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The Synopsis

The Jackson Condominium in downtown Orlando is in the midst of a hostile condo takeover by two brothers who have seized control of the Association's board of directors and refuse to step down. They have hiked up the monthly fees for us (the other residents), where at one point some of us were paying over $1,800 per month for a condominium that offers little in the way of amenities.

There is no clubhouse, no fitness center, no pool, no guest parking... nada. But hey, we do have a barbecue grill on the roof! To make matters worse, a "Right of First Refusal" policy was implemented, and we were put under pressure to either sell our units to the brothers, potentially at below market value, or let the high monthly payments slowly bleed us dry.

To top all of this off they skipped elections for almost four years, violated city ordinances, and made risky investments that resulted in major financial losses. Those who have dared to speak out against the board's actions were subsequently targeted and harassed.

Normally you'd think that the property management company, in our case - FirstService Residential - would step in to help, they've thus far turned a blind eye to the entire situation and we've been left to fend for ourselves. While this story may sound humorous at times, it's been a nightmare for those who live here...

And if you live in an HOA, this could happen to you as well.

Chapter 1:

Skipping Elections

Before you begin - please note that our goal is to stick to the facts and not embellish anything. Documents are hyperlinked throughout the text which serve to back up our claims. We're not aiming to drag anyone's name through the mud - but rather, to share our story, warn others who might find themselves in similar situations, and hopefully bring about change.

The Jackson Condominium association had skipped the annual election for almost four years. The board used that time to their advantage, purchasing additional units until they had enough voting power to ensure they could never be voted out. The elections were now essentially rigged in favor of the two brothers, as there were simply not enough units left to vote them out.

They also passed an amendment to increase board member term limits from 1 year to 3 years. So not only were elections pointless now, they would be few and far between.

On top of this, they also passed a Right of First Refusal. This meant that once an owner put their listing on the market and received an offer, the board could swoop in and block the sale.

At that point the owner would only have two options - (a) sell their unit to the board instead, or (b) cancel the sale and start the process all over again. Which would be pointless of course, since the board could just swoop in, again, and block the next sale.

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The two brothers, Nabeel and Faisal Ansari, own and/or control over half of the units in our building. This has provided them with the voting power to do as they please. And boy, have they seemed to abuse that power.

The brothers led the effort to add a Right of First Refusal to our condominium declaration. Now whenever a unit goes on sale and the owner receives an offer, they can block the sale and purchase it themselves (which they have already done).

However before we dig into the details - we need to first go back in time a bit to see how it all started. Specifically, back to October 2018. During that month an election notice was mailed out. After receiving the notice, the two brothers both declared that they would be running for election, and they only owned 4 units at the time.

In February of 2019 they (unfortunately) both won seats and were elected to 1 year terms. As far as we know, nobody really knew of their intentions at the time, and given they only owned 4 units at the time - no red flags were raised.

In March of 2020, Governor DeSantis had declared a COVID-19 state of emergency - and so the board decided to cancel the election that was supposed to be held that month. Conspicuously, no reasons were given as to why the elections couldn't simply be held online or via mail-in ballots.

In May of 2021, they scheduled another election... Or at least so we thought. It ended up being canceled at the last minute, and again they blamed it on COVID-19. Similarly, no reasons were given as to why the elections couldn't simply be held online or via mail-in ballots. They stated they were going to reschedule but surprise surprise, that never occurred. This repeated pattern gave the appearance that they were using the pandemic to their own advantage. As Winston Churchill once said - "Never let a good crisis go to waste".

On October 5th 2021 the two brothers decided, seemingly on a whim, to add two more directors. Just like that, amongst themselves, they declared it so. They completely disregarded the fact that in order to do this an election must be held (as per our bylaws). Even after being notified that this was against our bylaws, they still listed the two new appointees as officers in our annual report.

In April of 2022 they had another election scheduled. However when we notified them that one of the candidates was ineligible to run for a board position, as he didn't actually own any of his units (his LLC did) - they didn't quite react in the way we expected. Instead of removing him from the ballot, the board decided to cancel the election.

