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Subject: Homeowners oust condo board
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Author Messages
GeorgerwilliamsW
(Indiana)

Posts:975


08/08/2008 8:29 AM  
It can be done, folks . . .

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008
Homeowners oust condo board, seek legal help

More than 50 residents voted to remove the Frenchman's Creek condominium board of directors, claiming the group was inaccessible, handled maintenance poorly and filed bogus liens on condominium accounts.

. . .

There are 608 units at Frenchman's Creek, but only a majority of owners present during a meeting were needed to remove the board, according to the bylaws.

. . .

Stewart and Tatum read a list of infractions the board allegedly has made in violation of the condominium bylaws, including neglecting to give copies of bylaws to new homeowners, record meeting minutes, present copies to residents and for failing to follow meeting procedures.

http://www.gazette.net/stories/08072008/landnew184754_32461.shtml

This story comes from the "news" link. Lots of interesting stuff there. . .
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


08/08/2008 8:59 AM  
Very good news.

Now for the hardest part of that task, stepping in and getting the association back on track.

DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


08/08/2008 9:09 AM  

Michelle,
Would you think that with 50 residents who signed the petition for removal of the entire board, there would be enough ready and eager folks to fill the new board slots? Probably NOT!! History shows that it is so easy to sign away the nasty but to make anew, everyone becomes too busy. Good luck to those folks.
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


08/08/2008 9:13 AM  
Posted By DonnaS on 08/08/2008 9:09 AM

Michelle,
Would you think that with 50 residents who signed the petition for removal of the entire board, there would be enough ready and eager folks to fill the new board slots? Probably NOT!! History shows that it is so easy to sign away the nasty but to make anew, everyone becomes too busy. Good luck to those folks.





Totally agree.

But I advocate all the time for people to take back their HOAs if they are being run by rogue boards.

It's harder to do than they realize, and the hardest part is the clean up afterwards.

But in the few cases where it has happened, the outcome has been great.

Although, sometimes it's an outcome not without a price. Very often the original "ousters" end up not being the ones that ultimately get the organization back into shape.

It sometimes falls into the category of the dog who loves to chase cars.

Now that he's caught one, he has no idea what to do with it!
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


08/08/2008 1:41 PM  
George - thanks for posting this.

Two things strike me:
1) Indivudual recall vote were held for EACH board member.
2) the article says a "majority of owners present" was needed to pass the vote. (although it was unanimous with all attendees voting yes) Doesn't talk about a quorum being met, and it did not cite the bylaw giving the members the right to recall board members in this manner.

We have discussed these two points before on this board.

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall . . .

I wonder if it's really all over, now!
GeorgerwilliamsW
(Indiana)

Posts:975


08/08/2008 1:52 PM  
I would have been the other fly just a few feet away from you at the meeting.

It ain't over by a long shot, I bet.

My sense is that the reporter was not very sharp or knowledgeable about the subject, so the facts reported is suspect.

JonD1
(New York)

Posts:1556


08/08/2008 8:58 PM  
Be careful what you wish for you just might get it.


Interesting story I just have to wonder why some folks seem to think this is a good thing.

So now you have a completely new Board managing your property. I guess on the job training poses no problem. If you understood the demands a Board must face it should concern you.

I would be concerned.

Funny that this property has 600 units and now has allowed 50 unit owners to discharge the Board. My question is how did these folks on the Board ever get elected? Who voted them in and over what period of time.

I would guess the majority of those 50 unit owners have no clue what the Board does or why. I would guess most will stand around having no clue whatsoever what needs to be done now.

If I owned a unit on this property I would be very concerned as to where we will now be heading. If another 50 unit owners get together the new Board could be out!

Organizing a meeting takes a lot less effort then overseeing a 600 unit property.

Throw the bums OUT! Now that you have done that what's next?



RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


08/08/2008 11:14 PM  
I think you predict too much gloom and doom from a Newpaper article, that is probably inaccurate and misleading in a sense I think the reporter wanted to get across the News item thaty a BOD was voted ouit by the members. It happens a lot I suspectad never makes the news.

I believe I noted on the report that there was a law firm representing the owners. If this is true, I believe someone knew what they were doing and was willing to pay for it. Who actually did the deed and who is going to run the place may not be considiered news or no names were offered. I say wait a while before judgement.

If I recall right we have see more than a few times posted here acts of recalling th Board and certainly in newly turned over places. We have also seen coups by default because no one else wants the job. This place with 400 units would appear to have some organization and maybe some paid help that could support a new group and they also seemed to have an income stream that cold generate a professional MC. Good luck to them and thanks to the Judge. Which bring ups another issue. The judge made the decision, that doesn't mean he is done with the solution and could apppoint a "Administrator" if he felt the association needs guidence. IMHO
GeorgerwilliamsW
(Indiana)

Posts:975


08/09/2008 12:21 AM  
I am with you Robert. We certainly don't know how bad it was, so we can't say it will be any better or worse. It concerns me greatly that strong opinions are formed and expressed here with too few facts to back them up. Even worse, facts not in evidence are postulated to support various arguments.

What seems astounding is that out of 608 units only about 25 (a majority of 50) can change the board. I am using some raw numbers here, folks, Be kind.

