Articles Tagged with community association security

The recent news report by CBS4 Miami about a Miami Beach man who was charged with attempted murder and attempted arson for plotting to burn down his condo building should serve as a wake-up call for all condominium associations in Florida and across the country.  It appears to be a case in which the warning signs may have triggered a call to authorities that averted a horrific tragedy just in the nick of time.

The report states witnesses told police that Walter Stolper, 72, had shown aggression toward his fellow residents and the members of the association’s board of directors at their building at 56th Street and Collins Avenue.  As a result, he was facing an eviction action.

cbs4The breaking point for the initial call to authorities came when Stolper spoke with his friend Luis Diaz, who states in the station’s report:  “He told me he was tired of the association and the Jews in the building and he wanted to do something about it. He said he wanted to burn down the building. At first, I didn’t think he was serious, but then I heard him talk about blocking the fire department and their hoses, I realized he was serious and I had to do something.”

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MichaelHymanThe firm’s Michael L. Hyman wrote an article that appeared in today’s edition of the Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper.  The article, which was titled “Wrongful Death Suit Against Association Illustrates Perils of Negligent Security, Screening,” focuses on a lawsuit spurred by a double murder in the exclusive Yacht and Country Club of Stuart gated community.  Michael’s article reads:

The suit was filed in Martin Circuit Court on behalf of the estate of a mother and son who were shot and killed in one of the residences inside the Yacht and Country Club of Stuart. Robert Gulick, who turned the gun on himself and committed suicide, had an extensive criminal record that included at least nine arrests for 19 different crimes, despite which he was allowed to become a resident in the gated community due to its alleged lapses in its security and screening procedures.

Gulick had been employed by his father’s company, Gulick Construction, which is also named as a defendant in the suit along with homeowner Judith Matthews, who retained the company to conduct renovations and repairs on her home while she was away. He apparently formed a relationship with the front gate security guards and some of the neighbors, as he was able to take up residence in Matthews’s home where the owner also kept her rifle and ammunition.

According to the complaint, Gulick was known by the association and its security guards to be residing at the Matthews home, as he was waved through the security gates, parked his vehicle directly outside of the residence and was consistently treated as a lawful tenant. He allegedly began dealing drugs from the property. On Nov. 9, 2014, he contacted the front gate security staff to instruct them to grant access to the mother-and-son victims.

dbr logo-thumb-400x76-51605Even though the community association’s rules and regulations prohibited Gulick from giving access to nonresidents, the guards waved the mother and son through, and shortly thereafter they were both shot and killed.

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