Ask George: What To Do About Bully Board Member?

Hi George

We are having a great deal of trouble with a very young board member who 6 residents including me, literally fear.

He is a single man who blocks people in when they park in the free spaces near his unit, he parks his long truck horizontally taking up both spaces, and he reprimands visitors who try to use these spaces.

He even suggested that a neighbor pour bleach on a tree he doesn’t like to kill it.

Several letters  from 3 separate unit owners have been written and the police have been here 3 times in the past 3 months.  We have never had any trouble like this before.  Neither the Board nor the management company has done anything to help us.

Their recommendation is to go talk to him.

It is our suspicion that he has some type of psychological disability and talking to him has not worked in the past.  He is vengeful and spiteful.  We are all older people and he is about 24 years old.

He gives us dirty looks and tries to intimidate us.  His father fights all his battles and supports this inappropriate behavior. He knows several board members and was instrumental in getting his son on the Board.

We have a meeting coming up in a few days and we are all going to attend.  Is is OK for me to bring my computer and take notes during the meeting?  Also, we can only communicate with our property management company and the Board through postal mail and some of our residents are older and have trouble with arthritis (holding a writing utensil).

We cannot get the mgt. company to give us an email address and they won’t tell us who our insurance company is. Does any law or guideline exist  to help us force the issue?  We believe that this is just another control mechanism to keep us at bay.   Thank you for your help.

George’s reply:

This sounds like a terrible situation. Besides contacting police I suggest two other steps. Contact the state Department of Consumer Protection and file a complaint against the management company for failing to provide information. Second, I would try to get other unit owners to work with you to remove this person from the board and place a more sympathetic person on the board. Good luck.

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6 Responses to Ask George: What To Do About Bully Board Member?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi George are you sure it is with Consumer Protection and not with the Real Estate Area

  2. Patty Mills says:

    Hi George – can you answer the question if it is permissable for unit owners who attend Board meetings to take notes on a computer/or in writing.

  3. George M. Cameron, Esq., Farmington says:

    I agree with Mr. Gombossy that this situation is terrible.
    My advice is to retain the services of an experienced condo lawyer to illuminate the situation. There are indeed remedies, the first being for each of you to sound off at the board meeting during the owner comment part of the meeting. If your board doesn’t include an owner comment part of the meeting, that’s a violation of 47-250 (b) (4). Perhaps the other board members will reign in this guy. If not, you can request a board hearing under 47-278 (d) for each and every violation of the documents and/or CIOA statutes you can think of. The heariung must involves alleged violations of the documents or condo statutes. The hearing procedure took effect in Oct. 2011 (PA 11-195 and I think that the Condo Coalition had much to do with passing this new statute!!). The benefit of the hearing is that it gets issues out in the open, where owners can present its case, witnesses photos, documents, time frames etc. and the board has to decide — which is much much better than mere owner comments, because with the latter, the board doesn’t even have to comment back to you, much less decide anything. And a 47-278 (d) hearing is a good tool to rally support from other owners who attend. Support for your position encourages the board to act in your favor. At a 47-278 hearing, the board must take an official position on each violation you allege against this guy. If that doesn’t get him to resign, you can get the 20% of owners petition to request an owners’ meeting to throw him out. That effort will require political-type organization and getting proxy votes signed to you, as proxies may well hold the key to getting a majority vote at the meeting to throw him out. I suggest trying to get the proxy forms signed at the same time you go around getting signatures for the petition – might as well. It saves a step. Then, of course, you folks should utilize your new-found organization to get someone really good onto the board, so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again anytime soon.
    The bottom line is yes, you’ve got strong measures available to you, including a lawsuit which is also available under 47-278 no matter whether you bring a board hearing or not. In such an action “the court may award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs,” and if the court sees all the diligent work you’ve done before bringing suit against this recalcitrant board, you may just get them. A responsible board would not want to file an insurance claim to defend a case like this.
    I do suggest a good condo lawyer because there are various aspects of the law and documents to review and a variety of options available.

  4. V. williams says:

    Hi George,
    How does an association board determine the amount to be in reserve?

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