An increasing number of us in the building find our board president to be reckless (he acts unilaterally and does things that some of us fear could be actionable) and have been hoping that he will eventually be voted off the board altogether. (Two of his fellow board members requested earlier this year that he step aside and assume the role of treasurer, for which he seems better suited, but he refused, stating that he would only serve on the board if he could be its president.)
The past couple of years, apparently afraid that he would not be re-elected, this man has pulled out all of the stops come election time: securing the sponsor's vote, buttonholing individual shareholders and misrepresenting situations within the board, etc. Last year he had the building's managing agent, who seems to have an inordinate interest in seeing the president remain in his position, sing his praises before the election: "The building never could have made such strides without the extraordinary leadership of X." Although I voted for him in that election, I was made uncomfortable by the managing agent's endorsement of any one candidate. For this year's election, the board president made the unilateral decision (he did not consult the rest of the board) to have the building's accountant come and give a presentation before the election. This was a first for our building: usually the accountant gives a presentation only to the board, which seems more practical. Those who attended tell me that it was a very positive report that ended with the accountant stating: "Your building is extraordinarily well managed." Again, that amounts to an endorsement of the status quo by a seemingly neutral party.
While these tactics strike some of us as "strategery" and seem almost comically desperate, they are probably not unheard of and, though underhanded, could not be considered improper. But something happened recently that does raise questions for me. Although I had been planning to attend our recent annual shareholders' meeting, something came up at the last minute and I realized that I would need to be in another part of the city just an hour after our meeting began. So, after work I went back to my building and, shortly before the meeting started, approached the managing agent. I explained my situation and said that I wanted to designate one of the board members as my proxy. The managing agent gave me a proxy form and talked me through filling it out, going so far as to spell the board member's last name for me. After I finished signing and dating it, I gave it to the managing agent, who assured me that she would give it to the board member as soon as she arrived. I thanked her and left for my other meeting.
Last week I had dinner with this board member and asked her how the meeting went. She told me that this year some board members had requested that an impartial shareholder watch the managing agent tabulate the votes. When I thanked her for serving as my proxy, she looked at me blankly. The managing agent never gave her my proxy form! I'm stunned. The shareholder who helped count wouldn't be apt to notice if a given proxy was missing or forged. It seems to me that I have a right to vote, and I went to a lot of trouble to get back to the building after work so that I could fill out a proxy form. It's clear that the managing agent for whatever reason has a vested interest in ensuring that our board president remains on the board, and she certainly knew how my designated proxy would vote. This just doesn't seem right to me. Also, for me, it really undermines the whole election. And, it seems to beg the question: if the board president and managing agent think nothing of doing stuff like this, what else might they be up to? Do I have any recourse?
(The board member whom I designated as my proxy recently asked this question at the tail end of an older thread, but so far no one has responded. I decided to post the question as a new message and from my point of view, since I really am quite troubled by this. I'm not sure how common this sort of thing is or what if anything can be done about it, and would appreciate any feedback.)
A group of candidates running for board brought a lawyer to the annual meeting to contest the right of the Sponsor to vote for board seats as he has done since conversion. These candidates with the help of sitting board members blocked the co-op's attorney from attending the meeting. The result was chaos and the meeting was postponed. The candidates with their own lawyer publicly claimed the co-op's attorney served the interest of the Sponsor though no evidence was presented to support this. In the chaotic, unprofessional, ego-driven world that is often NYC co-ops, anyone have experience in this kind of situation and advice on how to stop the warring factions?
What are the requirements to terminate a shareholders lease for what amounts to be safety and secutiy issues as well as objectionable conduct.
Our coop has a shareholder who is a safety risk to herself and others living in the building.
This shareholder does not appear to be gainfully employed but her parents pay the maintenance.
She brings in drug dealers and various friends to the building that have created a number of incidents, many of which required police department involvement.
Our board is concerned and needs to do something.
The penthouse shareholders want the Coop to abate part of their maintenance because their terraces are being used as a staging area for the Local Law 11 repairs. Our Coop's lawyer says that our Proprietary Lease and case law does not obligate the Coop to refund part of their maintenance. Do you think it would be the nice thing to do?
I am looking into this rebate from the state for using bio-fuel in a large building. anyone have any tips or contcts? thanks
I saw it inthe Super intendent's Club Newsletter - about using a 20/80 biofuel mix with no. 2 or no. 6 oil . It is supposed to be alot cleaner plus the state pays you a bit back per gallon.
I am a member of a newly elected coop board. Our previous board had no established policy on sublets. I have been tasked with finding out what a sensible policy on sublets is. We have several shareholders who have been subletting their apartments for years and resident shareholders are now complaining to have this changed. Any advice?
Is it normal to be able to smell paint and other chemicals through the party walls between two buildings? Last January, the brownstone to our east had a sewer line pipe break in the basement and it flooded their basement and first floor. The smell was terrible and migrated into the halls of our building and into some of our shareholder's apts all the way up to the sixth floor. For the past six months we have endured a barrage of smells from mold killing chemicals are worried about the fact that this is even happening. How can we ensure no damage has been done to our wall in the course of their repairing their problem and what course of action should we take? We can't even find the address of the owner listed on the NYC DOB site. Thanks.
1) make sure to have your water bill carefully checked! We just got back, yes, $25,000. (the guy hired to review the bills got to keep 10% as payment)
2) also we had a plumber fix every single leak inthe building and review all plumbing in each apt and our bill went down dramatically!
3) if you have a commercial tenant, they should pay their own water bill. OUrs was using our water and we worked out a payment deal for past costs when we found out.
Any ideas on how to address a chronic objectionable behavior issue with someone who got himself elected to the new Board due to the large amount of shares assigned to his unit? The outgoing Board was ready to send an attoney's letter to the person about smoke and noise coming from his apt and decided to wait until the new elections. Now we have the problem shareholder on the Board. We have a majority within the Board who want to resolve this problem, however. The Shareholder has refused for years, to take adequate measures to soundproof and stop migrating smoke which fills the lobby and penetrates other apts. We have never tried legal avenues before. Should we speak to the Board member first or send a letter? Can he even be on the Board if he is in violation of the house rules? Help! Thanks, BT
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