Condo Line

Board has misappropriated funds


By Richard White

Q: I recently requested the financial records of my association. What I discovered was clear misappropriation of funds.

I talked to a few owners who saw the same. One owner actually suggested that we pool our money and hire an attorney, which I am for. However, most of the owners do not want to get involved.

I filed a complaint with Florida Business and Professional Regulations and sent them several copies of questionable invoices. I received a call from someone in Tallahassee who stated that they do not deal with misappropriation of funds but only regulate. She suggested that I call law enforcement.

Is there not an agency that holds a board of directors accountable? Is there any statute that provides the steps I need to take against the board for misappropriation of funds? If so, please refer me to those statutes.

K.Q., Miami

A: It is good that you are concerned about your association’s funds and operations. You have now experienced the most serious situation in associations today: the apathy of most owners.

Associations with homeowners who are interested, concerned, and take responsibility are well operated. A responsibility of all homeowners is to be active in the operations and volunteer to serve on committees and be candidates for elections.

Since you did not explain to me your concern of the misappropriation of funds, I cannot provide you with the final answer. The state only enforces violations of the statutes and not criminal activity. That should be reported with the evidence to the police or state attorney.

Did you send the board a letter and ask about your concerns with the financial records? That should have been your first step. Your board may offer a reasonable explanation for the expenditures you question. Until you have your answer from the board, I would not be concerned with taking outside action. Remember, any claim or report must be backed up with written proof.

Q: I am part of a renegade board. I follow the law; the other directors do not follow the Florida statutes. I am unable to make them change their behavior and I already have exhausted all internal courses of actions with the other directors.

They continue to meet in private with a quorum of directors present and discuss board business (no agenda posted, no minutes taken). A few directors even signed contracts without the knowledge of the entire board. They exclude certain board members from communications.

Do you think I should start, as my first step, with the Ombudsman? The Ombudsman will not address breaking our own condominium rules but will address statute violation issues. Our management company is no help at this point.

M.M., Tampa

A: First, do not let the other directors’ actions create a stressful situation for your health. Do not resign as a director. Keep in mind that the best boards operate when they have directors that oppose the majority. When you have this conflict between directors, it forces all directors to justify, study, and make better decisions for the members.

While the Ombudsman is a direction you can take, I have other suggestions. Document all conflicts. Put in writing your concerns and send them to all the directors. When they violate the statute requirements concerning quorum, make sure this is part of the official records.

At the board meetings during reports, report your concerns and have it recorded in the minutes of the meeting or send a certified letter that would be filed in the official records of the association. Become a thorn by officially reporting your concerns in writing.

To protect your health, let your pen do your talking and let the other directors have the pressure of correcting their problems. Once you’ve put it in writing, you’ve done as much as you can and you protect yourself if someone sues the board for improper action.

Write to Condo Line, Richard White, 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., #201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115, or e-mail Include name and city.

Read more Condos stories from the Miami Herald

  • Condo Line

    Unhappy with management firm

    Q: As an owner not on the board of my homeowners association, I have taken time to research the community association managers’ (CAM) educational requirements. The educational hours required are very small compared to other professionals that are licensed real estate agents.

  • Condo Line

    Can homeowners association donate to charities?

    Q: I live in a homeowners association that is one of a number of associations separately run with individual boards, all under the umbrella of a master association. The master association takes care of streets, sidewalks, entry gates, security and other mutually shared expenses. The master association includes a representative from each individual association.

  • Condo Line

    How can we check whether expenditures are proper?

    Q: I live in a developer-controlled homeowner association. I’ve noted on the financial reports certain expenses that I cannot confirm. I’ve asked questions in our meetings and have sent emails to the association manager concerning my concerns. There has been no response to my question or the answers have been unsatisfied.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category