Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.
This is most likely NOT permissible. A special meeting (a closed meeting without notice) is better known as an "executive session". Executive sessions in Florida can be held in two limited circumstances:
a. Meetings between the board or a committee and the association’s attorney, with respect to proposed or pending litigation, if the meeting is held for the purpose of seeking or rendering legal advice; or
b. Board meetings held for the purpose of discussing personnel matters.
The law does not define "personnel matters", but any court will look to similar language and how it is defined...Section 718.111(12)(c)(3) defines what "personnel records" are: Personnel records of association or management company employees, including, but not limited to, disciplinary, payroll, health, and insurance records. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “personnel records” does not include written employment agreements with an association employee or management company, or budgetary or financial records that indicate the compensation paid to an association employee. So personnel matters would likely be interpreted in the same way (disciplinary, payroll, health, insurance, etc...) Using the canon of statutory construction ejusdem generis, a court would look to what was discussed in such an executive session and see if it would fall within the general category of those items such as disciplinary, payroll, health, insurance, etc... matters.
That being said, you need to contact an attorney in your area that deals with home owner association cases. Go to www.lawyers.com or www.legalmatch.com to find an attorney in your area. You should be able to find one that will give you a free initial consultation and better advise you of your rights, any problems with your case, likelihood of success, how courts are treating cases such as yours in your area, and what you should do next.
If this was done contrary to their authority and was not fitting within the definition of executive sessions, then it would be voidable. An attorney could draft a demand letter to rescind the improper action, or could take action against the board.
Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate this answer either a 3, 4, or 5 (good or better). Please note that I do not get any credit for this answer unless and until you rate it that way. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!
I appreciate your answer but could use something stronger to present to the Board next Tuesday. Can you provide.
I'm not certain I understand what you are looking for when you say "something stronger"...
Could you explain?
We are going to be lied to.. I have written a request to see a copy of the "notice of meeting" The president will wiggle around that which is the crux of our proof. What can we do if he does not comply. Is an attorney our only option? You know the monetary issue will affect the members.
I absolutely know that, and the statutes contemplate that. A lawsuit will provide for attorney's fees if successful. But I would present them with the following statutes: All meetings of the Board are required to be open to the membership except------ (from F.S. 720;303 a & b) a) A meeting of the board of directors of an association occurs whenever a quorum of the board gathers to conduct association business. All meetings of the board must be open to all members (except for meetings between the board and its attorney with respect to proposed or pending litigation where the contents of the discussion would otherwise be governed by the attorney-client privilege.) The provisions of this subsection shall also apply to the meetings of any committee or other similar body when a final decision will be made regarding the expenditure of association funds and to meetings of any body vested with the power to approve or disapprove architectural decisions with respect to a specific parcel of residential property owned by a member of the community. (b) Members have the right to attend all meetings of the board and to speak on any matter placed on the agenda by petition of the voting interests for at least 3 minutes. The association may adopt written reasonable rules expanding the right of members to speak and governing the frequency, duration, and other manner of member statements, which rules must be consistent with this paragraph and may include a sign-up sheet for members wishing to speak. Notwithstanding any other law, the requirement that board meetings and committee meetings be open to the members is inapplicable to meetings between the board or a committee and the association's attorney, with respect to meetings of the board held for the purpose of discussing personnel matters.
There are no exceptions to these requirements, and any action taken without compliance to these requirements is void.
As such, any legal action to nullify it would be successful in favor of the plaintiffs, and could even result in personal liability against the board members (that is, they might have to open their own wallets if they lose in court if the violation is knowing)
That threat alone might make them rethink this all.
Thank you. That is stronger. I am having trouble printing your answer. If I save and exit, will I then be able to print?
After you rate this, it will switch to Q&A format, at which point you can print it, or copy and paste into another program, etc...
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).