things at your Association. Those things would be: 1) refusing partial payments (any payment you make MUST go to your assessments, 2) suing you in Small Claims court and charging Attorney fees (we believe this to be a new illegal scam happening with debt collection managers and ‘consulting’ attorneys.

  • An updated list of defendants that have been sued on the amended complaint are:
  • 1 – Huntington Continental Town Home Association, Inc.
  • 2- Rustan Laine (former President)
  • 3 – Myra Kuck (former Treasurer)
  • 4 – Feldsott and Lee (a law firm)
  • 5 – Stanley Feldsott
  • 6 – Jacqueline Pagano
  • 7 – Tyler Jones
  • 8 – Keystone Pacific
  • 9 – Cary Treff
  • 10 – Erica Griffith
  • 11 – Renee Barger
  • 12 – Brittany Bennett
  • 13 – Cane Walker Harkins (a law firm)
  • 14 – James Harkins
  • 15 – Arturo Chayra (dismissed as to some counts)
  • 16 – Richard Sheldon Bar (dismissed as to some counts)
  • 17 – Diann Robertson (dismissed as to some counts)

YOUR NEW SECRET WEAPON! – As a mandated member of your association you are effectively a ‘stock holder.’ When the directors are idiots and let the attorneys or management company fleece your operating account for every dollar you take in every month… or the directors are self-dealing in some way. If your lawsuit would benefit the Corporation as a whole and not just you – file a Shareholder Derivative Action against your management company or your HOA attorneys…. the law is that your attorney can get attorney fees!

What is next? - Survey

If you have been wronged as described above, simply answer the following questions and email to

1 -  Have you been a victim, or know of one, of a homeowners association (HOA) collections scam?

2 - Court(s) name, number if applicable – Small Claims court or civil

3 - Name of the homeowners’ association

4 - Name of legal counsel

5 - Amount you allegedly owe(ed) the association

6 - Your side of the story – no more than one paragraph

7 - Amount collected by the HOA

8 - Amount collected by the property manager

9  Amount collected by HOA lawyers

10 - Total amount you paid the association, including property management fees,  “legal fees,”  “attorney fees” and expenses, such as travel, printing, serve notices, and so on.

How HOA Collections Schemes Work: Ranch v. Bolin, Cal - Court of Appeal, 2nd Appellate Dist., 8th Div. 2016... by "Buzz" Aguirre:  A straightforward architecture dispute with the HOA leads to   an order awarding attorney's fees in the amount of roughly $375,000. 


Depending on the response, we will report and proceed accordingly


Phil Mitchell and the Coto de Caza HOA board just invalided the 2016 Elections

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The monthly fees for the home paid in full for nearly 20 years ago is only $183 a month. Brother tried to pay the money but the board would not accept it.


Alleged Judicial Misconduct: Is Small Claims the right venue to settle HOA disputes?

Alleged Judicial Misconduct: Is Small Claims the right venue to settle  HOA disputes? The jury is still out in Orange County, CA

Time for the Coto De Caza HOA to put up or shut up! - Asking Questions in Public

You would not buy slave-peeled shrimp; why would you use service providers involved in collections scams?

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Coto de Caza, CA –  To say that the CZ Master Association, Coto de Caza’s largest Homeowners Association,  board of directors did not take well to my application for candidacy to the board of directors, is putting it mildly.

Phil Mitchell invalidates Coto de Caza HOA Elections: Willful ignorance, cognitive bias or cognitively challenged?

A summary of email conversation with Mr. Phil Mitchel, member CZ Master Association board of directors - just run a Zillow report and tell me it is wonderful! 

Coto de Caza, CA – The verdict  is in, in the Small Claims Court trial  30-2012-00570806-SC-SC-HLH,  held July 23, 2012,  against the Coto de Caza Homeowners Association, otherwise known as CZ Master Association. In the case, it was alleged that the association not only failed to comply with Civil Code § 1365 but that  it continues to claim it is beyond local, state and federal jurisdiction,   The Honorable John L. Flynn III ruled that the HOA board of directors  indeed is not under  the jurisdiction of state and  federal law. Sort of

Coto de Caza, CA – while most pundits speculated over what the Supreme Court would do about the individual mandate included in the ObamaCare legislation, most also warned not to read too much into the Justices’ line of questioning.  Most of the pundits were right on the latter, wrong on the fate of the individual mandate.

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Coto de Caza, CA - While Ladera Ranch registered 16 injured, 16 property damage and 4 DUIs during the fourth quarter of 2011, the community experienced seven injuries, 12 property damage and no DUIs in the first quarter ending March 30, 2012, according to figures from the California Highway Patrol San Juan Capistrano Office

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Coto de Caza, CA - While the number of traffic accidents for the second quarter of 2011 in Ladera Ranch more than doubled, resulting in nine injuries and three driving under the influence, according to the figures supplied by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) San Juan Capistrano (SJC,) it appears that the traffic accidents in Coto de Caza are trending down.

