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Can a property management company and/or its employees, solicit

votes during a condominum board...
Can a property management company and/or its employees, solicit votes during a condominum board election to ensure newly elected board members will favor their future employment even though members of the community are dissatisfied with their current performance?
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
11/17/2012
TexLaw
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4,430
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
Verified
It depends on what form the solicitation takes. Tell me more about what the property management company has done.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

-ZDN
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago


He "supervises" an employee that has a criminal history with prior prison term. However, his form of "supervision" is a "trust relationship" where he takes this maintenance worker's word that work is being done. I was on the board and expressed my concerns (on behalf of numerous community members) at our monthly meetings. The property manager allowed him to solicit proxies from home owners to have me removed while on the clock for nearly 2 weeks. Long story short, I was removed but after this other board members began to look into allegations and found there was substantial evidence to show he had not been doing work as he was reporting. Since this time, the President has been ousted by the others and new members are appointed to support his 'side'. Now a new election is about to begin and once again 2 of the 3 people running are owners that have also witnessed his lack of work performance and so this threatens his job security. I am attempting to advise the board that it would be a conflict of interest if he is again allowed to solicit votes to sway this election. Especially if he is getting paid using my condo fees towards his salary. They now claim he can assist in canvassing for his candidates as long as he's not on the clock. He is not a home owner but is a renter in our community. There is also a long history of other allegations by him.

Thank you for your reply.

I'm still uncertain. You say "he", are you referring to the property manager?

Also, is the property manager on the board of directors as well?

How can the property manager collect proxies without being a homeowner? He shouldn't even be allowed to participate in the meetings without being a homeowner.

Under usual circumstances, the property manager serves at the pleasure of the HOA board. If the property manager is soliciting votes to make sure that there is a friendly board of directors, this can be stopped by getting a board resolution on it.

I look forward to hearing back from you as I think our discussion of the issue can help you find a solution. Please forgive any dely in my next response.


-ZDN
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

The property manager has customarily sat with the board during all meetings. The current board has been approached by the community and several board members to question the problems . But the property manager, in closed sessions, convinces the board there is no wrongdoing and they continue to support his contract. Most recently, they ousted the President of the board from his office as he was beginning to "see" on the side of the community members. The current board holds the majority vote but the upcoming election could turn the vote to remove the property management company. The board, with his (prop manager) input, allowed the maintenance man to go door-to-door with a proxy vote to have home owners sign, while I was out of the country. He was paid his hourly wage and allowed to perform this task for over a week during his normal working hours. The maintenance man resides in one of the units but is a renter and not an owner. After all of this and still continued allegations, a board member decided to walk the grounds with myself and another board member to observe if my allegations were true. He documented over 13 pages of work that should have been completed but had not. His findings indicated there was indeed, truth to the allegations. But once again in special closed session, the property manager convinced the current board to extend the time for his worker to complete and refused to view the findings as evidence. As a result, the worker not only went nearly a year without doing assigned work, but was given additional help at OUR expense to "catch" him up.

Thank you for clarifying the facts.

The board directing the property manager's employee to solicit votes for the pro-property manager directors would be an order that creates a conflict of interest. However, while the property manager should be fired for not doing his job and allowing his employee to slack off, the real fault lies with the board of directors who have the ultimate say and are letting this continue. The part of the board who are authorizing the property manager to go solicit votes for a proxie in their favor are abusing their power and creating a conflict of interest.

The property manager should conduct his work in a neutral manner and the board should not use him to go get votes to ensure that certain members stay in while other members are voted out (like you). This is where the illegality lies. The directors in charge of this decision are guilty of a breach of fiduciary duty to the HOA.

The next issue that comes in your situation is for you to decide what you are prepared to do about it. You can force your hand through the legal system by suing the directors on behalf of the HOA and forcing them out, or you can continue through the political system by raising objections to these actions in the meetings and making sure everyone knows that this is a breach of fiduciary duty.

-ZDN
TexLaw
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4,430
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago


Thank you for your help. This has been a long , long process of watching this maintenance man get paid monies that he does not deserve. I have fought at every turn but wasn't certain I had a legal defense. I think its time for a lawsuit...


 


Again thank you, you answered my questions well. And made my decision easier. There are still SO many extenuating circumstances that its a difficult situation to attempt to explain to anyone not involved. Even the Maintenance man's personal attorney is the prosecuting attorney for the city we live in, so our options to appeal to law enforment was useless for fear he would know our actions. I appreciate your response, I needed to hear I have some sort of reprieve...

Good Luck

Please feel free to write back if you have any other questions.

-ZDN
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TexLaw
TexLaw
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