Wes Rocki


If I could draw I think I would write the HOA book as a series of cartoons because that’s how my mind tends to work.  Many of those cartoons would be funny, others not so funny.  But over the years never has there been a sumo wrestler in any of my imagined doodles or cartoons – until this interview.  That’s when I started putting sumo wrestlers in the picture .  But a gratuitous, enormous hulking, naked man in what appears to be a diaper, in the middle of a manicured, sterile, characterless, controlled residential association wasn’t quite connecting.  So, I decided to read up on sumo wrestling and sumo wrestlers. And all of a sudden it was a perfect fit, diaper and all.  I discovered, among other things, that although some of these massive men appear to be invincible, they have been toppled by smaller opponents.  A sumo historian is quoted as saying he believes the circular ring was chosen to assist smaller fighters slip away and that the sumo rules tends to root for the underdog.

If you find yourselves in the bullseye of an HOA battle, facing what may seem like a sumo wrestler, grin at the diaper and know that you can win.

Dr. Wes Rocki, MD, PhD joins us On The Commons.  Retired from practicing conventional medicine, Wes now focusses on alternative medicine, including techniques on self help and self healing.  He explains how we can empower ourselves to better handle any conflict.  We talk about how we can step away, mentally and emotionally to get a better grasp of the situation.  Wes gives us a lot of really good advice on how to not only survive being at the center of an HOA storm but how to survive emotionally, reframe the conflict, empower ourselves and win against that massive sumo wrestler in the ring with us.  So many light bulbs went off during the course of this interview.  Listen and be empowered.

Conflict Management is a necessary skill to have in these times. For further reading on Conflict Management, and possibly a different perspective, here is a link to a book available on Amazon.

Conflict Management


Listen to Wes Rocki


Professor Leon Robertson

For the past several decades, states have required that housing consumers, buying into a mandatory membership housing association, be provided what is commonly called a “disclosure package.”  Some states provide a list of what the package must contain.  Much of the information is accurate but confusing and makes little sense. Even some attorneys have a hard time trying to decipher some sections.  Realtors and some settlement attorneys shrug off any questions as “you agree to pay so much a month to get trash and snow removed,” where applicable.  No bells go off.  “HOAs protect property values” has become such a common notion that buyers do not dig any further and accept it on face value.  Intuitively that statement makes no sense whatsoever but, absent proof to the contrary, people still believe it.

Leon Robertson joins us On the Commons this week.  Professor Robertson, a retired Yale University professor, discovered HOAs like the rest of us, by buying into one and finding out that it was nothing like he expected.  Being a professor and very thorough, he started researching HOAs, land records, tracked sales, and wrote a paper titled Correlation of Homeowner Associations and Inferior Property Value Appreciation.  After he crunched the numbers and analyzed the research projects, the result was that far from increasing and enhancing property values, HOAs diminished property values.  Perhaps, in fairness and honesty, housing consumers should be given a copy of Professor Robertson’s paper before signing on the dotted line.

Based on his experience, Professor Robertson wrote a book called The HOA Murders – A Novel of Suspense.  I have it on my kindle and can’t wait to dive into it.  You can also see a preview of this book or buy it for your Kindle from Amazon at:


Listen to Professor Leon Robertson

Martha Boneta


We can all make a mistake but when we intentionally seek to mislead, it is called a lie.  Habitual liars have no credibility and without credibility they really have nothing.  Who is going to believe them?  But when it comes to sales, intentionally misleading the public should, and at one point did, have consequences.  At least when it comes to property,  which is always an emotional decision.  A false statement about the property can sway a decision one way or the other.  It is imperative that consumers are given all the TRUE facts and allowed to make an educated decision as to whether to proceed with the purchase or not.

And what happens when the ads are misleading?  

Martha Boneta joins us On The Commons.  Martha, many of you know, realized her childhood dream of becoming a farmer when she and her family bought Liberty Farms in Paris, Virginia.  At the time of the sale the farm was dilapidated and in desperate need of a lot of tender loving care.  A patriot and someone who loves the land and Virginia and tirelessly posts photos of her beloved Commonwealth on her Facebook page, the physical condition of the farm was less important than the purported historic significance of the farm.  The emotional hook for Martha was the allegation that Stonewall Jackson bivouacked on the land that was now part of the farm.  For someone who loves her country as much as she does, no other farm anywhere was as precious as Liberty Farm.  So she bought it, cleaned it up, fixed it up and turned it into a little corner of heaven on earth.  At least when it comes to the condition  of the farm.  But heaven was still a long, long way away.  Join us as we catch up with Martha and life on Liberty Farm.  



