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Say It in Latin, Caveat Emptor

October 18, 2016 2 Comments

cactus in bloom

cactus in bloom

The Latin phrase caveat emptor means let the buyer beware. This concept is a warning to all consumers that they have less information about the product in normal circumstances than the seller. Common law provides that the seller must deliver the goods, free of encumbrance by third parties, and that the goods must be suitable for the intended use.  This applies to real estate contracts, where the seller may hoodwink an unsophisticated buyer into paying more for the property than it is really worth.

Once the deal has been closed there is very little the buyer can do other than regret the purchase.  Property sold with obvious concealed flaws is difficult to return, and will involve legal fees and court costs.  A couple from Europe bought their first home in our condo village and learned after the closing that the place was full of toxic black mold.  I felt really bad for them because they were stuck with the home and the costly mold removal fee because they could not prove that the seller knew about the mold before the sale.  A good inspector could have saved them before they signed that contract, but after the signatures, they were stuck.  To prove fraud after the fact is much harder than catching it before the unfortunate purchase has been made.

In real estate sales it is common for both parties to employ agents to represent their interests.  The buyer needs to be wary of the true intention of both agents, which is to make a sale from which they will cut a commission.  The first time buyer can be confused by appraisals, financing, points, insurance, inspections, taxation, and by the contract itself. Emotional factors go into home buying that make this important decision very tricky from a financial standpoint.  For many people the investment in housing is the biggest single investment the family makes.  After the last housing meltdown and mortgage fraud this reality became clear to many who lost their homes.

If you consider purchasing a home that is governed by an HOA I urge you to fully investigate the corporation and its standards before you buy.  Some are overly strict and micro manage.  I live in a condo village that has had no management, standard operating procedures, or enforcement of our deed restrictions since I moved here.  The governing board has drained the value from all the homes by neglecting the common areas and failing to properly manage and maintain our assets.  This puts a real wrench in the works for shareholders who have pride of ownership. I would avoid buying any property that is governed by an HOA in the future. The system leaves much to be desired.  I have learned this lesson the hard way.  Have you ever made a disastrous investment due to factors beyond your control, gentle reader?  It is a drag. Inform yourself.  That goes for elected officials too.

Stairway To Ethical Heaven

August 31, 2016 1 Comment

Fraud Triangle

Fraud Triangle

There is an ethical ladder that ascends to the highest moral code. As children we should be taught how to climb that ladder by example.  Unfortunately many children are witnesses to adult misbehavior that leads them to cling to a low rung on the ladder. As we go through life we respond to situations according to our ethical code.  There is a sliding scale for moral fortitude, depending on the difficulty of the stand, or the popular opposition to the truth.  It is obviously easier to go along with the crowd no matter what they do. People who stay down at that level just want to not make waves.  They do not consider how they contribute to the morality of the entire world.

At the bottom of the ethical stairway is only one consideration:

  • Will I get caught?  This is where people in grade school reside.

If we mature we start to realize there could be more:

  • How does my behavior effect others?  This usually comes as a hard lesson.

As educated adults participating in a community we may start to notice:

  • What would the world be like if everyone acted like this?

On which rung do you live most of your life, gentle reader?   I encourage you to take the highest ground possible, not just for yourself, but for the entire world.

Compromise Triangle

Compromise Triangle

 

 

Probable Cause

November 11, 2013 5 Comments

I became familiar with this legal term when my parents were robbed by lawyers who worked for a care home owner.  A young lawyer obtained the signatures of my severely mentally impaired parents in front of no witnesses and proceeded to use those signatures to rob them at the bank, destroy all their civil rights, trapping my dad in the care home, as was the plan.  Two weeks after they robbed and attacked my parents they ran away but kept about $8000 or so for the so called services they had performed.  To recover from this attack my parents’ real lawyer had to work and be paid to restore their estate plans and civil rights. It was costly and destructive as well as blatantly criminal.  I wrote to everyone including John Evans, the Federal prosecuting attorney in Tucson.  I was told that since they had obtained the signatures, even though they did not know my parents and had drastically damaged their health and well being, as well as their finances, they were allowed to pretend for those two weeks to represent my parents and be paid for it.  The FBI initially investigated the case and told me there was obvious fraud. Later they told me they had to drop the case because the border issues demanded all the man power in Tucson.  It felt distinctly as if the Feds decided that lawyers can commit crimes because they will fight back if you attempt to bust them for their obvious crimes.  It is easier to pick on border crossers than your friends at the AZ Bar.  Eventually the Bar did slap the young lawyer on the wrist, but he had already left the firm where he had robbed my parents. To say that I lost all respect would be an extreme understatement.

