via @BrendaMedinar of El Nuevo Herald
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has approved state condominium law reforms that seek to punish voter fraud and theft in condo associations, clarify the definition of conflicts of interest and promote transparency.
Amendments to chapter 718 of the state law will take effect on July 1.
“I am very happy that we have finally achieved some of what is needed to stop fraud and abuse toward condominium owners,” said Maritza Escobar, owner of a condo unit in Hialeah Gardens. “In the future we have to make more changes to stop the abuse from management companies and boards.”
The reforms were presented in Tallahassee as a signature bill by the bipartisan Dade Delegation during the legislative session that ended in May. It was sponsored by Rep. José Félix Díaz and Senators José Javier Rodríguez and René García, and unanimously approved by the state House and Senate.
“That [the governor] signed the law is a victory and one that does not always happen,” said Díaz, whose district encompasses the Fontainebleau neighborhood in west Miami-Dade.
Díaz, who is vying for a Senate seat, said the delegation’s action and community engagement were key to the reforms getting passed.
“There are so many people in this county who have so many problems and do not raise their voices,” he said. “This is an example of when the government responds to the advice and suggestions of the public.”
The bill came a year after the publication of the “Condo Nightmares” series by el Nuevo Herald and Univisión 23. The investigation highlighted cases of electoral fraud, forged signatures on ballots, conflicts of interests, misappropriation of funds and rigged bids.
Photo credit: C.M. GUERRERO / El Nuevo Herald