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Subject: Has anyone experienced any of this? How you fought back?
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MiaR1
(Illinois)

Posts:28


03/14/2021 11:42 AM  
In summary: I am in self managed condo association whose owners are apathetic, take sides with people of same race, culture, the value of our CC&R is nothing more than a toilet paper that many of our tenured and new owners don’t understand about, he ones who do are on the board and have been taking full advantage by self serving their own greed and benefit and no one raised/raises their voice nor question anything. We also had 15 years of theft by previous Treasurer, who is 77 now and not hated nor ostracized for the theft. In fact, our members on the board rely on her campaigning for these board members during election, that’s how I lost last year. Just for the record, I am not venting as a sore loser but know that things in our association hasn’t been right for at least 15 years and still don’t see any hope for it. I’ve decided that my time in this association needs to be short, but still at least 2-3 years to get myself out of here.

I was cheated out of serving on the Board by fellow board members due to miscounting votes, including of proxies that had white out (considered tampering of proxies) on them and the Board Secretary used my proxies to share by counting my votes for two other candidates, friends of his. So, due to such actions, final tally showed I having the lowest votes which was used to kick me out. My eyes started opening up about how dysfunctional, corrupt and challenging our association is after last year’s election fiasco because I started noticing open bias, under handed tactics being applied against me within our association community by the fellow board members I served with, that most all owners distanced themselves from me, I get the dirty looks now because I dared to question the status quo. This occurred because I openly questioned about the votes, asked the Board to sit down to address my grievance(about the votes, provide me board meeting minutes, provide financial records since last election) of course all of it was perceived as an ammunition by the board members to strategically go around engaging in my character assassin. Heard from a few owners that a couple of the board members had knocked on their doors to share “dirt” on me and asked to keep distance from me. And my reply to those owners was-if there was some dirt that had to be addressed why not address them with me, instead of gossiping about it with them.

My request for my grievance addressal continued to fall on deaf ears on the Board, so, I managed to get a special meeting of the owners arranged. Two Hispanic owners signed my petition with whom I had great rapport with, but, one of the new owners is also Hispanic and also on the Board(let’s call her Jane), was observed talking with them. Don’t get me wrong, anyone is allowed to talk to anyone, but, those owners have distanced themselves from me now and don’t even speak to even say hello, gives me the understanding that they culturally sided with the rhetoric. That’s how I know that after getting my petition for special meeting, these board members started going door to door to break down this collaboration and rapport that I had with owners who at least signed my petition.

During special meeting, I planned to videotape it(legally allowed in Illinois), but Treasurer, saw me videotape and came charging towards me like a raging bull about to snatch my iPad out of my hand while telling me to stop videotaping, another owner sided with her, while two others said our CC&R are old so now videotaping MAY not be allowed. I had checked, it’s allowed. One person intervened to stop the treasurer charging towards me. I wanted to get through with the meeting so I still wanted to record it hence ended up audio recording it. Glad I did! Because the Treasurer and Jane who is made into the Board President (Hispanic lady who is a first time owner by the way and just moved in last year, whereas I lived in this association for twenty years) took charge to create chaos and instigate owners with unheard of stories about me, rather than sticking to the agenda from the petition. Some owners also verbally attacked me siding with these two. When questioning the votes, another owner said I voted for you, but will not again- we’ve never had any of this problem why don’t you just let it go and move on.

When I’ve been made into a monster in our small community by these gossips by the board members deliberately approaching owners to paint me into a monster, which I am not, only because I stood up for my rights per the CC&R and faced subtle forms of bullying from board that owners also sided with. I’ve become a clown in our condo community.

Problem is not just about them cheating with me like this. Problem is these tactics is what kept the previous Treasurer on the Board(cheating with votes) for 15 years and she kept stealing from the association funds. Problem is even that old Tresurer is no longer on the Board, she is still campaigning for these people on the board who are happily taking her favors and the cheating happened with me last year. This will continue to happen this year, next year, year after year if it’s not stopped. Time after time, our Board has been occupied by self serving people and our building condition is very bad because we have violations from the city, we have low reserves tha5 no5 everything can be tackled without huge financial commitment from every owner. And w3 have incompetent, greedy and self serving board members who want to stay on the Board by hook or crook, have gone to great length to prevent me from voicing my concerns about the voting tally and documents that I have been turned into a clown here( diminishing my chances to serve again even if I wanted to). When I served for 17 months, I had added $100k in value to our association, but, was cheated out. Emotionally I am distraught to see how poorly I’ve been treated by almost everyone in our association, whom I helped out as much as I can even by going out of my way, but, in return, I only got public humiliation even without having done anything wrong. Mentally, I know what was done with me was legally wrong but most importantly if it is not controlled, this kind of cheating will continue to happen and wrong people will cheat to stay on the Board hence further deteriorating our condition and our property values.

