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Florida Capital City lawsuit over condo association dues

Homeowner Associations or Condominium Associations are developed to protect property owners by having specific bylaws, rules and regulations that go along with ownership. Being a member of an association gives you the right to ensure that all other members of the association, as well as yourself, are fulfilling their obligations to maintain a set of agreed-upon standards.

In Tallahassee, one condo association is under the spotlight with an ongoing lawsuit. Adams Street Lofts Condominium Association is affiliated with a 31-unit condo building located in downtown Tallahassee. Two condo owners (members of the association) who currently reside in the building have requested to see the association's financial records going back seven years. Two weeks ago, they filed a complaint with the Leon County Circuit Court stating that the association has refused their request.

The request to see the financial records is based on a claim that the "association board is doing a poor job running the place and they're concerned about their investment." That concern allegedly began in January this year when a board meeting attended by one of the owners revealed that a consulting firm, Governance Services, which owns 26 of the 31 units, was approximately $90,000 behind on their association dues.

The association is run by City Commissioner Scott Maddox and the owner of Governance Services, as well as a property management company they hired called Lewis Association Property Management. Maddox was said to have asked during the meeting that the arrearage of dues owed by Governance Services be offset by the maintenance they did, including removing bats for $22,500 and paying a crew $17,539. Invoices for these items are included in the condo owners request for financial documents.

The owner of Governance Services now claims the past due bills have been paid, but no proof or evidence of these payments has of yet been forthcoming. She also claims this lawsuit is politically motivated, alleging that the two condo owners are friends of a student housing developer who has filed other ethics claims against Maddox. At the same time, it appears she is a long-time friend of City Commissioner Maddox.

Whether politically motivated or not, these types of disputes usually require an attorney who is certified in real estate law and familiar with the legal realm of running an association.

Source: Tallahassee Democrat, "Condo owners sue Adams Street Lofts for financial records," Jeffrey Schweers, Nov. 20, 2017

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