New HOA law ousts arrested officers
Arrested developer resigns from Bimini Bay HOA
Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel
July 2, 2013
Beleaguered homeowner-association president David Meadows, who has been arrested twice for stealing from his half-built community's HOA, has resigned just as a new state law was about to force him out.
The real estate developer had long presided over Bimini Bay, a town-home community in Davenport, even though he was arrested last year and again this year on charges including fraud, grand larceny and theft related to the community
association. Following his arrests, he continued to control the association's accounts, and many owners of units in the town-home development continued to pay their $150 monthly fees.
"He resigned pursuant to a state law that mandated he could no longer serve," Winter Park lawyer Howard Speigel, who has represented Meadows, said Monday afternoon.
Meadows began developing the Bimini Bay vacation resort near Walt Disney World back in 2000, marketing about 200 town homes to buyers around the world. As detailed in a December 2011 report in the Orlando Sentinel, Bimini Bay was rife with problems a decade later, including the condemnation of its clubhouse, pervasive community-association fines, and safety violations such as an illegal dumping area.
The law, which took effect Monday, also gives homeowners greater ability to inspect association records and restricts associations from contracting with companies that are affiliated with association board members. In addition, it calls for associations to register with the state.
For residents of Bimini Bay, the law brought about a change that residents of the partly built Polk County development had been trying to achieve for years.
Homeowner John Eanes said Monday he was excited about Meadows' resignation.
"People in here have been trying to fix this place up and getting rid of David Meadows for quite awhile, and they really haven't been successful," Eanes said. "Basically, the law is the first thing that we've had to really protect us. I'm very excited about it."
Orlando lawyer Brent Spain, who represents homeowners in Bimini Bay, had tried to get Meadows to step down from the association for some time. Spain said the resignation is an important new development in the ongoing travails of the community, but he added that residents there must make sure Meadows no longer has access to association funds.
"While the apparent resignation of Mr. Meadows as a director and officer of the association is a step in the right direction and long overdue, Mr. Meadows, through his development company, still continues to claim to control the association," Spain said.
A lawsuit filed by Spain on behalf of one of his clients seeks a final judgment ordering Meadows and his development company to turn over control of the homeowners association to Bimini Bay's town-home owners. The original development documents called for Meadows to resign from the board — once the association was 7 years old, he added.