HOA Expert Witness
Professor Gary Phillip Solomon, A.A., B.A., MPH, M.S.W., Ph.D., Ph.D.(abd)
FREE CONSULTATION TO ATTORNEYS AND HOMEOWNERS
Professor Solomon is available for consultation by phone and testimony by electronic communication systems and on-site.
Professor Gary Solomon is available to provide expert witness testimony for homeowners involved in cases related to homeowners associations(HOA), condominium associations and mobile home parks. Professor Solomon's testimony is directed in the areas of psychological and physiological problems--stress related disorders-- in conjunction with homeowners associations.
A former college professor and author of 18 books, Professor Solomon is an expert in identifying complications related to HOA Syndrome, a constellation of pathologies as a result of harassment and abuse by homeowners associations, condominium associations and mobile home parks. Professor Solomon has been directly involved in numerous cases involving homeowners associations and homeowners. See HOA: Crises in America and HOA Academy for a comprehensive overview and analysis of HOA related issues and problems. (Material is available, free, on-line, 24 hours a day.)
HOA Syndrome, falls into the psychiatric category of Anxiety Disorders. The Syndrome is characterized by a cluster of signs and symptoms–psychophysiological indicators–such as: feeling angry much of the time • tired and fatigued • anxious • on-edge or irritable • unhappy in one’s own home • depressed and sad • worried • nihilistic (hopeless) • over or under eating • sleeping disorders and/or nightmares • fear of going to one’s own mailbox • paranoia • loss of identity • fear of allowing one’s children to play in their own neighborhood • fear of having one’s car ticketed or towed • community malaise, stressed out • body aches and pains • intestinal problems and/or acid reflux • memory loss • obsessive rumination • temporal mandibular joint problems (TMJ) and/or grinding of teeth • hypervigilance • restlessness • fear of losing one’s pet • sexual dysfunction.
Elder Abuse in HOAs
Most who hear the term, “elder abuse and neglect” envision older people living in nursing homes or elderly relatives who live alone and never have visitors. But elder abuse is not just a problem of older people living on the margins of our everyday life. To the contrary, elder abuse is right in our midst.
Elder abuse is defined as the infliction of physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse; financial exploitation, or intentional/unintentional neglect of an older adult.
Hitting, beating, pushing, kicking, pinching, burning, biting, over or under-medicating, depriving the elder of food, or exposing the person to severe weather-deliberately or inadvertently.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse:
Name-calling, giving the “silent treatment”, intimidation, and threats causing fear, mental anguish, and emotional pain or distress. Manipulation of the older adult also constitutes elder abuse.
Withholding appropriate attention or intentionally failing to meet the physical, social or emotional needs of the older person including, but not limited to, failure to provide food, water, clothing, medications, shelter, and assistance with the activities of daily living or help with personal hygiene. Neglect also includes failure to pay the bills, manage the elder person's money, cheat, dupe, scam, or manipulate the elder out of their money.
Inappropriate touching, photographing the person in suggestive poses, forcing the person to look at pornography, forcing sexual contact with a third party, rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, or any unwanted sexualized behavior.
Can range from misuse of an elder's funds to embezzlement, fraud, taking money under false pretenses, forgery, forced property transfers, purchasing expensive items with the older person's money without the older person's knowledge or permission, or denying the older person access to his or her own funds or home, improper use of legal guardianship arrangements, powers of attorney, or conservatorship, a variety of scams perpetrated by sales people for health-related services, mortgage companies, financial managers, homeowner associations, property management and collection companies.
What is Elder Abuse in HOA Syndrome?
The aforementioned–HOA Syndrome signs and symptoms–culminate into the key areas of elder abuse. For the elder the net effect is the same: abuse creates potentially dangerous situations leading to chronic physical or psychiatric health problems. The root of these problems comes from the constant harassment on the part of the HOA, management, and collection companies. Fear is the paramount outcome as a result of the harassment and financial exploitation.
The idea that what happens at home is “private” can be a major factor in keeping an older person locked in this abusive HOA situation. Those outside the family who observe or suspect abuse or neglect may fail to intervene because they believe “it's not their problem” or “I’ve got my own problems”. Shame, embarrassment and confusion often make it difficult for the older person to reveal the abuse.
What Causes HOA Syndrome?
At the root of HOA Syndrome is intentional, longitudinal and methodical harassment. Shortly after the individual takes possession of their property, the HOA strategically begins to focus on the homeowner’s minor, if not non-existent infractions. The purpose for these attacks is to create an income stream. This income stream makes its way into the pockets of the management companies, collection agencies and attorneys, none of whom live within the community that they are harassing. The homeowner, now locked into a mortgage, feels powerless over the HOA’s relentless hounding for more and more money.
How does HOA Syndrome Differ from Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has its root, in most cases, in a single event (an auto accident, a physical fight, a war, a rape, a death, etc.). Sometimes individuals may acquire PTSD over time from such cases as ongoing molestation, living in a violent environment (as seen in our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan), extended chaos from fractured, fragmented relationships, or unsafe living conditions. Though both HOA Syndrome and PTSD have similar signs and symptoms, HOA Syndrome has longitudinal intermittent intentional and economical harassment as its primary ongoing characteristics.