Coto Continues on Dangerous Course of Traffic Incidents
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Coto de Caza, CA - The good news for Coto de Caza residents is that the quarter-to-quarter accident rate for the quarter ending March 31, 2011 is significantly down from the previous quarter. The bad news is that it is still at the same levels as when the community experienced its two traffic fatalities within a three month period between December 2005 and March 2006

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Coto de Caza, CA –By its own words and actions, it is fair to argue that Coto de Caza’s local governance is not only apathetic when it comes to public safety, but its own actions actually result increase the risk to residents. Worse, seems like adults in Coto de Caza have similar views as the local governance.
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While Incident Rate Lower, Still at Critical Levels
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Rhianna Six Month’s Anniversary Mr. Manian’s Three Month’s Anniversary

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In July, 2006 the new state law governing HOA elections will take effect. That means that shortly thereafter, the Board should send out information concerning the mechanisms the Board intends to implement in 2007 to comply with...

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The April 21 issue of the CanyonLife reports that “Fred Lisanti of Pacific Oak Security, security consultants to the ( Coto de Caza) board, presented a report indicating the official crime...

CotoBuzz March 2006 Newsletter
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Lawless, Clueless Coto de Caza
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Lawless, Values-less, Spiritual-less Coto de Caza
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Two elections are now part of an FBI investigation into allegations of corruption at Cudahy City Hall. Transcripts of wiretaps allegedly show that local officials believed they could control election outcomes.

The DaVaro Deception and the Gospel  According to MezgerFor years, the DaVaro Deception has led Coto de Caza resident’s believe that public safety was the board’s number one concern, while repressing initiatives designed to prevent crime & vandalism and save lives, and promoting personal agendas.
As complaints mounted and calls for his termination increased, a blatant example of the most recent deception is board member Jerry Mezger’s revelation that the Property Management Company’s general manager is not a Keystone employee, but rather a highly paid association employee “CJ works for the Board and not Keystone.  Keystone merely handles the payroll and other personnel technicalities.  Keystone has no authority to hire, fire, or discipline CZ’s General Manager”.

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No Dues Increase for Estates and Villages - Thanks CZ!
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How many times must the CZ safety committee be formed before it can be called an association committee?
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CHP DOES ITS JOB – CZ BOARD  PLEASE DO YOURS! Despite the public abuse the CHP has received from the Coto de Caza board of directors ever since the board was coerced into bringing the CHP back for pro-active traffic patrol, figures indicate that the CHP is doing its job:  Trend for accident rate is down and close to pre-firing levels.   Just as important, the number of Coto residents arrested for DUI is down. See chart below for actual accident rate.

CHP Public Arrest WE9-24 and the Varo For Mayor Flawed Arguments
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Coto de Caza Truth Or Consequences
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Coto de Caza Supplier Performance Management Performance
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Finally the board’s response was: “If…

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The Coto de Caza Government Paradox
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ocham, Zipperman, you just won a seat on the Coto de Caza Board of Directors, what are you going to do now? In his book Values in a Time of Upheaval, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger asserts that a fundamental orientation in the modern conception of politics and...

First 2006-2007 Coto de Caza Board of Directors Meeting, Standing Room Only!  …and Coto de Caza’s Tar Baby
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In general we are in agreement with Joe Morabito's assessment of the 2006 candidates to the CZ Master Association Board of Directors (below) . Our recommendations differ slightly for a number of reasons, some of the listed below: For an attorney
The annual Coto de Caza Shakespearean Festival kicks off May 11, 2006, with the adaptation Macbeth by none other than the Board of Directors’ President, The Baro himself.
In this Shakespearean classic, Macbeth is about a noble warrior who gets caught...

When the current Coto de Caza board of directors first took office, Mitch Hill told the joke of a new executive who received three sequentially numbered envelopes from his predecessor and told to open these only when he had major problems and needed...

Blatant manipulation of 2006 CZ Master Association Elections Continues
When the May 2006 issue of the CA Master Association President's Letter contained erroneous information regarding the number of remaining candidates for the board of directors, we published an errata and called on those responsible for managing the...

The current Coto de Caza board of directors came to power with the help of non-resident Paul Young. Young is executive vice president with the CRI. CRI has been accused in the past of financial irregularities, which allegedly triggered an investigation...

The May 2006 issue of the Coto de Caza President’s Letter contains an error that can have a significant impact on the 2006 board of director’s election:
The message reads in part “The newly elected Delegates from the 45 CZ Master..
Disturbed by the feedback the board is getting about service providers, the board president writes in the May 2006 issue of the CZ President’s Letter: “what makes matters worse is that one would think that these individuals would know...

