Media fails 1st Amendment free HOA speech

The media has failed its First Amendment prerogative of protected free speech. The Founding Fathers well understood the need for an informed citizenry for a healthy democracy and made free speech the 1st Amendment. However, America has become divided and the courts, including the Supreme Court, have adopted a policy that biased, personal agenda speech is OK because America has many channels for opposing speech. For example, FOX  News and MSNBC.

But the media has silenced the opposing views of HOA members themselves.

The Supreme Court (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964),  with respect to newspaper articles, held:

“In the case of the newspaper that published inaccurate information, that form of speech would not be protected by the First Amendment if the newspaper published falsehoods knowingly and purposefully. . . . The Supreme Court ruled that the newspaper was constitutionally protected in this instance, despite the false allegations, since the newspaper did not knowingly and recklessly publish the inaccuracies.”

In response to a call for a media contact committee by HRLNG (FB) I wrote today:

“This has been a long-neglected point of power for advocates, realizing that the media is part of what I’ve designated as, “the unspoken alliance of NO HOA negative stories.” Ask yourself, recalling all the TV anchors telling you that they ask hard questions, they get to the facts, etc. yet nothing bad about HOAs that amount to substantial issues. Yes, they talk about this incident and that incident, but substantive issues go ignored. This must be the substance of your approach! Example: NAR and all state chapters claim they are here for you the home buyer and you can trust your Realtor (This term is the NAR members only). BUT HOA??? What’s that??

“The Homes Association Handbook, the 1964 “bible” for HOA-Land was supported by that version of NAR. AARP had some articles but no lobbying for its age 50+, members. Why not? This committee must not be afraid to ask these hard questions. What do you have to lose? They did very little for HOA reforms. CHALLENGE THEM and ask hard questions in pursuit of the truth!”

Decl. of Indep. from HOA government — 2000

At this time when advocates are urging homeowners to present reform bills to their legislature, this earlier post of mine revealed the problem dealing with the legislature from the very beginning.  This 2014 repost refers to my appearance before the Arizona HOA Hearing committee in 2000, which also appeared in Robert Nelson’s book (p. 102) published by the Urban Institute Press.   


“In 2000, as a naïve and newbie to the politics at state legislatures, Arizona in particular, I addressed the HOA Study Committee on September 7th (3rd such meeting of unfulfilled 7) and submitted a statement titled, “HOMEOWNER’S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE  from homeowner association governments.”  In it I quoted parts of the Decl. of Indep. And informed the committee that I had hoped that these hearings would bring forth a list of grievances for which homeowners were seeking redress. 

[In 2000 I testified – – -]

“And as in those times of 1776, a small, principled and dedicated group of citizens are seeking a redress of their grievances. They first looked to the existing government, the HOA Board, and failing to obtain satisfaction therein, must seek other means of redress – a radical change in the concept and legal structure of the homeowner association controlling document, the CC&Rs.

“Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the Committee, at this time I had hoped that the citizens of Arizona would be able to present and enumerate their long list of abuses, and solutions to these abuses, similar to as is found enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, without the interference and obstruction by elements of these ‘oppressive governments.’  I see that this will not be the case.

“The people of Arizona only wish to be able to present their case before this Committee in a fair and just manner. However, sadly I feel that, because of the composition of the committee, the homeowners are actually being placed on trial; that they are being asked to justify their grievances before their oppressors” [CAI].


Today, I think it would be helpful to adopt my statement and add those grievances that you feel need to be solved, and submit the entire package to your legislature and the media.  It would be your declaration from HOA governments, your petition for redress. Of course, the more signatures you have the better. 

Where have all the HOA constitutional lawyers gone?

Many of you who are interested in the hidden truth about HOA-Land are probably aware of the AARP report on member bill of rights written by David Kahane in 2006. You are probably unaware of the 2006 AARP amicus curiae brief filed in favor of the Twin Rivers, NJ homeowners.[i] 

This landmark brief references Evan McKenzie, the Hannaman Report,[ii] CAI’s Wayne Hyatt  (former president and designer of many governing documents especially for Del Webb properties),[iii] a 1989 Intergovernmental study on HOA private governments, and the Restatement Law: Servitudes.  Co-attorney on the brief was Steven Siegel who wrote several legal journal articles on HOA constitutionality (1998 and 2008).[iv]

Where have all our lawyers gone? Long time passing. 
Where have all our lawyers gone?  Long time ago. 
Where have all our lawyers gone?  C A I beat them everyone.

