V - Legal
A. Early Years (1975-1995)
An important additional amendment, brought the POA into conformity with Chapter 723 (the Florida Mobile Home Act), which designates a home/property owner association, in subdivisions, as the legal representative of residents. It also grants the right of first refusal, or purchase of recreational facilities, and/or other property serving the subdivision, in the event the owner/developer offers them for sale.
Sales advertisements by the Developer's staff promised free services and privileges for residents, depending on when they purchased their units. These services and privileges included free trail fees, free RV storage, garbage and trash pickup, free cable TV, and protected deed restrictions for residents who had purchased properties in The Villages by certain dates. When these promises were canceled by the Developer, the POA filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of affected residents. A 1991 settlement of the lawsuit "grandfathered" exempted residents from payment of the fees based on their property closing dates.
B. Mid Years (1996-2004) - See above and below.
C. Current Years (2005-2015)
The Lawsuit Settlement - 2004-2008
We started a Legal Action Fund to give us the flexibility to pursue legal actions when necessary. Villagers made generous contributions. The Fund was a critical resource, in 2007 and 2008, when it was used to pay some of the legal expenses in the 2008 Lawsuit settlement with the Developer. Villagers achieved a friendly class action lawsuit settlement with the Developer in 2008 valued at $43 million. The key points of the settlement were:
- Provision for Reserve funds for eventual repair and replacement of our facilities north of CR466;
- Provision for renovation of the recreation trails north of Hwy 446;
- Creation of the AAC (Amenity Authority Committee) which allows residents elected by residents to make decisions about the expenditure of amenity funds north of CR466; and
- Payoff of the Paradise Recreation Center renovation debt.
The POA feels strongly that the Chapter 190 Florida Statute law that created Community Development Districts (CDDs) should be reformed to eliminate abuses that we see here in The Villages. Specifically, we think that residents should be able to elect the supervisors in the Central Districts (the VCCDD and the SLCCD). These are the supervisors who make all the big money decisions in The Villages - and they are effectively appointed by the Developer of The Villages. Residents have no say in these matters. This is like Taxation Without Representation. The POA is working to change the Chapter 190 law.
The District Manager thought it was unnecessary to publish the financial details of the two Center Districts, the VCCDD and the SLCDD. Prior to then, the District Manager said that it was not important to provide that information to residents. Thankfully, the Center Districts now routinely publishes this information and includes it on their website (www.districtgov.org)
Some residents opted to pay off the bond on their home in full. For a time, there was a miscalculation of the interest due at the time of payoff. Those making payments were being charged interest for the year (TO THE END OF THE YEAR?) following payment due to this error. The POA obtained a list of affected residents and former residents to advise them of this overcharge.