We just had a constructive, and at times very heated, conversation with Orange County’s Deputy District Attorney, Susan Schroeder regarding the tragic accident that occurred March 12, 2006 at the intersection of North Hampton Place and Lexington Way.


JLA said...

From: Cynthia Stephens1
To: Countless others including legislators other elected ,law enforcement, health professionals, advocates, victims, researchers, etc...

Subject: HOA - HOAs in America. Truly a must hear interview - " Many of the board members have psychological problems, problems that affect them. They, in turn, take it out on their neighbors. The stress of living in the cross hairs of a mentally unsound board member triggers stress related diseases. It is a fascinating idea and a scary thought when we consider not only the ill health of many homeowners but also the cost of medical care." Shu Bartholomew on her interview with Professor Gary Solomon.

Every health professional, elected official, investigative agency, attorney and every judge, or justice, members of the press, really all Americans needs to hear what is happening to innocent HOA homeowners and their children in their homes in abusive and criminal HOAs! There are no excuses, or reasons for theses abuses, injustices, the criminality, the HOA homeowner horrors and fear and the property thefts to endure anymore anywhere in America.

Saturday, April 16th's On the Commons with Shu Bartholomew and Professor Gary Solomon, probably the nations leading expert on health issues affecting HOA homeowners from being forced to live in abusive and in some cases criminal HOAs is a must hear!

Here is the direct link so you may listen at your convenience, and also, please pass the show along to those you truly care about and never, ever want to see have to live in and abusive, and/or criminal HOA and be forced to endure and pay for the range of HOA inflicted horrors, abuse and fear as well as the and criminality and many times accompanied by, excessive and unlawful demands for money, property and equity thefts, or extortion demands so their home will not be stolen by a criminal and corrupt HOA board and their accomplices. In some cases there are yet even more egregious and malicious agendas for some that are targeted, or selectively discriminated against to be victimized. Many times these crimes and abuses directed at vulnerable populations and are gender specific, elder/disabled specific, or family status specific and directed. Almost all court systems and most state agencies could care less and some actually participate in assisting the perpetrators in these despicable and disgraceful crimes and injustices and legal and judicial abuses it appears!

JLA said...

On the Commons link and show info:

On the Commons with Gary Solomon
A picture is worth a thousand words, or so we have heard. As I watch the primaries unfold for the US presidential candidates and seeing the backlash against both political parties, the picture that comes to my mind is "The Awakening". The Awakening is an enormous sculpture, that is now housed at the National Harbor in Maryland, of a giant waking up after a long sleep. When you look at the candidates in both parties what is of particular interest is that the front runners are not the party favorites. Senator Sanders has amassed millions of dollars in contributions, a handful of dollars at a time which suggests a huge base. Donald Trump is self-funded and therefor not beholden to any of the special interests that have traditionally manipulated the direction this country has taken. Mr. Trump is, by far, the biggest vote getter. Both of these candidates have enormous grass roots support. Not party support but people support. It seems a showdown may be on the horizon. Will this dissatisfaction with the status quo manifest itself in the homeowner association arena? Are Americans fed up and are they really ready to do something about it? I say, power to the people!
Dr. Gary Solomon joins us On The Commons. Dr. Solomon is a retired college professor who took an interest in how the stress of living in HOAs affects homeowners, the very people who are supposed to benefit from homeownership. He has authored several papers, including HOA Syndrome, Elder Abuse in HOAs, Child Abuse by Proxy and his brilliant and creative book, HOA Crisis in America which is a must read, watch and listen to book. He explains how HOAs are a sick concept. Many of the board members have psychological problems, problems that affect them. They, in turn, take it out on their neighbors. The stress of living in the cross hairs of a mentally unsound board member triggers stress related diseases. It is a fascinating idea and a scary thought when we consider not only the ill health of many homeowners but also the cost of medical care. Perhaps it is time for preventive medicine instead of what we have. Dr. Solomon is willing to consult with homeowners and their attorneys in lawsuits against their HOAs. He is also ready and willing to assist medical doctors understand how their patients who live in HOAs may be living under constant stress. Is an Awakening headed to the homeowners in mass produced HOAs nationwide? Will homeowners reject the special interests and start really taking control of their own lives?

JLA said...

From Cynthia Stephens:

HOA - HOAs in America. Truly a must hear interview - " Many of the board members have psychological problems, problems that affect them. They, in turn, take it out on their neighbors. The stress of living in the cross hairs of a mentally unsound board member triggers stress related diseases. It is a fascinating idea and a scary thought when we consider not only the ill health of many homeowners but also the cost of medical care." Shu Bartholomew on her interview with Professor Gary Solomon.