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Subject: When slander attacks lead to physical attacks
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MaryR12
(Florida)

Posts:8


04/04/2018 10:55 AM  
I have been in this community for 14 years when I bought my home here. I was a Board member for 5 years. During all that time, I was under attack from a community resident (not even a homeowner). I was verbally attacked by her, and accused of being everything from a witch and devil worshipper to a dog abuser. The person went so far as to encourage others to physically assault my property in hopes of forcing me to leave. That same person is now the Board President. Attacks against me have escalated. My plants were ripped out. Threats to kill my dog....I was stalked to the point I filed for a Protection/Restraining Order. The President spent entire Board meetings telling the community to shun me. She has gone so far as to knock on residents' doors demanding they not be friends with me because she had the power to get them evicted if they crossed her. She would stand at the entrance and give me "the finger" when I entered in my car. I asked the Board to trim a dangerous tree limb over my parking area. They refused. The tree limb fell and totaled my car. Two months later, my replacement car was attacked..huge dents appeared on the hood, and along the sides. I filed a police report. Screws appeared in my tires, causing flats. Paint was poured on the hood of my car. My Christmas decorations were ripped from my front door. I have witnesses willing to testify that this person encouraged and even organized some of these attacks, but no one can say she actually physically participated. Even when I sit on my back porch, certain people (members of her family) walk by and shout insults and cuss words at me and demand that I move...they claim they have the right to peer in my windows because anything on the outside of the building is 'community property'. I am 75 years old and live alone. I do not lie, gossip, or get involved in the community. I stay to myself. I fear for my life and for the life of my pet Maltese...what should I do? Do I have any legal rights? This has been escalating after building up over the past 14 years.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:85


04/04/2018 11:07 AM  
If I were you I would have invested in Video cameras a long time ago. They don't lie or exaggerate anything and they watch 24 hours a day. The next time anything happens you have proof who did the crime and they can be charged. I feel for you as I have had Ex board members do some pretty nasty things to me over the years. In my case it was mostly slanderous things and nasty posts on websites but because I had cameras on my property no physical damage.

I am sure you may say you can't afford or don't want to take this step but trust me you will sleep easier if you have the assurance that next time it happens it may be the last time.

It is very important to not let "People Rent Space in your Head".
MaryR12
(Florida)

Posts:8


04/04/2018 12:00 PM  
Well said, Mark...Yes, I have looked in to video cameras...however...these are attached brick condos...anything attached on outside must have Board approval or can be ripped off the walls.... Anything mounted inside must be able to focus on my car through the glass and about 20 feet away...and 'action' motivated wont work...further..attacks at night wont be clear enough through the glass and at those distances to positively identify the attacker...I was saddened to read that you too have been through some nasty stuff....I was starting to get a complex! Guess it is just the human nature of some people to act out like they do.. Peace and thank you.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:85


04/04/2018 12:57 PM  
Mary,
I think you should check into the recent technologies. It is amazing what they can do now. The cameras are easily hidden in very small locations and have low light and virtually no light cameras. I have never lived in a Condo situation and don't know all the specific rules but I am sure they can not go on your property to inspect pots or plants.

We had a HO that was having a problem with a neighbor across the street from them and they sent the board some video that was amazingly clear and crisp. Dash board cameras also work well are also in High Definition. I bought one for my car a few years ago for under $100.00 they are probably half that price today.
JerryD5
(Colorado)

Posts:203


04/04/2018 1:17 PM  
Mary,

I need some clarification. What type of community do you live in? You said this person is not a homeowner in your community. How is it that she the board president or does your community allow renters (I assume that is what she is) serve on the board?

I agree with Mark. Get some camera(s) and strategically place them to show your outside area (and your car). Im looking into that option to capture the neighbor's dogs running loose and pooping in my yard. Technology has improved enough to make it worth it. Of course, once you have video evidence, take it to the police first. Then deal with the HOA board.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7695


04/04/2018 1:29 PM  
Mary

This not a HOA issue. It is a personal safety issue. Call the police.....NOW
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


04/04/2018 1:31 PM  
It sounds like there may be more issues here than we can help you with. I would suggest calling the Florida Dept. of Elder Affairs. Maybe they have someone who can sort through all of these problems and help you. 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337)
MaryR12
(Florida)

Posts:8


04/04/2018 2:30 PM  
Jerry- the best the community can determine is that this woman was evicted from a trailor park and came here to stay with her elderly mother until she could get on her feet. That condo was owned by the elderly mother, who put it in a Trust for all 3 of her children. When she died, the daughter remained (against the wishes of her siblings, according to former Board members who investigated)). The Board rules clearly state that only owners can serve on the Board...somehow this woman appeared with an unverifiable letter stating the entire Trust was in favor of her representing them.
This community is a cluster of 2-story brick buildings- each containing 4 units, each individually owned- some rented out..
I will look futher in to the camera options..I checked 'nanny cams' but someone here suggested dashboard cams..I will check that out. Thak you!
MaryR12
(Florida)