In July of 2022, the board amended our bylaws to allow LLCs - a move which would now allow all of their preferred candidates to be eligible to hold a board position. In addition to amending the bylaws, they also updated our articles of incorporation to increase the term limits of board members from 1 year to 3 years.

A new election date was scheduled for December 7th, 2022. Finally! We finally had an election after almost four years of skipped elections! Except... it was pointless. The fact that they slowly accumulated 26+ units (out of 52) - and passed the aforementioned amendments - meant that nobody had a realistic chance to vote them out. They delayed long enough to successfully rig the system in their favor.

annual elections timeline

Between the futility of participating in the election and some confusing wording on the ballot instructions, the election concluded exactly how we expected it to. The two brothers had re-elected themselves into board seats - except this time they had 3 year terms.

Chapter 2:

Turning a Profit

The two brothers, who by now controlled the majority of our board, continued to violate city ordinance by renting out their units on Airbnb, VRBO, and Expedia for less than 30 days. Despite being repeatedly notified of these infractions by us, they ignored our pleas and continued breaking the law.

Even though their actions violated the rules of our Condominium Declaration - no warnings or fines were issued. This was not surprising however as that would entail the board writing fines... to themselves. The board president even stated that he thinks this "is not illegal in the figurative meaning of the word." Go figure 😐.

The goal of our board, or rather, the two brothers - is to convert our building into a giant Airbnb hotel. They made this intent perfectly clear in the open letter they sent to the residents.

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The overwhelming majority of units owned by the two brothers were being rented out on, and However there was one slight problem - this was prohibited in our condominium declaration. Only residential use of units was allowed.

This was a quick fix for our board of course. In June of 2021, they amended the declaration to allow non-residential use if it's "approved by the board". The passing of this amendment was made especially easy as the board president told residents that it would only be used to allow longer-term rentals, e.g. 6 months or more, which sounded reasonable enough at the time.

It turned out they pulled a fast one on us. As soon as the amendment was passed, Airbnb and VRBO listings for The Jackson started popping up with only 1-2 day minimums. Residents were quickly being disturbed by loud noises, parties, and trash - all being caused by these transient guests. All hope was not lost though... During the following month, July of 2021, the city of Orlando passed a new ordinance that prohibited any short-term rentals that were less than 30 days.

The excitement around the seemingly good news was short-lived however, since this did not seem to deter the two brothers. They kept on violating city ordinance by renting out entire units with 1 or 2 day minimums. Over the next year or so, the numerous complaints from residents to both the board and the city of Orlando regarding these short-term rentals went mostly unheeded.

Beginning in October of 2021, the board added over $133,000 to our annual budget. The justification for this new addition to our budget was that we needed to pay for new doorman personnel - which they stated would be "responsible for accepting all packages being delivered for residents", and that when a package is received, the residents would "receive an email and a call stating a package is waiting for them".

However, to date, no residents that we're aware of have received any package delivery notifications. It's been the opposite in fact, with the doorman personnel stating that they cannot hold packages for us. On top of this, the board had disabled the door access codes for all residents except themselves.

Residents quickly began to suspect that this was an unnecessary expense for their personal gain. This was due in part to residents witnessing the doorman assisting Airbnb renters with their check-in process, along with the fact that we had a working callbox that could have been used in lieu of hiring a doorman and disabling our access codes - but alas, the callbox was disabled as well.

Chapter 3:

Introducing Hardship

The board of directors decided to impose a staggering $1.3 million dollar special assessment on us. Levying such a high amount has had a detrimental impact on the residents, some of whom were struggling to make ends meet. Note that their reasoning behind this special assessment was to "replenish our reserves".

However, after eight months, the reserves had only increased by around $54,000, despite the fact that they should have increased by at least $285,000 based on the fees that were collected. This means that less than 20% of the monthly payments have been used for their intended purpose. Were they lying to us? No, no, that couldn't be possible right?

