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How Do I Find Someone Who Has Posted To This Board? - Rick Stubing Dec 17, 2008


I ran across a posting by an "Elise Brodsky" and was wondering how I might get in contact with her. Thanks. Rick.

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conflict of interest? - rene Dec 14, 2008


hi everyone,

a. a current board member wants to "swap"apartments. We have an apt for sale and she wants to trade her apt for that one.
b. this board member contacted the coop attorney,for legal advise on this deal, instead of getting her own attorney.
c. the coop attorney gave her legal advise on how to carry out such a deal and what would be required of her and from him as the coop attorney.
d. the shareholder has submitted her offer for the apt she wants to swap into, along with emails from the coop attorney regarding the deal and how it would be carried out.

this entire thing feels bad....can the coop attorney give legal advise to a board member on a deal they want to bring before the board?

any other thoughts or where i can get guidance on this issue would be appreciated.
thanks!


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The co-op's attorney works FOR THE BOARD, not individual Board Members.

So.... any costs associated with this advice go directly to the individual.
And the attorney should be (at minimum) censured for agreeing to participate in the discussion.

If it were our Board, I think we'd do more than that.

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This is not conflict of interest, but a potential ethical issue:

a. The board member should be charged, as stated before, for any time incurred in consulting the co-op counsel.

b. The board member has inside information regarding the apartment that he/she wishes to swap and wishes to trade it. Obviously, the board member is giving up his/her apartment for the more desirable apartment. There may be some money being paid for the difference in the cost. So, from that point of view, the only issue here is an ethical one of inside knowledge and advantage over other residents.

c. Do other shareholders know about the availability of this apartment and would other shareholders had the same opportunity to do the same consultations as the board member and come up with the same swapping scheme if they would have known the apartment was vacant?

d. Usually, you have shareholder who get interested in a larger or smaller unit and they sell their in order to buy the second unit. Wouldn't this be the case of your board member?


AdC

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thanks for your response...the apt for sale was advertised to all shareholders and the apt is on the open market for sale. No one shareholder has expressed interest in the apt and we dont have any current offers. The apt is actually the same size, but on a higher one flight up. The shareholder would have to pay off her mortgage and sell her apt in order to gain the other apt.

thanks for you response. i learned that the board can create an internal resale policy to cover these types of situations which we will discuss. And we have been advised to write the board member a notice that she is not to contact the coop attorney for personal matters. I am checking to see if we need to do anything else. She lied to the attorney and misrepresented herself and the deal to get his assistance.

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Rene - Just my opinion, but if your BM lied to your coop attorney to get his help, I'd consider that reason (misrepresentation) to reject any application by him/her to buy another apt in your coop. If this is serious enough, I'd personally also ask that BM to resign, or you and your other BMs should vote to remove him/her from the board.

I'd also put the cost of legal services for time that your BM spent talking to your coop attorney about this on his/her account. If any other shareholder did this, you'd charge him/her for it, wouldn't you?

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This is just the kind of petty-tyrant overreaction I've come to expect from co-op boards. We're talking about somebody's home, about the place where they live and raise a family, and you want to reject an otherwise viable applicant because he/she made a fairly minor error in judgment or even -- have you thought of this? -- didn't realize that he/she talking to the board's atty was wrong? Either way, big freaking deal. Has anyone TALKED to the board member before getting all hissy-fitting?

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Anonymous: My telling Rene her BM's lying to the coop atty may be reason to not let him buy another apt, voting him off the board, or billing him for the atty's time was my opinion. I don't see it as "overreaction." Please allow for the possibility that you overreacted. Here was your reply to me:

>>>This is just the kind of petty-tyrant overreaction I've come to expect from co-op boards. We're talking about somebody's home, about the place where they live and raise a family, and you want to reject an otherwise viable applicant because he/she made a fairly minor error in judgment or even -- have you thought of this? -- didn't realize that he/she talking to the board's atty was wrong? Either way, big freaking deal. Has anyone TALKED to the board member before getting all hissy-fitting?<<<

Anonymous, you don't know any more than anyone here if the BM has a family, is a viable applicant, made a "fairly minor error in judgment" or didn't know talking to the atty was wrong. That's your opinion, which you also have a right to. We don't have all the facts here of course but the fact that the atty gave the BM help may be a big deal. As others said here, he represents the coop, not individual SHs.If the BM didn't know it, the atty should have told him so.

Coop boards are not all petty-tyrants. Many of us do our best, treat all SHs fairly and equally, and act accordingly if a SH (BM or not) takes advantage of a situation. If that hasn't been true in your experience, that's unfortunate. It's unfair to give all boards a black mark when so many deserve credit for the good they do. I only ask that you keep that in mind. Thanks.

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BP chastises Anonymous for suggesting giving the SH the benefit of the doubt, though Anonymous "doesn't have all the facts." Yet BP is ready to deny the SH application though BP him/herself doesn't have all the facts.

