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Subject: Abuse of Power?
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03/14/2019 8:50 AM  
We recently had our annual HOA meeting where we elected members to the board. We had the largest turnout ever for our community. We elected members to the board, but after the results were given we were told that the president used approx 100 proxies to totally change the election results. he essentially placed people he felt he could influence onto the board. I feel this is a blatant abuse of his power. This isn't the first time either. Last year we had a special election were we as a community denied an enhancement fee but he used proxies to overturn that vote and now everyone has to pay for this abuse for 3 years. Is there anything we can do? changing our bylaws seems next to impossible since he's the one calling all the shots and lord knows he wont want to change the status quo.
Any Ideas?



03/14/2019 9:39 AM  
How does he "use proxies"?


03/14/2019 9:48 AM  
supposedly he had 95 blank proxies. We have never been allowed to see them, don't know if their even legal (dated and signed by the property owners) and he used proxies last fall to overturn the "NO" vote by the community for an enhancement fee. So we are paying for this fee anyway, because of his "proxies". CMA is our management company and they seem too buddy/buddy for my taste. We have also found misappropriation of funds (they payed one of our board members for doing tasks is excess of $7k) but we can't get a fair shake.


03/14/2019 9:58 AM  
I'm sure people from Texas will be around before too long. All I can tell you is that in Florida what he's doing sounds like it might be illegal. If the proxies are completely blank and unsigned, and he's just filling them out, then that would be really bad. In Florida proxies must be signed and dated, and must state the meeting that the proxy is to be used for and then the proxy is only good for 90 days thereafter. You just can't keep them in your desk drawer and whip them out when it suits you.

If the proxies are actually legal, though, then you could always solicit the other owners yourself and have them give their proxies to you instead. Fight proxies with proxies. Florida's not Texas so hopefully you'll get some valuable advice from other Texans here. There are a few of them and, to my mind, they're very knowledgable and helpful.


03/14/2019 10:07 AM  
We, as the community don't know if he's got them in his drawer or not. Our management company and him are close so they might have a stash that they pull out when they need them. And if anyone questions them then they get them signed and dated...? I dunno. I do know that it seems very sketchy to me and you would think they would want to appear above reproach. The trouble we have is he will always have these "votes" to overturn anything he doesn't agree with and we have no recourse?


03/14/2019 10:48 AM  
Look at Texas Residential Property Owners Protection Act, Section 209.0057. If it were me I would request a recount and ensure that I'm comfortable with what is reviewed to ensure the proxies and ballots are valid if included in the count.


03/14/2019 11:03 AM  
Oh, cmon ... this is silly.

Blank proxies are not proxies.

I'm sorry, but it looks like you and other owners allowed this to occur - whether by neglect or ignorance of lack of action.

Get busy, get smart on your docs ... organize and fix it.

Long list of things you can do - start by understanding your documents. Get some neighbors to co-fund an attorney visit with you to prepare a plan of attack.


03/14/2019 12:34 PM  
I have shown up at HOA meetings with 90 proxies. But ours must be submitted to the election director who will verify that the property is not in arrears, does not have an outstanding proxy with anyone else and is not present to vote themselves. Then I am handed the appropriate number of ballots to correspond with the number of valid proxies. My husband and I spend hours going door to door to explain the election and the reason we need to meet quaroum to approve the budget. We would never meet quarom without a lot of homeowners doing this for us.


03/14/2019 1:36 PM  
What do your bylaws say about proxies, Scott?? Whether your bylaws are silent on this topic or not, go with Stephanie's suggestions, too.


03/14/2019 3:21 PM  
Scott, could you explain the misappropriation of funds comment a bit more. I am very familiar with the internal check issuance processes of the management company you mentioned, their property managers will not authorize reimbursements without Board approval. Perhaps you should look to your Board for responsibility regarding the reimbursement.

