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Homeowner beats HOA in fight that went to Nevada Supreme Court

Posted: 9:28 PM, Jan 13, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-13 21:28:24-05

Alongside the American flag and patriotic bunting, a banner unfurls across the roof-line of Jonathan Friedrich's Las Vegas home.

"Somebody finally has to stand up against these HOAs," said Friedrich's attorney Joel Hansen. "He fought hard for what was right. For truth, justice and the American way!"

The banner proclaiming the Rancho Bel Air HOA is guilty of fraud proves Friedrich is not one to shy away from a fight.

"When you're right, you're right!" said Friedrich. "It's that simple."

In addition to the banner, there are a couple of other new residents in Friedrich's front yard: large metal birds painted pink. The pink flamingo is an iconic anti-HOA symbol.

Friedrich's battle to prove he's not part of the guard-gated HOA he lives in has lasted nearly six years and cost him more than $300,000.

"It's outrageous!" exclaimed Friedrich. "This was a simple dispute! Are you or aren't you in the HOA?!"

From dollars to donuts, his story's got both.

In 2016, Friedrich's home was described as a donut hole. That makes the HOA the donut, and the hole simply isn't part of it.

Watch the original 2016 report:

Within Rancho Bel Air, there's a dividing line. One Friedrich literally painted down the middle of his street at his property line.

The community is made up of two units, developed at different times.

Friedrich followed a decades-old paper trail to find proof that homeowners like him in Unit One were never officially part of the HOA.

"The documents proved I was right," he said.

But he didn't know it at first because the developer for Unit Two sent all homeowners a letter telling them they were part of the HOA.

Friedrich paid in good faith until he found out the letter wasn't official.

"They lied to me at my closing. My title company screwed me. I paid for them to protect me. They did anything but."

When he stopped paying the $200 monthly assessments, "They sent him a foreclosure notice!" said Attorney Joel Hansen.

"They said, 'If you don't pay our assessments, we're going to foreclose on you.' And he said, basically, 'In a pig's eye!' "

He took the case to trial and won, but the HOA appealed to the state supreme court.

"They get a God complex-- that everybody has to do exactly what they say no matter what," said Hansen.

"We are not one of the Gestapo associations that you read about," said Unit Two Developer and HOA Board Member Barry Becker said in 2016.

"He bought into a guard-protected community and now he wants someone else to pay for his share of that," Becker said. When reached over the phone for this story, Becker had nothing new to add on the Supreme Court ruling.

The Nevada Supreme Court agreed with the trial jury that Friedrich did not have to pay and that the HOA committed fraud by "negligent misrepresentation" when they collected dues from him.

"I was right!" Friedrich exclaimed. "They were wrong, and they tried to steamroll over me and it's just not gonna happen."

Friedrich conceded that he spent more money fighting the HOA than paying the HOA dues.

"Way beyond it," Friedrich said. "But if you know somebody is stealing from you..."

That's how he saw it and he couldn't let it happen, no matter the cost.

The costs are still rising as Friedrich is still fighting to get the HOA to pay him an original jury award of $15,000 plus more than $320,000 in attorneys fees and costs.

The money matter is set to be heard in court at the end of this month.

This article was written by Darcy Spears for KTNV .