Written by Bill Morris on March 21, 2013
The current discrimination lawsuit against the famed Dakota Apartments co-op by African-American investment executive Alphonse Fletcher Jr. sent chills down co-op and condo board members' spines last July. That's when the judge in the case overturned one of the bedrock decisions in New York co-op law, Pelton v. 77 Park Ave. Condominium (2006), which largely protected board members from personal liability in discrimination cases. "[T]he participation of an individual director in a corporation's [wrongful act] is sufficient to give rise to individual liability," the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court wrote in July. But, really, what's the worst that could happen?
Ask Nick Biondi — who is personally out well over $100,000 plus legal fees.
Written by Bill Morris on February 12, 2013
When the news broke, it sent a shiver of dread through every one of the 40,000 unpaid volunteers who serve on co-op and condo boards in New York City. At one of the poshest co-ops in town — the Dakota Apartments at 1 W. 72nd Street and Central Park West, where Leonard Bernstein lived and John Lennon died — a longtime shareholder was suing two board members and the corporation for racial discrimination. Alphonse Fletcher Jr., an African-American who owns the Fletcher Asset Management investment firm, was seeking $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Written by Tom Soter on July 24, 2012
As long as they are acting reasonably and are breaking no laws, board members of co-ops and condos are generally not personally liable for actions they take as part of that board, right? Well, yes…and no.
July 08, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, following the Independence Day holiday, we look at neighborhoods on the rise in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Plus, an expert tells you about refinancing your co-op — and, for boards, another explains all about financing your super's apartment. And two TV / film notables sell their places: the late Celeste Holm's Central Park West abode gets bought, and The Simpsons' Hank Azaria, the voice of Apu, Moe, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy and more puts his Soho condo — Cindy Sherman's old place! — up for sale.
November 26, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, uncertainty still abounds after the Department of Finance makes a claim neither New York City nor New York State will confirm about the possible extension of a crucial property-tax abatement. Plus, a court forbids a Mitchell-Lama co-op to privatize, Madonna is selling one of her apartments and a Financial District condo board gets sued for its actions, or lack thereof, in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
May 13, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. Lots of news for boards in particular this week, as one co-op board sues the developer of One57 — the condo with the crane — and other boards face lawsuits against them because of superstorm Sandy. And it's board member vs. board member at The Bronx's Brady Court. Plus, a third of all homebuyers don't know what an "annual percentage rate" is. And while we'd bet that Ben Stiller (at left) does, he and his actress wife Christine Taylor still lost a million selling their co-op duplex on the Upper West Side.
Written by Gilbert Kunken, President, 66 W. 94th Street and 689 Columbus Avenue on May 09, 2013
The board of our 233-unit Manhattan co-op wanted to revise the bylaws in our proprietary lease. They had remained unchanged from the very beginning of our cooperative, 45 years ago. We also wanted to change the size of the co-op board, which was set at 13 members. That size can make it hard to operate; when you foster an environment that gives everybody the opportunity to speak, the more people you have at the table, the longer everything takes.
As well, we had trouble just getting enough candidates to fill the board, and felt its size was out of proportion to a building our size. We also wanted to put in board eligibility requirements; for instance, there were no requirements whatsoever about whether or not board members had to be in good financial standing. We felt very strongly that board members should not owe any money.
We took those ideas and many other changes before the shareholders for two years in a row, and we were coming up 15 or 20 votes short each year. Why?
May 06, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, sponsor abuses stir up the latest call for a co-op ombudsman in the Attorney General's office, a Queens condo board changes apartments' locks to keep owners out during Sandy repair — commandeering one home for a construction office — and West Village co-opers sue to keep away bicycle clutter. For condo and co-op boards, we've the latest hoteling lawsuit. Plus: Condopedia! Which we're sure is as accurate as regular Wikipedia.
Written by Abigail Nehring on April 09, 2013
The 250-unit Normandy, located at 140 Riverside Drive on Manhattan's Upper West Side, recently phased out its old-style bulbs. For co-op board president Bennett Lincoff, convincing the other board members it was a good idea was easier than screwing in a light bulb. The fact is, according to energy experts and building managers, if you still have incandescent lighting in your building's public spaces, rather than compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs), you're probably wasting money.
April 01, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, police name an accomplice in the Penn South co-op embezzlement, and one Financial District condo board gets sued over cell-phone antennas while another hopes Denny's won't grand-slam into their luxury building. In other lawsuit news, a Murray Hill co-op board misses a deadline in a discrimination lawsuit. Note to self: Don't hire that lawyer. Plus, see how all the changes in the co-op / condo tax abatement play out with LLCs and trusts — trust us, you want to know. And Bruce Willis buys hard on the Upper West Side.
Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.