breaking news

Alberto forms in the Caribbean

NEW: Will a $25 late fee cost a West Palm Beach man his $340,000 home?


Highlights

Judge orders foreclosure after $25 unpaid late fee blossoms into $50,000 in costs, attorney fees and interest

David Silva didn’t believe he deserved the $25 late fee when his condo switched property managers and his $282 maintenance check for June 2015 wasn’t deposited. He still doesn’t.

He paid the maintenance bill when he found out that August it was overdue. But by this year, the late fee and the ones that came after it, which he wouldn’t pay, had metastasized into $50,000 of additional late fees, interest and attorney charges for a two-day trial. A county judge’s Feb. 5 ruling puts the retired New York state trooper in jeopardy of losing his $340,000 townhome to the Ventura Greens at Emerald Dunes Condominium Association through foreclosure, if he doesn’t pay in full.

“I am disappointed in the judge’s decision,” said Silva. “I believe that this case, looked at with another set of eyes, would have resulted in a different decision. It is a sad day in America when the American dream becomes the American nightmare….”

The association’s attorney, Jeannette Bellon, said Silva’s fate was sealed because he could not document he issued the check. The association even waived one month’s late fee but Silva refused to pay any, arguing that the entire matter arose because of a change in property managers, of which he was not aware. But he was notified multiple times, Bellon argued in court.

“The rules are the rules in this case,” she said. “I’m a condo association owner myself, so I think people just need to be aware what their condo declaration states, what the rules and regulations state and what your duties and obligations are. The defendant was a former board member. He was aware of the rules. He just decided not to follow them and at the end of the day, he never gave proof he made payment.”

Aggravating the dispute was the fact that Silva and association President Vic Bally couldn’t stand each other, both affirmed in court. Bally once accused Silva of assault and it took a videotape of the incident to acquit Silva. The two tended to videotape each other to keep a legal record of their encounters, according to court testimony.

Silva wasn’t the only one who had trouble with Bally. The association has been through at least eight management companies in its 11 years. A few managers sent the association letters saying they were quitting because of the difficulty of working with Bally.

Silva testified that he believed he had made his June 2015 maintenance payment electronically to the management association, as he always had. He went on vacation and didn’t learn until several weeks after returning that the association had changed management companies again and the payment hadn’t gone through. And because it didn’t go through there was no record he sent it, he said.

He made up the maintenance in August but insisted he shouldn’t be assessed late fees.

But on Feb. 5, Judge Robert Panse ruled that under Ventura Greens’ Declaration of Condominium, the association properly assessed him and Bally hadn’t selectively enforced the rules. The judge noted that Silva previously lost a case before the county Office of Equal Opportunity that alleged Bally discriminated against him on the basis of Silva’s Hispanic race.

Panse’s ruling indicated the judge didn’t understand the details of his case and misinterpreted the condo rules, Silva said.

At Silva’s request, his attorney, Richard Glenn, is preparing for a rehearing before the judge that he conceded he likely would lose. If so, he’ll appeal to the circuit court. A failed appeal, he acknowledged, could raise Silva’s bill “probably another $20 grand.”

“It’s still hard for me to believe this really happens for a $25 late fee,” Glenn said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

See which Wellington parks, facilities are open Memorial Day
See which Wellington parks, facilities are open Memorial Day

Looking for something to do on Memorial Day that involves getting the kids out of the house? Should the sun peek out from the clouds -- rain is possible throughout the day -- several Wellington parks and facilities will be open. The gym at Village Park and Wellington’s Community Center will be closed. But these parks will be open from 8 a.m....
NEW: Toddler severely burned by bath water; Boynton man arrested
NEW: Toddler severely burned by bath water; Boynton man arrested

A 2-year-old suffered burns and internal injuries this week after being put into a hot bath and beaten by a man who appeared to live in the house, according to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office investigators.  Lee Higgins III, 24, of Boynton Beach was arrested Wednesday on three counts of aggravated child abuse for the abuse of...
LATEST: New details in Austin Harrouff fatal stabbings case revealed in California court filings
LATEST: New details in Austin Harrouff fatal stabbings case revealed in California court filings

As lawyers prepare to argue today in California over the release of unedited interviews between Austin Harrouff and syndicated talk-show host Dr. Phil McGraw, new details about the 2016 fatal stabbings have emerged in court documents.  Harrouff, 21, of Jupiter is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection to the Aug...
BREAKING: Two face attempted murder charges after West Palm shooting
BREAKING: Two face attempted murder charges after West Palm shooting

Two West Palm Beach-area men are facing attempted murder charges after city police said they have linked them to an April 28 drive-by shooting. Frantz Louinasse, 25, of West Palm Beach and Wilkens Theodore, 21, of suburban West Palm Beach are each charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm...
Elizabeth Sung, ‘Joy Luck Club,’ ‘Young and the Restless’ star, dies
Elizabeth Sung, ‘Joy Luck Club,’ ‘Young and the Restless’ star, dies

Elizabeth Sung, who had a long career on the small and big screen, has died. Sung may be most well known as her character as Luan Violen Abbott on “The Young and the Restless” soap opera. She was on the show in 1994 through 1996, according to the Hollywood Reporter. She also appeared on the small screen in series across networks, including ...
More Stories