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Subject: Board Treasurer Taking Lumber from Greenbelts for Personal Use
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GnomeX
(Washington)

Posts:253


04/10/2018 1:09 PM  
We have a Board Treasurer that scheduled to have several large trees cut down from green belts in our HOA. They were danger trees that could fall on homes in properties adjacent to the greenbelt areas. I have no problem with that but then the Treasurer just takes all of the wood for their personal use.

I am told this was several large trees. Wood like this in our area goes for around $200 to $300 a cord. We are talking several cords of wood here with a monetary value. Typically in the past, the Board would sell felled lumber and the proceeds would be deposited in the association's bank account.

My question is this illegal and considered theft of association assets?
MarkM31
(Washington)

Posts:394


04/10/2018 1:18 PM  
Posted By GnomeX on 04/10/2018 1:09 PM


My question is this illegal and considered theft of association assets?




It probably could be considered theft or conversion. But not as egregious as you may think. While a cord may go for $200, much of that is in labor to buck it to 18", split and stack, and probably to deliver.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:724


04/10/2018 1:26 PM  
It sounds to me like the treasurer is saving the HOA some money by removing the lumber him/her self. Is it that you want some of the wood? I doubt there's any net profit to it unless you have volunteers cut it up.

GnomeX
(Washington)

Posts:253


04/10/2018 1:31 PM  
Posted By DouglasM6 on 04/10/2018 1:26 PM
It sounds to me like the treasurer is saving the HOA some money by removing the lumber him/her self. Is it that you want some of the wood? I doubt there's any net profit to it unless you have volunteers cut it up.





Not the case. The Treasurer did not fell the trees. A tree cutter was contracted and brought on site.

Like I said before. Prior Boards would sell the lumber. When we did it, we got around $2,000 in wood for around the same number of trees. The tree feller bought the wood from us, which lowered the bill we had with him.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1281


04/10/2018 1:39 PM  
In our area we have to pay tree people extra for haul off, I wish we could find one willing to pay for the wood.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
MarkM31
(Washington)

Posts:394


04/10/2018 1:41 PM  
Posted By DouglasK1 on 04/10/2018 1:39 PM
In our area we have to pay tree people extra for haul off




Same is true in Washington.

Typically a bigger issue is the limbs, brush and leaves
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2525


04/10/2018 2:21 PM  
In Florida that would be usurpation of a corporate opportunity, if the association could have sold the wood itself and pocketed the proceeds, and considered a breach of fiduciary duty. Doing the association a favor? No, it's a breach of fiduciary duty to take advantage of the situation for personal gain.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7767


04/10/2018 3:35 PM  
I agree with Genos. Your not doing your HOA any favors by selling the wood. The HOA is to be funded by dues collections. Otherwise this money could be taxable.

Plus having felled many of trees in our HOA, it may not be good wood to even sell. Many of these type trees are diseased or filled with bugs. Even if you chip to make mulch, it can feed a eco system to spread termites or other bugs to spread to the healthy areas. Plus the tree places usually charge extra to make mulch.

Now if it was me, I'd have all the membership interested in the cut wood to come and get it. Make it free to all members. I would not sell it outside the HOA. It may save in some expenses with the tree removal. Which in our area if trees are done by a contractor the city will NOT pick up the debris. We have to pay a contractor to remove it. If we let the members cut and take, then that saves us that money.

I don't see an issue with the Treasurer taking the wood as long as other members also have the same opportunity. I do have a problem with the HOA selling the wood to outsiders. It's NOT in the profit business.

Former HOA President
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


04/10/2018 6:16 PM  
As others have mentioned, I think it is more typical that wood from a tree does not have value and often costs to have it carried away. With that in mind, the treasurer may have thought he or she was doing you a favor. If you can sell it, and normally do, and the treasure knows that, I think it would be theft.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16050


04/10/2018 6:53 PM  
"selling" the wood to the contractor who is removing it, resulting in a lower cost is actually a good idea.
If our trees that had to be removed were worth anything, I'd consider it.

We often have the contractor leave the wood cut into fire place lengths (2 feet) and haul away the brush. This wood is then available to the residents. It saves the Association money and gives a benefit to the residents.

Is it possible that the Treasurer is simply doing that.
Asking the wood be left and then haul it away for self use?
MarkM31
(Washington)

Posts:394


04/11/2018 7:32 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 04/10/2018 6:53 PM
"selling" the wood to the contractor who is removing it, resulting in a lower cost is actually a good idea.




Most arborists in the metro Puget Sound and Vancouver areas have no interest in reducing a bill in order to keep the wood.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4166


04/12/2018 11:40 PM  
Have you asked the Treasurer about the issue? Generally before I go around stating anything about anything I have FIRST confronted the individual regarding anything I might question. Maybe the Treasurer did not think about the HOA selling the wood for profit. In which case that individual might step up to the plate and offer X amount for the wood. Or maybe they might tell you the BOD approved them taking the wood vs the HOA potential cost of hauling the wood away. Maybe the “current” BOD did not consider the thought of selling the wood and offered it to the Treasurer when that individual asked vs the cost of hauling away.

As you can see there are a few questions you need to seek answers to for us to better assess.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:360


04/15/2018 11:03 AM  
Well, here we go again. Lack of Board oversight with its own business contracts.

There should have been a written CONTRACT with the tree company. That contract would state whether or not the waste (brush and wood) would be taken and the area cleaned up. There is usually a larger charge for that service than the actual cutting/pruning the trees.

So - the Board should have known what it was going to be left with, after the trees were cut.

The Treasurer is probably doing the HOA a favor, but I'd be more worried about liability (injury to non-professionals cutting and hauling away waste wood) than the small amount of actual $$ value the Board THINKS it might have lost.


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