Get 1 year of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Wednesday, October 28, 2020











HOATalk is a free service of Community123.com:

Easy to use website tools to help your board
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: Board president filed lawsuit against political candidate, and political candidate got suit filed against HOA
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/12/2020 4:05 PM  
Interesting situation in a HOA where I have a rental property (not in NY):

The board president is a political activist and filed a lawsuit against a political candidate, trying to get the political candidate disqualified from being on the ballot.

The HOA is a large one. So the political activist apparently got a good friend who is an owner in the HOA to file a lawsuit against the board president, and the HOA, for breaches of the HOA's bylaws, including by illegally having the board president elected to office. The friend sent a copy of the complaint to all HOA owners through the HOA's neighborhood email group.

I'm not sure who to be the most irked at: I'm thinking the board president.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:389


10/12/2020 4:40 PM  
Posted By ChrisE8 on 10/12/2020 4:05 PM
Interesting situation in a HOA where I have a rental property (not in NY):

The board president is a political activist and filed a lawsuit against a political candidate, trying to get the political candidate disqualified from being on the ballot.

The HOA is a large one. So the political activist apparently got a good friend who is an owner in the HOA to file a lawsuit against the board president, and the HOA, for breaches of the HOA's bylaws, including by illegally having the board president elected to office. The friend sent a copy of the complaint to all HOA owners through the HOA's neighborhood email group.

I'm not sure who to be the most irked at: I'm thinking the board president.




This is a great example of why it will be a cold day in hell before our HOA sponsors a website with a community bulletin board or an email chat feature.
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/12/2020 5:38 PM  
My building doesn't have an email system either. I usually like them unless I get bombarded with emails 24/7, even when there is disagreement online.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3512


10/12/2020 6:40 PM  
So, the board president has been with this political candidate, who then gets a friend who lives in the building to file a lawsuit against the board resident's bad behavior. You don't know If the friend had/has with the board president already (which might make him all too happy to file said lawsuit) or If the friend is simply doing his/her candidate friend a solid to distract the board president/political activist from his lawsuit against the politician. Even more likely if the candidate's paying the legal fees (some folks do anything for the bag)

Or do you? Seems to me you're jumping to conclusions (again) about your building? Has it occurred to you that maybe you should slow your roll a little bit and ask someone (maybe a few people) what's actually going on in the building? Maybe go to a meeting or several and listen for your own self and ask some questions???

Since you own a rental property in this place, I suppose we should be happy that you're starting to take an interest in association affairs, but you won't get far if all you do is make assumptions like this. I'm not saying there isn't something, but all you're doing right now is looking at a lawsuit without asking your neighbors for any info they may have on the backstory.

Not only that, I wouldn't really give two damns about this candidate, but the board resident's performance as board president. As long as he/she does the job properly and is transparent in what happens who cares about the candidate -does he/she even live in the building?


ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/12/2020 6:58 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 10/12/2020 6:40 PM
So, the board president has been with this political candidate, who then gets a friend who lives in the building to file a lawsuit against the board resident's bad behavior. You don't know If the friend had/has with the board president already (which might make him all too happy to file said lawsuit) or If the friend is simply doing his/her candidate friend a solid to distract the board president/political activist from his lawsuit against the politician. Even more likely if the candidate's paying the legal fees (some folks do anything for the bag)

Or do you? Seems to me you're jumping to conclusions (again) about your building? Has it occurred to you that maybe you should slow your roll a little bit and ask someone (maybe a few people) what's actually going on in the building? Maybe go to a meeting or several and listen for your own self and ask some questions???

Since you own a rental property in this place, I suppose we should be happy that you're starting to take an interest in association affairs, but you won't get far if all you do is make assumptions like this. I'm not saying there isn't something, but all you're doing right now is looking at a lawsuit without asking your neighbors for any info they may have on the backstory.

Not only that, I wouldn't really give two damns about this candidate, but the board resident's performance as board president. As long as he/she does the job properly and is transparent in what happens who cares about the candidate -does he/she even live in the building?






It’s not my building. It’s a HOA with single-family houses where I own a rental property.