BP, you're the pot calling the kettle black. Perhaps you should have tempered your original posting.

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JG, I did not intend to chastise Anonymous. I simply asked that s/he consider that all coop boards are not petty-tyrants as s/he seemed to indicate. Also, I am not "ready" to deny a SH's application to buy without my having all the facts. I began my posting to Rene by saying "Just my opinion". I offered suggestions in an effort to help Rene weigh the facts she has to determine how she might resolve or ameliorate her issue with a BM.

One benefit of Board Talk is being able to offer options, opinions and outcomes based on experience so that someone who asks for advice here can consider them in determining a course of action in a specific situation.

We are all here to learn from each other. It's impossible for any of us to know all the facts about another poster's issue. All we can do is offer advice or opinions that may be of help. If Anonymous or anyone was offended or felt that I was chastising, I do apologize. That was not my intention. We have enough conflict in our coops and in our own lives. We don't need more of it here.

Happy holidays, everyone ~

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Sewer Smells - Board Newbie Dec 14, 2008


Our small building shares a party wall to the west with a small building with a commercial laundromat on the ground floor. Lately, the lower floors and basement of our building, and certain areas of one shareholder's apt. smell like the funny smell that the laundromat has inside-like sewer back up, in fact. Anyone have any idea if it is possible that the laundromats drainage and sewers may be mingling water with ours and smells are migrating? We don't know where to begin on this one and hiring an engineer is an expense we haven't budgetd for. Thanks, BN

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Try having your plumbing company take a look at see if they can determine where the odor is coming from. It would be cheaper than a engineer?

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Hello, i'm a Live-Out Resident Manager with quite a bit of experience, You should really look into hiring a plumber to inspect your plumbing, also get your ventilation inspected. What i think might work for you, 1st locate the problem, and install an air purifier with CHARCOAL filters, this will eliminate the odors.

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Resident Shareholders Unite meeting - rsu Dec 09, 2008


There will be a meeting of RSU on Wednesday, December 10th at 6:30 p.m. This meeting will focus on filing complaints with the Attorney General's office; two attorneys will lead the meeting.

If your co-op is still controlled by the sponsor, this meeting is for you.

For more details, see the RSU blog www.rsunyc.wordpress.com:

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Husband & Wife on Board - nasl Dec 08, 2008


We are a condominium, not a co-op. At the last annual meeting there were 5 seats up for election. It has now come to the homeowners attention that 2 of the newly elected board members are husband and wife and live together in the same unit. The board always worked on the premise that only 1 person per unit/deed can sit on the board. Does anyone know the legality of this. Any advice would be appreciated.

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You should consult your by-laws and association papers to find out how many representatives from one unit may run. It may be that both representatives on the deed may run, but only one representative is allowed at the time as you understand it. Otherwise, a consultation to an attorney may be the most neutral way to resolve the problem without creating ill feelings on individuals and documentating once and for all similar situations in the future.

AdC

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You should consult your by-laws and association papers to find out how many representatives from one unit may run. It may be that both representatives on the deed may run, but only one representative is allowed at the time as you understand it. A consultation with an attorney may be the most neutral way to resolve the problem without creating ill feelings on individuals and documentating once and for all similar situations in the future.

AdC

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Union organizing - Anonymous Dec 08, 2008


We have a non-union co-op right now. Are 'resident managers' NOT eligible for seiu given their title? It is confusing as this person is also referred to as the building super and does the same work as a super. I went to the seiu website as well as the local chapter and did not find a listing of which employees are eligible. If a building becomes unionized could the 'resident manager' stay (at the non-union salary we are paying), and would we have to hire unionized porters? I also need a website or source for information in understanding union issues. thx

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Try contacting the Union directly at 212-388-3800 ask for the contract department.

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First, I would not call the union for clarification. The union will recruit all your employees, i.e., supers, porters, etc.

If the resident manager is a glamorized superintendent, who cares about the title, the resident manager is also recruited.

The best bet is to speak with the co-op counsel; he/she may refer the question to a colleage dealing in labor law and obtain clarification. Optionally, he/she may refer you to a labor attorney to handle the matter if the union is getting too close to your employees and you wish to fight the union.

AdC

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First, I would not call the union for clarification. The union will recruit all your employees, i.e., supers, porters, etc.

If the resident manager is a glamorized superintendent, who cares about the title, the resident manager is also recruited.

The best bet is to speak with the co-op counsel; he/she may refer the question to a colleage dealing in labor law and obtain clarification. Optionally, he/she may refer you to a labor attorney to handle the matter if the union is getting too close to your employees and you wish to resist the union.

AdC

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Yes, we resident managers are union.

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Maintenace Increase 2009 - Cathye R Dec 08, 2008


I would like to poll those on their boards to ask what your increases in maintenance will be this year, if any, and why.

On our board we are about to vote on a 10% increase due, primarily to our properties real estate taxes in 2009.

