Tariq Kamal, Auto Dealer Monthly Managing Editor.

Tariq Kamal, Auto Dealer Monthly Managing Editor.

As a New Yorker-turned-Californian, I have long considered Florida to be a relatively lawless state. No income tax, friendly import-vehicle and handgun rules, spring break, South Beach … Those Floridians just do whatever they want, I thought. Not so, says Ted Smith, president of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association, who joined me, our publisher, David Gesualdo, and a group of dealers, agents and industry executives at the inaugural Compliance Summit in the Miami area in November.

Smith joined a luminous roster of attorneys, dealership compliance officers, trainers, agents and other experts to break down the long list of rules, regulations and actions that threaten Florida dealers at the state and federal levels. They had a lot of ground to cover and only two days in which to do it. Luckily for all involved, the speakers were up to the task and the crowd was fully engaged throughout the program.

The event kicked off with “Dealer Beware,” a keynote address from Randy Crisorio, and the title pretty well sums up the content. Crisorio’s company, United Development Systems, is based in Clearwater, and he would be followed by fellow Floridians Alex Kurkin Esq. (Miami and Tallahassee), James S. Ganther Esq. (Tampa) and Janice Griffin Esq. (Miami). By the time Ted Smith took the stage for our Day Two luncheon address, I was convinced Florida is as much a regulatory crapshoot as any other state — at least for auto dealers.

We wrapped it all up with “Is This Compliant,” an open-forum discussion in which all our speakers and attendees participated. We tackled issues ranging from power of attorney to video recording the F&I transaction. It was electric.

As you may have heard, Compliance Summit is not an annual event. It’s a traveling show. We will be in Dallas this April and Chicago in June, before joining up with Industry Summit in Las Vegas next ­September.

If you live and work in the South, Midwest or West, I encourage you to reach out to David Gesualdo with the topics and speakers you want to see and hear from in your home region.