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Condo association board member removed unfairly

Posted on Mon, May 24, 2010 @ 05:38 AM

I live in Florida and have been a condo unit owner for seven years, along with being an elected Board Member for four of those years. I have always followed the rules set forth by the condo association (both before and after being elected) and was present at our bi-weekly "workshops" (they call it this so that the meeting schedule does not need to be posted and or owners notified), and present at all "meetings".

Recently, because of the economy, I had to go back to work. This has caused me to miss the bi-weekly workshops - they are held ONLY on Mondays and ONLY @ 11am. I work M-F 9-6. They have asked me to resign stating I am not holding up to the responsibilities the unit owners elected me for. I explained that I am always available by phone should an emergency vote need to take place and I am always home in the evenings should they wish to discuss important issues addressed during these workshops. You would have thought I was asking for the moon when I made this statement.

Recently, my husband placed a box (not crushed or flattened in a garbage bag with other items of garbage). This box was approximately 6x6x12 not really very big, but it was in a garbage bag. One of the condo board members, who has an obsession with all things concerning our garbage dumpster, opened the tied bag in the dumpster to see who it was that violated the rule for not flattening/crushing boxes. I received a certified letter stating that because I broke one of their rules, they were going to repeal my position and would do all that was necessary to have me voted/petitioned off the board.

My question is two fold:

1) Does a person have the right to rummage through a tied garbage bag, in a dumpster, and then use the information found to levy a warning notice or impose a fine?

2) Can such a minor infraction of the rules (not by laws) be used to have me removed from the board?

While I have served on the condo association board, there have been more severe rules violated, such as owners having dogs, leaving/throwing their garbage onto common grounds, throwing parties with alcohol at the pool area, etc...and nothing more than a letter if that was sent. I feel they are using their "powers that be" to have me removed simply because I am unable to attend their meetings that really could be held at a different time. (I am the youngest member) and the remaining members have the luxury of not needing to work. I hope that someone can provide me with an answer to this issue.




In Florida they don't need a reason to remove you. Unfortunately it seems they are not acting with good moral judgement.  
As far as the so called violation, Usually the normal procedure is to get a warning letter and time to cure the situation and then it's done and over with if you comply. Sounds like they were just looking for a way to get you out which they didn't need in the first place, they just need 3 board members to agree to remove you.  
However, I would like to comment on the "Workshop sessions" Florida Statutes clearly states that anytime 3 members of the Board get together to discuss Association business it is considered a meeting! Therefore it must be posted to the membership! Your BOD is clearly in violation of the FLA STATUTES 718. I would suggest you direct them to review them and furthermore let them know that they can be held accountable by the State if it continues and a fine can be imposed if someone reports this. They took a oath when they accepted there Board Status to uphold all laws, clearly they are not!

posted @ Monday, May 24, 2010 6:26 AM by T

In NC the board hold secret meetings and calls them Executive Sessions but do not report the meeting in any way. Are they illegal too? To the Fla person it is obvious they didn't want you on the Board. You might to more by being Off it and watch for any deviations from the by laws. You could do more as just a member of the Association that a Board member. Request monthly financial statements, etc. If you are not on the Board you can hold "Workshops" with other owners -- to discuss problems.

posted @ Monday, May 24, 2010 7:19 AM by Sue

First may I say that I think someone going thru the dumpster is not approiate. We have a person here that does the same thing. We call her the dumspter police. Second of all I do believe that the board needs to hold a meeting and have you voted out by the rest of the other members. So unless all of the other members feel the same I don't think you can be removed. Why can't you schedule your meeting for a Sunday. This is what we do and it works for us. 
This way no one can say they don't have time to come to the meeting. "It's A Sunday" after church is done. You did not say what your duties are on the board. But if you are the president, then there are options here use them. But getting back to the dumpster LOL maybe this person needs to be told that they are invadeing your private garbage bag, maybe that will shut them up! 
Good luck.

posted @ Monday, May 24, 2010 7:39 AM by slr

I have come to the conclusion that the Condo model is severely flawed and creates a very negative environment populated by control freaks, people with empty lives, who lack any understanding of professional management or property maintenance and management. 
The lowest common denominator exists in a communistic environment ruled by petty dictators with limited vision, inconsistent application of rules and much insider favoritism. You in essence have limited rights, intrusive Bored member (Board, I know the difference) The positive concept of community gets lost in the petty power plays. Give a person a little power and watch how it corrupts them. Like living in an Apartment except you sometimes you cannot leave at will. Your investment is limited by comps that may or may not have relevancy such as property sold by an estate. In an ideal world this model of living would be good. If you could just eliminate all of the mental and emotional problems and baggage that many people possess life would be good. I am better off paying someone to cut my grass and cut my lawn. Why are people willing to pay for this in a condo and think of it as freedom yet do not want to pay for it in their home and have the same freedom minus the collective problems that seem to universally exist. Socialism and Communism controlled by the ruling party. Never again ! 
Jim Court 
Elmhurst,Illinois 60126 

