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Arrests of board members
Earlier this week, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office arrested five members of the Hammocks Community Association Board in connection with a massive fraud. They are accused of stealing at least $1 million from the homeowners association. They are currently facing charges of grand theft, racketeering and money laundering. The Hammocks is a community of about six-hundred and fifty single family homes and apartments in West Kendall. They span over 6,500 acres of land between Southwest 147th and 162nd streets.
According to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Gallego funneled funds from the board coffers to her husband, Antonio Gonzalez. The defendants also used two companies to receive HCA funds. According to prosecutors, some homeowners saw their dues increase by 400 percent. Gallego’s husband is also facing additional charges. The defendants have not been reached for comment.
Other board members are accused of taking money for personal use. Board members are supposed to be protected by the Not-for-Profit Corporation Act, but the law does not extend to bad-faith actions. Those who feel that their board members are abusing their power can remove them. In addition to that, the legal council can remove members from the board if the building manager or residents feel they are abused.
While the Hammocks is a very large HOA, it only oversees 40 communities in Southwest Miami-Dade County. These are townhouses, single-family homes and apartments. Most of the board members are good people who are only trying to do what is best for the building community. Some are taking advantage of their position, and others are trying to get their family members elected to the board. Regardless, the investigation continues. Hopefully, more arrests will be made in the future. For now, it is up to the residents of The Hammocks to hold their leaders accountable for their actions. They can also speak up and point out that more rules is not always better. Ultimately, the State Attorney’s office is attempting to protect the HCA from further fraud.
Video of patio furniture being blown off of balconies
Apparently, the strongest thunderstorms of the season have yet to strike South Florida, but they are likely on their way. This week is not expected to see a lot of thunderstorms, though, and there is a cold front afoot that should keep the rain in check. A normal summer day is likely to consist of temperatures in the high eighties, with a 40 percent chance of showers. If you are a resident of South Florida, this should be a welcome respite from the heat.
One way to mitigate this risk is to secure your furniture. This is especially true of items atop high-rise buildings, where gusts of wind are likely to be more than the average human’s height. The National Weather Service in Miami recently rolled out a list of tips and tricks to keep your home safe from the elements. These include securing your furniture to the building, and taking precautions to protect against falling debris, such as using a high-quality patio umbrella. If you do not take these precautions, the wind will likely do a number on your furniture.
In addition to the usual weather warnings, the National Weather Service in Miami has released a new website dedicated to hurricane preparation. The site contains a number of videos, such as this one, that can help you prepare your home for an impending storm.