Q&A: Board Resisting Removal

Board Resisting Removal

Q A group of majority unit owners in our Manhattan condominium are trying to remove our current board of managers for failing to operate the building in compliance with our bylaws. This group signed a petition and did everything necessary, in accordance with the bylaws, to vote them out. However a few members convinced the other board members to collectively refuse to resign. We petitioned the board again, and still they have ignored us. Our management sided with the board and hired an attorney to represent themselves and the board to resist their removal. Our unit owners are not a wealthy group and can’t afford to get a lawyer to help us. What are our options to try and get the board to abide by the bylaws and accept that the majority of residents want them out?

—Condo Coup

A “To properly respond to this question requires seeing the actual bylaws, the materials related to the removal process followed and what is meant by the board’s ‘failing to operate the building in compliance with our bylaws,’ explains attorney John LaGumina, principal of The La Gumina Law Firm in Purchase, New York. “However, assuming that there are provisions in the condominium bylaws authorizing removal of the board by the unit owners with or without cause, and also assuming the aggrieved unit owners followed the condominium bylaw provisions for petitioning the board to hold a special unit owner meeting to vote on the possible removal of board members (sufficient

percentage of owners signing the petition, presentation of the signed petition to the secretary, etc.), the board should then have set up a special unit owner meeting to conduct the removal vote. If the board is disregarding the petition and does not have a legitimate reason for setting up such a meeting, then your recourse would be to bring a lawsuit.

Additionally, the aggrieved unit owners could try to get the New York State Attorney General’s office to intervene. While the Attorney General’s office usually limits its involvement in condominiums to developer related issues, their office has been known to intervene in matters where condominium boards are blatantly ignoring the unit owners and the condominium’s governing documents.”

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