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BrundleFly

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  1. My listserv is just a Gmail account that I use to send out emails to about seven people at once. They all live in the building. Nothing fancy. They can and do respond, of course. BTW, our Board President sent me another email today (with everyone else on the Board CC'd) containing: "2. This is my formal directive to you to disclose (2nd request) if you have or are participating in disseminating [condo] related information to residents via email or other means of communications."
  2. FindLaw_Kevin, I'd kiss you if you weren't probably a guy. I will report them immediately.
  3. The way this racket works is if you ask the Office Manager to send you a copy of a contract, she tells you you have to get the permission of the Board Liaison first. You ask the Board Liaison and she never responds (unless you're her friend). Your request just never gets passed on. That's the sort of B.S. they pull. Other people (including fellow Board members) have dealt with this.
  4. pg1067, here's the relevant section from our Bylaws: Article III, Section 2, Subsection L says the Board of Directors is charged with ensuring: “Keeping books with detailed accounts in chronological order of the receipts and expenditures affecting the Property, and the administration of the Condominium, specifying the maintenance and repair expenses of the Common Elements and any other expenses incurred. The books and vouchers accrediting the entries thereupon shall be available for examination and copying by any Unit Owner, or his duly authorized agent or attorney, or by the holder of the first mortgage on any Unit, during normal business hours on working days…” Findlaw_Kevin, here's the section of our Bylaws that establishes the position and authority of Board Liaison (note that the word "liaison" is never actually used): "Section 2. Powers and Duties. The Board of Directors shall have all of the powers and duties necessary for the administration of the affairs of the Condominium and may do all such acts and things permitted by the [Maryland] Condominium Act, the Declaration, or by these Bylaws directed to be exercised and done by the Council of Unit Owners. The Board of Directors shall have the power from time to time to adopt any Rules and Regulations deemed necessary for the enjoyment of the Condominium provided such Rules & Regulations shall not be in conflict with the Condominium Act of the Declaration, or these Bylaws. The Board of Directors shall delegate to one of its member the Authority to act on behalf of the Board of Directors on all matters relating to the duties of the managing agents [the Office Manager], if any, which might arise between meetings of the Board of Directors." The "duties of the managing agents" are then described and include things like maintaining the building, ensuring the security and surveillance is operational, doing routine repairs as necessary, ensuring the building has adequate insurance, and ensuring that "all unit owners" have access to records at the front office (Subsection L, which I cited earlier). For some reason, that highlighted sentence is supposed to mean that I can't send an email to the Office Manager asking her to send me a copy of a contract our building has signed with a vendor. Instead, I have to first send the request to the Board Liaison, who then has the power to pass my request along to the Manager or reject it. I played along with this once and sent an email to the Board Liaison. She just sat on it, never replied to me, and apparently never forwarded it to the Office Manager. So here's my question: If the Bylaws require me to go through the Board Liaison every time I want to access our records, don't I also have to go through the Board Liaison if I have maintenance request for my unit? If I see people doing something illegal in the building and want to report a problem with the surveillance or security? And guys, I really appreciate your help.
  5. Thanks for your reply. Instead of re-typing the whole sordid story about what's going on, let me link you to my other thread: http://boards.answers.findlaw.com/index.php/topic/230287-im-suing-you-for-telling-other-people-about-my-publicly-available-court-records/ Also, let me direct you to § 11-116 of the Maryland Condo Act (http://www.sos.state.md.us/registrations/condominiumbooklet.pdf) which says: © Inspection of records. — (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, all books and record, including insurance policies, kept by the council of unit owners shall be maintained in Maryland or with in 50 miles of its borders and shall be ava ilable at some place designated by the council of unit owners within the county where the condominium is located for examination and copying by any unit owner, his mortgagee, and their respective duly authorized agents or attorneys, during normal business hours, and after reasonable notice. No mention is made of having to get permission from anyone on the Board of Directors before a unit owner is allowed to access building records. State law trumps our building's Bylaws, and the Bylaws can't contravene State law. I'm not a lawyer, but it looks to me like the "Board Liaison" doesn't have the authority to adjudicate my information requests to the management. I can say for sure that the vague sentence in our Bylaws that establishes the existence of the Liaison does not explicitly grant the person that power. Are you a lawyer? Have you ever seen something like a "Board Liaison" hold up in court?
  6. Thanks. I haven't seen anything in our Bylaws or Rules & Regulations that set restrictions on Board members communicating with residents.
  7. What I've said so far is just the tip of the iceberg. After the Board did the private email vote to hire this lawyer, we never told the residents living in the building about it. I'm not a lawyer (hence the reason I'm asking questions on this forum), but from reading through the law myself, I think there's a legal requirement that we announce any such votes we do between meetings at the next normal Board meeting where the residents are present in the audience. I think we're also required to make an official record of between-meeting votes in the Minutes of the next official Board meeting. We never did that. In fact, two Board meetings have elapsed since this email vote, and no mention of this lawyer's hiring has been made in spite of the fact that two Board members have told the President they have to do that. Additionally, the President and Office Manager refused my email request to see a copy of the signed contract we have with this lawyer. Reading through the Maryland Condo Act and our Bylaws, I'm 95% sure I'm entitled to see it upon request and they're breaking the law. Their secrecy has me convinced that something is amiss. I'm also concerned because, according to our monthly accounting records for March, we paid this lawyer an amount of money that doesn't make sense given the hourly rate we all agreed to in the email vote. Probably the main reason I want to see the contract is to make sure he is getting paid what the Board actually agreed to pay him when we did the vote. Finally, while re-reading the email chain where we did the vote, I noticed that there were four possible irregularities. The biggest problem was that some of us voted to hire the lawyer just to handle one court case (the one that had the 5:00 pm deadline that day), while other people voted to hire him as general counsel, meaning he was unrestricted in the number of cases he could handle for us. Apparently, no one noticed the difference, and at the end, our President declared that the vote to hire him had been "unanimous." According to publicly available records, I now see he is handling TWO different cases for us, so we've retained him as general counsel. The V.P.'s whole basis for advocating for the hire of this lawyer was that he was cheaper than the other two lawyers we already have working for us. I called one of them and it turned out there was only a $15 difference in hourly rates. I'm not a lawyer and everything right now is being filtered through my amateur readings of Maryland law and our Bylaws, but it looks to me that the Board broke several laws and internal procedures to hire a contractor who was friends with the second-highest ranking Board member, and now is resisting any attempt to make even the most basic information about this contractor's hiring known to the average people who are paying the bills in our condo building. There was another incident two months ago where our President and V.P. blindsided us with another piece of legislation that turned out to be illegal. I'm wising up to this.
