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Subject: Email to owners
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Author Messages
AlexM1
(Oklahoma)

Posts:242


04/15/2018 6:08 AM  
Can any of you advise if it is illegal for a Board member to email many owners to inform them to not vote for a certain person?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7611


04/15/2018 6:15 AM  
What do you mean illegal? Go to jail? Nope. Is it in bad taste? Yes. I would reply that communication is for HOA business ONLY not of personal opinion.

However, saying that.. What did the wording of the email actually say? Did it exclusively say "Do NOT vote for Joe Blow" or was it that "Do not vote for Joe Blow because they are not in good standing"?

Former HOA President
AlexM1
(Oklahoma)

Posts:242


04/15/2018 6:24 AM  
No, just that voting for the other person (who is definitely in cahoots with the management company) will jeopardize the HOA to huge pay outs to members of the management company and eventually deplete the HOA funds
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15954


04/15/2018 7:21 AM  
Politics are politics.

Anyone can send literature or talk to anyone else to sway votes.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7695


04/15/2018 7:22 AM  
I say nothing wrong if the sender specified they were speaking personally and not representing the BOD.

But even if they did not what is the punishment? A nasty letter in their personnel file.......LOL
AugustinD


Posts:1088


04/15/2018 7:25 AM  
As long as the director uses only resources available to all members, then he or she has the legal right to campaign for others like any other member.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1193


04/15/2018 8:07 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 04/15/2018 7:25 AM
As long as the director uses only resources available to all members, then he or she has the legal right to campaign for others like any other member.


This is my take too. They should not use an association email account, or any email lists that are not available to anyone else campaigning. However, even if they do, I doubt that any laws where broken (could depend on state), it would just be an ethical issue, which probably has no effective penalty.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5656


04/15/2018 9:18 AM  
I agree with most others. Not illegal. Nasty? Yes. Childish? Yes. Likely to come back & bite the letter writer? Yes. Could spread bad feelings throughout your HOA? Yes.

Are you the one who'd write the letter, Alex? If so, and you include the charges that you state in your post here, you should be very careful of defamation of character and slander (liable? I always forget which is which) charges against you.

How are you so sure this person would get your HOA members to pay too much money to management? Wouldn't other directors stop him by voting against his evil schemes? Or would this person have the authority to write checks against your HOA's accounts and slip them to management without any other directors knowing?
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2993


04/15/2018 9:49 AM  
Some of you here cry about allowing owners access to homeowners email addresses. Well, in this case one or Board members may have or are considering emailing homeowners in the form of campaigning.

In that case, any owner, running for a Board seat should have equal access to the same information. In California, that would be a small claims case starting at a minimum of $500.00 per instance.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


04/15/2018 12:19 PM  
I think the board member has every right to do so and, if he really believes the candidate is bad for the association, it is the right thing to do.

The only issue would be if the board member was using the associations email list, and it is not available to the general membership, or he was using the association's resources (computer, email server, etc). Both would be inappropriate, at least.
AlexM1
(Oklahoma)

Posts:242


04/15/2018 12:37 PM  
Not sure what is meant by an association's email account.. I do not know of any Association's account.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5656


04/15/2018 12:43 PM  
What Ben's saying, Alex, is that Board member may not use any HOA resources to send this email.

I dunno, Ben. The charges Alex makes sound a lot like gossip & rumor to me. How do you know, Alex, that the candidate is as dangerous as you allege?
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


04/15/2018 2:00 PM  
Posted By AlexM1 on 04/15/2018 12:37 PM
Not sure what is meant by an association's email account.. I do not know of any Association's account.



I think most HOAs have their own account. Probably 90% of our communications with title companies and members are through email. It could be one of the free accounts like gmail.com or like ours which is through our website server. Either way, a board member encouraging someone to vote or not vote for a candidate should be doing it as an individual on his/her personal account.
AlexM1
(Oklahoma)

Posts:242


04/15/2018 2:11 PM  
I do not believe we have such a thing as an HOA account... We each have our own account... whether it be AOL.. yahoo, etc.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7611


04/15/2018 2:17 PM  
Well then who sent the email? It doesn't sound like the HOA. Sounds like a board member did it on their own from their own account. We had an email account [email protected] for people to use. If you don't have one of them, then it's an individual. Which I would respond to let them know that your email isn't for public use but for business if it comes from the HOA. Don't think the board should be using the email addresses of the owners for personal use.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5656


04/15/2018 3:14 PM  
How do you know the rumors about the candidate are true, Alex?
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2993


04/15/2018 6:51 PM  
Where did obtain the email addresses of the owners? That is the question. Who cares what email account it was sent from, unless it was from a domain paid for by the association.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:85


04/16/2018 6:49 AM  
Alex,
I have been through this on my HOA. I had a Board President who was very stinky. He had many conflicts of interests and dirty dealings. While I was on the board and the minority I constantly pointed these issues out in open session. Problem with open meetings is only a small fraction of the community comes to the meetings. I decided after threatening the board that if this did not stop I would notify the community of these actions.

During the next election I requested a list of all home owners from our PM and she gave it to me. Every candidate has a right to this list. I mailed a letter to all explaining in detail all of the items in question and I signed the letter. I owned it because I had proof of every item. I also stated that if anyone wanted to see the proof I would meet them and share it. No one took me up on the offer but he did not get re elected.

I would never use email for this type of thing because that can get you in to a whole new can of worms. How did you get these email addresses was it from HOA correspondence? Did they get them from HOA meeting sign in sheets? Any of those would make it HOA information not available to the average homeowner.

If I were a regular resident I would have gone to the person who sent that note and demanded that a Rebuttal be sent to the same email list from the same sender giving equal access to that list which is clearly fair.
AlexM1
(Oklahoma)

Posts:242


04/16/2018 6:54 AM  
I have about 15 owners and renters that I have been in contact with... these are friends that I have made over time... we correspond back and forth frequently.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:85


04/16/2018 7:17 AM  
Alex,
If you are corresponding with 15 of your friends it is certainly your right. I am not sure how many homes are in your HOA but I would assume that is a small fraction. Everyone talks to friends about politics these days.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5656


04/16/2018 1:41 PM  
So it is you, Alex. Sure, it's your right to campaign against a candidate. A lot of nasty accusations from you about the person, though, may turn people against you instead. You better have proof of your charges, I'd say.
RyanV2
(New York)

Posts:5


04/17/2018 9:39 PM  
I think it's okay to do that as long as it looks like you're only exerting your opinion via online media.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4151


04/18/2018 9:32 PM  
Posted By AlexM1 on 04/15/2018 6:08 AM
Can any of you advise if it is illegal for a Board member to email many owners to inform them to not vote for a certain person?


NOPE ... WE are not attorneys and cannot tell you whether or not something is legal or illegal!!!

Question: If I emailed YOU prior to our last US Presidential Election and stated for example “DO NOT vote for Donald Trump” ... would that be illegal? Of course not ... so if that would not be illegal on a FEDERAL level what makes you think the scenario in your question would be illegal?
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2993


04/18/2018 9:52 PM  
Posted By JanetB2 on 04/18/2018 9:32 PM
Posted By AlexM1 on 04/15/2018 6:08 AM
Can any of you advise if it is illegal for a Board member to email many owners to inform them to not vote for a certain person?


NOPE ... WE are not attorneys and cannot tell you whether or not something is legal or illegal!!!

Question: If I emailed YOU prior to our last US Presidential Election and stated for example “DO NOT vote for Donald Trump” ... would that be illegal? Of course not ... so if that would not be illegal on a FEDERAL level what makes you think the scenario in your question would be illegal?



It would be how the email list might have been obtained and possibly other candidates might need to have equal access to the list, email server and other scenarios. Government elections and corporation elections have completely different rules. there are no comparsions.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5656


04/18/2018 10:00 PM  
I agreed with Richard

Alex'sMO, though, is to ask these questions and then we never hear how it turns out our why he asked. But you can be sure we'll get more from him
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5656


04/18/2018 10:00 PM  
I agreed with Richard

Alex'sMO, though, is to ask these questions and then we never hear how it turns out our why he asked. But you can be sure we'll get more from him
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4151


04/19/2018 1:25 AM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 04/18/2018 9:52 PM
Posted By JanetB2 on 04/18/2018 9:32 PM
Posted By AlexM1 on 04/15/2018 6:08 AM
Can any of you advise if it is illegal for a Board member to email many owners to inform them to not vote for a certain person?


NOPE ... WE are not attorneys and cannot tell you whether or not something is legal or illegal!!!

Question: If I emailed YOU prior to our last US Presidential Election and stated for example “DO NOT vote for Donald Trump” ... would that be illegal? Of course not ... so if that would not be illegal on a FEDERAL level what makes you think the scenario in your question would be illegal?



It would be how the email list might have been obtained and possibly other candidates might need to have equal access to the list, email server and other scenarios. Government elections and corporation elections have completely different rules. there are no comparsions.


How been obtained??? In my current and past HOA’s ... emails have been sent to all owner’s regarding for example our irrigation system starting in spring and turning off in fall for winterization. ALL of us have access to ALL the other owner’s email addresses. All I would need to do is take one of those emails and hit “reply all” then change the text. We all also each year are given a list of the HOA members ... name, address, telephone number, and email which is noted to the members before providing that it is for the list to be given to all other HOA members.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5656


04/19/2018 7:52 AM  
Our PM sends many emails to owners too if the owners have opted in to receiving them. But the addresses are suppressed. In CA as currently understood by most, boards or PMs do not give out owners email addys and phone numbers. They're not something that must be disclosed.

Apparently CO permits all owners to have this info.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2993


04/19/2018 8:16 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 04/19/2018 7:52 AM
In CA as currently understood by most, boards or PMs do not give out owners email addys and phone numbers. They're not something that must be disclosed.




Actually HOA specific websites do show telephone and email addresses of owners as long as the owner has clicked the box to show in the directory section. Once viable, it can be copied and used.
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