We (the residents of The Jackson) are left feeling angry and frustrated as we struggle to pay these exorbitant fees whilst seeing little to no benefit in return. The lack of transparency and accountability has only added to our existing disillusionment and discontent.

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In February of 2022, the board levied a special assessment of 1.3 million dollars on the residents of The Jackson. The reasoning provided was that we needed to "replenish our reserves".

This had led to some residents paying over $1,800 in monthly dues alone. We were essentially being forced to pay the equivalent of two mortgages at once! This increased monetary pressure subsequently forced more owners to sell, and guess who happened to be sitting on the sidelines ready and waiting to buy them up? Yep, the now notorious brothers who control our board of directors. We seemed to be on a fast track to converting the building into a giant Airbnb hotel.

Upset, a group of residents took it upon themselves to hire a lawyer and see what legal options they had to help remedy the situation. Initially, none of the options sounded too promising as they all had long timelines for getting any meaningful results.

Chapter 4:

Emotional Distress

As if dealing with the monetary situation itself wasn't enough, the board president has seemingly made it his personal mission to antagonize the residents here at The Jackson, compounding the emotion distress already being experienced.

From sending threatening texts, throwing borderline homophobic insults, towing the cars of those who oppose him, and cursing at residents - it almost seemed as if he enjoyed tormenting the people who live here.

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One would think that board members would opt to "keep a low profile", especially given the fact that the residents were getting upset and beginning to ask more questions - but one would be mistaken in that thinking. It seems that out of the two brothers, one in particular - the board president, has made it his personal mission to antagonize the residents that live here. Not all residents mind you, seemingly just the ones who don't vote his way or don't turn a blind eye to him breaking the law.

For example, he's sent threatening texts to a resident who didn't vote the way he wanted them to during a meeting. Another notable example includes harassing a resident, poking fun at his hair color and using what said resident felt were offensive and borderline homophobic comments.

Another example includes the board president towing a resident's car out of their own space, for no good reason. Yet another example involves him damaging the unit below his, via a water leak from his unit, which seeped down into the unit below him causing damage. When asked about it he not only refused to help repair the damages but stated "Welcome to The Jackson we have lots of leaks!".

Yet another example includes him attempting to take over a parking spot that belonged to another resident. This was despite the fact that said resident had an estoppel indicating that he was indeed the legitimate owner, and that his ownership of the spot was already previously confirmed by the association.

And, yet, another example includes the board president antagonizing the residents of unit 408 every chance he gets. Take this Ring camera video of him smiling and waiving to their camera as he walks past, in an attempt to further get on their nerves. Or this video, where he calls the owner "Hija de puta, desgraciada", which translates to "motherf*cker".

On top of all of this, our general ledger shows 32 payments made directly to the board president, and after requesting the receipts (which we only received for 5/32 transactions) we discovered purchases for food items that were then submitted for reimbursement by the association, i.e. we're subsidizing his personal expenses. It wouldn't be surprising to find out that this was just the tip of the iceberg - should we ever get them to cough up the remaining receipts.

Between the board president seemingly violating multiple laws and bullying residents, it's only served to galvanize and motivate us into fighting harder to stand up for ourselves.

Chapter 5:

Money (Not) Well Spent

Our board made a very questionable decision by investing almost half a million dollars of association funds into Bitcoin and stocks. As one would expect, this was a risky move. The investment lost almost half of its original value.

This financial loss was a major blow to our community, as money that was supposed to be used for the benefit of the residents has now been unnecessarily squandered. Such an irresponsible and risky investment is yet another example of their mismanagement and breach of fiduciary responsibility.

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We discovered that in January of 2021 the board motioned to move almost half a million dollars of our operating funds into Silver Gate Bank for "investment". There are couple of things that make this motion particularly concerning...

First, the funds being transferred were from a settlement we received years ago from the developer who built our condominium. It was a significant amount of money, one that could have been used to replenish our underfunded reserves (which once again was the justification for passing the special assessment).

