HOA Boards Takeover Scheme, Law Firm Accused Of Allowing HOA Ballot-Rigging Blames Junior Associate
Mar 31, 2017 09:17 AM EDT
A Nevada lawyer argued in a malpractice trial on Tuesday, saying that a first-year associate was to blame for allowing rigged elections at a homeowners association (HOA). The association was defrauded through the board's award of construction contracts, and especially through its HOA boards takeover scheme.
The opening arguments in the suit, covered by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, were filed by the Vistana homeowners association against Kummer Kaempfer Bonner Renshaw and Ferrario. The HOA boards takeover scheme and award lucrative construction contracts to a company involved several defrauded HOAs, owned by Leon Benzer who is serving 15½ years in prison for the role.
A lawyer not associated with Kummer Kaempfer, Nancy Quon, also was accused of participating in the HOA boards takeover scheme and killed herself in 2012. Apparently, the HOA boards takeover scheme began before Kummer Kaempfer was hired, also the time Benzer and Quon used straw buyers to elect HOA board candidates of their choice.
In fact, the call for an independent third party to oversee the next HOA election came in 2006, after the Nevada Real Estate Division began receiving complaints from homeowners. The firm apparently assigned the matter to first-year associate Brian Jones, who later pleaded guilty to helping rig the board election.
Jones admitted allowing Benzer associates to stuff ballots at his office in favor of HOA boards takeover scheme on his 2012 guilty plea, according to ABA Journal. "Mr. Jones abruptly left the firm. He concealed this activity from those at the firm," Ferrario said, pointing the finger of blame at Jones.
Lawyers for Vistana and the law firm have stipulated to a $7 million cap on damages if it is found malpractice. The law firm argues that damages from the HOA boards takeover scheme should be offset by a $6 million settlement that the HOA obtained from the Quon estate and $700,000 recovered from other sources, leaving the firm for only $300,000.