their own negligence was the ultimate cause of any damages that occurred. I still don't know the full specifics, as this was relayed to me by a third party. But I don't want to waste any time formulating a plan of action. I'm well aware that a person essentially has no right to fight any such claims, unless they are 100% certain they will prevail, because even a "split decision" that is paid immediately shows up negatively on a credit report if they are the defendant. I do not even know if the amount makes any difference for credit scoring purposes, though most of the info I've read indicates that paid judgments decrease in importance with time, until either the statute of limitations (which would be 2 years in my state) or 7 years (I've seen conflicting info as to which), after which they have no bearing on the score. It makes psychological sense that an attached explanation/dispute that notifies anyone examining the report that the amount was in dispute could help lessen the effect on human analysis of the report, if it does not relate to payments on credit. But regardless, I want to avoid all of that. So I may need to figure out a pre-emptive strike. The only thing I can think of is to turn back the attack and make them the defendant. Pay them the full amount they're claiming without admitting responsibility (or even disclaim with notations on the check and other correspondence if such does not invalidate my counter-claims), find out the identities of all the association board members, then sue them jointly and individually, explaining in the suit my reason for paying them to preserve my credit rating, thereby turning their extortion game back on them. That way, regardless of the ultimate disposition, my credit remains OK, and they're at very least put on the hot seat for their extortion attempt. Does this make sense? Any other ideas? It makes me sick to cave in to extortion, but the amount is not great enough for it to be worth it, as I need to maintain good credit for higher aims that are likely to make me many, many times more money. I figure giving as good as I get is the best I can do if they are not reasonable.