Second, it turns out that the money didn't get transferred into "Silver Gate Bank", or at least not permanently. They transferred $200,000 over to an account with Interactive Brokers LLC which was subsequently used to invest in the stock market. Another $250,000 was transferred into the Gemini Exchange, where it was then used to buy Bitcoin. This turned out to be a ridiculously bad decision, and it's unknown whether any of the residents approved of this, let alone were made aware.

As you probably already know the markets crashed pretty hard in 2021, especially the cryptocurrency market. Most of us had no idea that our money was being invested so recklessly of course. By the time we found out, we had lost almost half of our original developer settlement money.

Even worse, these losses were kept hidden from us as they were not reported to our property management company - FirstService Residential (who manages our budget). Our monthly financial statements continued to falsely state that no money had been lost. What's also a bit concerning is that apparently our property management company only has access to some of our bank accounts, while the two brothers have sole access to the rest.

They also spent almost $150,000 remodeling our common areas when they had no need of remodeling. The prevailing hypothesis here is that it was done to make their Airbnb rental listings more appealing. On top of that, we also discovered that the company who cleans our condominium is owned by the board president. He's essentially paying himself for services needed by our condominium, which seems like a huge conflict of interest.

There's likely additional highly-questionable financial activity occurring here at The Jackson but it's been tough to prove, and we want to make sure we have the appropriate evidence to avoid making any false claims. We were starting to get desperate in our quest to find out exactly what was happening with our money.

Chapter 6:

Calling in Reinforcements

We are facing a difficult and uncertain future as we struggle to deal with the actions of the two brothers, who still control the board of directors. The residents here do not have the financial resources to go head-to-head with their family directly, and thus we are in desperate need of outside assistance.

Some have responded to the call, lending much needed support to stand up to our board and reclaim our community. Special thanks goes to Trevor Fraser of the Orlando Sentinel, Karla Ray of WFTV Channel 9 News, and Florida House of Representative Anna Eskamani.

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With the help of our lawyer, we filed a derivative demand requesting the aforementioned documents. Alongside the derivative demand we also filed a petition with the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBRP), and they agreed to step in as an arbitrator.

We also reached out to the Florida Condo Ombudsman to provide us with an election monitor, to ensure that any elections are conducted fairly (albeit even though they are rarely held and we have no chance of winning). We plan out reaching out again soon to the Ombudsman for help with additional matters.

To combat the short-term rentals we started handing out business cards, with a message urging the renters to scan the QR code on the back. This QR code would lead them to a web page where we briefly explained our situation, and offered cash rewards for them providing a digital receipt for their stay here. The goal here was to gather enough evidence for the city of Orlando to take action. We also reached out to the Airbnb Community Support Team to notify them of these infractions.

After providing adequate evidence, the city of Orlando's code enforcement officers were finally able to step in and force the two brothers to take down most of the and listings. It was a huge relief when we started seeing the code enforcement signs posted outside our building. However that didn't last very long, as not even a couple weeks later the listings started popping back up again. It's starting to feel like we're playing a game of "Whac-A-Mole" here.

One resident decided to reach out to Representative Anna V. Eskamani from the Florida House of Representatives, who has been gracious enough to offer assistance, and thus far her office has been lending help when and where they can. Other residents have sent complaints to the Florida State Attorney, FBI, IRS, and the Office of the Inspector General - to see if any of those agencies can step in and somehow help out as well.

We've also tried reaching out to our property management company, FirstService Residential, but to date they have not stepped in to intervene nor offer any assistance.

Additionally, we've also reached out to local media outlets who have been very supportive to our cause. If you have time, please check out our local media coverage!

Chapter 7:

Budgeting Shenanigans

Our board attempted to pass a nonsensical budget for 2023, one which would cause some to start paying up to $2,200 per month in association fees. Fortunately, the residents were able to shoot the aforementioned budget down. This was a small victory for our community, but it was made perfectly clear that our board was still determined to exert their control over the condominium and its residents.

