A battle that has been ongoing through two annual meetings and at least a year of threatening letters by Conquistador Condominium Association Manager Sharon K Stokes, may soon result in the ouster of Ms. Stokes.
According to reports, Ms. Stokes, the community's property manager, has been employed by the Conquistador Condominium Apartments of St. Augustine Shores, Inc., a condominium community located within the St. Augustine Shores, since March of 2009, and made quite an impression in a relatively short amount of time.
Almost immediately upon arriving, Ms. Stokes engaged in a campaign to sterilize the condo community and strip all sense of personalization and unity from the community. For over a year Stokes has attempted, through threatening letters, to remove any personal plantings around the individual units, a practice that was well accepted for many years prior to her tenure, and has continuously threatened condo owners with fines and forced removal of any personal objects from the limited common area "porch" outside of the units, including potted plants, patio furniture and holiday decorations.
For two (2) consecutive years, governing document amendment changes were placed on the Annual Meeting election ballot, attempting to gain support granting the Board of Directors of the community the necessary enforcement power to control and determine what is deemed appropriate to be displayed in the common elements and on the porches. Each time the ballot initiative was defeated by a vote of the homeowners.
Apparently the defeat at the polls may have been misinterpreted by the Board of Directors and/or property manager. In spite of the vote Stokes has escalated her personal war against the unit owners, including using the threat of fines and stating her intent to use any means possible to remove the items, as recently written in a letter to a unit owner "We will seek whatever remedy we need to in order to get them removed".
When asked earlier today who was authorizing the unit owner letters, Stokes offered no response. When confronted with the statement that based on various conversations between individual unit owners and members of the Board it had been confirmed that no such authority had been granted by the Board, Ms. Stokes response was, "They didn't ask the right Board members!"
It appears that under the control of Stokes, the Conquistador Condominiums have become the least desirable condo community from a buyers perspective, based on recent information provided by a local Realtor.
While the condo communities of the Greens, Greens II and Fairview have been involved in their own beautification projects, including the use of Florida xeriscaping in the Greens Community, a practice employed by landscapers to reduce the amount of water and maintenance to the grounds, residents state that any grounds and building maintenance efforts have been nonexistent at the Conquistador Condominium complex, under the leadership of Stokes, and property values have been irreparably destroyed as a result.
A long time Conquistador unit owner recently mentioned that in the thirty (30) years that she has resided in the community, the grounds and conditions are the worst that she has ever seen. "This place looks like a dump and I have never been treated so poorly in my life", was her quote.
Residents Not Giving In
Recently a group of homeowners have banded together and started a petition drive to remove Community Association Manager, Sharon K Stokes, as well as Eileen Collomb, Conquistador Board President. The group has mentioned that they intend to spend the balance of the summer obtaining the required amount of signatures and presenting the petition to the condo board in early September. The language contained in the petition is provided below;
"The President of the Board, Eileen Collomb and the Property Manager, Sharon Stokes, have collectively embarked on a misguided and trivial campaign focused on dictating the acceptable items residents can display on their front porches. This campaign has wasted limited association resources in an effort that is opposed by many of Conquistador's residents. In addition, their misguided campaign has reduced the attention, focus and resources that we owners want dedicated to critical association needs including:
- Maintaining the physical integrity of our property (structures, roofs, driveways, landscaping, etc.) and...
- Property, security and safety
The unit owners have stated that approximately 100 signatures have been gathered towards the effort thus far. There are 456 individual condominium units located within the Conquistador Condominium complex.