I have now owned a home that is supposed to be governed by an HOA.  The people on our HOA board have refused to do anything that AZ law requires of them, but have insisted that they have a right to invite the general public here to donate to a charity scam they have run in the condo next door to me and at the curb for many years. Feeding the Homeless in Tucson Parks is the philanthropical outreach our HOA board has used to express their special jurisdiction here in our public areas.  This 100% criminal operation has been been in operation in this same location for many years.  Since they have never been stopped breaking AZ law or stealing money from the dues directly they decided to give themselves the right to use the non profit corporation (our HOA) and our public areas and driveway to operate this charity scam.  None of the volunteer hours, or truck loads of bread, or cash donations that came in the mail, or items left in the driveway for many years has ever been reported to the IRS.  I have been informed by the HOA lawyer that the board has broken no laws by using our property to run this criminal scam. That means they plan to continue to use the fire lane in front of my home to invite the public here to be hostile to the entire neighborhood and pretend they are doing philanthropy.  The latest known solicitation for donations was done to Tucson Appliance for a new stove this spring.  That stove belongs in a homeless shelter or the food bank, not in a residential condo that has been used for criminal purposes.  If soliciting drive by donations and pretending to be a charity is not a crime against the neighbors and society I think it would be very hard to find one. My neighbors and I have reported these crimes for years, but law enforcement has not been available to stop this.  I have the impression that law enforcement cares very little about stopping crime or enforcing laws.  I may be wrong, but we shall see.

If you are asked for donations from anyone, ask to see the 501C3 the IRS issues legal charities. It is apparently easy to operate fraudulent philanthropical donation sites for many years with no interference from the IRS. Our local law enforcement has practiced and advised willful blindness to these crimes, which I think is incredibly weird.  I have hired and put  a lawyer on retainer because this has gone on for too long and seriously damaged our property value. I think we are entitled to law enforcement from the agencies we pay to enforce the law.  However, if you need to hire and pay a lawyer to show those agencies probable cause it is better than allowing crime to trash your neighborhood.

Apathy, the Mother of All Crime

November 15, 2012 5 Comments

fledgling hawk at the condo village

We know there is fraud and corruption all around us. We are aware that we pay these highly disputed tax dollars to government employees less than interested in serving the public. We know laws are broken all the time because there is not even a tiny itsy bitsy effort to enforce them. I am not sure why we have so many (but that is another subject) if they are all just recorded somewhere in case lawyers need to use them. The public believes that somehow having cops is having law enforcement, but this highly simplistic notion is every criminal’s best friend. People allow bold and disgusting crime to happen before their very eyes without trying to stop it just because apathy is so strong that they are basically controlled by it. There is no expectation that our surroundings can be kept crime free, but rather a new normal of home security and paranoid, anti social collection of weaponry.  Full disclosure, I live in Arizona, so I am speaking about my own ‘hood.

I live in a condo village that looks like a fake Taos Pueblo in central Tucson.  There are only 30 homes, a pool, a jacuzzi and a small guest parking area.  For the last 10 years the HOA board has had the same two members every year.  They return to office, even though they are not even known to most residents or owners by keeping completely out of touch.  They meet without any interaction with the other homeowners, send a paper newsletter with vague and meaningless report of the meeting in the mail, and  continue to survive in this isolated way because they discovered apathy.  When one of them celebrated the death of her father by stealing $50 from our dues money and making a donation to a hospice in her father’s name, I called to inform her stealing dues money  is both disgusting and illegal.  She hung up on me.  I learned by asking for neighbors to help get them out of office that the most important element of life for them is denial and ignorance about what is happening in the real estate market and in their surroundings.  I reported the theft of the $50 to the attorney general of AZ who responded that they did not handle such cases.  I inquired at the city council office to locate the office that could handle this crime.  The real estate department no longer helps HOAs with crime infested boards, and the fire department is now in some way attached, but there is no resolution other than to get the homeowners to get the stolen money returned. The homeowners’ prime goal was continued apathy, so that was not workable.

They continued in office and started running a charity scam in our public areas.  They solicit food, money , and any kind of junk to their keep the homeless outside campaign.  They do not believe in supporting the existing shelters and non profits that serve the homeless community.  They believe in trashing the environment of their neighborhood, and some other neighborhood with a public park, in order to feed the homeless outside like animals.  They think they are entitled to run a charity scam blocking our driveways and driving down the price of our real estate value because they know that apathy will protect them.  They have run this operation for years in broad daylight begging on the internet for donations.  I have reported the crime to the IRS, AZ revenue, the County Health Dept, the Ward 3 council office, and of course the TPD.  None of these entities cares if we have a charity scam operating in our neighborhood.  Neither do the owners of the homes that have lost more than half of their value while these board members made this special jurisdiction for themselves in our public areas. The neighborhood watch cop tells a story of neighbors watching a house be cleared out by thieves, but never report it because nobody knows their neighbors.  Here, the homeowners sat silently inside their own homes while their very own property value and quality of life  was willfully destroyed and decided that it must be fate.  I own a lot across the street from the HOA property with a rising value, while these home values have sunk like rocks. Foreclosure has come and stayed.

I do not believe in competing unfairly with legitimate non profits that need all the help they can get today.  It is easy to pitch in, volunteer, or donate to many worthy and wholesome programs that assist the homeless, rather than demean them ( and possibly give them food poisoning) in a public park.  I would think that most people would be grossed out by this, but strangers drive through and donate junk without thinking, “What am I doing in a residential condo village blocking the fire lane to do my charity work ?”  But then, those people are just dropping off a few old socks they no longer want.  The homeowners have been willing to loose their socks just to stay apathetic.

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