New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

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Appointed director?Jul 05, 2021

Is it common practice that a co-op attorney is appointed as a director/board of director too?

Wouldn’t that be a conflict?

Also is it appropriate for the attorney to use the director title when it works for him?

One time he sent a letter to someone in our building and didn’t sign it besides listing himself as the director of co-op and not attorney..,,why if he’s our attorney?

I know the board members were OK with this but to me its odd.

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Co-op's attorney as a director - Carl Tait Jul 05, 2021

I don't like the idea of the co-op's attorney of record being on the Board of Directors. If this person is also a shareholder, there's an obvious conflict of interest. How do you plan to move forward with legal action against this shareholder if a problem arises? And even if the attorney/director is not a shareholder, it's still problematic. They'd need to recuse themselves from voting on whether to engage their services. Otherwise, there's a business conflict of interest. "Do we need to replace light bulbs that burn out? Better call the co-op's attorney for a consultation!"

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Attorney - Pooh Jul 06, 2021

Have you ever heard of this before though?

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Non voting board member - Pooh Jul 06, 2021

He’s a non voting board member but I still think it’s odd and to me inappropriate.

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Co-op's attorney as a director - Steven424 Jul 06, 2021

I fully agree with Carl from my own experience. For a number of years, one of our board members was also the co-op's attorney of record. This was done in the guise of "saving the co-op money".

On occasion, this caused serious disagreements between he and I due to his conflict of interest. As a board member he had a fiduciary responsibility to the Co-op Corp and its shareholders. But as the co-op's "attorney" he would render legal opinions that favored his side of a disagreement, even when demonstrably wrong. It was uncomfortable and messy.

I'm not sure I understand the significance of being a "non-voting board member". If he can't vote, what is he purpose on the board?

Your co-op's attorney should be completely independent of any connections to the Co-op. He should not be a board member voting or otherwise, he should not be a shareholder, he should not have any family relationship to a shareholder, nothing.

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Interesting - Pooh Jul 06, 2021

It’s so bizarre because I grew up in a house and work in NYC and just can’t believe all the made up rules/situations. It’s all so loosey goosey. You have people on a board who know nothing about a building and especially the structure and they make decisions.

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Attorney appointed to the Board - Grant Jul 06, 2021

A common practice for practicality. He can sign documents for convenience sake when sending them on a round trip to the Board is a waste of time and energy.

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Attorney - Pooh Jul 06, 2021

I still don’t like that. It’s our home and we need to control it and the President or VP should sign documents.

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building knowledge - Grant Jul 06, 2021

Yes, it's almost like real life! In business you think every board director knows all about structures or anything else about running a company? That's why it's useful to have an engineer on the board if possible to bring some experience to the table.

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Building knowledge - Pooh Jul 06, 2021

Unfortunately what I see is that they don’t know anything and think they do and make expensive mistakes.

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