As all owners received the complaint, it has been discussed in the community and the facts in it have been confirmed by several people to be correct.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1315


10/13/2020 5:47 AM  
If the board president didn't claim to be acting as a representative of the HOA, but instead as a "concerned citizen", he can file a lawsuit against anybody he [email protected] well pleases. In which case the politician and his friend are the jerks (and I see the board president's point).

If Mr. President DID claim to be acting on behalf of the HOA, he's also a jerk and out of line. The jury is still out on Mr. Politician and his buddy.

Lord, is there no end to the idiocy in this country.....?

SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3512


10/13/2020 6:09 AM  
Personally I think we're living the 5000th level of Jumanji! Or the 50th season of the Twilight Zone, Creepshow, the Outer limits and Ripleys believe it or not -combined!
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/13/2020 6:47 AM  
Not following - why would the fact that someone is a board prez have any bearing on a personal lawsuit (as stated in this thread)?

Who is on the complaint?
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/13/2020 6:54 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/13/2020 6:47 AM
Not following - why would the fact that someone is a board prez have any bearing on a personal lawsuit (as stated in this thread)?

Who is on the complaint?




Complaint #1: board president (individually, listing his address but not his role as board president) vs. the political candidate.

Complaint #2: owner who lives in the HOA and who is the friend of the political candidate vs. (1) the board president (individually) and (2) the HOA
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1315


10/13/2020 9:08 AM  
Posted By ChrisE8 on 10/13/2020 6:54 AM
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/13/2020 6:47 AM
Not following - why would the fact that someone is a board prez have any bearing on a personal lawsuit (as stated in this thread)?

Who is on the complaint?




Complaint #1: board president (individually, listing his address but not his role as board president) vs. the political candidate.

Complaint #2: owner who lives in the HOA and who is the friend of the political candidate vs. (1) the board president (individually) and (2) the HOA




OK, that's clear, although I'd love to know what sort of complaint the owner came up with.

The board president did nothing wrong - you don't lose your rights as a citizen when you volunteer to serve on the board, although in his place I may not have filed a suit because of just the sort of stupidity that ensued. It's clearly not an HOA issue.

The owner who filed the revenge suit is the jerk who should learn about the value of personal boundaries and the folly of fighting other people's battles for them. That's the person you should be irked at because he's the one who made it an HOA issue and is basically suing all of his neighbors for something they have nothing to do with.

This illustrates my main beef with HOAs and COAs: as an owner you become the legal and financial partner of a bunch of people you didn't choose, and frankly some of them are lousy bets.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/13/2020 9:12 AM  
OK - so, now, what does the complaint say? In both cases?
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/13/2020 9:15 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/13/2020 9:12 AM
OK - so, now, what does the complaint say? In both cases?




Complaint #1 is available online and says that the candidate didn't meet eligibility requirements to be on the ballot.

Complaint #2 alleges fraud and "conversion" of HOA funds (i.e., theft) by the board president, and board elections alleged to be illegal. Other owners have confirmed the facts in the complaint, but I don't know if they are sufficient to win a lawsuit for these grounds.
AugustinD


Posts:4153


10/13/2020 10:08 AM  
Posted By ChrisE8 on 10/12/2020 4:05 PM
I'm not sure who to be the most irked at: I'm thinking the board president.
So far from what you presented, I would have serious concerns that this board president broke the law substantively regarding HOA funds and HOA election procedures. I mean, revenge-based or not, the HOA President's conduct seems to have been so bad that an attorney thought it worth writing demand letters and ultimately, filing suit in court. An attorney normally would not risk his or her reputation on a frivolous complaint.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/13/2020 2:44 PM  
Uh .... Augustin, we're talking attorneys, right?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1315


10/13/2020 3:01 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 10/13/2020 10:08 AM
Posted By ChrisE8 on 10/12/2020 4:05 PM
I'm not sure who to be the most irked at: I'm thinking the board president.
So far from what you presented, I would have serious concerns that this board president broke the law substantively regarding HOA funds and HOA election procedures. I mean, revenge-based or not, the HOA President's conduct seems to have been so bad that an attorney thought it worth writing demand letters and ultimately, filing suit in court. An attorney normally would not risk his or her reputation on a frivolous complaint.



