"Phantom" Boards Now You See 'Em...Now You Don't

 As the directors of a cooperative corporation, co-op board members have a number  of duties to their shareholders, chief among them to preserve and improve their  investment and to maintain and/or improve shareholders’ standard of living in the building. Along with that responsibility comes the  necessity of keeping building community members informed of board meetings,  important decisions, and anything that might affect their investment and  day-to-day life in the building.  

 But what happens when board members are unresponsive? What if they don’t return calls, don't hold regular meetings or elections, keep non-board  residents in the dark about their building's business, and are generally MIA?  

 Legally Required

 Co-op boards in the state of New York are regulated under one of the state's  original statutes created to regulate businesses, the Business Corporation Law  (BCL). This statute primarily governs how cooperative corporations, including  co-ops, must be run. The BCL provides specific rules regulating the corporate  governance practices of co-ops, including the manner in which boards and  shareholders conduct meetings, amend bylaws, and vote, and the BCL prescribes  the rights and responsibilities of boards and shareholders. While it may be  asking a lot of volunteers to study the entire BCL or know its nuances by  heart, it's a good idea for all board members to at least be aware of its  existence, and better to have a passing familiarity with its contents.  

 The BCL was implemented over a century ago to regulate governance of  corporations in New York, and remained more or less unchanged until it was  overhauled in 1998. “The BCL was drafted generally for corporations, [the legislature] didn’t have co-ops in mind, and the courts have applied the BCL to co-ops,” explains Stephen M. Lasser, a partner with the Manhattan-based law firm of  Barton, Barton & Plotkin, LLP.  


Related Articles

Climate Act Compliance

Buildings Must Lower Emissions to Avoid Heavy Fines

The NY Policy Holders Protection Act

What's it to You?

NYC OK's Bill Requiring Buildings to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Legislation Would Reportedly Affect Market-Rate Condos and Co-ops



  • If a board has take such control excluding shareholders and is not consistant with BCL, just running a muck, then who shall enforce BCL? It's clearly a free ticket to do unlawful acts!!!