We're left to wonder what other questionable decisions the board may try to push through in the future, and are also concerned about our ability to effectively defend against such actions.

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In November of 2022 the board attempted to hold a budget meeting to increase our monthly dues, again. Starting in 2023, residents would now be facing up to $2,200 per month in association-related fees! The board's justification for this increase was that they (a) needed to make up for their overspending of operating funds on items that were outside of the 2022 budget, and (b) deciding that they wanted to remodel the front of the building. The former is not the residents' fault, and the latter is definitely not what we want. Especially since we suspected that it was simply to impress their Airbnb guests.

Additionally, the proposed 2023 budget had some questionable items on it. Specifically:

  • Our "Elevator Maintenance" budget increased from $0 per year to $6,174 per year.
  • Our "HVAC Parts and Repairs" budget increased from $500 per year to $5,324 per year.
  • Our "Custodial Supplies" budget increased from $4,800 per year to $7,172 per year (note that we suspect these supplies are being used to clean Airbnb units).
  • Our "Door Maintenance" budget increased from $500 per year to $8,258 per year.
  • Our "Doorman" budget increased from $133,000 per year to $210,000 per year.
  • Our "Landscaping" budget (i.e. for remodeling the front of the building) increased from $1,452 per year to $120,000 per year.

Overall our total expenses would have more than doubled in 2023 from $423,001 per year to $946,912 per year. Because of this, we decided to send out a formal letter of protest regarding the proposed budget. Luckily this seems to have made an impact as the board canceled the meeting... And by "canceled" we mean they simply didn't show up.

The board held a meeting the following week, and motioned to continue with the remodeling of the front of the building despite the fact that there was no budget increase for it. They stated they were going to fund this unnecessary expense using our reserve funds, the very same funds they stated were low and necessitated the passing of the special assessment.

To make matters even worse, they are now planning to add a gym and a pool! At this rate we'll never replenish our reserves, and forever be forced to pay extremely high monthly fees to the association.

Chapter 8:

Peak Insanity

On March 24, 2023, the board successfully passed a motion to levy another $500,000 special assessment, due within 30 days (which comes out to around a $7,000 - $13,000 charge per owner), to purchase a unit owned by a previous board member, in order to convert it into a gym that none of us want.

To make matters worse, two days before this motion, the board put all of their units up for sale. This obviously greatly concerns us, as we're forced to immediately fork over thousands of dollars to a board that we're worried may potentially leave their positions afterwards and exit The Jackson.

Not to mention we still haven't even finished paying the previous $1.3 million dollar special assessment yet. We've officially reached peak insanity... We honestly couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.

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On March 9th, 2023, our Board sent out a notice about an upcoming board meeting where they planned to levy another special assessment for $500,000.

We were of course both frustrated and worried at first, but quickly relieved when we found out they couldn't pass it. This was because all of the board members except the two brothers had stepped down by now. Since there were five board positions and only two were filled - they would not have "quorum" - i.e. a majority needed to pass any motions, including this special assessment.

Our relief was short-lived however, as three days before the board meeting where the special assessment vote would take place, the board appointed a new member...

Contrary to the previously-emailed notice for the special assessment meeting - we did not receive any emails for this one. We only (luckly) found out since we saw a notice for it in the downstairs lobby. By only posting a physical notice a few days before the meeting was to take place, we suspected that they did not want us to know about the meeting, let alone to show up and record the entire thing.

The newly appointed board member, was not present for her own appointment. Additionally, none of us had ever heard about her before, as she doesn't live in the building nor own any units here. According to the board, she works for one of their many LLCs. We tried looking up the LLC they claimed she worked for, but could not find any evidence of her being an authorized representative of said LLC, nor did the Board bother to provide any evidence in support thereof.