I'm not so sure about this. We've had lawyers on this site who claim that they do whatever the client wants. I'm not sure I believe that, at least not 100% of the time, but probably some do.

What I'd want to know is what the lawyer's knows about HOAs and what his/her connection to the politician is. I'm taking it on faith that there is one. (See "Goldstein's Law of Interconnected Monkey Business.)

I'm also inclined to believe the board president's charge that the politician didn't meet the eligibility requirements, just because of the nature of the response it got. If he were qualified and could prove it, he'd be more likely to shrug it off - politicians get accused of far worse.

As for whether the board prez did something wrong, who knows? I do know that plenty of board members have defamatory accusations slung at them. And if things were so bad in HOA-land and the politician's buddy was aware of it, why did he wait 'til now to take action?

I smell at least one rat, possibly more.
AugustinD


Posts:4153


10/13/2020 3:33 PM  
GeorgeS21 and CathyA3, I qualified my statement about attorneys with "normally." I think most attorneys would walk away from a suit that was clearly frivolous. I think there is a minority of not-so-competent attorneys who struggle to make a living and will prostitute themselves for a lawsuit they know rises close enough to the level of frivolous that they should not be representing the client in it.

Maybe ChrisE's situation does not denote an attorney in this minority. I cannot say for sure.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9648


10/13/2020 3:33 PM  
There is such a thing called a "corporate shield" which would be difficult to pierce. Plus technically the 2 things are not connected. Hopefully he did not file a lawsuit against the candidate using the HOA's name. He just happens to be President of a HOA but he can still be an INDIVIDUAL.

The lawsuit against the HOA is a bit flaky at best. The president being personally sued doesn't quite cut the mustard with the "Corporate shield". He isn't necessarily covered by the HOA's insurance in certain "bad actions". Do the board control the elections? Usually the members elect the board and then the board members elect the officers amongst themselves.

Suing your HOA is suing yourself and your neighbors. So if things are as bad as reported, either remove him from office or join a CLASS action lawsuit against him/board. It's the only way this would make any sense to pursue.

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:4153


10/13/2020 3:35 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/13/2020 3:01 PM
I'm not so sure about this. We've had lawyers on this site who claim that they do whatever the client wants.
I have alleged that certain HOA attorneys will do almost anything the client wants. I am not aware of an attorney posting at this site saying they will do whatever the client wants.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7579


10/13/2020 5:44 PM  
I've read Chris's remarks a few times and I honestly don't grasp:

1. What the exact allegations are against the Prez & HOA. What, for instances allegedly makes the election illegal?

Chris' language of "political activist" is unclear to me. In general? In the HOA? Why does it matter?
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/14/2020 11:18 AM  
UPDATE

Turns out the the HOA never sent audited financial statements from 2019 to owners, even though the HOA's governing documents require that they be circulated to owners by March 15 of each year. The board can waive the requirement of an audit, but the requirement to deliver financial statements still applies by each March 15.

Hmmm...
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3512


10/14/2020 12:07 PM  
Don't you have more than one person on that board? You do realize the board president is only one vote, so if these audited statements weren't mailed, someone should ask the ENTIRE board for an explanation.

By the way, we are halfway through October - are you telling me that NOW you realize six months later you haven't yet received audited statements??????? See what happens when you only worry about your rental property and ignore what else in going on in the community you already think is shabby with "high" assessments?

Forget about whatever's going on between the political candidate and board president and FOCUS on what's happening with the association. If other people have looked at the lawsuit against the board president and feel there are some issues with his performance as association president, you and they can get together, rally the neighbors and call for a special meeting to discuss it and perhaps consider a recall vote. Pull out your documents and read them so you'll know how special meetings are supposed to be called.

If you want change, you need to be willing to do some work, and this is something that will require help from your neighbors (you may not live there, but that's what you are because you own a home in this community and what happens to them will also affect you.)
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/14/2020 12:37 PM  
SheilaH, thanks. I'll confess: like all of us, I'm so busy that things (such as financial reports on a HOA that governs a rental property) do slip through the cracks on my radar screen. I just assume that, like clockwork, we get financial statements. Nobody else in the HOA has raised this. We also didn't have an annual meeting this year.

