By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
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Amid her legal battles, Perez mounted an offensive against the Duggers. She rallied homeowners from both communities to protest in the streets, in front of the church, and at the Stephen P. Clark Center in downtown Miami, where the offices of the mayor, county commissioners, and the county manager are located. Leroy Jones, a member of the Miami-based black activist organization Brothers of the Same Mind, which serves as an advocate for minorities and low-income families, helped Perez organize the downtown demonstration, held during a county commission meeting. "Most of the residents didn't want Timberlake because they felt the company was trying to force them into losing their properties," he says. "The liens and attorney fees seemed pretty outrageous when you consider most of the people there are low income."
In 2002 Perez also began dissecting the personal finances of Bob and Rachel Dugger. Using the Internet, she logged on to databases of the Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts and other public agencies, and discovered that the Duggers had their own winding trail of debts, liens, foreclosures, and judgments. She found out that Timberlake owed the IRS more than $260,000 in unpaid payroll taxes, in addition to the Duggers' back debt of more than $100,000 in personal federal income taxes. Her search of public records turned up 29 liens against Timberlake Management by the Florida Department of Revenue for not paying state taxes. In court files, she unearthed a 2001 lawsuit against the Duggers by Miami-based International Finance Bank, alleging that the couple had defaulted on a commercial loan. According to that case, the bank won a default $1.1 million judgment against the couple and foreclosed on a commercial building they owned at 5050 NW 74th Ave., which used to be Timberlake's headquarters. And she found homeowner complaints, filed with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, that led to investigations by state regulators into Bob Dugger's alleged mismanagement of four homeowners associations in Miami-Dade. In 2001 he was fined $1000 for withholding documents from one association and other acts of "gross misconduct."
Early last year, Perez went to Timberlake's office and demanded copies of financial statements and bank records for Miramar Gardens. The company produced a check history report and copies of canceled checks for all three of the Miramar Gardens bank accounts. Recently, as a followup to her first request for information, Perez asked to see the original signed and canceled checks, contracts, and invoices that would support the financial statements and check history reports she had previously obtained from Timberlake. Florida HOAs are required to maintain financial and accounting records, including itemized receipts and expenditures, for at least seven years. To date, Timberlake has not produced the checks, contracts, or invoices.
After reviewing the check history reports that Timberlake did provide, Perez says, she grew certain that the company was up to no good. For example, in 1999 Judge Simons granted Timberlake's request to pay the landscaping company H.E. Hernandez Enterprises $12,000 under a contract to provide lawn service and trash removal in Miramar Gardens and Vista Verde. In late 2000 the landscaper sued Timberlake, claiming that the property management company had not paid for the $12,000 job and other work done at both communities totaling $25,690. Timberlake replaced H.E. Hernandez with The Works Landscaping, a company that leased an office in the Duggers' foreclosed commercial building from 1997-2001. According to Miramar Gardens bank statements, The Works received $150,289.10 between 2000 and 2002 for regularly cutting the lawns, trimming trees, cleaning up yard debris, and performing other landscaping chores.
During a tour of Miramar Gardens and Vista Verde, it is quite evident that vegetation is no longer a top priority. Trees with bare limbs and no leaves are in abundance. Dirt mounds dot the landscape where green sod should be. Broken sprinkler systems jut out from the ground. "What are they cutting?" Perez says sarcastically. "Weeds?"
Another peculiar expense item Perez came across was a $100 check to Adolph "Al" Coletta, a North Bay Village real estate investor who helped Dugger get elected to the North Bay Village City Commission in 2002. According to a copy of a canceled check, Coletta was paid for the removal of dead dogs from an abandoned home in Miramar Gardens. Perez didn't know Coletta, but last year, she says, she learned that Dugger was facing serious criminal charges because of his relationship with Coletta. According to his arrest affidavit, Dugger was charged with one misdemeanor for not revealing on his 2002 financial interest form, mandatory for all elected officials in Miami-Dade County, that he was "substantially indebted" to Coletta, who had assumed the mortgage on one of Dugger's investment properties and paid off the mortgage on another. The remaining six misdemeanor conflict-of-interest charges he faces in court pertain to votes he cast as a city commissioner in favor of a zoning request that would have benefited Coletta, who had also assumed ownership of Dugger's $1.5 million bayfront house in North Bay Village when Dugger's family could not pay off a bank mortgage on the property in 2002. Coletta paid off the mortgage and allowed Bob and Rachel Dugger to continue living in the house.
Perez is also after Eric Glazer, the association attorney brought in by Timberlake to file the liens and foreclosures against nonpaying homeowners. She believes Glazer and the Duggers orchestrated a scheme to gouge homeowners who are behind on their association dues by imposing outrageous attorney fees. Glazer and the Duggers have a history of often referring business to each other; for example, the Duggers have persuaded at least half of their Timberlake clients to hire Glazer as their association's attorney. In 2001 Glazer and Bob Dugger were also business partners in a company called Florida Condominium Center, which provided consulting services to homeowners associations. In addition Glazer, who declined written and verbal requests for comment, handled the three private real estate transactions between Dugger and Coletta that eventually helped lead to Dugger's arrest. "The Florida Bar should take away Glazer's license to practice law," Perez fumes. "They're all a bunch of delinquents."