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A condo association in Florida is threatening a woman with fines after she housed displaced Bahamians

Posted: 10:46 AM, Sep 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-20 11:45:59-04

TEQUESTA, Fla. — A woman trying to take in longtime family friends who were displaced from the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian is being told by her condominium association that it’s against rules, and if she keeps it up, she’ll start getting daily fines.

Donell Pubien’s home in Abaco is still standing, but barely. There are gaping holes in the roof and the walls are wrapped by water. It’s unlivable.

“Rocks would fly through and sound like shotgun bullets,” he said in an interview. “This hurricane was really devastating.”

He and his family have been close friends with Teena Lavalvo for about 10 years. They would come to visit her often over the years.

Lavalvo helped arrange for a private plane to take them off the island. The rest of his family went to stay at his sister’s but there wasn’t enough room for him, so he came to Teena’s townhome in the Tequesta Cay community.

Other displaced Bahamians stayed at her house too. She says the highest total was seven, which was for one night. She says Pubien is now her only guest.

Lavalvo was welcoming, but she says her condo association was not.

“(The manager) indicated that she had been informed that I had brought in displaced families into my home and that it was against the guidelines of my association,” Lavalvo said.

Just days after that conversation she got a letter from her association’s management company. It says the home is for a single family and that she’s not allowed to rent any rooms out. She says she’s providing temporary housing for free.

“I do not understand how this association, or any other community, wouldn’t have empathy for the fact that we have been going through a very short period of transition,” she said.

And starting next week, she could be fined $100 to $1,000 every day a displaced Bahamian is there.

"Out of everything, you’re always going to find spiteful people and people that just don’t care about other people," Pubien said. "But you’ll always find good people where ever you go.”

WPTV was unable to reach the management company late Thursday afternoon by phone. The company has yet to call back.

This story was originally published by Andrew Lofholm on WPTV.