Two years ago, you may remember that a Miami Dade Grand Jury issued a scathing report about condominium board members in Miami Dade County. In sum, the report concluded that they’re basically all a bunch of thieves who get on the board with evil intentions including purposely diverting the association’s funds to their own businesses and businesses owned by their family. And if that’s not enough, it’s next to impossible to remove them from the board and equally impossible to prevent them from remaining on the board for all eternity. And those were the flattering portions of the grand jury report.
As a result of that report, The Florida Legislature passed a bunch of new laws aimed at officers and directors of condominium associations. Apparently, Senator Jason Pizzo from Miami believes Florida laws need even greater clarity, especially when it comes to the election process and he filed Senate Bill 610 which does the following:
- Getting a kickback is now a third degree felony;
- Any director or member of the board or association who knowingly, willfully, and repeatedly prevents access to records commits a misdemeanor of the second degree; the term “repeatedly” means two or more violations within a 12-month period.
- Any person who knowingly or intentionally defaces or destroys accounting records that are required by this chapter to be maintained during the period for which such records are required to be maintained, or who knowingly or intentionally fails to create or maintain accounting records that are required to be created or maintained, with the intent of causing harm to the association or one or more of its members, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree (instead of being subject to a civil penalty)
- Any person who willfully and knowingly refuses to release or otherwise produce association records with the intent to avoid or escape detection, arrest, trial, or punishment for the commission of a crime, or to assist another person with such avoidance or escape, commits a felony of the third degree,
- Each of the following acts is a fraudulent voting activity related to association elections and constitutes a felony of the third degree, (a) Willfully and falsely swearing or affirming any oath or affirmation, or willfully procuring another person to swear or affirm falsely to an oath of affirmation, in connection with or arising out of voting or elections. (b) Perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate, or aiding in the perpetration of, any fraud in connection with any vote cast, to be cast, or attempted to be cast. (c) Preventing an elector from voting, or preventing an elector from voting as the elector intended, by fraudulently changing or attempting to change a ballot, ballot envelope, vote, or voting certificate of the elector. (d) Using bribery, menace, threat, or any other corruption to attempt, directly or indirectly, to influence, deceive, or deter any elector in voting. (e) Directly or indirectly giving or promising anything of value to another person with the intent to buy the vote of that person or another person or to corruptly influence that person or another person in casting his or her vote. However, this paragraph does not apply to the serving of food to be consumed at an election rally or meeting or to any item of nominal value which is used as an election advertisement, including a campaign message designed to be worn by a person. (f) Directly or indirectly using or threatening to use force, violence, or intimidation or any tactic of coercion or intimidation to induce or compel an individual to vote or refrain from voting in an election or on any particular ballot measure. (2) Each of the following acts constitutes a felony of the third degree, (a) Knowingly aiding, abetting, or advising a person in the commission of a fraudulent voting activity related to association elections. (b) Agreeing, conspiring, combining, or confederating with at least one other person to commit a fraudulent voting activity related to association elections. (c) Having knowledge of a fraudulent voting activity related to association elections and giving any aid to the offender with intent that the offender avoid or escape detection, arrest, trial, or punishment. This paragraph does not apply to a licensed attorney giving legal advice to a client.
So what do you think? Overkill? Or, necessary new laws? Will this deter you from running for the Board?