Fusco's unit was one of 11 that were individually owned; another 97 were rental units. When the owner of the rental units failed to pay his mortgage, a company under the control of local developer Kevin Timochenko snapped all of them up for $7,200 at a foreclosure auction.
The purchase gave Timochenko's company, Water Polo I, LP, control of nearly 90 percent of the units of the complex, arming it with enough votes to dictate condominium association policy. Soon after the purchase, Fusco and her fellow homeowners received a letter informing them that, come January, condo association fees would more than double, to $450 a month.
Anxiety over raised assessment fees paled in comparison to what happened next: The new condo owner called a vote to terminate the condo association altogether.
Under Section 3220 of the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act, when a condominium is dissolved, the condo association can put the entire condominium up for sale, regardless of who owns the individual units. So in acquiring control of the condo association, Water Polo I also gained the right to sell Fusco's home.
The buyer? Another company controlled by Kevin Timochenko.
It might not have been so bad if Fusco and the other owners got paid what they believed their homes were worth. Pennsylvania law states that in the event of a condominium sale, unit owners have the right to the fair market value of their homes as determined by an appraiser selected by the condominium association. That means that even though Fusco's unit had been valued at $101,000 by an independent appraiser earlier this year, she would get only the amount determined by the appraiser hired by the condominium association.
These stories are not acceptable.
I am absolutely shocked by this. This is beyond the pale.