Picking a fight with a HOA is the last thing that I want to do.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10014


10/14/2020 1:36 PM  
I have been reading the pots and I have yet to comment. Here goes.

When one is on a BOD one, as is the Pres, they have to be sure when personally speaking out that it be clear they are not speaking for the BOD. The Pres did this. That said, when speaking out one has to be ready for the ramifications.

An owner going after the Pres do to a personal action of the Pres is certainly being vindictive but as they say. All is fair in Love and War and the Pres chose to swim in the political pool.

If I had to place blame, 5% to the Pres, 95% to the owner pursuing the Pres.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10014


10/14/2020 1:43 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 10/14/2020 1:36 PM
I have been reading the pots and I have yet to comment. Here goes.

When one is on a BOD one, as is the Pres, they have to be sure when personally speaking out that it be clear they are not speaking for the BOD. The Pres did this. That said, when speaking out one has to be ready for the ramifications.

An owner going after the Pres do to a personal action of the Pres is certainly being vindictive but as they say. All is fair in Love and War and the Pres chose to swim in the political pool.

If I had to place blame, 5% to the Pres, 95% to the owner pursuing the Pres.




ADDON

The above is based on the owner being put up to it by the politician. We are only seeing one person's opinion on that.
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/14/2020 2:00 PM  
Now that I see that we didn't get audited financial statements for last year or have an annual meeting this year (even online), I'm even more irked at the board president, but curse them all, in my view.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/14/2020 2:30 PM  
Chris,

You curse them all, but are a non-resident owner.

Are you on the board?
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/14/2020 2:54 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/14/2020 2:30 PM
Chris,

You curse them all, but are a non-resident owner.

Are you on the board?




No. Only resident owners can serve on the board in this HOA.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/14/2020 4:16 PM  
Interesting.

Haven't seen language like that before - excluding non-resident owners from board membership.

Could you quote a bit from your Bylaws showing that - would be instructive.
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/14/2020 4:40 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/14/2020 4:16 PM
Interesting.

Haven't seen language like that before - excluding non-resident owners from board membership.

Could you quote a bit from your Bylaws showing that - would be instructive.




Another landlord who owns in the HOA but doesn't live there ran for the board and was told that by the board president and the property manager.
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/14/2020 5:11 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/14/2020 2:30 PM
Chris,

You curse them all, but are a non-resident owner.

Are you on the board?




To add:

I definitely see the point that people who gripe about a HOA ought to roll up their sleeves and pitch in. That's a reasonable view, and understandable.

Here, my issues are the following:

1. Owners didn't receive financial statements for 2019, despite the governing documents specifically requiring them.
2. There was no annual meeting held in 2020, even though one could be held by videoconference.

Those are routine things that HOA does.

When I see (1) and (2), combined with a lawsuit against a board president for theft and holding illegal elections, the combination doesn't look good.

So if griped about things other than (1) and (2), I can see that I ought to join the board and pitch in or hush. But asking for (1) and (2), I think, is reasonable even if I don't contribute.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/14/2020 8:08 PM  
Chris,

You have the Bylaws and CCRs?

These are starting points.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9648


10/15/2020 4:44 AM  
Before you go panicking over the lawsuit against the President etc... Don't make it a personal thing with that. If this property is purely investment then understand the effects of what a lawsuit means not what it involves. A HOA having a lawsuit filed does indeed paint it in a bad light. Meaning people are either going to sell or not buy. However, the overall effect of a lawsuit is that the banks may no longer offer certain loan programs like FHA/Fannie Mae and raise refinance rates.

Not to forget the effect on the HOA's insurance. Which will either kick in to defend your HOA/President due it's "corporate shield" or will charge more/leave once case is done. This will most likely become some sort of insurance claim situation due to the nature of the case win or lose.

Always say "suing your HOA is suing yourself and your neighbors". There are effects whether or not your lawsuit has any merit. This case doesn't sound like a whole lot of water IMO. It's more of a crime on the President's part which should be a civil case between the parties involved. All the other issues with the board could be handled amongst yourselves outside of court IF anyone chooses to step up and READ their documents...

