Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Some Residents Dissatisfied with Homeowners' Board; Coppergate Group Unsuccessful in Ousting President, Other Board Members

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Some Residents Dissatisfied with Homeowners' Board; Coppergate Group Unsuccessful in Ousting President, Other Board Members

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY MARAGHY

Some residents of the Coppergate subdivision in Middleburg describe their homeowners' association president as a spendthrift who rules with a tyranically hand. (That's a cleaned up description.)

It's a venomous dispute, involving several colorful New York and New Jersey transplants with pronounced accents who said their neighborhood's aesthetics are going downhill and they are fed up with a homeowner association board that has refused to address their concerns.

Residents said they served HOA president Victor Marini - and the entire board of directors, two of whom live on Marini's street and the other two live close to him - with a recall notice April 28. They included a Florida statute-required petition containing signatures of 214 of the 340 homeowners - 70 percent, while only 50 percent was required. And they hired Thomas Santoro, an Orange Park attorney, to help with the ouster.

"There is definitely a dispute going on there," said Santoro, who said he was still trying to determine if the angry residents are proceeding correctly.

Marini and Coppergate's property manager, Maria Jerez of Property Management Systems Inc., who is employed by the board, declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the residents said they followed recall procedures under Florida law. But they said Marini, who owns four homes in the neighborhood, refuses to leave office and turn over the records. They said Marini has been calling residents to ask if they really signed the petition. They also said Marini announced in the last board meeting that he's hired his own attorney, who will be paid by homeowners fees. Marini's attorney didn't return telephone calls.

"If he's stolen even $1, we will put him in jail. People are ready to choke this guy. One guy wanted to go to his house with a baseball bat," said Alexander Tosto, who quit the Coppergate homeowners board in February. "People are knocking on my door wanting to sign this. …

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