It says something about involvement, communication, participation, self-interest, and so on.

But in a larger perspective, it shouldn't surprise me. In my own situation, all it took was 9 votes from a final annual meeting quorum of 17 out of 226 units to re-elect the board of 5 members. It took the calling of three meetings to get the quorum number down to the level of actual participation.
JeanneK3
(Maryland)

Posts:548


08/09/2008 6:30 AM  
Hate to be the bearer of bad news but I've heard that the board's attorney sent the homeowners group an e-mail nullifying their meeting since it was not called by the board and the board did not attend. This issue will probably be decided in court.
MaryA1


Posts:0


08/09/2008 7:04 AM  
Posted By GeorgerwilliamsW on 08/08/2008 8:29 AM
It can be done, folks . . .

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008
Homeowners oust condo board, seek legal help

More than 50 residents voted to remove the Frenchman's Creek condominium board of directors, claiming the group was inaccessible, handled maintenance poorly and filed bogus liens on condominium accounts.

. . .

There are 608 units at Frenchman's Creek, but only a majority of owners present during a meeting were needed to remove the board, according to the bylaws.

. . .

Stewart and Tatum read a list of infractions the board allegedly has made in violation of the condominium bylaws, including neglecting to give copies of bylaws to new homeowners, record meeting minutes, present copies to residents and for failing to follow meeting procedures.

http://www.gazette.net/stories/08072008/landnew184754_32461.shtml

This story comes from the "news" link. Lots of interesting stuff there. . .




George,

As Jon said, "be careful what you wish for, you might get it"!

I've heard of far too many instances where the membership was successful in recalling the BOD only to find out they weren't really doing anything wrong. I note your statement: ". . .infractions of the board ALLEGEDLY (emphasis mine) has made in violation. . .

The shoe doesn't always fit when worn on the other foot, either. I know of a case here in AZ where the new board members are now being challenged by a group of homeowners much the same way as those new board members challenged the old BOD and the new board members aren't liking it one bit.

While I agree there are many boards out there that have earned the right to be recalled; I also feel the members need to get their facts straight before jumping to this measure. All too often members complain without having any justification for their complaints. They either don't know the rules or don't understand them and they act on assumptions.
GeorgerwilliamsW
(Indiana)

Posts:975


08/09/2008 7:53 AM  
I will let the source documents speak for themselves . . .


    "TMGA managed Frenchman's Creek from August 2006 to February 2008. We were the fifth management company to manage your community in five years.

    When we took over, we learned that Frenchman's Creek was facing multiple citations from the City of New Carrollton for Code violations, had significant financial problems and was not complying with the Maryland Condominium Act in several important ways.

    We also found that certain members of the Board were reluctant to work with us to help resolve these problems.
    . . .
    After several reminders to the Board, the 2007 Annual Meeting was finally scheduled for December 27,2007. It was then arbitrarily canceled by the Board President. It is now being held only because a complaint was filed with State's Attorney General's Office.

    These are only some of the issues of concern; several more examples can be provided. TMGA has a well-earned reputation over 30 years of being financially responsible and working hard for our clients. We feel that the letter that you received from the Board of Directors was misleading to the members of Frenchman's Creek, and did not accurately reflect the efforts made by TMGA to correct the many significant problems that your community faces."




http://www.fccaowners.com/PDF/Gazette.pdf
http://www.fccaowners.com/PDF/Gazette2.pdf

Attachment: 189531580771.pdf

MaryA1


Posts:0


08/09/2008 10:15 AM  
I certainly did not mean to imply that all recalls are unfounded. Only that the members should be careful to do their homework first.
MarianneG
(Indiana)

Posts:170


08/09/2008 6:17 PM  
I find this subject to be very interesting in that our HOA had a complete turnover of the BOD in Oct 07.

The turnover came about because the BOD decided to begin charging one group of homeowners an increased fee while leaving the others at the regular fee. (Our community is a patio home community where people own their lots as well as the buildings so that the actual fee is based on membership in the HOA Corporation rather than home size.) The proposal to increase the fees for one group was brought to the Oct 06 annual meeting and the spouses of the BOD pushed the motion through with threats and shouting. In addition, the BOD had been secretive about the HOA finances and their meetings were closed to residents.

So after much squabbling, the BOD hired an attorney who specializes in HOAs. He advised them that the assoc fee had to be the same for all owners. As he did his work with the BOD and reviewed the docs, he discovered that in the 5 or 6 years of the development, director terms were not staggered as they were supposed to be. He suggested that at the Oct 07 annual mtg, all five directors be elected, 3 for two-year terms and 2 for one-year terms. After that all directors would be elected for two-year terms, threby creating the staggered situation required in the docs.

So, there was a turnover of the board, and all 5 directors were new for the 2008 year (I am one of the newly elected BOD). The very first thing we did was open up one hour of our monthly meetings to residents and to hold meetings in a public place (previously they were in directors' homes). We immediately published a newsletter and thanked the previous board. We do a newsletter every month and in it we include a brief treasurer's report, news of the community, and information about board activities. So, people are informed and feel a part of the process. The result has been very rewarding for us and for the community.