Frank Short

One of the most despicable and abusive practices that has become an acceptable part of the American culture recently is that of fining by residential associations.  Why is the HOA industry so enamored with the power to fine?  Is it really designed to FORCE people to act, live and behave according to some aesthetic plan concocted by the architects of controlled living? Whatever the real reason, it is a punitive measure that strips a person of his or her assets.  A few dollars can soon mushroom to tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars, resulting in the loss of someone’s home.   Proponents of this offensive practice wonder how else one can force compliance by a neighbor.  But is that really what they are concerned about or do they have ulterior motives?  Who benefits?
Joining us On The Commons this week is Frank Short.  Frank is an old friend of the show, a personal friend and a lawyer.  And, as only Frank can, he takes us on a historical trip through court cases that have examined fines.  We hear about the issues, the arguments and what the courts at various levels and in different states have ruled.  He packs an hour with a comprehensive and chronological look at fines, the courts and the legislatures. 


Maria and Sam Farran

Maria and Sam Farran

This is a rebroadcast show from July 2019 that we often talk about.  Tune in, you’ll love it just as much this time around.

Have you noticed how all sense flies out the window when an involuntary membership homeowners association is involved?  All of a sudden we fear everything that is not part of that uniform look and feel of a controlled community.  A different shade of blah can topple an entire neighborhood, an unapproved garden hose, dusty mailboxes, flags, rose bushes and pudgy pooches are all a threat to property values. An addition that doesn’t quite conform to the existing architectural guidelines will no doubt incite a riot, oh get real.

Maria and Sam Farran join us On The Commons this week. The Farrans  weren’t about to believe all the nonsense they were told.  They did their homework, knew the rules and the laws and decided to fight back.  After years of court room drama, they won their cases and were awarded attorney fees and court costs. However, there was a snag. You see, in the process,  their HOA ran out of money and went bankrupt.  But there is a happy ending after all. As Maria says; “We used to be a corporation that ran a neighborhood, we are now a neighborhood that runs a corporation”. I won’t ruin it for you so tune in and find out how they got their money and what happened to the association.  You’ll love it.

Listen to Maria and Sam
A Happy Neighborhood Once Again

Tell Us Your Own Story In your Own Words


Jan Bergemann

Jan Bergemann

The truth is that none of us has a crystal ball and can’t predict exactly what will happen, but life has taught us that certain pitfalls and dangers lurk around the corner and could cause a lot of problems. One of those problems is not having enough money set aside if the walls come tumbling down around us. In a condominium, it is mandatory that the board ensures that they fully fund the reserves unless they want to impose special assessments to make the necessary repairs to ensure that the buildings are safe and sound. It is inconceivable that the entire building will fail, right? Well, we have just witnessed one of the most horrific disasters that resulted from a condo that shrugged off their responsibility to fund the reserves and also to make the necessary repairs and replacements as they came due. Entire families lost everything they owned. If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is to make sure the condo collects the needed reserves and that we, the members, pay them when they are due. A special assessment will be a lot less convenient at a later date. 

They built a condominium where a shared building is owned by a business, managed by a board of directors, and funded by the members. What can go wrong? This arrangement complicates things considerably. The owners are required to comply with decisions made by others whether they like it or not. Unlike a traditional form of ownership, where the buyer buys and owns the building and is solely responsible for the maintenance, the members of the condominium are stuck with the responsibility of paying for any problems. And those problems can be disastrous, as we saw when the Surfside condo collapsed, killing entire families.

Jan Bergemann joins us On The Commons. As many of you know, Jan is the founder and President of the Florida-based Cyber Citizens for Justice. Jan has done a fantastic job at CCFJ and is very knowledgeable about condos and HOAs. He has long advocated for fully funding association reserves. Following the catastrophe at Surfside, he took things one step further. Jan called a town hall meeting with legislators and leaders from all different Florida groups to look at ways to prevent this from happening again. Fortunately for all of us, they recorded the meeting on Youtube and for all to watch. I urge you to take the time to tune in and consider something similar in your state. Here is the link  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hotkUUlYqk

Listen to Jan Bergemann


Bill Davis

HOAs are the disaster that keeps on giving. Ladies and Gentlemen, you must accept that HOAs are not for your benefit. HOAs are there to benefit your local government. The entire thing is a scam designed to force homeowners to pay more for the services they receive.