Posts:8


04/04/2018 2:32 PM  
John.....I feel this has crossed the lines and I do feel threatened and in danger. I thought about calling police- but without solid proof...what can I say?
MaryR12
(Florida)

Posts:8


04/04/2018 2:36 PM  
Ben-Thank you I never thought of 'Elderly Affairs"...that is an excellent idea... Thank you for their number. I will call them first thing tomorrow morning...and perhaps can let you know their response... :-) Thank you.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7611


04/04/2018 4:21 PM  
What good is a camera if you don't call the police? This is clearly a police matter. It is NOT the "Proof" it is the "RECORD". It's much more important in court to produce a police record/report to show history and/or actions. You can video tape all you want. Without taking it to someone with the ability to enforce the law, it's pretty useless isn't it? Time to get the police involved as this is NOT a HOA issue but a personal one. Just because your a HOA board/member doesn't make you exempt from the law.

I do know a thing also of being attacked verbally and physically when I was HOA President/board member. The ex-President was a con-man who manipulated people to do his bidding. He constantly took credit for getting me elected because it was his "support" that got me there. The reality? If he did not think he could control you, then he would call you "crazy" and convince people you were bad person. Seen him do it first hand to other people. When I quit, he manipulated the new board to attack me. They spread lies about me and one tried to physically attack me. A few months later after the dust settled, the truth did come out. By that time, I was out and did not even care. No need for that drama in my life.

Former HOA President
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:724


04/04/2018 5:37 PM  
There was a time when "flipping the bird" could get you a simple assault charge. I'm not sure that is still the case. But you should definitely call the police/sheriff and file a report. If you feel that person flipping the bird is doing so with the intentions of harming you, the police can/will go talk to them.
MaryR12
(Florida)

Posts:8


04/04/2018 6:51 PM  
This is my question to all of you- she is doing these things while serving as HOA President- would the entire Board be held accountable? Would she be held accountable as an individual? Or as a Board member and President? How are the actions separated in capacity as a citizen, and as a Board President?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7611


04/04/2018 9:31 PM  
The two are SEPARATE! Do NOT confuse the two. This is NOT the HOA but the individual. Don't put the HOA under the same light as individual behavior. It does not represent the whole. Now the HOA does have the right to send you notifications of actual rule violations for you to correct or to collect dues/monies owed. That is not illegal or harassment.

The HOA may remove violations if need be. For example: IF Christmas decorations are not allowed or need permissions. You still put them up anyways. The HOA could request you remove or get permissions. Which should be written and given a time frame of removal. After that they may be able to take steps to remove the violation. However, they can't just remove the violation in a violent destructive manner that would require police intervention.

So I can't say that everything this President is doing is illegal/harassment because of how people can interpret some HOA actions. You may say the President/HOA ripped a sign out of your front yard. It may be (like most HOA's) that signs are NOT allowed other than For Sale/Rent. The sign you had was for voting for a local candidate. The HOA could remove this. However, if the President rips up the sign and spits in your eye without following proper notifications, then yes this could be illegal personal behavior.

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:1088


04/04/2018 10:01 PM  
Mary, against whom did you file for a protective/restraining order?

In my opinion you have a strong case against the HOA for harassment and possibly other torts. Your condo should have insurance, meaning an attorney might take your case on contingency. Start calling attorneys and shopping this around for one to take your case. Meanwhile, you must file a police report every time you are physically threatened; or there is a peeping Tom; or someone screams at you while you are on your porch. Take the write-up you did here to any meeting you have with an attorney.
AugustinD


Posts:1088


04/04/2018 10:12 PM  
Posted By MaryR12 on 04/04/2018 12:00 PM
I was starting to get a complex! Guess it is just the human nature of some people to act out like they do.


Mary, what has happened to you is not human nature. It is the conduct of thugs, possibly acting in the belief that they will get away with these assaults because you appear to be an older defenseless woman. Start searching the net for where you can get some free legal advice. Start calling personal injury attorneys. Read over the phone what you posted here. State that the HOA may have (or does have) insurance.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7611


04/05/2018 5:08 AM  
I do NOT think this is actions of the HOA. It is more of a person who wants to think they have protection from their behavior by hiding behind the HOA. Call the police and the shield of protection will quickly fade. If this was a HOA act, then it would be a group one. Meaning it would not be coordinated by one person. Their powers would be limited by those other around them via voting.

It's best to call the police against this person and get rid of the veil of the HOA "protections". Which this person is most likely using to bluff those around them. They can't evict anybody unless you don't pay your dues. Even then you have the right to stop foreclosure as soon as you pay what is owed. The HOA can't evict renters either.

Start educating yourself on your HOA's documentation and NOT ASSUME what powers this HOA board/person has. It will help you when talking to the police or court. That way they can sort out what is HOA business and what is Crazy lady behavior.