I have decided to continue to fight this menace and take it as far as I can without going broke financially, while, also being aware that I will be further laughed at and be ridiculed and will alienate more and more owners who don’t understand, choose not to understand, or rather side with friends/people of same race and culture. I am feeling alone because I am the only one voicing anything, being bullied in the process while owners seeing this as entertainment not realizing they are the problem that our board is out of control and engages in open discrimination, attacks on a unit owner, me, for speaking up for the Board to follow our CC&R.

Has anyone had experienced anything what I am going through, or something worse? How did you handle it? Were you able to make a change and turn things around? Any kind words and suggestions would lift my fighting spirit.

Take care!

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10126


03/14/2021 11:59 AM  
I am left to wonder if a lot of this isn't your view that is causing the issue? I mean your assigning the issue to race. Well is that reality or the reality in your eyes? Think you need to step back and look at your approach. Honestly, your not going to want to hear this but... By assigning things are happening by "race" comes of kind of "racist" to others. Doesn't mean you are but it reads that way expecially to those of that race...

Former HOA President
MiaR1
(Illinois)

Posts:28


03/14/2021 12:20 PM  
Hi MelissaP1, thank you for your reply. I understand that race has been and is a very sensitive subject. I didn’t go around telling this to people, but, have observed it. It’s also an elephant in the room type of subject that no one wants to talk about and stays away from but does experience it in some form or another. I have, we all have and I am a minority. My apologies but I am not saying I am racist or others in our building are. But, it is human nature to side with and feel more comfortable with someone a person can relate to whether it be cultural similarity, or any other kind. Not sure if it’s prevalent anywhere else in the US, but, in Illinois, you are “categorized” with people of your own background to influence a sale, an idea, etc. it’s widely done but never spoken about.

I want to be clear that I am not accusing anyone of being racist nor am I being a racist against anyone. I shared my observation of some owners in our association that rely on cultural and racial similarity and side with that rather than objectively siding with problems within our Association. Our differences make us strong as long as we accept and respect that about each other. I don’t mean to offend anyone. Apologies, if I did.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8014


03/14/2021 12:45 PM  
I tried to read your post, Mia, but I just cannot take the time to do it and think carefully about your issue. And maybe others can't either. Can you boil your problem down? If so, you might get more responses.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10126


03/14/2021 1:02 PM  
I agree with Kerry your post is hard to follow. I am trying to point out the fact that you are trying to "address the elephant in the room" attitude is most likely what is causing you the most issue. You ever think no wants to talk about it because people no longer want to be recognized or identified by their color or culture? Maybe by NOT talking about it and pointing fingers at it may mean we are achieving the "dream"?

For me if someone of a different culture is in the room why point at them and say "Hey Minority". Why not greet them and say "hello my name is XXX. Welcome". It's called respecting a culture by adding it to the mixing pot. It's not isolating it and assigning it as the cause of why certain decisions are made.

Maybe stop assigning your reasons onto decisions or the "overall picture" to your HOA. It is a skewed vision it seems no one else seems to have.

Former HOA President
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:569


03/14/2021 1:05 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 03/14/2021 12:45 PM
I tried to read your post, Mia, but I just cannot take the time to do it and think carefully about your issue. And maybe others can't either. Can you boil your problem down? If so, you might get more responses.




Same here. Just too much. It would be a great start to strip out the emotions and editorial comments and stick with the facts.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10944


03/14/2021 1:16 PM  
MIA

Accept it or not, you are a racist and an embittered one.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8014


03/14/2021 1:40 PM  
How does it serve the purpose of this forum to call a clearly upset poster begging for help a racist, JohnC?

The only success without spending big bucks that I know of in HOAs when Boards ignore their governing docs, meet in secret, etc., Mia, is to join with others to throw them out. Sounds very unlikely in your case. Sorry, I can't be more optimistic.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1881


03/14/2021 2:01 PM  
This thread raises many of the same issues that Mia posted earlier this year:

https://www.hoatalk.com/Forum/tabid/55/forumid/1/postid/300498/view/topic/Default.aspx
https://www.hoatalk.com/Forum/tabid/55/forumid/1/postid/299916/view/topic/Default.aspx

It sounds like there is a lot of drama going on.

Unfortunately, my advice for people in troubled situations is usually the same. You have three options: stay and fight; 2) learn to live with it; 3) move. If you do not have allies in this fight, the first option is out.

