Representing Texas Homeowners Associations & those aggrieved by them

Attorney Trey Wilson handles lawsuits and pre-litigation disputes involving enforcement of restrictive covenants/deed restrictions, Homeowner Association member voting/ballot/proxy issues, HOA Board elections, collection of assessments/dues, placement and removal of liens, CCR/Declaration disputes, developer HOA control/turnover, ACC approval, HOA Board governance, Abuses by Homeowners Associations and drafting/amendment of HOA documents including By-laws.


Condo Association President Gambles Away Association's Money

San Antonio HOA Lawyer Trey Wilson wrote:

The SunSentinel in Ft. Lauderdale, FL reported that the Association President for the French Villas Condo Association, Nancy Marquez, 58, was arrested and taken into police custody for stealing more than $148,000 from the condo association.  It was reported that Marquez took the money and gambled it away.  Marquez admitted that she commingled the association's money with her own and used it for gambling at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Condo board member, Paul Coffman, commented that it "made his day" when he heard about the arrest.

Mr. Coffman said that he and other board members discovered there were financial discrepancies in January 2011 when he took over as the association president of the 66 unit condo building.  Mr. Coffman said, "We got the invoices and everything for the two years that she was on the board and started going through them.  Some things caught our eye that just weren't right."

The board reported it to the police, who investigated the case for more than two years.  It later resulted in Ms. Marquez' arrest.  She was charged with grand theft and perpetrating a scheme to defraud.  Records show she was released from jail on $7500 bond.

Mr. Coffman and the other board members could not discuss the missing money, not even with concerned condo residents, because of the ongoing investigation.  Because of the missing money, the association's utility bills and other expenses were delinquent.

Mr. Coffman stated, "When people kept complaining, you had to bite your tongue."

The bills just kept piling up and the debt increasing.  The community was threatened by utility companies to disconnect service due to nonpayment.  In the midst of this, the community was ordered to do some costly updating of the building and grounds.

Marquez was the association secretary and association president for 2 years until 2010.  The arrest report indicated that during that time, she controlled the association's finances, which included a debit card, accounting records and bank statements.

Fort Lauderdale attorney, Blane Carneal, an attorney who represents unit owners disputing their associations, recommends that residents should form a group and hire a CPA to investigate if they have a suspicion that something might be wrong.  Mr. Carneal says that residents "need to be their own watchdog," and that they "need to know where their money is going."

Although the Pembroke Pines French Villas Association's financial debt problems are not fully resolved, they're catching up and the situation is improving.