The next day, on March 22nd, aka two days before the motion to pass a new special assessment, the board put all of their units up for sale. This obviously both greatly concerns and worries us, as we're going to be forced to immediately fork over thousands of dollars to a board that may potentially exit The Jackson soon.

Two days later, on March 24th, the board successfully passed the motion to levy a new $500,000 special assessment, due within 30 days (which comes out to around a 7 - 13k charge per owner), to purchase a unit owned by a previous board member, in order to convert it into a gym that nobody wants.

To add insult to injury, the board did not allow any comments or questions until after they voted. Not only that, but they also motioned to seek a $500,000 loan on top of the $500,000 special assessment, without bothering to explain why beforehand.

Our worries were evern further compounded by the fact that the previous $1.3 million dollar special assessment was not being used for its intended purpose... The board stated that it was needed to "replenish our reserves", but they kept withdrawing funds from our reserve account afterwards, to use on unnecessary spending such as remodeling the lobby. So how can we be sure this one won't end up with the same fate?

The silver lining is that luckily WFTV Channel 9 news was present to record the entire thing... Which resulted in a very interesting segment being aired.

Update: On May 1st, the board granted a 60-day extension to pay the special assessment. While we're not happy about still having to pay, since a lot of us simply cannot afford it, the extra breathing room being granted was admittedly still appreciated.

Update: Our excitement about the extension was short-lived, as on May 2nd, the very next day - the board motioned to increase our monthly dues (again) by roughly 30%. We're slowly being bled dry financially over here.

Chapter 9:

Security Insecurity

As if we didn't already have a treasure trove of evidence showing that our board isn't acting in the best interests of our association, they struck again. They just can't seem to help themselves I guess.

The board president recently ripped out and stole a security camera from one of the residents. Now, the board is demanding that everyone take down their Ring doorbell cameras. We already didn't feel safe living under the current board, and now this makes us feel even less safe.

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On January 18, 2023, the board president, first noticed a security camera located above one of our units. He quickly had a warning sent out demanding that it be removed, even though it had been installed there for years by a previous owner. After being questioned about the legitimacy of this demand, on February 15 the warning was "revoked", and the matter was dropped... Or at least so we thought.

On March 10, seemingly on a whim and without warning, the board president had that very same security camera ripped out and stolen. According to the property manager and association attorney, this was done without their approval. It was a rogue decision of sorts.

If you're wondering how we have video of a security camera being removed from a different angle, well, that's because that unit had two cameras. The remaining camera (which is a Ring doorbell camera) is going to be coming down soon as well apparently. On May 5, a new warning was sent out for units that have a Ring doorbell camera installed. One can only hope and pray that none of these get stolen as well.

Needless to say, doorbell cameras are a commonplace amongst residential units nowadays, and are there to provide residents with a sense of security. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to demand their removal. We suspect that yet again, this is retaliation by the board for us speaking out against them - both on this website and in the media. We now no longer feel secure in our homes.

Chapter 10:

Into the Unknown

At times we've felt like we've been left out to dry by our association attorney, as well as our property management company. However the outpouring of support from our surrounding community, local media, and local politicans, has definitely encouraged us to keep fighting and not give up.

We did not ask for any of these problems, we simply want to be able to live our lives in peace. If anything, let this be a cautionary tale to others. Florida law grants too much power to Condominium Associations - so we all need to be extra vigilant and pay close attention to who we allow onto our board of directors.

Though the ending of our story has yet to be written, we are hoping that it is a happy one.

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Believe it or not this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are literally dozens of additional complaints, incidents, evidence of suspicious activity, etc etc - that aren't listed here for the sake of brevity. In order to help keep the story interesting, and keep you (the reader) engaged, this website only contains some of the more egregious examples.

We're trying to raise awareness about our situation in order to hopefully attract more outside assistance. Assistance that might be able to help us pressure the two brothers into finally stepping down from the board, and abandoning their plans for a hostile condo takeover. The ending to our story is unknown and has yet to be written, but our fingers are crossed that the ending is a positive one, where we finally get to live in peace.


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