Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Destin Log of Aug. 13, 2008

Man challenges Destin’s Waterstone with lawsuit over foreign workers

August 13, 2008

by: Fraser Sherman

Bill Harris says he’d have been much happier if he could have avoided a lawsuit over alleged illegal rentals in Panama City Beach’s Nautilus Cove Condominiums.

"I’m 62 years old and I’ve never sued anyone in my life," Harris, who filed suit last month, told The Log. "It was only after nine to 10 months of complaints that I hired an attorney — at that time I thought that just paying $300 for attorney letters to the board of directors and Waterstone (Resorts) would finally do the trick."

Harris, who hired Destin attorney R. Scott Whitehead to represent him, said he’s still hoping to settle out of court, but although he’s been told the problems are resolved, he’s not yet convinced.

Harris said that after moving into Nautilus Cove in May 2007, he noticed that the condo unit directly above his, owned by Waterstone Resorts Realty in Destin, held seven Asians working at a local resort.

Harris said he complained to Waterstone Resorts, which told him the condo had been rented to one individual and the problem would be dealt with. After leaving for a medical treatment, Harris said, "When I came back, three apartments were involved."

After repeated complaints to the board of directors that this violated the condo association rules, Waterstone and the management company — none of whom returned The Log’s calls — Harris hired the Destin attorney to write to them as a "shot across the bows." When nothing changed, he filed in court.

The lawsuit names Waterstone, Nautilus Cove and two Waterstone employees as defendants.

Since filing, Harris said, he’s been told "the situation is corrected, now they’re renting out more appropriately," but having been out of the area, he doesn’t know if it’s true.

Harris said he’s willing to settle, but only if everyone on the other side agrees to the terms: "I want assurances that this is going to stop and enforce the documents as written. Plus I want my expenses to date paid."Harris said he’s generally disappointed with Nautilus Cove because only half of the 168 units have sold and the rest are now being rented out so "I live in an apartment complex."

Harris has also taken his fight to the Web, posting reports on the lawsuit and relevant documents to

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Waterstone 'defense' is below and that part of the case continues.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

NCC during construction:

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Post Card

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

EXTRA! EXTRA! In a man bites dog case - a condo owner sues his Board of Directors for NOT enforcing the condo documents!

In what must be the laziest condo board in Florida, the Nautilus Cove Condominium Assn. was sued June 10th in a Panama City Circuit Court for 10 months of neglect for NOT enforcing the NCC condo documents. Unit owner, Bill Harris, is asking the Circuit Court to: "Enter an order requiring the defendant condominium association to enforce its own rules and regulations", he is also asking for 'costs' (ie: attorney fees and court filing fees) and other unspecified relief from the Court.

The BOD consists of 3 members, 2 appointed by the Developer, Nautilus Development Partners (Maitland, Fla) and a 3rd, an owner member, Leonard J. DiGiacomo of unit 616, who replaced Ms.Jones who resigned earlier in June.
Mr. DiGiacomo had run for the BOD spot initially and got 11 votes in that election but was 2nd to Ms. Jones. He is now appointed to the BOD position.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Shown here are imported foreign workers leaving for work on a typical day. The white Ford van picks them up and takes them to the Marriott, in the evening they return by the same van.

On Sat. 4/9/08 8:30 a.m. 9 workers went off to work at the Marriott. The number of foreign workers living here in 716 & 714 (Waterstone owned Condos) varies as do the countries they are from. Waterstone has ignored complaints to them about the misuse of their rented condos and now 'legal' action seems imminent by a NCC owner who has been complaining about the situation since August of last year.

Posted by PicasaAdditional photos can be found at: and

Friday, May 9, 2008

Posted by Picasa Here is one Q & A from the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes which is relevant to the current ongoing civil suit against NCC Assn and Waterstone:
#28. If I win a lawsuit against the association, can I recover attorney fees and assessment fees that I paid the association to defend the lawsuit?
A unit owner prevailing in an action between the association and the unit owner, in addition to recovering his reasonable attorney's fees, may recover additional amounts as determined by the court to be necessary to reimburse the unit owner for his share of assessments levied by the association to fund its litigation expenses.
F.S.Condominium: Section 718.303(1),
F.S.Cooperative: Section 719.303(1)

In a brief one paragraph reply to my attorney's letter, Atty. David H. Hilam of Dunlap, Toole, Shipman & Whitney, PA stated that he did not acknowledge any breach of condo regulations. This is from an FSU grad (J.D. in 2004), so it is about what you would expect.
Here are relevant sections of our Rules & Regulation and other documents which Mr. Hilam seems to have overlooked or judged to be unimportant:
Rules & Regulations at 12. Use Restrictions, 12.1 Residential Use. "The condominium units ... may be used for single-family residential living and for no other purpose."
Further at 14 Leasing of Units, 14.3 Occupancy During Lease Term. "No one but the lessee, and his family within the first degree of relationship by blood, adoption or marriage, and their guests may occupy the Unit"
And 14.4 Occupancy in Absense of Lessee. "If a lessee absents himself from the unit for any period of time during the lease term, his family already in residence may continue to occupy the unit. If the lessee and all of the family members mentioned in the foregoing sentence are absent, no other person may occupy the Unit."
There are other sections defining who 'guests' are (Marriott or labor contractor employees do not qualify) and how occupants of all rental units must register with the Manager before or at the time of occupancy (Marriott or labor contractor employees are not so registered).
In the face of this intrangence there is, unfortunately, no other option but litigation which will eventually cost the condo owners at NCC at least $10,000 and more if there is an appeal from NCC Assn. or Waterstone.
I guess it is their opinion that:
1) it ain't their money,
2) never admit you screwed up,
3) he wouldn't dare sue us or,
4) all of the above