Former HOA President
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/15/2020 5:25 AM  
Thanks. The property manager charges $400 for copies of the bylaws and CCRs. I was given a set of bylaws by another owner, but I don't have the CCRs. The bylaws do not state that only resident owners can be on the board.

Is anyone else not concerned by there being no financial statements for 2019, and no annual meeting for 2020, in light of a lawsuit against the HOA and the president for theft of funds and illegal elections? The combination of those items suggests that something's off.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/15/2020 6:12 AM  
All of this is circling.

You need to either replace the board, which requires support from many others, or bring legal action, which requires money, but less support from others - or, you could run to join the board.

So, your CCRs are not recorded at the county?

Do you have the statements in writing, re not being allowed to serve on the board?
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/15/2020 6:24 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/15/2020 6:12 AM
All of this is circling.

You need to either replace the board, which requires support from many others, or bring legal action, which requires money, but less support from others - or, you could run to join the board.

So, your CCRs are not recorded at the county?

Do you have the statements in writing, re not being allowed to serve on the board?




Thanks. Good points. The CCRs are likely recorded at the county level. I hadn't checked, but useful to know.

The other owner emailed me (and others) to let us know that he was informed that non-resident owners can't serve on the board, but I don't have the original statements.

I may just sell this rental property once the current tenant moves out. If other owners don't care, I'm not fighting their battles for them.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/15/2020 8:10 AM  
Yeah, you could do that.

Or, you could run for the Board, and fix the association's management.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1315


10/15/2020 8:11 AM  
Posted By ChrisE8 on 10/14/2020 4:40 PM
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/14/2020 4:16 PM
Interesting.

Haven't seen language like that before - excluding non-resident owners from board membership.

Could you quote a bit from your Bylaws showing that - would be instructive.




Another landlord who owns in the HOA but doesn't live there ran for the board and was told that by the board president and the property manager.




I would verify that by reading the actual governing docs.

Usually a provision that treats a subset of owners differently is asking for a court challenge because it's discriminatory. I can't think of any legal justification for this unless the governing docs spell out different classes of ownership, and I've never seen any CC&Rs that do. May be different in communities with different legal structures, but not plain vanilla HOAs and COAs.

I can understand a practical justification for this - people who don't live in the community tend not to know what's going on (or care). But that doesn't mean it's legal.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1315


10/15/2020 8:13 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/15/2020 8:11 AM
Posted By ChrisE8 on 10/14/2020 4:40 PM
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/14/2020 4:16 PM
Interesting.

Haven't seen language like that before - excluding non-resident owners from board membership.

Could you quote a bit from your Bylaws showing that - would be instructive.




Another landlord who owns in the HOA but doesn't live there ran for the board and was told that by the board president and the property manager.




I would verify that by reading the actual governing docs.

Usually a provision that treats a subset of owners differently is asking for a court challenge because it's discriminatory. I can't think of any legal justification for this unless the governing docs spell out different classes of ownership, and I've never seen any CC&Rs that do. May be different in communities with different legal structures, but not plain vanilla HOAs and COAs.

I can understand a practical justification for this - people who don't live in the community tend not to know what's going on (or care). But that doesn't mean it's legal.




Come to think of it... the issue may be that non-residents can't attend board meetings, which would disqualify them from serving. But that applies to all owners, including ones who live in the community.
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/15/2020 11:10 AM  
Thanks, everyone. You make great points.

I'm going to not take any action about this issue. I think it's important to get along as much as possible, and clearly this HOA has enough strife. If owners want change, they can push for it, but I'm not going to fight their battles (although I'll go along with a group).

Thanks again.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/15/2020 12:25 PM  
I don't understand.

You have an issue, but you are not going to try and fix it?

"Getting along" does not usually result in successful outcomes.
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/15/2020 12:38 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/15/2020 12:25 PM
I don't understand.

You have an issue, but you are not going to try and fix it?

"Getting along" does not usually result in successful outcomes.




I'm going to (1) sell the rental property in this HOA and (2) give a campaign contribution to the candidate who got sued by the board president.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Board president filed lawsuit against political candidate, and political candidate got suit filed against HOA



Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement