Tampa, Fla. - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is taking action against a Tampa company she says is taking advantage of financially distressed Floridians.
It involves a company that profited from home owners association foreclosure auctions and some of the same players ABC Action News exposed in an I-Team investigation.
The lawsuit alleges that HOA Problem Solutions, Inc. and a number of related companies have victimized homeowners, renters and homeowner associations for more than three years.
Michael Chancey is one of the principals named in the lawsuit, which says he and his business partners operate multiple HOA foreclosure businesses out of a Tampa strip mall storefront, which bears a sign indicating it is a sports marketing business.
The I-Team reported in June how Chance, his business partners and their attorneys bought home titles at HOA foreclosure auctions for pennies on the dollar, then rented the properties for a combined value of tens-of thousands of dollars a month.
The lawsuit says... and tenants told us... they often weren't told the homes were in foreclosure and that they would have to move out quickly before their leases were up.
“They pay for it in cash and rent the house for as long as they possibly can,” said former renter Christina Taverras. “And they gain their profits as long as they possibly can and once the bank says it's foreclosed, you've got to get out. Where's the families gonna go? surprise!”
“There's a lot of houses. A lot of families are getting kicked out because of this, and a lot of people don't know about this,” said former renter Jorge Taverras.
Attorney Ryan Torres, who represents clients who lost homes at HOA auctions, says new owners make big profits, but invest little.
“They don't pay the dues. They don't pay the taxes. What they basically do is ride it out as long as they can and collect as much rent as they can,” Torrens said.
The Florida Attorney General's Office is asking a judge to shut down the businesses and to award criminal penalties of up to $15,000 for every illegal act.