posted @ Monday, May 24, 2010 8:08 AM by Jim Court

In order for them to remove (recall) you from the board they will need to obtain the majority of the owner vote (50%+1), if you feel that you are mistreated you can contact the DBPR or the Ombudsman (first choice recommended) http://www.ccfj.net/ombudsman.html and seek with them a guidance on how to proceed.  
In addition you can refer to your condo docs and F.S. 718 for procedure  

posted @ Monday, May 24, 2010 10:03 AM by Jose E. Humaran

It has been my personal experience, (when attempting to get rid of a Board member who was using his post to coerce business from homeowners). that once a Board member is duly elected onto the Board, it takes a majority vote of the homeowners to vote him out. It is not an easy thing and it is not a majority of the Board that can do it!! 
In Florida, trash, once disposed, is considered abandoned and thus anyone can take it. However, you should be given a warning - they cannot boot you off the board for that. 
Lastly, in Florida we have the Sunshine Law; any meeting that includes a majority of the Board members must be noticed and open. 
All those "workshop" meetings are totally in violation and you have a great case against the Board! 

posted @ Monday, May 24, 2010 10:08 AM by Ana Anderson

Wow - these issues really hit home. My husband was forcibly removed from treasurer after the association tried to appoint a non-owner to the board. We stood our ground and refused to give up financial documentation to a non-owner just because he is "nice" and they took it so far as to go to the bank and accuse us of fraud. In the end, they sought legal counsel who told them they could not elect a non-owner. Their own legal counsel had to put a stop to the insanity. Since then they are constantly targeting us about dumpster issues and other issues that have been voted on but they now want to change because we benefit. For example for the last 6 years at least there has been an area in the back designated for motorcycles, people have actively used it (sometimes having 3 bikes parked at a time) and it has been voted on more than once as owners would purchase and add motorcycles to the area. Each vote was unanimous that the bikes could stay. Now, we received a letter under our door from the condo president stating that she is revoking our right to park the motorcycle in the back and threatened undefined fines (no amounts and nothing in the bylaws, just move the bike now or we will take "swift action" to fine you). Our reply was that it has been voted on which was legally binding and that past practice set a precedent that could not be overturned due to our recent unpopularity. They have now called a meeting to vote to revoke our right to keep the bike in back. We plan to stand our ground. We are in IL. Thoughts?

posted @ Monday, May 24, 2010 3:01 PM by Dawn

I agree with all who have responded to this. I would not step down or be forced out. Force the board to follow their by-laws. Also, you may want the other owners in your association to take note of what is going on; perhaps the newspaper would be a good place to go as well. Maybe you should video tape the dumpster diving member so all the other owners can see that their trash is not sacred, FL law or not.  
Keep your enemies in front of you so that you know what they are doing at all times. DO NOT quit that board. That let's them win. Stand up for what is right and don't take no for an answer. Force them to do what is right and if not, tell the other owners about the antics of the people they voted in. If your fellow owners are not willing to make changes to the board, perhaps that is not the place you should be living. The fact is they are bullies and bullies are bullies because no one stands up to them. Stay and fight! that is my recommendation. You have the law on your side. Good luck.

posted @ Monday, May 24, 2010 4:17 PM by Sarah Leeke

A digital consensus system should allow you to find a majority and unbias opinion on this issue. We regularly see this kind of problem resolved by common consensus by allowing everyone in the community to cast their opinion. As long as the specifics of the vote are fairly outlined then a fair ruling can be given. Digital voting allows everyone to have their say and we see it as the future of HOA management issues.

posted @ Tuesday, May 25, 2010 7:11 AM by Gareth Quin

Jim Court's comment hit home for me. In our condo we have some perpetual complainers and critics. (It's rumored that one woman left a piece of paper, I think in the hallway, to see how long it would be before the maintenance staff picked it up.  
But condos are not communistic or socialistic; that involves government ownership of the means of production.

posted @ Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:37 PM by Eleanor Hall

Even if this is a senior condo, meetings/workshops shouldn't be held at 11 AM. They should be at a time when everyone can come. In our condo, board and committee meetings are all held on weekday evenings. 
This board is just looking for an excuse to get rid of the writer, who knows why. Too bad, most boards need members and can't afford to get rid of any,

posted @ Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:17 PM by Eleanor Hall