Secondly, how did the President come to have physical possession of the proxies in the first place? Did he seek them out? Were they submitted in conjunction with the Annual Meeting package, or ??? Frankly, the property manager or other neutral third party should be the custodian of the proxies--and other election materials until the election is concluded.

A proxy should be written so it is valid for a single purpose, such as the Annual Meeting, or a Special Meeting. Once the meeting has taken place, the proxy becomes null and void and does not continue in effect. The way in which you worded your description of what is taking place, it is like there is a 'box 'o proxies' sitting in a desk drawer waiting to be pulled out and used. The process should not work that way.

I agree with Stephanie. For the future, you may wish to propose a change to your processes so a committee of owners is appointed to oversee the balloting and casting of proxy processes. And, that committee should have a tightly written process to follow.


03/15/2019 7:12 AM  
In Texas, homeowners can challenge the results of an election and request a recount, which is then done by a third party. That third party will throw out the proxies if they are not valid. You need to hurry - you have a limited window. And you'll need to pay for it, so decide how badly you want to investigate this.

Sec. 209.0057. RECOUNT OF VOTES. (a) This section does not apply to a property owners' association that is subject to Chapter 552, Government Code, by application of Section 552.0036, Government Code.

(b) Any owner may, not later than the 15th day after the later of the date of any meeting of owners at which the election or vote was held or the date of the announcement of the results of the election or vote, require a recount of the votes. A demand for a recount must be submitted in writing either:

(1) by verified mail or by delivery by the United States Postal Service with signature confirmation service to the property owners' association's mailing address as reflected on the latest management certificate filed under Section 209.004; or

(2) in person to the property owners' association's managing agent as reflected on the latest management certificate filed under Section 209.004 or to the address to which absentee and proxy ballots are mailed.

(b-1) The property owners' association must estimate the costs for performance of the recount by a person qualified to tabulate votes under Subsection (c) and must send an invoice for the estimated costs to the requesting owner at the owner's last known address according to association records not later than the 20th day after the date the association receives the owner's demand for the recount.

(b-2) The owner demanding a recount under this section must pay the invoice described by Subsection (b-1) in full to the property owners' association on or before the 30th day after the date the invoice is sent to the owner.

(b-3) If the invoice described by Subsection (b-1) is not paid by the deadline prescribed by Subsection (b-2), the owner's demand for a recount is considered withdrawn and a recount is not required.

(b-4) If the estimated costs under Subsection (b-1) are lesser or greater than the actual costs, the property owners' association must send a final invoice to the owner on or before the 30th business day after the date the results of the recount are provided. If the final invoice includes additional amounts owed by the owner, any additional amounts not paid to the association before the 30th business day after the date the invoice is sent to the owner may be added to the owner's account as an assessment. If the estimated costs exceed the final invoice amount, the owner is entitled to a refund. The refund shall be paid to the owner at the time the final invoice is sent under this subsection.

(c) Following receipt of payment under Subsection (b-2), the property owners' association shall, at the expense of the owner requesting the recount, retain for the purpose of performing the recount the services of a person qualified to tabulate votes under this subsection. The association shall enter into a contract for the services of a person who:

(1) is not a member of the association or related to a member of the association board within the third degree by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Chapter 573, Government Code; and

(2) is:

(A) a current or former:

(i) county judge;

(ii) county elections administrator;

(iii) justice of the peace; or

(iv) county voter registrar; or

(B) a person agreed on by the association and each person requesting the recount.

(d) On or before the 30th day after the date of receipt of payment for a recount in accordance with Subsection (b-2), the recount must be completed and the property owners' association must provide each owner who requested the recount with notice of the results of the recount. If the recount changes the results of the election, the association shall reimburse the requesting owner for the cost of the recount not later than the 30th day after the date the results of the recount are provided. Any action taken by the board in the period between the initial election vote tally and the completion of the recount is not affected by any recount.
(South Carolina)


03/15/2019 6:04 PM  

Do not assume the Proxies were illegal as many do when they do not like results based on Proxies. Follow the above advice.
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