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Dictator runs condo association and spends money with little resistance

Posted on Fri, Aug 05, 2011 @ 06:58 AM
I live in a 90 unit Condo Building. We used to have meetings to discuss where our maintenance money goes, etc. Suddenly people lost interest. Somehow one woman got to be president and is very bossy and controlling; seems to make all decisions as to where our maintenance money goes and the choices of people she hires...well, seem less than professional. We got a watered down paint job; the grounds never get taken care of properly; we lost our hedge because she will not listen to any advice at all; now she has someone redoing our pool; we have never had a meeting about any of this. She is always yelling and never has time for any questions. So she is unapproachable. I can't take too much stress, (a long story) so I am guilty of not attending the meetings that we used to have. I guess my first question is: Who can I talk to? I don't have any money to pay an attorney. My second question is: Do I have to pay maintenance fees if I am never informed about how the money is used and I am never given the opportunity to voice my opinion. I don't have proof, but I feel that I am one of few that pay any way. I would really like to see the place taken care of properly. Please is there anyone in my city that I can talk to about this? I sure do not want to get into an actual war here between her and residents. She can be nasty. Perhaps a lawyer could write her a letter informing her of how to deal with residents in a diplomatic way and how to make decisions with the help of others. She wants everyone to bow down to her, but she does not give any respect to anyone. I try to give her respect, hoping that she will rise to deserve it.



First of all, you need to review your declarations. This will spell out exactly what they can spend without a formal vote. Second, by law in most states, there should be a minimum of four meetings per year. Im sure your docs also state how many board members there should be. In any case, if you can get a majority of residences in your favor, you can have her voted out or removed. All if this information is free from your local government.

posted @ Friday, August 05, 2011 7:25 AM by Joel Reiser

This is as much a human relations issue as a management issue. First no one can take advantage of people without their acquiescence. I'm sure at some time early on folks were relieved that someone had stepped up to the plate to take responsibility. Well, she did. Now you need to take it back.  
It does not sound like you have a management company. If you do, they'd be the ones to rein her in. Second, you really need to look at your governing documents. It should state how often meetings are to be held and most importantly how they can be called. It's possible that owners can demand a meeting with agreement among a certain number of owners. If so, you'll need to get the other owners involved. Folks like her thrive in an environment where they control the flow of information. You need knowledge. What do your by laws say? What is the position of other owners? Surely among 90 units someone must have a legal background. A retired attorney, a paralegal? They may even know someone locally who can help. 
Beyond that, there is a state governing agency for Condo associations. Contact them.  
But someone new is going to have to belly up to the bar and take the a leadership role in challenging this individual. Look to other owners. Who can best do that? Would they be willing? Force a meeting. It's not pleasant, but you paid good money to own that property. It's yours. She now has control of your wallet. Will you continue to allow that?

posted @ Friday, August 05, 2011 7:37 AM by Ron Knight

This happened in my condo complex 6 years ago. When I discovered what was happening I mailed a five page letter to each unit owner (incl those offsite) and informed of the situation. Everyone pulled together. It took a while and finally the President resigned.  
At the time I did not know we could have an ADR process. I did notify the Dept. of Community Affairs and they suggested hiring and attorney. However, if you involve all of the owners and demand a special meeting to discuss these issues she must comply. Look in your governing documents. There must be something that discusses 'for good cause'. Sometimes the management only responds to the President because he/she is the one that is signing the checks. Remember knowledge is power. Express your feelings to the other unit owners.

posted @ Friday, August 05, 2011 8:08 AM by rie

I don't know what kind of management company you have, but, all the ones we've had do what ever the president says, not the board, the president. Nothing will change unless, or until more people feel as you do.

posted @ Friday, August 05, 2011 8:21 AM by Donna A.

