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Should the Shores' Community Pool be open to all homeowners?

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11:18 PM, Posted by Editorial Staff, No Comment

February 24, 2010

At a rather spirited St. Augustine Shores Service Corporation budget meeting earlier this evening, Community Association Manager Joseph H Smith, III thought he was using his staff to intimidate a homeowner, but instead may have ended his management career.

At the beginning of the meeting, a staff member, whom is under the employ of Mr. Smith, contacted the St. John's County Sheriff's Department and attempted to have a homeowner in attendance at the meeting arrested for trespassing. This is not the first instance where this has occurred and Mr. Smith has made no attempt to eliminate this practice. In fact, he has encouraged it.

Two deputies arrived and asked the homeowner to follow them out of the meeting. Once out of the meeting one of the Deputies produced a trespass warning and asked the homeowner if he was aware of the warning. The homeowner stated that although he was aware of what had been alleged, the warning wasn't worth the paper that it was printed on. At that point one of the deputies stayed with the homeowner and the other left the building to call a supervisor.

The Deputy soon returned and apologized to the homeowner for the interruption and stated that the warning had been previously dismissed because it was illegally obtained.

The complete incident, from beginning to end, was caught on videotape. In addition, the Deputy that had made the phone call has agreed to provide the homeowner with a full report of what transpired from the time of the initial call to the scene. The Deputy is well aware of the continued harassment of this homeowner and has provided contact information if needed. Written testimony has been acquired previously with regards to past related incidents.

Several homeowners in attendance stated that they were more than willing to provide written statements with regards to this incident as well as Mr. Smith's string of prior offenses.

Mr. Smith has been under a State investigation regarding unprofessional conduct and other improprieties committed while serving as the community manager for the Shores. The investigation was recently completed and turned over to the legal department of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The legal department is responsible for handing out penalties, based on the investigation conducted by a field investigator. The video tape of this latest incident occurring at the Budget meeting, police reports and witness testimony will be forwarded to the legal department immediately and hopefully a decision will come down soon. A homeowner attending the Budget meeting has volunteered to personally drive the information to the DBPR Legal Office in Tallahassee.

As many homeowners have stated, at this meeting and others, he needs to go sooner rather than later, we couldn't agree more. Let's hope the State of Florida agrees.

Click here to view the status of the investigation.
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