HOA President Threatens To Sue Newspaper For Using Neighborhood’s Name In Article

Some residents of an Indiana neighborhood say the leadership of their homeowners association have gotten a bit power-hungry and lawsuit-happy, and the HOA’s response to a local newspaper doesn’t do much to help out the association’s public image.

The Evansville Courier & Press recently wrote a lengthy piece about HOAs and how they can range wildly in quality, from being so laissez-faire that you wonder where your money is going to providing the services your area needs to micro-dictatorships that leave residents unhappy.

The HOA at the center of this story is called Stonecreek Arbors, in Indiana’s Vanderburgh County. According to the paper, the Stonecreek HOA was responsible for more than half of all the liens filed in the county last year. Many of these liens were for unpaid HOA dues worth a little more than $200.

The 49 liens filed by the HOA translates to slightly less than 1/6 of all the homes in the subdivision.

Then there are the gripes by the subdivision’s residents. One man says he paid $300 of his own money to take down a crumbling brick wall along a driveway that ran between his and his neighbor’s house. Now he and that neighbor are being told they can no longer park cars in that driveway. They say their sudden ban on parking there — after several years of being told it was okay — hasn’t stopped an HOA board member from using it to tow his boat to a nearby lake.

Another resident says she was told by the HOA president that she needed to have a microchip implanted in her dog. Now, we’ve certainly heard tales of HOAs requiring dog DNA, but in those cases the DNA demand came after a change in HOA rules. The Courier & Press says there are no rules in Stonecreek that require dogs get microchips implanted.

“He just wants to tell you what to do all the time,” says the dog owner about the HOA president.

The paper says that after a brief interview with the president (who also identifies himself as treasurer and legal agent for the HOA), he sent the following e-mail stating the paper could not use the subdivision’s name:

“[T]his notice also requires you not to at any measure mention anything regarding my name, any resident of Stonecreek, NOR will we ALLOW any of your printing in any article regarding Stonecreek at any time in any publication… You will be held liable for any violations of this letter and notice/request in this email. If we find/discover you have mentioned Stonecreek in any legal matter their (sic) will be action toward yourself as well as any print paper you represent in the media article.

“You may contact any HOA in the County of Vanderburgh, the State of Indiana, but Stonecreek will not PERMIT OR ALLOW YOU our legal name in any future article.”

That obviously didn’t work, nor did the phone call to the Courier & Press, which demanded the paper “stop this article immediately, because I will sue you just like I sue the people who don’t pay their dues.” he said.

Below is a full recording of the reporter’s interview with the HOA president.

Perhaps we should just add this story to this list of reasons to avoid HOAs altogether.

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