Attorneys love, create controversies (because they make money)
All three of the Edgewater Isle homeowner associiations have used Berding | Weil law firm. Berding | Weil, now of Walnut Creek, California, has a demonstrable pattern of interferring with homeowners' issues. Berding | Weil has seemingly supported and encouraged boards to act outside their authority or ignore the associations' bylaws.
Could it be that the law firm drums up controversy to drum up legal bills? We say "yes."
How many examples do we have? Lots. And not just from Edgewater Isle. Other HOAs have had similar experiences with Berding | Weil, and they're all very similar to those experienced at Edgewater Isle.
Oh yes, and Berding | Weil also actively pursues class action lawsuits. Probably to make a lot more money, but that's just a guess.
2003: Steven Weil Attempts to Belittle a Homeowner
A homeowner at Edgewater Isle had a dispute with the association's implementation of "late fees" on a special assessment. The board believed they could assess "late fees" on a special assessment that was paid on time according to the terms of the ballot that homeowners voted. Apparently, the board of directors forgot to read their own ballot, because they insisted the homeowner pay late fees.
Steven Weil fails to mention that the terms of the ballot to impose the special assessment contained different payment terms than the regular monthly dues terms, and that the issue was raised for a year prior to Mr. Weil's oh-so necessary involvement. Perhaps those concepts were a little too advanced for Mr. Weil.
And then, because that intimidation attempt failed, the homeowner wrote a follow-up, and got another little gem from Steven Weil (why are the "signatures" different?):
Hey Steven Weil: You set up your client for failure when the small claims judge asked "Where does it say that you can change the terms of a ballot after it's passed?" You failed your clients who lost this in small claims court, but you still made money. Good for you. Send yourself a fruit basket.
2005: Sun City–Roseville
A homeowner in Sun City Roseville HOA attempted to see association records for over a year. Berding | Weil participated in the thwarting and invoiced the HOA almost $15,000 for their efforts.
The homeowner made requests for records both verbally and in writing. The association denied access for 1 1/2 years, and ultimately the homeowner filed a small claims court case. The association, and their attorney, Sandra Bonato of Berding | Weil, attempted to move the case from small claims into superior court. Presumably to generate fees for themselves. The arguments that the attorney presented were ultimately completely rebuked by the court.
The homeowner's struggle was documented in a local newspaper. Below are some excerpts from his documents, but you have to read the whole story including Berding | Weil attempts to move it to Superior Court. Seriously, you have to read it.
After much bellyaching and ballyhoo by the association, the association got their clocks cleaned by the judge in the small claims court judgment:
2007: Sandra Bonato's Turn to Attempt Intimidation
Undeterred by her failure for her Sun City client, Sandra Bonato's unabashed gall continues with an Edgewater Isle homeowner when Sandra Bonato lies and says that a police report was filed on a homeowner. (Because, you know, the police routinely take reports when someone sends an overnight UPS letter.)
Nonsense. See the whole letter here.
2012: Why It's Important to Know What's Going On
December 5, 2012
Yesterday's San Mateo Daily Journal featured a cover story on Island J (more commonly known as "The Islands"), a neighboring HOA in Foster City. Island J has been through numerous assessments and currently suffers from very high monthly dues of over $800 per month. Island J's board of directors, lead by omnipresent HOA attorneys Berding & Weil, wanted to impose a $40,000+ assessment PER UNIT. The owners fought back and got the assessment reduced to $20,000 per unit, on top of the hefty dues.
In light of the budgets now being distributed, this article highlights why it is important to know what's going on in your homeowners association and demand answers instead of the fluff that the lawyers and property managers often try to use as a substantive answer.
So, what is going on with this law firm that repeatedly gets in the way of homeowners who have rightful business with the HOA? Why is Berding | Weil repeatedly demonstrating an uncooperative and antagonistic approach with homeowners?
We can only assume it is because every time they do, they contribute to their quota of billable hours (i.e., it makes money for the law firm). The final result doesn't matter: they made money. The God Almighty Dollar. $$$$$$ Lots of it.
Anyone who would like to add to this list is welcome to contact us.