However, Mary, you are sooooo right. When we began reviewing the previous board's work, we discovered that they had really done a good job with the finances and management of the community. Their main problem was that they were so closed and seemed to be so autocratic. I think they might have been very successful if they had approached their duties with more of an expressed concern for the community as a whole.

I think the key to the success that we have had so far is that we have expressed an openness and a willingness to listen to residents. We may run into a real knotty problem some day, but for now, we have a happy community.
Marianne

RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


08/09/2008 7:50 PM  
Marianne,
An interesting turn of events. First I would accept the job with no misgiving about doing anything wrong to the defeated by election out going Board. I hope the old board doesn't hold any animositu to the new Board and I would also hope they would try and make the transition smooth, by offering assistance. Not that it matters but do you think the old Board could have been so out of touch, they didn't know or suspect that a complete turn-over could happen? There seems to be several small cracks in this scenario, but it may not matter, what's done is done. I am also interested in why a lawyer would place the association in jepordy suggesting a plan that could and did allow for a complete turn-over. This would normally be detrimental to the continuity and progression of the Regime's business. You said the Old Board had done a good job and then say they might have been more successful if they had listened to the homeowners more. I agree, it is vital to listen and ponder what members say, but, bottom line the members do not vote the Board (Regimes) business. That is a function of the board, and that has to be predicated by the requirement to serve the association. The association is made up of owners or stake holders or whatever, but they are not the association. The association stands alone and above the members.
This is just an opinion, nothing more and really I am happy things worked out well and they continue this way. I like success stories.
MarianneG
(Indiana)

Posts:170


08/09/2008 8:18 PM  
Hi Robert,
Yes, there is one old board member, her husband, and the husband of another who definitely hold "animositu" to the new board. But, we in the new board have made an extra effort to reach out to the old board members. We have asked the old board president to serve on some committees, and he has agreed and has done a good job. I think the old board was so tired of dealing with the squabbling and the attorney from Oct 06 to Oct 07, that they knew very well their positions were up for grabs.

As far as the atty putting the association in jeopardy -- he was familiar with all the players and I think knew that a new board composed of some of the concerned residents would be able to handle the transition OK. It is also true that the old board member (the one I said still has some animosity) ran for the board so there might have been some continuity had she been re-elected.

I hear ya. The association cannot be completely subordinate to a homeowner. Consideration must be given to both, and I think we've been able to keep that balance so far. Thanks much for your reply. Marianne
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


08/10/2008 5:54 AM  
Marianne said: The very first thing we did was open up one hour of our monthly meetings to residents and to hold meetings in a public place (previously they were in directors' homes). We immediately published a newsletter and thanked the previous board. We do a newsletter every month and in it we include a brief treasurer's report, news of the community, and information about board activities. So, people are informed and feel a part of the process. The result has been very rewarding for us and for the community.

What a great model this is for board action! Congratulations.
MaryA1


Posts:0


08/10/2008 6:56 AM  
Marianne,

You said: "However, Mary, you are sooooo right. When we began reviewing the previous board's work, we discovered that they had really done a good job with the finances and management of the community. Their main problem was that they were so closed and seemed to be so autocratic. I think they might have been very successful if they had approached their duties with more of an expressed concern for the community as a whole.

I think the key to the success that we have had so far is that we have expressed an openness and a willingness to listen to residents. We may run into a real knotty problem some day, but for now, we have a happy community."

Lack of transparity and communication with the members is what I've always blamed for a lot of the problems some HOAs have. Congratulations to you and your fellow board members for seeing the need to communicate with the members, open up the board meetings to them and let them know what is going on in the community. When this is lacking all it does is foster speculation. The natural thought is: "they don't want to tell us anything or let us attend the meetings; they must be doing something wrong!"

I'm also glad to hear the new board members have tried to reach out to the former board members and include them in committee appointments, etc. Afterall, this really wasn't a recall, just an election to get the assn on the track to operating IAW the bylaws. The new board members aren't to blame for being elected. The former board members only have themselves to blame for not being re-elected. In seeing how the new board is operating, perhaps they are able to see what they did wrong, if they don't let their objectivity get in the way.

Again, congratulations and keep up the good work!
GeorgerwilliamsW
(Indiana)

Posts:975


08/10/2008 7:20 AM  
Right on, Mary!!!

    "Lack of transparity and communication with the members is what I've always blamed for a lot of the problems some HOAs have."
GeorgerwilliamsW
(Indiana)

Posts:975


08/10/2008 3:46 PM  
It can be done, part two:

Murky pool pumped residents need for change
8/9/2008
A year ago, Suzanne Hackenbruch was on the wrong side of the bylaw ­- or so her homeowners association declared. When the Warrenville resident urged her neighbors to protest their association's failure to open the neighborhood pool, a lawyer representing the management company sent a letter demanding a retraction and fees.

Oh what a difference a year makes.

The pool's open. Hackenbruch's slate of candidates took over the Winchester Condominium Association board in Warrenville and now she's the board president. City officials are involved and doing what they can to help to improve the subdivision. And the management company's been replaced.


http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=226625&src=2
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