Association should have been watching Treasurer who Stole over $200k

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Treasurers of associations are often left without any oversight.  We have seen treasurers for youth sports boards, parent teacher associations, community associations and all sorts of associations steal from their organizations.  In the case of Canoa Seca Estates II HOA, the treasurer was just sentenced to jail time because he took $235,267 over a six year period.  Wendell Odean Byram simply wrote checks out to himself and none of the board members knew because they did not have access to the association’s financial information and didn’t oversee Byram.  An association member just happened to stumble upon the theft after the money …

Office of the Board takes the pain out of being a Board Secretary

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The secretary of a board plays a critical role in fostering communication and ensuring proper management and utilization of important organizational records. Generally, an organization’s bylaws will set the duties of the secretary, however, duties may change depending on the organization. Typically, the secretary is responsible for: Communication The secretary is an active conduit for communication between the board and members, by giving proper notice of any meetings and timely distribution of materials such as agendas and meeting minutes. The secretary should be knowledgeable of the organization’s records and related materials. The secretary should aim to be helpful to the …

NY Conflict of Interest Law Requirements Apply to Condos, Coops and HOAs

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As we previously advised, as of September 2017, New York Business Corporation Law (BCL) Section 727 requires condominiums, cooperatives and homeowners’ associations incorporated pursuant to the BCL (and the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law) to issue an annual report to all of its owners/shareholders. The report, signed by each board member/director, must disclose whether any contracts were made, entered into, or otherwise voted on by the board where one or more of the directors was an interested member/director. Most New York City condominiums were not impacted because the vast majority are not incorporated pursuant to the BCL or the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, …

Condos that don’t comply with the Web Portal Requirement could face Criminal Penalties

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The Florida Legislature gave condos with 150 or more units only an additional six months till January 1, 2019, to have a web portal with Official Records management in place.  Those condos need a functional web portal available for their owners to access a laundry list of Official Records through the portal with their own login credentials.  Waiting till the January 1st deadline is not advisable in view of the civil and criminal penalties built into the Florida Condo Law. Section 718.111(1)(d) of the Condo Law provides that “the refusal to allow inspection or copying of an official record of …

Condo & HOA Board Member Email has to be managed under Florida’s New Law

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The Florida lawmakers just made email a problem for both condo and homeowners’ association boards and their managers.  Both the Florida condo and HOA laws now provide that board members “may use e-mail as a means of communication but may not cast a vote on an association matter via email.”  Before the law, board members weren’t clear if the law requiring that board meetings be open to all owners, foreclosed email as a means of them communicating with each other about board business.  Banning email use by volunteer board members who have day jobs would have been unrealistic.  So, the …

Florida Condo Managers and Boards shouldn’t have to Worry about the New Laws

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Over the last year the Florida lawmakers have thrown a lot of new laws at condo managers and board members which is causing anxiety.  How are they going to comply with such requirements as having a web portal with document management set up and operating so that owners who want access to certain Official Records through the web portal can do so by the end of this year.   Managers and boards first must make sure that they are keeping the correct Official Records that are legally required and then create a web portal with the capability of managing the …

E-voting can make a Board’s and Management’s Job so much Easier

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I have been representing condos and cooperatives for decades and I can’t remember the last annual owners’ meeting that was pleasant.  Either there was no quorum so business could not be legally conducted at the meeting and it turned into a purely informational meeting.  That happens a lot in larger associations like a 200 unit condo where generally over 100 units need to be represented at the meeting in person or by proxy for a quorum which is not easy.  Other meetings tend to be contentious because either boards are not communicating with owners during the year, or their owners …

Who has the Minutes? In Florida, Condos have to Create and Keep them Permanently under the 2018 Law Change

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Florida condo boards must create minutes of all board and unit owner meetings and keep them permanently.  Until the new law change this year, the Florida condo law just required maintenance of minutes for at least 7 years.  That said, maintaining minutes may be easy, but creating them has never been an easy task for board members or whomever is charged with taking, editing and approving them. Someone has to take notes about what is decided at the meeting.  Turn those notes into formal minutes.  Circulate the draft minutes for board review or at least present proposed minutes to the …

Florida Lawmakers Complicate Condo Web Portal Requirements, But Give a Little More Compliance Time

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Florida’s Governor Scott signed into law House Bill 841 yesterday changing the condominium law again.  Last year the Florida lawmakers added a new law requiring condominiums with 150 or more units to have a private web portal available and able to deliver a laundry list of Official Records to owners whenever and wherever they required through the portal.  All Florida condos, irrespective of size, have been and still are required to maintain a longer list of Official Records and make them available for inspection by owners within a very short period of time.  The lawmakers gave a little more time …

Condo Treasurer Embezzles $137k – This is why Florida was correct in requiring Web Portal Document Access for Owners

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This sad story has been replayed over and over again across the country.  Condo owners and board members don’t have access to their Official Records to watch their money and a trusted board member, treasurer steals their money.  This time it was the Fawn Ridge Condominium Association in Connecticut where long term, trusted treasurer Derek Jette, took $137,000 over 5 years.  The new president came in and stumbled upon the embezzlement after getting access to bank statements.  No one was watching the condo’s financial records so it was easy for the treasurer to steal and use the money for his personal expenses. …