HOA Threatens Homeowners with Massive Fines for Social Media Posts

Of all of the ways in which our Constitution finds itself under attack as of late, the corporate erosion of the First Amendment may be the most frustrating.

As Americans, we enjoy a very powerful right to free speech – a gift so important that the founding fathers felt it pertinent to make it the number one priority of the Bill of Rights.  As such, we have a responsibility to speak up against those who impugn us, whether they be personal acquaintances, government figures, or corporate cretins.

When it comes to airing our grievances against the business behemoths of the world, the most effective tool so far has been social media.  By tweeting “at” a company, the combination of public disgrace and real-time rhetoric tend to force businesses to respond with a quickness.

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But not everyone can take the heat, and one homeowners’ association in Arizona was taking social media complaints a bit too seriously.

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A Gilbert HOA is accused of trying to restrict its residents’ first amendment rights on Facebook by threatening fines and penalties if residents post comments that frame the board in a negative light.

“Considering you’re talking of a fine up to $250 a day and revoking your privileges at our clubhouse here, suing us with our own money, that’s pretty unfair,” said resident Mark Skarupa.

The posts in question came on a Facebook page where residents of the community were discussing how the HOA was operating.

Soon, letters from lawyers were flying around, threatening those who participated with $250 per day fines for their comments and, worse still, the legal fees for the HOA’s lawyers were being supplied by the HOA fees paid by the complaining residents.

Residents were understandably miffed, causing the HOA to backtrack.

“They cannot impact our first amendment rights,” said resident Sharon Maiden.

After we continuously pressured the board, another letter was sent out Thursday, retracting their previous threats.

But some say the letter didn’t go far enough.

“They sent another letter that still contained threatening language, they have not apologized and no one has resigned,” said Maiden.

While social media can be an incredible tool for reaching the masses and promoting your community, that is only a benefit to those who are already doing a great job.

It appears that this doesn’t apply to this particular HOA.

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