Few 'bad apples' give HOAs bad rap

Editor's note: Barbara Holland interrupts her special series on satellite dishes to address the recent federal investigation of Las Vegas Valley homeowners' associations.

I would be very remiss if my column did not comment upon the increasing number of individuals, who have pleaded guilty and struck deals with federal prosecutors in the high-profile corruption case involving about 11 local associations. The case involved taking over associations and pushing for construction defect lawsuits against builders and then steering work to construction companies and law firms.

No one likes their good name to be smeared, and yet, for the 3,000 licensed, professional, competent and ethical community managers, and for those of us who own community management companies that pride themselves on customer service with high ethical standards, to say that these cases are very disturbing to us is a gross understatement.

For the thousands of legally elected volunteers, who serve on the boards of more than 1,500 homeowners' associations in Nevada and give of their time to manage their associations to the best of their abilities, to say that these directors are happy with the stigma that all associations are corrupt because of a very small number of unethical directors is very personally disturbing to them.

As of press time, there has one been one attorney, two community managers and seven board members who have pleaded guilty to conspiracy of one count of mail and wire fraud. Their publicity overshadows the reality of how community managers and directors actually conduct themselves. In listening to their frustrations as to what needs to be done to restore the public's trust and confidence, there has been no organized movement to combat this negativity generated by "these bad apples."

What is needed is a major public declaration by the professional management companies and their owners as to the ethics and values they stand for and promote within their organizations. We need a public promise, so to speak, that we, as professionals, stand by our good names and will continue to work on behalf of our memberships and clients to conduct ourselves and our firms with the highest code of ethics. The answer is not sit still and be silent.

Barbara Holland, certified property manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. To ask her a question, email support@hlrealty.com.