  8. Fallen, This is my first term on the Board, and I've never done this before or known any of my fellow Board members before joining. So no, I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of the applicable laws or a good sense of other Board members' characters and motivations yet. However, problems we've had over the last few months have impelled me to do a lot of research and to start asking a lot of questions. I'm getting there. Believe me, having us all resign at once would be an attractive option and a relief, but that's not going to happen, and after getting some sense of how the President and V.P. operate, I feel I owe it to myself and to the whole community to stay on the Board so long as they're there to keep tabs on them. Also, if all nine of us quit tomorrow, we'd be lucky to have even four new residents step up to fill our seats within a couple months. People in the building really are that disengaged. It's frustrating. Everyone complains about how much the building sucks and how much the Board sucks, but no one is willing to step up to make a difference themselves. This is how we were pressured: One day, our President sent out a mass email to the Board saying that we needed to hire a new lawyer to handle a court case for us, and that we had to decide by 5:00 that day in order to make a court filing deadline. That gave us less than three hours to think it through. We were only presented with one possible lawyer to hire, so it was an up or down vote for just this guy, with the implication being if we didn't vote to hire him, we would have some kind of disaster in court. The President assured us that our V.P. had done a huge amount of research on different lawyers and that this was the best guy. The V.P. also sent out several emails to the group advocating for his pick. At no point did the V.P. disclose that this guy was also his personal lawyer and had handled four lawsuits for him in the last few years. The rest of us trusted them and didn't have the time to do background research. We voted "Yes" by 5:00 pm and the guy was hired. We already had two other law firms contracting with us for legal services, but the President and V.P. said we needed Guy #3 because he was even cheaper and better. I'll have to read through the Bylaws again to see if there's anything governing conflicts of interest like this. But aren't we already subject to corporate laws and the provisions governing conflicts of interest on the Board? My condo building is a registered corporation in Maryland.
  9. I am on a condo Board of Directors. Two months ago, our Vice President pressured all of us to vote to hire a new lawyer to handle a court case for our condo. We were only given three hours to decide because we purportedly "had to file court papers by 5:00 pm" and had to do this over email. We voted yes, and the lawyer was hired. Last week, while looking through publicly available online court records at the official Maryland Case Search website, another Board member and I discovered that our Vice President had used this lawyer for four different personal lawsuits in the recent past. He did not disclose this to us before the vote. I called one other Board member and told her what I found. My friend on the Board told a second Board member about it and then talked with the Vice President over the phone and confronted him. The V.P. became enraged and threatened to sue my friend for defamation and misuse of public records. I'm 99% sure this is B.S., but I'd like to be sure. My friend won't admit it, but I think he's shaken up by the threat. We haven't gone to the police or a lawyer. The only people we've told about this so far have been other Board members. We're concerned because the V.P. basically tricked us into hiring his friend.
  10. I own a unit at a condo building and am also a member of the Board of Directors. I started an email listserv to keep in touch with people living in the building. I send them copies of public documents handed out during our Board meetings, I respond (where possible) to their complaints, and I pass along their ideas and complaints to the Board sometimes. I am careful never to mention other Board members' names or to divulge secret Board deliberations. In one mass email, however, I got very impassioned about a terrible policy the Board had just passed, and I talked about how bad it was, why its passage was procedurally flawed, and how I was going to try and get it rescinded. Our Board President recently discovered the listserv and flew into a rage. She claimed that the listserv was illegal and that unless I shut it down, she would report it to our condo lawyer. What is the deal here? Am I allowed to run the listserv?
  11. I own a unit in a condo building and am also on the Board of Directors. In my capacity as a private unit owner, I sent an email to the boss at the management office requesting a copy of a contract our building has signed with a vendor. The boss refused and said that I needed to get permission from the "Board Liaison" first, who happens to be the same person as our Board President. The boss cited a vague, two-sentence section of our condo's Bylaws as proof that the Liaison had the authority to control all communications between Board members and the management office, the implication being that since I am also a Board member, any business I want to do with the office must go through the Liaison. Apparently, whatever rights I might have had as a private unit owner are revoked. I responded by citing a passage from the next page of our Bylaws, which clearly says "all unit owners" are entitled to view and make copies of contracts our condo is a party to. This email was ignored. I am 95% sure I am right about this and they are breaking the law. Advice? Could this "Liaison" stuff be legitimate? Has anyone ever seen something like that pass legal muster? BTW, yes we have a dysfunctional Board. The President has a pathological personality and is obsessed with controlling the flow of information. The office manager has some real anger issues and is hated by every single person I've ever talked to (still can't figure out how she's still employed), and the two of them are a pair.
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