Q&A: Accessing a Building's Financial Records

Accessing a Building's Financial Records

Q “I live in a co-op on Long Island and I ran for a board position this year. The current board and resident manager spread some vicious rumors about me to keep me off the board. I’m very concerned about the finances of the building. What can I do to keep the finances in check without being on the board. What type of financial information are they required to provide me upon request?”

—Worried in Wyandanch

A “'What type of financial information [is the co-op board] required to provide me upon request?' You are entitled to a lot of financial information,” according to partner Michelle Maratto Itkowitz and associate attorney Isaac Tilton of the New York-based law firm Itkowitz PLLC.

“The New York Business Corporation Law, which governs the actions of cooperative housing corporations, §624(e) states:

Upon the written request of any shareholder, the corporation shall give or mail to such shareholder an annual balance sheet and profit and loss statement for the preceding fiscal year, and, if any interim balance sheet or profit and loss statement has been distributed to its shareholders or otherwise made available to the public, the most recent such interim balance sheet or profit and loss statement. The corporation shall be allowed a reasonable time to prepare such annual balance sheet and profit and loss statement.

“Moreover, most articles of incorporation require an annual financial statement to be delivered to all shareholders. You should read your corporation’s articles of incorporation carefully, especially if you have designs on a board seat in the future.

“If you really want to see more than just a profit and loss statement, for example, the specific books and records of account, you have a common law right to inspect these records. Sivin v. Schwartz, 22 AD2nd 822 (2nd Dept. 1964). Although to enforce this right, you might need to obtain a court order.

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