Q&A: Disclosing Shareholder Information

Q Are shareholders in co-ops entitled to know the names, addresses, phone numbers or other contact information for their fellow shareholders?

—Inquiring Shareholder

A “The simple answer to the question here is, yes. Shareholders are statutorily entitled to the names and addresses of their fellow shareholders,” says Jamie Heiberger-Jacobsen, founding partner and president of Heiberger & Associates, a law firm in Manahattan.

“Like other corporations, cooperative corporations are subject to the rules of the New York Business Corporation Law. Under BCL 607, a corporation is required to furnish a list of shareholders upon request at the annual shareholder meeting. In addition, BCL 624 requires that a corporation maintain a list of the names and addresses of its shareholders and grant registered shareholders the right to inspect such records upon five days written demand. Other contact information, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses, are not required components of this list.

“In many cases, a cooperative’s contact list is a way for shareholders to communicate with each other about important matters related to the function of the building. Information about electing new board members, or renovations and repairs can be easily distributed to shareholders, who live in the building, and in some cases, to those who do not.

“It is also worth noting that, under the BCL, corporations have the right to restrict such access in situations where they believe that the shareholder making the request is using the information for improper purposes such as soliciting fellow shareholders or selling the list to outside parties. The shareholder can then only obtain the list by submitting an affidavit stating that he or she desires the information only for purposes in line with those of the corporation and that he or she has not offered a shareholder list for sale in the past five years.”

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  • I requested the master list from my cooperative and was given a hard time. I filed the affidavit required that it was not for soliciting and after retaining a lawyer I would be granted permission to handwrite all 480 shareholders names and addresses. They would not allow me a copy of the master list. Is this permisssionable as a shareholder?