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Web Sites of Possible Interest to You:

Condo Law - Misc Articles FYI -

Fire Ants - How To Get Rid of Them -

Bay County Clerk of Courts -

Bay County Property Appraisers Office -

Bay County Site -

Bay County Tax Collector -

Better Business Bureau - N.W. Florida -

Ch 7 WJHG (NBC TV) Web Site -

Community Associations Institute (CAI): A Brief Explanation of Community Assoc -

Community Associations Institute Data -

Condo Board Duties and Authorities -

Condo Commando, defined -

Condo Enforcement Actions -

Condo Info on Abusive Boards -

Condo Info on Cable TV Problems -

Condo Law - All States -

Condo Law - Fla Official Site -

Court Decisions for Condos & HOA's -

Craigslist - Florida Panhandle -

DMV Sites for All States -

Fed Trade Comm - RE: Unordered Merchandise -

Find Your I.P. Address -

Florida Code Search - -

Florida D.M.V. -

Free Sources for Public Records for Investigations -

Landlord Tenant Law for every State -

Landlord Tenant Law for Florida -

Medical Tourism - Affordable Medical, Surgical and Dental Procedures -

Nautilus Cove - Official Sales Site -

NW Regional Library Site -

Panama City Beach - Official Site -

Panama City News Herald Online Newspaper -

Reverse Directory - Area Codes -

Rules & Regulations for Nautilus Cove - 8 pages -

Search Engine - Find Info On People -

START HERE! A major source of condo related info sites. -

TV Guide Listings -

U. S. Zip Codes -

U.S. Government Guide by AOL -

What do BOD/Officers need to know? -

Write Your Congressman -

Condominium Law Web Sites

ABA Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law
American Hotel & Lodging Association Condominium Committee
Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario
A Brief Explanation of Community Associations
Barrowlaw - Legal Solutions for Community Associations - Pennsylvania law firm serving condo & homeowner associations.
Canadian Condominium Institute
Canadian Condominium Institute - South Alberta Chapter
Community Associationas: An Overview
Community Associations Institute - The nation's voice for condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowner associations.

Community Associations Institute Directory of Credentialed Professionals
Community Associations Institute Research Library
Condo Managment Online
Condominium Corner
Condominium Law - Condo Law for all 50 states, D. C., and U.S. territories.
Condominiums and Cooperatives - From the Findlaw Consumer Law Center.
Condominiums, Cooperatives and Home Owners Associations - A review under Florida law.
Costa Rica Condominium Law
Dictionary of Community Association Acronyms - From AAMC to ULI.
Discussion of the Washington DC Condominium Act
Disclosure Awareness under California Law
Facts About Community Associations
Laws Regulating Community Associations
Leaky Condo Site - Canadian law-based.
National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM)
New Developments in Maryland Law Regarding Condominiums
Primer on Duties and Authority of Association Boards - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Purchase of a Condominium Unit - From Diallaw, a service of the Chicago Bar Association.
Questions and answers from Mark Bogen's "Condo Law" column - A huge Q&A list from this Florida lawyer.

PA Condo law - Access Pennsylvania condominium & homeowner association laws.
Silverman & Schild Community Association LawLetter
Statutes for Community Associations
Summaries of Selected Illinois Condominium & Association Court Cases

Condominium Articles & Publications

Abusive Boards: The Fight Against Them - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Assessments: Debts Under Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Attorneys: How to Hire an Association Attorney - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Cable TV Access Easements: Issues and Pitfalls - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Can The Board Deny A Sale Or Rental Based On The Age Of The Children? - By Eric Glazer.
Carefree Condominium Living and the "Illusion" of Home Ownership - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Case Update: Lamden v. La Jolla Shores: Supreme Court Creates New "Deferential Standard"
Challenges for the New Millennium - By Thomas C. Schild, Quorum, Aug. 1999.
A Condominium Association’s Ability To Impose Late Charges - By Gabriella R. Comstock and Charles M. Keough, DCBA Brief, June 2001.

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures - By Eric Glazer.
Enforcement Actions - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
FCC Rules Regulate Satellite Dishes - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
FCC Satellite Rules: New Rules More Favorable to Associations - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Florida "Baker Act" Protects Residents Of Miami Beach HOA - By Eric Glazer.
The Government's Coming! - By Thomas C. Schild, Common Ground, Jan./Feb. 1997.
Home-Based Businesses in the High Tech Era - By Thomas C. Schild, Quorum, Jan. 1998.
Home Office and Telecommuting--Making Sense of Business Use Restrictions - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.

Legal Check-Up for Condominium Associations - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Maintenance, Repair & Replacement: Drawing Lines of Responsibility Your Way - By David F. Feingold.
Megan's Law: New Jersey Upholds Association Restriction Against Occupancy by Sex Offenders - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Minutes of Board Meetings: Board Needs to Control Them - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Omega Sprinklers: A Replacement Strategy for Planned Developments - By Glenn H. Youngling.
Out With The Old... - By Eric Glazer.
Roofer Falls To His Death At South Florida Condominium - By Eric Glazer.
Rules of Order: Goldberg's Rules of Order for Condominium Association - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Rules of Order: Robert's Rules and Association Meetings - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
Run For The Board? Are You Nuts? - By Eric Glazer.
What is the Difference Between a Condominium, Homeowners’ Association, and a Residential Co-operative? - By Jeffrey A. Goldberg.
When Maintenance Is Not Enough: Construction Defects, Worn Out Sytems and Components, and Other Surprises - By Glenn H. Youngling.
Your Assessments - By Thomas C. Schild and Craig F. Wilson, Jr., Common Ground, March/Apr. 2001.