All associations, COAs and HOAs, should operate according to the governing documents. There are several problems with this system that allow board members to show favoritism or even be bullies.
Very few people are involved in attending meeting and joining committees. Less people watching the leaders means its easy to run a dictatorship and steal.
Very few people want to be board members so the same people run the associations for years and get used to having their way.
Very few people vote so its easy to stay in power and even rig the voting if necessary.
Very few people care what's going on unless they have a problem.
There is little regulation of COAs by the state and almost none at all of HOAs (elections only). The only resource owners have to fight is to sue and most people can't afford to sue.
The associations and their attorneys have well organized lobbying groups who are able to get the laws they want passed.
Notice all but the last two issues are problems originating with the owners. These are problems you and your neighbors have the power to fix.
A good friend of mine once said associations have more power over our citizens then the founding fathers ever envisioned. This was the exact tyranny they tried to prevent. Welcome to Flori-duh!
Residential Real Estate Lawyer