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hi - do you have a tax ceriotori (sp?) lawyer working to keep down your taxes?
Can you let me know the answer by posting. Thanks

Also have checked your water bill? we got 20k back for over-billing. If you take good , effective measures - you can reduce your increase to 7%

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Hi, Cathye,

Our maintenance is going up slightly (about 4%) because the city council is increasing property taxes 7%, electricity will be going up as much as 10%, and with few apartment sales we are earning only a tiny bit from flip taxes. On top of that, inflation in 2008 is at about 3.5%.

One of any board's salient responsibilities is to keep the business running in the black. That way your investment remains valuable (for a different way of running a business, Google "Lehman Brothers" or "AIG").

Investors look for sound businesses when they want to invest money and get a decent return. That holds true whether they're investing in Citibank (a bad decision) or a co-op (a good decision, at least in the case of the one I live in).

Remember, a co-op is like any other business: it buys goods (utilities, fuel, paint), hires employees (super, property manager, accountant), and faces uncertainty (will the city council raise taxes again?). All of those costs change with inflation. And by "change" I mean "increase."

Any corporation, whether it's a car maker or a co-op, that doesn't budget wisely for increased costs is bound to fail. (If you're not convinced, Google "GM.") A co-op that doesn't raise maintenance fees to match its costs either has a tremendous sum in reserves and lives off the interest (think: Park Avenue) or needs a new board, one that isn't afraid to face reality even when shareholders are.

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Board qualifications - HG Dec 08, 2008


All suggestions and experiences appreciated:

At this time we have no qualifications in our Bylaws for Board members &#150; except that they must be owners.

Last year a Shareholder ran for the Board who is involved in a very heated law-suit with the building. Most SH found it disturbing that he was allowed to run. He was not elected -- but he did come to the meeting with a lot of proxies. And we were concerned.

We want to insert an new amendment into our Bylaws &#150; as to qualifications of Board members &#150; prohibiting SH involved in any legal dispute with the Coop or in errors &#150; to run for the Board.

Also, if a Board member becomes involved in a legal dispute with the building while on the board &#150; that he/she resign.

In the past we had a BM involved in a legal dispute on the board, and this owner benefited from being on the Board&#151;discussing the case with the Coop lawyer, Mang Company and friendly board members.

Thank you&#133;HG

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HG - If you want to amend your by-laws to say that board candidates can't be in legal disputes with the coop and a BM must resign if he is in such a dispute, talk to your coop attorney. You have to notify all SHs of the exact wording of the amendment before it is voted on, get the required SH vote, etc.

You said you had a BM in a legal dispute with the coop who benefited from talking to mgmt and other BMs about it. Mgmt and other BMs should stay out of discussions like that, and a BM shouldn't "discuss" his legal dispute with the coop attorney. His attorney can, but the coop attorney represents the coop as a whole. He shouldn't "discuss" or give advice to any individual SHs who are in a legal dispute/lawsuit with the coop. It's not appropriate, and it's not in the best interests of the coop as a whole.

As for qualifications of BMs, I know bldgs who amended their by-laws to state that a person must be a SH for 1 year (one bldg requires 2 years) before he can run for the board. Not a bad idea. It gives people who never lived in a coop time to familiarize themselves with the coop "concept" and get to know their bldg a bit before they attempt to be one of the people who govern it.

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tips and building staff - Anonymous Dec 05, 2008


theoretically, cash tips over $20 in any given month are supposed to be reported to the IRS. the employer is responsible and can be fined if caught not reporting and so can the staff member. what is a coop to do to be REALLY proper. Should they ask residents to tell them the amount they tip and then the coop can report it to the IRS? This seems to protect the coop.

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Leave this alone...Why are you going there?

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I know i know. but am going there for good reason. corrupt super. sleeping board. inequal repairs and favors for residents depending on $. need to balance it out.

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During my 30 years of coop management I NEVER had a client report cash tips. If the building really wants to pi-- off the staff this is the best way to do it. Tips is what motivates them as much as their salary, if not more.

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People like you make it hard to keep good employees in any building.

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sal - this was your 12/5 posting:
"I know i know. but am going there for good reason. corrupt super. sleeping board. inequal repairs and favors for residents depending on $. need to balance it out."

I wouldn't worry about reporting cash tips. If I were you, I'd focus on finding a new super, waking up your board (or getting other people elected to it), and having your property mgr handle and schedule repairs for residents on a fair, equal basis. And that's the best "tip" I can give you. ;-)

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they are not good employees. this is the problem. pleaseunderstand.

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I'm a resident manager, if the employees are not any good or dont follow company procedure then you need to make a change. This will give your building a bad reputation were no credible worker will want to work for your building.

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Negative operating funds - rs Dec 04, 2008


Our condo has negative operating funds and almost no reserves and our mothly charges will be going up. aren't we in a terrible financial situation to be so on the edge? The Board seems tobe in dneial or glossing over this

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Run for office and find out before it is too late.

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