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On the Commons with Ward Lucas Print
HOA and Condo horror stories have been around as long as HOAs and condos have been part of the American housing scene.  Every great once in awhile some brave reporter has dared to venture onto the battlefields to report on the goulash events but those stories have been few and far between and have represented just the tip of the iceberg.  Under cover of darkness, the abuses continued.  But the internet made "The Fifth Estate" possible and "citizen reporters" have taken matters in their own hands. 
Joining us On The Commons this week is Ward Lucas.  Ward is an award winning TV News anchorman and investigative journalist who experienced the horrors of HOA living firsthand.  He wrote a book called Neighbors at War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association.  He also maintains a blog at We'll talk about the world of beige and the limitless possibilities of the Fifth Estate.   Listen to Ward Lucas   

User Comments

Comment by GUEST on 2013-06-01 13:23:47
Following this interview with Ward Lucas, Shu Bartholomew was a guest blogger on Ward's website, Shu wrote an incredible blog on the subject of mandatory education and licensing of HOA, etc., boards and property managers. Shu explained the difficulties, lack of transparency and the probability of this power being abused and the cost. How much is it going to cost and who is going to be overseeing, educating and licensing, in VA, as would be the same problem in the other states. 
Jim Bothwell wrote a response to that article and I have passed it along to, but in addition, I am posting it here as well, with Jim's permission. 
May 24 (1 day ago) 
I am in total agreement with you and Bartholomew. The blog by Bartholomew clearly shows what I have been afraid might happen in North Carolina; HOA unit owners turn to the state legislature for help and the legislators would not want to be bothered and would dump the problem on some organization to get citizens off their backs just like they did in Virginia.  
I do not believe there is any group or committee associated with the state legislature that will work for the good of HOA owners because no member of the legislature wants a group or committee or a state agency snooping around in their district. Members of the state legislature do not want to get involved in any HOA situations in their districts or anywhere else in the state because then they would be stepping on the toes of fellow members of the legislature. This is the zenith of, "The good ole boy" system of government. Since this is the system in place, we must work within the system or obtain outside help from the Federal Government.  
"The good ole boy" form of government has become part of human nature and anything that is contrary to human nature is bound to fail.  
This is the same situation that was present during prohibition and segregation. It took Elliott Ness and the Untouchables to step in and take action against illegal alcohol production and distribution (no matter how stupid this was) and it took National Guard troops to escort black children into schools in Alabama and elsewhere. State legislators turned their backs on the problems of segregation just as they are turning their backs on the problems of HOAs. This will continue to be the case until the federal government, FBI or U.S. Attorney General's Office, steps in addresses the problems. This is already happening in Nevada and Arizona where the financial problems are in the millions of dollars and their is activity that may cross state lines. Even in the states where the FBI is taking action and the U.S. Attorney General's office is prosecuting, there does not seem to be any action by state legislators to produce laws or establish an enforcement agency to deal with HOA situations after the Feds finish their work. The FBI goes in, captures and prosecutes the criminals with the biggest deals and then walks away leaving all the smaller problems to continue unabated.  
Based on the evidence to date it looks like there is no way to permanently deal with HOAs in the short term or long term. This may help you to understand what blacks felt like for generations.  
I believe that the HOA situations can and will be handled but they will be on handled on a case by case basis. Once a bleak situation is resolved then word of the resolution will spread and this will encourage others to work to resolve their situations. It will become a nationwide event and no state legislator wants to have a derogatory national event occurring in their district. This includes all state agencies and governor. Natural events like storms or hurricanes or tornados draw sympathy from people across the country while a pile of HOA problems would draw national condemnation of the state government. This is about the best that we can hope for at this point in time."  
Jim Bothwell, North Carolina
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