Perhaps I should correct myself. When I said socialist or communist, I really was referring to the complete control exhibited by authoritarian forms of government, not necessarily about the form of ownership. Decisions are made by the controlling party and once they manage to get in place it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of them. They control methods of voting, control all forms of communications, grant or withhold favors, and often attack those who may not agree with the Boards methods. Two sets of rules seem to exist. One for Board members, who blatantly violate many rules, and another set of rules for those who are not part of the inner sanctum. Voting is supposed to be related to percentage of ownership yet they only count one vote per unit even though my unit is almost 4 &1/2 times the size of the small condo's that are prevalent. Visitors get threatened with towing, lawsuits are threatened, and vicious and unfounded rumors are spread, and every methods to diminish my character is utilized. I am a former manager of many large suburban apartment complexes and a fairly successful investor. I intended to retire in this property and travel. They have caused two sales to be canceled, have ruined my quiet enjoyment of my place, and yet continue to drain the place financially. Multiple contracts exist and the janitor has manipulated his way into the mouthpiece for the Board. He does little work and we now have contracts for landscaping (former Board President) purchased an expensive video security system to actually monitor me by a later Board President) who is now threatening to sue the Board members. We have contracts for the janitorial, sidewalk snow removal, and landscaping which should all be done by the janitor/maintenance man. The property is not that large and I grew up doing this work. 
He moves at a snails pace but lonely Seniors want someone to talk with so we pay him for what volunteers used to do. Our former President of many years ago was a CPA but he was not allowed to touch our books. He also acted as the public voice and was well respected. He was run off by these same Board members. The reserve fund is small and being depleted and faces a future with major expenses to be dealt with. The plumbing is original (1972) the elevator and roof need replacement and the fire alarm system is antiquated. The interior of the building has never been modernized and is very dated. Today a Realtor told me that the Board has a terrible reputation among local Realtors as being very difficult to deal with. Two Board members own multiple units (against the rules unless contiguous) use a garage to store mowers and flammables which violates the rules and insurance policy. If a lawyer reads this I would really like legal opinion about what to do. Seniors are going to see their investment deteriorate quickly. We have no newsletter, e-mail, website, or even a bulletin board. This is why I stated that it was communistic. One party control and brutal at that. 
Jim Court 
Elmhurst, Illinois

posted @ Thursday, June 03, 2010 4:13 PM by Jim Court

If a Board decides to impose a special assessment on the unit owners, are they required to hold a meeting that is open to the membership before the decision is made? This is what happened with my condo association. The Board is assessing for elevator and other repairs, but the meeting was for "discussion" after the decision was already made since a breakdown of individual unit responsibility was included with the notice. Is the Board in violation of some Florida statute? No notice of a Board meeting was sent to discuss the assessment prior to this.

posted @ Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:33 PM by J Del Rio

My husband has been on the Board for 2 1/2 years, Initially he was appointed by someone resigning. Since then he was reelected and has been the President. Our association has recently held the new elections, he was reelected again as well as the current board. 
One of the running canidates was very mad of her loss. She also was the resigning board member who appointed him. Since then she has had several violations that have gone uncured and are in legal processing at present. However, do to her loss to the board, she filed for a recall against my husband and the VP. She got the amount of signatures required. Since then we have made phone calls and have talked to indiviuals who signed the recall ballot. Many have stated, they didn't understand or know what they were signing. (many live out of state). Some were told lies to get them to sign. ie; We want to make our board 3 instead of 5. ie: There was Election Fraud. and various other stories. We also found out that ballots were sent to the select few and NOT THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP. Is this legal? Don't all homeowners have a right to vote on matters such as this? Isn't this disinfranchising?  
Unfortunately, Florida law states you do not need a cause or reason to remove board members. How can these two indiviuals defend themselves from the misrepresentaions of these evil people. Now some of our homeowners are calling apologizing that they didn't know what they signed or understood it. The others who didn't get a ballot are furious. Is there a way to stop this recall? Or demand a withdrawal based on the information I have provided to you? This is very time sensitive, We have been in touch with counsel, however we are advised to seek other opinions. One other note: Two of the 5 board members are involved in this. They have been inactive board members for over a year and live out of the country. They are friends with this women. The other 3 board members are the ones who have held up there oath and fiduciary duty. 

posted @ Friday, June 18, 2010 7:19 AM by T

I have been recalled as President(Florida Condo Board) They thought I would resign totally, but I did not. They needed a worker bee and nominated me VP, go figure. I do my job as VP and THe board members try to make my life miserable. I have recenltly and another board member been threatened by our President's husband. I am just curious if a bord members husband can sue individual board members for their vote. Should the President resign as a board member if her husband follows with this suit? 

posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 1:24 PM by Doreen

I think the problem is the time of the meetings/workshops. This board does not have the right to schedule meetings at a time when most working people would not be able to attend. The board is not representative of the owners, and also, non-board members who are working could not attend.  
In my 540-unit condo in IL, all board meetings and virtually all committee meetings are scheduled on weekday evenings.

posted @ Thursday, October 03, 2013 3:01 PM by Eleanor Hall

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