Make us your home page

Island Escape condos score 'final judgment' against fee scofflaw, again

CLEARWATER — In a case closely watched by other condominium associations, a small Clearwater Beach complex has moved a step toward evicting an owner who owes thousands of dollars in maintenance fees.

Last week, Pinellas County Judge Myra Scott McNary granted a final judgment of foreclosure against Laurence "Larry'' Holzer, who bought a unit at Island Escape on Island Way in 2005.

Since then, Holzer has paid his fees sporadically and is now $10,278 in arrears.

"It's a problem, especially for smaller complexes like ours,'' said condo association president Skip Shepherd. He and the other nine owners have had to pick up Holzer's share of fees as well as their own $325-a-month payments.

This is the second time Island Escape has won a final judgment against Holzer. Shortly before his condo was to be sold at public auction in June, he declared bankruptcy in a move that automatically canceled the sale. A bankruptcy judge later dismissed Holzer's Chapter 13 filing for failure to make required payments.

McNary set April 16 as the new date for Holzer's condo to be auctioned. Deutsche Bank — which holds the $335,000 first mortgage — would have priority over the association's lien and would be paid off first if the unit is sold to a third party.

If nobody bid, the bank would take title but under current law would be responsible for only six months of overdue condo fees or 1 percent of the loan amount, whichever is less.

The problem of deadbeat owners has become acute since many people who bought condos at inflated prices during the real estate boom are no longer able or willing to pay their mortgages and maintenance fees.

Several bills that would give associations some relief have been proposed for the current Florida legislative session. One measure would increase the cap on back payments to 12 months and another would eliminate caps altogether.

Holzer, whose Florida appraisal license was revoked in 2006, is living virtually free at Island Escape because he hasn't made a mortgage payment in more than two years. Besides being in default on both his mortgage and condo fees, he owes the Internal Revenue Service $18,272, court records show.

In a motion to forestall the foreclosure, Holzer said he had started a new company and intends to pay.

"How do you get him out of there?'' Shepherd wonders. "This is absolutely ridiculous — there's got to be some way to protect other people.''

Susan Taylor Martin can be contacted at

Island Escape condos score 'final judgment' against fee scofflaw, again 03/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Report slams Pinellas construction licensing agency and leaders

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board mismanaged its finances, lacked accountability and disregarded its own rules, according to a scathing report released Wednesday by the county's inspector general.

    Rodney Fischer, the executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, resigned in January.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. A meatless burger that tastes like meat? Ciccio Restaurants will serve the Impossible Burger.

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The most red-hot hamburger in the nation right now contains no meat.

    Ciccio executive chef Luis Flores prepares an Impossible Burger Wednesday at the Epicurean Hotel Food Theatre in Tampa.
  3. Construction starts on USF medical school, the first piece of Tampa's Water Street project


    TAMPA — Dozens of workers in hard hats and boots were busy at work at the corner of South Meridian Avenue and Channelside Drive Wednesday morning, signaling the start of construction on the University of South Florida's new Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.

    Construction is underway for the new Morsani College of Medicine and USF Health Heart Institute in downtown Tampa. This view is from atop Amalie Arena, where local officials gathered Wednesday to celebrate the first piece of what will be the new Water Street District. The USF building is expected to open in late 2019. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]
  4. Tampa Bay among top 25 metro areas with fastest growing economies

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy among 382 metro areas in the country for 2016. According to an analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Tampa Bay's gross domestic product, or GDP, increased 4.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to hit $126.2 billion.

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy in the country for 2016. Rentals were one of the areas that contributed to Tampa Bay's GDP growth. Pictured is attorney David Eaton in front of his rental home. 
  5. Tampa Bay cools down to more moderate home price increases

    Real Estate

    The increase in home prices throughout much of the Tampa Bay area is definitely slowing from the torrid rate a year ago.

    This home close to Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa sold for $3.055 million in August, making it Hillsborough County's top sale of the month. [Courtesy of Bredt Cobitz]