Someone may not like any of these options, but that won't make a fourth option magically appear.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10944


03/14/2021 2:20 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 03/14/2021 1:40 PM
How does it serve the purpose of this forum to call a clearly upset poster begging for help a racist, JohnC?

The only success without spending big bucks that I know of in HOAs when Boards ignore their governing docs, meet in secret, etc., Mia, is to join with others to throw them out. Sounds very unlikely in your case. Sorry, I can't be more optimistic.



Sometimes you have to call it the way you see it. Coddling is often not the best course of action.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8014


03/14/2021 2:51 PM  
The point, JohnC, is that name-calling is not the purpose of this forum. It does not enlighten or help anyone who visits us with their HOA matters or questions.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8014


03/14/2021 2:53 PM  
The point, JohnC, is that name-calling is not the purpose of this forum. It does not enlighten or help anyone who visits us with their HOA matters or questions.

I don't see any of us, btw, "coddling" Mia.
MiaR1
(Illinois)

Posts:28


03/14/2021 2:59 PM  
Thank you to everyone that replied. Some of my words have given impression that I am instigating racism and that I am racist. My apologies, my intent was never that. Whereas, I thought I was expressing my observation only, which could be wrong, but, my observation within my association nonetheless. I’ve appreciated the unbiased help that I’ve received on this forum, hence, I brought up a problem that I’ve observed. As Melissa pointed out, no one wants to be known siding culturally, that’s considered being divisive. I understand it and I’ve never accused anyone in my association of being racist..JohnC, I’ve lived in my association long enough to observe the things that have happened which has led me to the conclusion of some people blindly siding rather than objectively engaging to solve our problems, as I’ve stated, hence, one of the reasons for our problems besides apathy of our owners.

Bottomline is, I joined this forum to seek unbiased help and support as I don’t have any support within my association, and not to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings. You’ve given me support to keep my sanity. I am already dealing with a lot of problems within my self managed association and last thing I ever want to do is offend anyone. I never thought that my expression of my observation would impact posters profoundly. My apologies.

Thanks to everyone who took their time to reply. I guess my time is up on this forum now that I am being perceived as a racist.

I am aware that I am being bullied in subtle ways by our board for speaking up and asking them to follow our CC&Rs and they engaging in underhanded tactics to talk ill against me. So I shared my own observations of what I experienced and saw. Unfortunately got labeled as racist for it. I withdraw my question. Sorry.

MiaR1
(Illinois)

Posts:28


03/14/2021 3:02 PM  
Kerry Thank you!
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10126


03/14/2021 3:04 PM  
I know I started with the "racism" thing but it is in the vain of helping Mia maybe see how they may be coming across to others. It's not to call them any names. Maybe Mia's best way to "fight" is to first recognize what their problem may be to the others.

What I read it came across like "My HOA isn't doing what I want because of XXX culture are sticking together". That's NOT what you want to put out there for people to support you. The other culture may very well be voting alike because of their cultural beliefs. So is everyone else. It's the MELTING of ALL the cultures need to work on. Your not doing that by assigning the decisions being made based on culture alone.

I don't know all the details that are involved here. I just know it doesn't come across well for MIA if they are calling on elephants in the room. The elephant in the room may be you.

Former HOA President
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:569


03/14/2021 4:03 PM  
Mia, if you have questions I hope you will keep posting but I hope you will consider my feedback. When someone's post contains a lot of emotions, accusations and feelings it puts me in an impossible situation because I'm only hearing one side of the story. As a wise person once said, "the truth is always in the middle.". This is especially true in the case of this post. I have no doubt that you believe every word you said but the truth is I don't know you personally and I don't get to hear the other side of the story. It's all one sided.

For these reasons I think you will get much more support and help if you limit your posts to specific questions and provide non emotional fact based comments when you answer. I realize there will be times when you have to provide background info including perceptions but when you can stay away from it.
LaskaS
(Texas)

Posts:422


03/25/2021 10:55 PM  
Yikes, Mia, your board and association sounds worse than mine!

I took on the establishment and lived to tell. It is extremely draining. You may be able to make changes. However, you have to make sure you have other owners that will step up and help you.

I had lots of verbal support from owners , but noone wanted to actually help.

I recently resigned from the board . No matter what I said or did, it would get squashed. I'm not going to live like that.

I got a lot of great advice from this board. A lot of the advice and feedback were the only things that kept me going .

So. my advice is. If you can. MOVE... crooked people are going to stay crooked.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:179


03/26/2021 7:01 AM  
MaiR, the length of what you said is like reading War and Peace. You are fortunate that their are some people who cae so much to help that they will read all you wrote and then offer some good advice. I would sell, move out and find a place where you have confidence in its operation.
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