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Thursday, November 15, 2018
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Subject: Candidate to rent marquee in development
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Author Messages
PaulS28
(Florida)

Posts:9


11/08/2018 3:36 PM  
We are a few days away from our HOA election in our development. We have a big marquee that sits at one of our main entrances/exit and we allow people to rent it for messages like "Happy Birthday Joey." As long as it is a clean message you can rent it by the day. So, a candidate that is running for the board wanted to rent it to post a message to vote for him. It was all set to go but then the management company said that the HOA lawyer said NO that it could cause the election to not take place. Something about current board members contesting it because of the marquee message. Included in the message was who paid for it. So as it would not seem that the community was supporting him.

Is this true that a homeowner that pays to put a message can cause the election to not take place? Any case law on this?? Seems fishy to me. BTW, we have a very HOT election happening like many others are I bet.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5852


11/08/2018 4:54 PM  
In CA, candidates must have equal access to common area items. If other candidates could rent the marquee too, I guess it would be OK in CA unless this guy hoards it and no one else can use it.

The question is what about laws in FL or in your own governing documents, Paul??? That the marquee could cancel an election seems farfetched, but I'd want to see the attorney's opinion in writing.

Are you on the Board, Paul? Are you a candidate?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7716


11/08/2018 5:43 PM  
I think it's more of a case of "Why does Jane Doe get to rent the Marquee?" and I don't? That's unfair... Whaaaay whahhhhh…. So people may just decide to get hot under the collar and complain. Something the MC doesn't want involved in. So they are just nipping it in the bud.

However, typically it should be available to all candidates equally. It's just this candidate thought of it first...

Former HOA President
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:750


11/08/2018 5:51 PM  
Too much smell of conflict of interest.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5852


11/08/2018 6:46 PM  
What IS the conflict of interest, George?
PaulS28
(Florida)

Posts:9


11/09/2018 4:12 AM  
Everyone has access to rent the marquee. One candidate was smart enough to want to use it to get votes for them. I see nothing in the by-laws nor in any statue in the state of FL that says candidates are prevented from doing something like this. I see this as nothing but a play by the HOA lawyer protecting those on the current board.
PaulS28
(Florida)

Posts:9


11/09/2018 4:14 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 11/08/2018 5:51 PM
Too much smell of conflict of interest.




The sign read under the message, "paid for by" and the name of the person who paid for it. It was done so that people would not suspect any endorsement by the current board which when you think of it, why would the current board endorse a new candidate that is running against them.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:128


11/09/2018 6:57 AM  
I don't see anything wrong as long as the sign has unrented days available for every other candidate to rent if they wish to follow this persons lead. Equal time is the key thing. I am sure not all candidates would put up the money to rent it and that would be their choice.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5852


11/09/2018 8:16 AM  
I agree that it's OK if all candidates have equal use of it. In CA, the HOA may not charge candidates rents, fr example, if they want to use the Lounge for a campaign event.

FL is owner friendly so I'd think they have some statutes about use of common areas by candidates for the board.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:750


11/09/2018 11:18 AM  
Is this about being “smart” or about being able to outspend the other candidates ...?

I’m VERY equal opportunity in this regard.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7820


11/09/2018 1:40 PM  
I see no reason not to let one use the marquee.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2466


11/09/2018 6:59 PM  
A very odd arrangement. Just having a marquee at all seems strange. Is this an FS 720 HOA or is it a mobile home park? Wouldn't income from selling advertising space be taxable?

A campaign ad might come across as a board-authorized endorsement. If it's made clear that that's not the case then... I don't know... maybe. If the board exercises judgment of "cleanliness" then the board cleary controls what's allowed and what's not. "Vote for me!" I'd argue that's a board endorsement.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:750


11/10/2018 4:40 AM  
I'm still thinking about this ...

I think the point is less legal and more perception - while we would all probably agree renting the sign is legal (setting aside taxability of the income), it seems to me this is just a bit un-neighborly.

I would support a more reasonable usage - i.e. each candidate can use the sign for x 24 hour period of time to be lottery determined, with whatever the want to say (give restrictions on number of words, letters, that will fit the sign). This eliminates preferential treatment concerns and still allows usage.

Just a thought.
PaulS28
(Florida)

Posts:9


11/12/2018 5:37 AM  
Thanks for the replies. In discussing this issue with a lawyer friend, she pointed out that what was attempted was no different then the candidate information that was printed and mailed to all residents along with their ballot. Also, a resident that has their paid business ad on the website that changed the ad for the election to say they supported certain people is no different than the material mailed to all homeowners. This was merely an attempt to squelch someone from supporting certain candidates over others. There was nothing illegal or otherwise about it.

Anyway, our election is tonight and after that, the years worth of ugliness will be replaced with new board members, hopefully.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:325


11/12/2018 2:51 PM  
Paul
Make sure there are guidelines about what kind of messages can be posted on this board, since you are sure to run up against this again.

Maybe only greetings, birthdays, anniversary, greetings, wedding, etc., and management announcements are the only ones that could access this coveted message board.

It's a slippery slope, from what I see, when message boards (paid with the funds by all) are used for political campaigns.

Be ahead of this issue and get guidelines.

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