KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Florida Highway Patrol has terminated a contract for off-duty patrols inside a Kissimmee community after a trooper was asked to enforce a fake trespass warning to a homeowner.
Channel 9 investigative reporter Karla Ray has been following a back and forth legal battle between neighbors and the home owners association management company in the Turnberry Reserve neighborhood for months.
Only law enforcement can issue a trespass warning, but the property management and security team in the community have issued so-called “trespass notices” to homeowners here before.
READ: Turnberry homeowners sue HOA board, management firm
And in at least two incidents caught on camera, they tried, and failed, to have actual law enforcement back them up.
Cellphone video taken last week in the playground and pool area of Turnberry Reserve shows a Florida Highway Patrol trooper approaching homeowner Waleska Herzog.
According to the trooper’s incident report, security officer Ailyn Depena said that Herzog was violating a trespass warning.
READ: Kissimmee property manager accuses commissioner of ‘slanderous,’ ‘malicious’ statements
Herzog said the notice was issued to her by the Turnberry HOA property management company, Management 35 Firm.
“This is not an actual trespass. I would be the one to issue a trespass,” the trooper says when shown the notice.
Herzog said she wasn’t doing anything wrong.
“I am not trespassing. I'm not breaking any laws. I'm just there playing with my kids,” she said.
A week before that incident, video was taken of an Osceola County deputy clearly explaining the law to Management 35 owner Sherry Raposo.
READ: Ex-cop-turned-felon found in violation of state law following Channel 9 investigation
Raposo: “You’re saying it’s a civil matter because they live here?”
Deputy: “It's an HOA and they pay dues.”
Raposo: “I'm sorry, so if I go get her ledger and show she hasn't paid dues…”
Deputy: “It's a civil matter as well.”
Deputy: “It’s a homeowners’ association, not a ‘you’ association.”
In the video above, you can hear an Osceola Sheriff’s Deputy explain to Sherry Raposo why she cannot issue a trespass unless she’s law enforcement, and why he cannot trespass someone from property they co-own as an HOA member. This video was taken on January 27.— Karla Ray (@KRayWFTV) February 11, 2020
FHP said its troopers will not be used to bully or intimidate homeowners.
Lt. Kim Montes said she now questions whether hiring her agency for an off-duty-detail was merely an attempt by Management 35 to obtain a real trespass warning against Herzog.
“He was put out there, and, when he was asked to do this, was possibly there to intimidate those homeowners, and we’re not going to participate in that,” Montes said. “We will not be doing anything else with Management 35.”
FHP says they terminated their off-duty contract with Turnberry following the incident and will never work with them again. No trespass was actually issued. pic.twitter.com/UX5lP2LRC4— Karla Ray (@KRayWFTV) February 11, 2020
There is an ongoing state investigation into the property management company and its security manager, Joseph Conover.
Conover is a convicted felon who is now accused of performing security work without a license.
Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for updates.
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