Oh, when will we ever learn?  Oh, when will we ever learn?[v]

I’ve always found this very troublesome. They have the credentials; we don’t!  Complaining and shouting, We was robbed; this ain’t fair; this is not right; I have rights falls on deaf ears at the legislatures. Advocates have failed to make the case for the existence of a nationwide problem where legislatures permit the denial of homeowners’ fundamental and constitutional rights and freedoms, privileges, and immunities.  And the courts look the other way for the most part. 

And when reform bills of substance do make it into law, homeowners for the most part still remain silent and ignore the laws that give them fighting powers – laws passed recently in California, Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Washington state.


[i] AARP_amicus.pdf

[ii] See Rutgers Panel on Homeowner Association problems (

[iii] To be or not to be a mini or quasi government? Hyatt said ‘yes’.

[iv] Steven Siegel, “The Constitution and Private Government: Toward the Recognition of Constitutional Rights in Private Residential Communities Fifty years After Marsh v. Alabama,” Wm & Mary Bill of Rights J., Vol. 6, Issue 2 (1998). And The Twin Rivers Case: Of Homeowners Associations, Free Speech Rights and Privatized Mini-Governments, Paula A. Franzese and Steven Siegel, 5 Rutgers J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 630 (2008).  Part of the issue on Homeowner Associations: Problems and Solutions.

[v] Paraphrase Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Peter, Paul and Mary.

North Carolina attempts  AG protection of HOA members – HB 311

CORRECTION. This post was mistitled referring to new Hampshire but it is a North Carolina bill, HB 311.

NC State Representative Iler introduced HB 311 granting the AG with powers and authority to investigate HOA violations and to commence legal actions against the HOA if warranted.  It seeks direct state involvement in protecting a class of citizens being denied the equal protection of the laws by amending §§ 47C-3-123 and  47F-3-123.

It may come to a surprise to many who find no ills living in an HOA, but it’s well known that state Attorney General’s offices have shied away from investigating and bringing legal actions against HOA board violations of state laws and their contractual obligations. The general response from a number of AGs has been “no authority to act,” although they have general powers to investigate white collar crimes; “the law needs to be changed, go to the Legislature to change the law.”

Representative Iler can be your champion!  He needs your active support  against a legislature – as are all state legislatures —  that is hostile to HOA owner private property interests. NC citizen involvement is necessary for success!

Is CAI a coercive HOA monopoly?

Community Associations Institute (CAI) dominates themarket for HOA educational services and controls the market around it by means of its extensive lobbying of state legislatures and by holding seminars, conferences and publications extolling its self-serving agenda that promotes the HOA legal structure and scheme; by the support  of state agencies that sponsor CAI seminars and classes, and by private entities trained under the CAI education program – ECHO in California and CALL in Florida, as examples. It has become successful in lessening competition as a result of its “improper conduct.”

A quick review of the internet postings shows (emphasis added),

“[The]  courts ask if that leading position was gained or maintained through improper conduct—that is, something other than merely having a better product, superior management or historic accident. In the end, courts will decide whether the monopolist’s success is due to ‘the willful acquisition or maintenance of that power as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident.’”

“Coercive monopoly” is defined as:

A monopoly that is created using extraordinary power such as a government or international agency. For example, a government that grants legal protections to firms that create barriers to entry to prevent competition. Firms commonly lobby governments for rules that protect them from competition.”

With respect to CAI, a tax-exempt nonprofit, can it be charged as a monopoly? It is a well-established fact that no state has granted  CAI a protective government monopoly exclusion —  the right to lessen competition. And that includes local governments in several states that openly support and encourage the CAI HOA program; some states have actually employed CAI as its authority to educate the public regarding HOAs.

The  answer is YES according to the following Supreme Court case. The case addresses the instance where  the state assigns a “governmental monopoly” (making it a state-actor) to an entity (which HOAs are not), but must explicitly state that the entity has the right to lessen competition,

“Under this Court’s state-action immunity doctrine, when a local governmental entity acts pursuant to a clearly articulated and affirmatively expressed state policy to displace competition, it is exempt from scrutiny under the federal antitrust laws. In this case, we must decide whether a Georgia law that creates special-purpose public entities called hospital authorities and gives those entities general corporate powers, including the power to acquire hospitals, clearly articulates and affirmatively expresses a state policy to permit acquisitions that substantially lessen competition. Because Georgia’s grant of general corporate powers to hospital authorities does not include permission to use those powers anticompetitively, we hold that the clear-articulation test is not satisfied, and state-action immunity does not apply.”

 (F.T.C. v. Phoebe Putney Health System (133 S.Ct. 1003 (2013)).


I believe the case can be made for a CAI monopoly and for the Feds to  investigate (Citizens Complaint Center, Antitrust Division, DOJ),  and to file an appropriate antitrust lawsuit ASAP.