Guys/girls, we need to know more information before you steer the person wrong. A 90 unit building, I doubt, is self managed. A board by law consists of more than one member. Usually 3 or 5 and never an even number. By law, both the management and the board have fiduciary duties to follow. These are governed by the docs you received purchasing the place and by state law. You can request everything if you do not have it and they are obligated to give it to you. Your building should carry an officers and directors policy. This is an insurance policy to protect the board if they make a mistake. If your building doesn't have it, I suggest you state to board members that they might be accountable for costs associated with due process. Take everyone's advice but pick your battles. Mad about a hedge isn't a battle. Spending money frivolously is.  
By the way, I own a larger painting company in Chicago. A water down paint job sounds to me a contractor using a less expensive product. Usually indicates a low bid. But until you request minutes, you will never know what the bids were. 
Long story short, RESEARCH!

posted @ Friday, August 05, 2011 8:40 AM by Joel Reiser

As is usually the case, "I didn't attend the meetings" wanting someone else to do the work then complain when they step up and do. 
You must have at least one meeting a year.Attend. Speak out, get involved.  
You say the President is nasty but you are making all kinds of accusation "I don't have any proof" against her. If others feel as you do, it should be simple to vote her out of office. 
Pay your fees or you will have a lien placed on your home and it can be foreclosed.

posted @ Friday, August 05, 2011 10:21 AM by Jim

First of all, the things you say she is making decisions about are decisions to be made by the BOD not the members. The problem as I see it, is that the other members of the board shouldn't be letting her run the show alone. All decisions should be made by a majority vote of all board members. If the remaining members of the board let the Pres run the show solo then they aren't any better than her. It might be time to elect people who can work together as a team. 
As for not having open meetings, if they aren't required by state law or in your gov. docs then the board may meet in secret. I don't believe this is the best way to run an assn, but if it isn't against the law then there isn't much that you can do about it. Of course who are you to complain, you admit that you didn't attend the meetings that used to take place! I'm always amazed that it's usually the people who know the least that complain the most.

posted @ Friday, August 05, 2011 12:17 PM by mary

In Florida and most probably in most states you need to elect a board of at lease 3 to 5 members.Being president is not an easy job, especially in a 90 unit complex.Also, do not forget it is a voluntary position.Having said that, it should be the board that makes the decisions, not the president alone? 
I am president of our 26 unit condo complex in Florida with 5 board members. 3 of us make most of the decisions because the other 2 never want to agree on anything. 
However, we do have regular meetings of the membership and do our best to be as democratic as possible.Not always easy. 
Florida by the way, has 1 of the strictest government agencies possible concerning condo laws. 
The state of Florida made us redo our election this year because 1 person who did not get elected to the board made a frivolous complaint. 
My suggestion to you is to ask for a copy of the monthly financials and see where your money is going. If you ask in written form, by Florida law the board must reply within 30 days to any request or they are in default and the association can be fined for each incident. Once you have an idea of what is going on speak to the other board members.

posted @ Friday, August 05, 2011 2:05 PM by page

Does email count as "written" form of notification? It is certainly more reliable than the Post Office, here. 

posted @ Friday, September 16, 2011 3:36 PM by Michael B.

IMO, email is not a "written" form of communication, unless specifically stated as such in the gov. docs. Many gov. docs were writen before email was so widely used. "Written" communication would mean a letter that would be mailed to the member(s).

posted @ Friday, September 16, 2011 6:18 PM by mary

i will like to know where i can go to complain about situation the we have an are community that the president is protecting the maintenance's person because his renting one of his unit, but this guy is drugaddic

posted @ Thursday, December 01, 2011 7:34 PM by Ed morales

A few states have an agency that will hear HOA complaints. Not knowing what state you're in I can't say whether yours is one. This is a problem for most people living in an HOA, as most often the only recourse is to file a lawsuit against the board using your own attorney and your own money and it can be extremely costly. Before you go that route Iwould suggest that you know definitely whether or not your board is violating any provision of the gov docs or state law otherwise your efforts will be wasteful.

posted @ Friday, December 02, 2011 5:58 PM by mary

our condo association is paying over $700 a month for a security gate that is not there.Is there anything we can do?

posted @ Monday, December 19, 2011 8:51 PM by Edward Holmes

our condo association is spending over $700 a month for a security gate that is not workong.Always broken.Is this legal?

posted @ Monday, December 19, 2011 8:56 PM by Edward Holmes

Who is being paid for the gate? What does the board have to say? 
More info please. 
BTW, I don't know that "legal" enters into this. If something is "illegal" it means the HOA gov. docs and/or state law are being violated. 

