Half a year after an HOA corruption probe was exposed by the Eyewitness News I-Team, it's getting major attention by lawmakers in Carson City. Lawmakers are working on creating some legal teeth to stop this from happening again.
Last September, the allegations and investigations were everywhere. Thanks to new legislation, those days may soon be over.
The Park Avenue Condo Complex doesn't look like it could be a crime scene, but after years of worry and shocking betrayals, Barb Noto has her community back.
She stood by, essentially powerless to stop Park Avenue from being overrun by those she says were there to make big bucks. Now with the possibility of tougher laws, "This is a step in the right direction."
Noto and others say Park Avenue and several other HOA's were allegedly part of a wide-reaching plan by Leon Benzer and his associates. He is a developer who is said to have used friends to take control of HOA boards and funnel questionable work to his construction company. Sources tell the I-Team, that money could add up to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Noto says the problem started with questionable elections, "There are hundreds of millions of dollars for them and if they can manipulate the law in their favor, then they're going to do it."
State Senator Mike Schneider proposed two bills Wednesday that would clamp down on HOA boards to open up the books and reveal any conflicts of interest. It would also bar people from tampering with board elections and if they do, it is a category C felony -- up to five years in prison.
Noto wants even more justice, "I would like to see it a little more serious than that after what our Park Avenue community went through last year."
With the spotlight brightest and the HOA's back in order, Noto hopes the worst is over now and forever, "Hopefully it will make owners aware that they need to pay attention."
There was no opposition to the corruption provisions, but those parts are wrapped up in major bills dealing with HOA's. They expect some changes and tweaks. Both bills should have another hearing soon and a possible vote.
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