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Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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‘Condo Cops’ chronicles bizarre behavior at Tampa Bay area complexes

Mike Perez says only a tiny percentage of residents his Ameri-Tech Community Management deals with would ever wash their private parts on a public pool deck, create a voodoo doll in his likeness or drunkenly crash a golf cart into a water pipe.

But after 25 years of overseeing properties throughout the Tampa Bay area, the stories have added up.

Tales of weird, rude and illegal behavior — all true, he says — are the basis of “Condo Cops,” a lighthearted series he created about “the best of the worst,” as Perez puts it.

The seven-episode first season, which was still being filmed as of Oct. 8, begins airing on CW44 on Oct. 25 at 4:30 p.m..

For now, it will only be seen in the Tampa Bay area, but Perez hopes the reenactments of overly flirtatious elderly women cruising pool decks, and neighbors stealthily whacking each other in the head with fish will lead to a wider distribution. He said he has at least 300 incidents that would work for the show — such as the man who installed a fully functional toilet on his front porch.

“We thought it was just a spare he left out there when he put in a new one,” Perez said. “When I got there, there’s a little picket fence, but you can still see the guy on his toilet. And he was using it, sitting there reading the newspaper. He told me he was waiting for the mail.”

The series is directed by Ron Satlof, a prolific TV director throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s who worked on “Magnum P.I.,” several Perry Mason movies and “Diagnosis Murder.” It was filmed in the Tampa Bay area, sometimes at the same complexes where the real-life events happened.

Ameri-Tech manages dozens of condominium complexes and deed-restricted communities in the area, mostly in Pinellas County.

Some small liberties are taken with the details. A young actor might replace a tenant who in real life was elderly, and a real-life bowl of salsa that was dumped on Perez’s head gets swapped for guacamole on TV, but he says the reenactments are as close to reality as possible and were verified with non-compliance records the company keeps.

Perez himself stars in the series along with real-life property manager Darleen DePoalo and condo association lawyer Michael Guju. The tenants are played by actors.

Perez said he doesn’t think that the abundance of outlandish behavior has anything to do with the “weird Florida” stereotype.

“Florida is like other states, but it’s probably the condo capital of the world,” he said. “A lot of people move down here and they’re not used to condo living. You get a lot of people from out of state, but the association tells them things and most people aren’t necessarily used to that kind of enforcement.”

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