posted @ Tuesday, December 20, 2011 3:07 PM by mary

Page suggestion was "to ask for a copy of the monthly financials and see where your money is going. If you ask in written form, by Florida law the board must reply within 30 days to any request or they are in default and the association can be fined for each incident." I am a new member s of Jan. 2011 on a BoD in Florida. The Pres. and property mgt. are constantly making changes without BoD imput. The other three members of the board just do whatever she says. Making a known request to the prop. mgt. means nothing. You have to send a reg. letter making request then he will make an appointment for you to go to the office at his convenience. He says it is illegal for him to mail copies of financials to anyone but the BoD quarterly and it is illegal for us to share this info. It is a fiduciary breech. I have researced bylaws,articles, Condo Act, Statues, etc. and find nothing of the sort. I am very much concerned. I asked questions that I had and others had given me and got removed from office at an open Board meeting without notice and then was also told within minutes that I had been recalled as well. My votes at the remainder of the meeting were not minuted. Many unit owners want answers. We want everything to be run legaly and in the best interest of our community. Where do we begin? Maggie

posted @ Wednesday, June 06, 2012 8:00 PM by Maggie

IMO, start with a recall of this overbearing, board Pres. Your bylaws and/or state statutes should give the procedure. Once he/she is gone, then the board can concentrate on getting rid of the manager. I doubt that you were recalled if there was no meeting or vote of the members. And, I also doubt that the board had the authority to remove you from the board. If you were elected by the members only they can remove you from the board.

posted @ Thursday, June 07, 2012 9:11 AM by mary

Mary says to recall the BoD— We are a rather new association and our problem is—very few people live here on a permanent full time basis so most unit owners are gone until later in the fall. We do not have their addresses to inform them of the situation with facts. We are not allowed to get them from the prop. Mgt.—he says this information cannot be given out by law because it is confidential info. Is there a way we can legally get these address? If so, from where? 
Florida law says we can recall a BoD that has been elected if the majority of the unit owners send in a letter requesting the recall and we do not have to have a special recall meeting. Do we understand this correctly? 

posted @ Tuesday, June 12, 2012 9:26 AM by ME

Florida has many records available online. You can obtain the address where the unit owners are mailed their tax bills by visiting the tax collector's office online. I am in Palm Beach and have obtained the addresses by visiting http://www.co.palm-beach.fl.us/papa/Asps/GeneralAdvSrch/SearchPage.aspx?f=a

posted @ Thursday, October 04, 2012 12:58 PM by janet

Our landscape contractor made allegations that our President has been demanding xtra special treatment in her yard each week that takes 45 to 1 hr . for his workers. No one else gets this treatment. The contactor told a unit owner and then a board member. Unit owners demanded an investigation. And these two other board members just had us write letters and the contractor wont say what he said because he thinks he feels he will loose his contract. How can we make him come forward. He isnt saying NO he didnt say it but isnt coming forward. 
HELP...... We know this hapoened the contractors workers told others the same thing of all the work done and that the contractor was so discusted, but felt the President was in charge. One board member is a friend of the President, but the other is the Vice President whom the contractor admitted what he said to the unit owner on the allegations and demands the President was making for the past 2 years 

posted @ Sunday, January 13, 2013 11:31 AM by Sandy

Don't any of your board members have a backbone? Why isn't the pres. being asked about this and cautioned that the landscaper is not her personal landscaper? I honestly don't understand how these things go on in some assns. Why do some board members think the Pres can do as he/she wants with no regard for the assn or the other board members. The board pres. is not serving in a dictatorship! The board pres has no more clout than any other board member. Have a talk with the board pres and get this mess straightened out now! Let the pres know that she can be replaced in her office if she doesn't stop acting like a dictator. I can't believe this has gone on for 2 years. Golly, I wonder what else she is getting away with!!

posted @ Sunday, January 13, 2013 1:12 PM by mary

I am living in a condo where the board does not seem to care that the roads have deteriorated, and dozens of shrubs are dead or dying, lawns are filled w/ weeds. - there is plenty of money but they don't seem concerned. 
I have lived in several condominiums, but never in one where the property has been allowed to go so far downhill. If owners go to meeting and say anything they are chastised. 
The maintenance /lawn people are not going to replace anything w/out the board's okay - so it's not their fault.

posted @ Wednesday, February 06, 2013 5:54 PM by E.A.

P.S. The main entry ways need painting and the lobby areas need carpet and wallpaper (it's 20 yrs old!). I was told by management that all of these things were going to be done - it has been 3 years, still waiting.

posted @ Wednesday, February 06, 2013 5:58 PM by E.A.

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