Former HOA President
MaryR12
(Florida)

Posts:8


04/05/2018 5:20 AM  
First, I wish to thank you each one for your responses. I was at a loss when I started searching- this site came up under 'HOA'. I am so glad that I posted here. Makes me realize I don't have to face this all alone. This past Christmas my cable TV line was cut outside. Decorations ripped off my door (most people have them) paint dumped on my car (it is only 4 months old) 3 flat tires, all from the same style screws put in to the tires, HOA President's daughter approaching me when I'm on my screened-in porch, yelling at me, President giving me the finger when I turn in at the entry way. I don't even remember all the incidents. I spent Christmas alone here and crying, not sure just how afraid I should be, or how far this would go. Today I am calling the Elder Abuse number that someone here provided. That is a good starting point. Thank you each one for responding.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15954


04/05/2018 7:40 AM  
Posted By MaryR12 on 04/04/2018 10:55 AM

I fear for my life




Contact the police.
AugustinD


Posts:1088


04/05/2018 8:54 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 04/05/2018 5:08 AM
If this was a HOA act, then it would be a group one. Meaning it would not be coordinated by one person. Their powers would be limited by those other around them via voting.


The HOA president has used HOA resources to harass this woman. Individual directors and officers typically have indemnification from the HOA's insurer for their actions taken in their capacity as a director or officer. The President controls the exchanges at meetings. The President is responsible for promoting violence agains this woman. I believe it is right to go after the 'deep pockets' (here, the insurer).

The tree limb incident was a group decision.

When things become as physical as they apparently have here, it's time to take legal action, along with regularly documenting everything with the police. Mary should file a complaint of criminal harassment against the President immediately. Here is Florida's statute on harassment: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0784/Sections/0784.048.html

I do want to know against whom Mary filed a restraining order. Because if it was granted, and it terms are violated, the police jump in.

What Mary describes is harassment and assault and also may very well surpass the high bar required for a successful claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. What Mary has described is so outrageous that I have wondered if it is fiction. But I take this poster at her word. It's a safety situation. Importantly, if an attorney agrees, the attorney can put a stop to much of this pronto.
AugustinD


Posts:1088


04/05/2018 10:57 AM  
Other resources for legal counsel for the elderly in Florida:

(adding onto Ben's link): http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/doea/legal_services.php

https://www.justia.com/lawyers/elder-law/florida
MaryR12
(Florida)

Posts:8


04/05/2018 6:53 PM  
Augustine- thank you for your reply...yes, these statements are all true. Yes, I did file for a Protection Order involving a community resident who acted at the behest of the HOA President, and several additional residents who are her friends have done the actual deeds...leaving her to claim her innocence and yet they even brag about what they pulled off at the Board meetings..there are no lack of witnesses.
Regrding the first Protection Order, this was dismissed in Court because no physical contact or verbal threats were involved...just stalking and harassment. I had no claim. The case was dismissed.

When her daughter was harassing me while I was on my back porch, I again called the police and threatened to get a Protection Order. The Police made the same statement, that unless someone physically touched me or made threats to use guns, knives, or violence, I had no case. I am getting a reputation as someone who is always making mountains of mole hills and loves attention from the police. No one seems to take these actions seriously although my dog, my plants, and my car have also been under very real attacks that have cost me a small fortune in losses. This is why I started posting here- because I don't know where to turn or what to do next...

I did call the Elderly Abuse hotline.. They asked me to write everything out- document it all and add as many witnesses as possible.. I hope this helps....I am so grateful for the replies here. Thank you each and every one..

I am going to copy and paste some of these responses and email them to a lawyer tomorrow...this has been very helpful. I have been at my wit's end wondering how to proceed. Several of you have helped immensely here. Thank You.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15954


04/05/2018 7:01 PM  
cameras might be a good investment to catch what is going on.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:724


04/06/2018 3:12 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 04/04/2018 9:31 PM
The two are SEPARATE! Do NOT confuse the two. This is NOT the HOA but the individual.





Yea, kind of like how Stormy Daniels has nothing to do with the POTUS. Just the man.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2349


04/07/2018 3:23 PM  
Documentation, documentation, documentation. Having said that, contrary to what was suggested above, cameras that work well in low-light situations are expensive.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:33


04/08/2018 11:51 AM  
Regarding indemnification for board members through the HOA's insurance, typically they are not indemnified for criminal acts and such behavior is often grounds for removal from the board. As others have suggested, document everything, make sure you have reasonable evidence to support your claims, and then go to the police.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4151


04/12/2018 11:09 PM  
If you have wireless internet I would recommend Arlo video cameras. They are motion activated and cost nothing for keeping up to 7 days of video (with sound). If something happens in that time frame you can download the video to a computer for backup to prove any claims. Other than that you need to contact the Police regarding any threats made and will hopefully have video to prove your claims.
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