HOA-Land success aided by the failure of investigative reporting

In 2010 I called attention to a curious aspect of media coverage of HOAs.  I called it the “Unspoken Alliance of ‘No negatives about HOAs.’”[i]  Of course, state legislatures did not believe that there were serious problems with HOAs as there was no news to report.

The pro-HOA lobbyist special interest national lobbyist, CAI, also saw and reported no evil with HOA-Land, while lauding the grand and glorious benefits of HOA-Land. CAI ignored the suppression of homeowners’ rights and freedoms under the Constitution, which other citizens still enjoyed. And then there are those public interest firms swearing to defend the Constitution, but who also saw no evil and reported none.

With all these news stories about homeowner issues across the land, no one really took a deep look into what the hell was happening.  The reporters have not delved into such questions as:  How come this is happening? Why is this happening?  And asking policy makers and legislators, what are you doing about it?  And following up to any responses such as, they agreed to the contract, and questioning the validity of such responses.  That’s what the public expects from bona fide investigative reporting.

Why I wondered? It seemed that an Unspoken Alliance was the best answer. How else could this silence be explained?  That the horror stories and legal arguments supporting violations of the Constitution and state laws were fairy tales, just myths by delusional people?  That’s a “put-down” to good, decent people.

Today, Michael Smerconish saw the same problem in his morning CNN show with news coverage when he said,

“Where there’s no investigative reporting, government on the national, state and local level goes unchecked. . . .  But without investigative journalism at the local, state and national level we would have never learned about . . .”[ii]

While he was not addressing HOA-Land, his opinion sheds light on why HOA reform legislation has not really accomplished much over the past 53 years since the inception of the HOA legal scheme.[iii] I whole heartedly agree.

Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite are not sleeping too well with today’s lack of deep investigative reporting. Where are the Woodward and Bernsteins, and Lowell Bergmans of CBS’ 60 Minutes (the tobacco/nicotine cover up)?  I think too much political correctness muddied the water – don’t say anything bad about anyone. And so, the legislators hide behind, “I dunno” and “I know nothin.’”

There is more than sufficient documentation and legal authority out there for a probable cause investigation into the truth about HOA-Land, and who better than the media’s real investigative reporters to let the people know the truth.

“The Truth Is Out There”


[i] The Unspoken Alliance: “No negatives about HOAs”.

[ii] Michael Smerconish, “Trump Wrong to Call . . .”, CNN Feb. 18, 2017.

[iii] Analysis of The Homes Association Handbook.


Published in: on February 18, 2017 at 12:52 pm  Comments (9)  

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  1. […] See in general, HOA-Land success aided by the failure of investigative reporting (2017)  Arizona Republic: A new low in media ethics and a violation of the public trust.’ […]

  2. You are right, George. And Judy Thomas from The Kansas City Star is not backing down. She continues to write about HOAs and the untold truths about them. She understands very well what our concerns and complaints are and so far so do her editors. I will be eternally grateful for her dedication to educating homeowners about HOAs.

  3. Today on the NBC morning talk show, Senator McCain spoke about the press in a democracy: “In a democracy we need a free and adversarial press.” The media is neither free nor adversarial when it comes to HOA-Land problems.

  4. George, you are right. I wrote an article years ago about the legislators in Utah and how they passed a horrible HOA law that they knew nothing about–i watched the video of the guy introducing the bill–he had no idea what the bill was about (having been written by CAI operatives) and stumbled along before telling the house,”It’s to protect homeowners” and everyone voted for it. It was so obvious he knew nothing and told the house nothing about its content–the whole thing was rigged.

    My “investigative” reporting was clear and documented. The Editor for the SL Tribune told me outright–“We make a lot of money on real estate ads–we could never publish this type of article.”

    So there you are.

    • Not an uncommon story.

      Let me be clear that over the years I ran across some good reporters seeking to do in depth reporting. Judy Thomas at the KC Star was one of them, but the media the powers that be would not allow them to go forward.

  5. I agree. If you bought in an HOA and these factors were not disclosed, hire an attorney and sue the seller, the HOA Board members and management company that should have disclosed material facts in the disclosure documents and the real estate broker. If the manager and management company who are in charge of providing the disclosure documents failed to provide truthful information, they should be held accountable and liable.

  6. Good point, George. The problem is, there really is a lot of fake news – but not necessarily in the sense that the news is blatantly false. Some of it is true, but it’s not the whole truth. As you point out, many facts are not reported.

    I read a lot of stuff that masquerades as news, but it’s really nothing more than public relations rhetoric or news releases designed to market a product, service, or political concept. When it comes to common interest, association-governed communities, “news” is really skewed and might even be called propaganda.

    If the investigative reporters you mentioned were still alive and working on investigating HOA Land corruption and deception, and the erosion of private property rights, you can bet that the large home builders and real estate brokerages would not be advertising in the newspaper or television network.

    • An excellent presentation of Edward R Murrow’s fight against Sen. Joseph McCarthy can be found in the movie, Good Night, and Good Luck.

  7. I think the media is right. After all, once you take away the complaining HO’s right to the 1st Amendment thru Settlement Agreements or threats, how could anyone ever know the truth? It was certainly hidden from me prior to my purchase in an HOA, as well as the potential embezzlement of $10’s of thousands by two board members (a couple) immediately prior to my purchase.

    Never trust any board member of an HOA. Never, never.

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