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One Lapsed Homeowner’s Policy Can Swamp a Building

Written by Michael Schwarz on July 17, 2018

Fort Lee, New Jersey

Boards need to make sure all residents are covered all the time.

The board of directors of Mediterranean Towers South, a co-op in Fort Lee got some bad news this week from the New Jersey Supreme Court. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the board "violated the political-speech rights of a resident running for election to the board," reports The resident in question is Robert Dublirer, who has lived at the co-op since 2002 and happens to be a former New York prosecutor. The board denied Dublirer's request to pass out leaflets to residents ahead of the election, citing the building's bylaws, which prohibit paper pollution, as well as door-to-door solicitation. But although Dublirer's leaflets were critical of the incumbent board, they were also promoting his own candidacy. Also not helping the board's case is that it distributes leaflets of its own. Oops. Perhaps most damning of all, in hindsight, is the time, resources, and money the board has spent in court. According to, "a state judge in Hackensack dismissed Dublirer’s complaint … but the Appellate Division reversed his ruling" [and] "the Supreme Court upheld the appeals judges’ decision." If the board was trying to keep residents from souring against it, this was not the wisest path to follow.

In the last few years, the board members of Northbridge Park, the 14-story co-op in Fort Lee, New Jersey, have overseen the replacement of the cooling tower and the repair of the windows, elevators, hallways and roof. They also have plans to replace the chiller; install new exhaust fans (with variable, energy-saving speeds); and restore the garage deck.

Following the water infiltration caused by heavy rainstorms and Hurricane Irene, the board commissioned a $10,000 engineering study from Rand Engineering & Architecture. "We had a study done as to what the useful lives would be; what the estimated cost would be," Allan Heussinger, chairman of the engineering committee, explains. "What are the priorities? That way, we knew where we have to go. We wanted to do that methodically."

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