Bill Davies, an attorney who represents homeowners, joins me today on the commons. He fills us in on some of the things going on with HOAs. We also highlight a few things we would like to change. Tune in and listen to our wish list, and please help us achieve our goals. Our plans would only benefit you, the homeowners, and not the local gooses stealing your money.

The industry members and the others are getting rich off of you. By the way, HOAs do not protect your property value; they diminish your property value.


Jan Bergemann

The tragedy of the Champlain Tower collapse in Florida has the rest of the country, and perhaps the world, scratching their heads wondering why an otherwise seemingly well-built building would all of a sudden just collapse in the middle of the night? What happened to cause the building to crumble, burying many of the owners and residents in the rubble? How do we prevent something like this from happening again if we don’t know what caused it? There are as many thoughts and ideas as to the cause but nothing concrete yet. Was it, as some people speculate, rusted-out metal rebars? Did the saltwater have anything to do with it? Could the concrete have been too thin? Was it the proper consistency? And the all-time favorite, the owners failed to have sufficient reserves? I suppose there are loads of reasons why the building could have fallen so dramatically, but that is not helping us prevent it from ever happening again. So barring a conclusive reason for the failure of the structure, we turn our attention to the things we need to improve on to catch any flaws during the construction phase of a building. This is where the local governments need to step in and stop whining.

Jan Bergemann joins us On the Commons.  Jan is the founder and president of the Florida-based Cyber Citizens for Justice. Jan is always generous with his time and in-depth knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes in Florida. Today is no exception. His insider knowledge helped explain a lot of mysteries. We still have no conclusive evidence, but the Federal government is sending money and the workforce to dig a little deeper into the tragedy. Finally, our tax dollars may be doing some good instead of being wasted. Here, we hope we get some solid answers and make sure there will never be a repeat performance.  

Listen to Jan Bergemann

David Kahn

Over the years, there have been many of us involved with trying to understand why we have mandatory membership HOAs, whether or not they serve a purpose.  And we have spent many hours discussing where they serve a purpose.  Here is what we discovered: the sole purpose is for the municipal government to collect free tax dollars.  Check it out for yourself; You have an HOA that provides you with trash removal. Snow removal, if needed, street lighting, street repairs, and other minor tweaks as necessary.  So we all paid our assessments to the HOA, trash and snow have been removed, and street lighting has been provided. All of this was done by the HOA.  And then we got our bills for property taxes.  

Property taxes?  What on earth for?  In Virginia, those of us in Fairfax County got even more outrageous news. The county government discovered they had a huge surplus of funds. After giving it very serious consideration, the board decided they worked really hard and deserved a huge raise.  I cannot believe that abuse.  “They worked really hard!” What about all the mothers who worked full-time and part-time jobs to make enough money to feed their children? I would have greatly respected them had they decided not to tax their constituents, as they did not need additional funds.  Their avarice and greed have to stop.

I look forward to having David Kahn join us again to look at the many other ways we can trim the costs associated with HOAs and bring the insanity associated with the HOAs down to a minimum.  We do not deserve to be gouged needlessly.  Stay tuned, I look forward to these discussions.  I would love to hear from all of you; you can email me at Shu1@Cox.net. I’ll share them with David and all of you on this website,


Frank Short

Housing consumers are advised to do their due diligence, to read the governing documents of the HOA, before buying a unit in an association controlled development.  In fact some states have disclosure laws requiring sellers to provide these documents. Are housing consumers being given a false sense of security?  What happens the next time the legislature convenes to introduce new laws? 
Joining us On The Commons is Frank Short with our annual St. Patrick’s Day round up of the latest in HOA land.    Frank is an attorney, an owner and a long time advocate for homeowner rights.  We’ll talk about proposed legislation in Virginia, the good, the bad and the ugly and the legislators who sponsored the bills. 


News and Views About Homeowner Associations