L.H. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
There have been “questionable” dealings between a local waste and recycling contractor and one of the Board members at our condo. My husband and I have questioned these contracts at association meetings only to be bullied and even threatened by the Board member in question. We have called agencies and even the Attorney General’s Office. They all say what this board member did with the refuse contract is absolutely illegal. What do you feel? Also, can I sue the Board for the threats I received at the meeting where I spoke up?
Mister Condo replies:
L.H., it is never pleasant to feel bullied or threatened. It is unfortunate that cooler heads have not prevailed at your condo to keep harmony between unit owners, the waste contractor, and the Board member who bullied you. Since you have already been in contact with state agencies and the Attorney General’s Office, you can imagine that I am inclined to agree with what you have heard from them. If the allegations you are claiming are true, it looks like you may have grounds to bring charges against the Board member in question and/or the contractor. If the Board is unwilling to secure an attorney to proceed, you should consider hiring one on your own and including those attorney fees in the eventual suit you will bring against the Board member and/or the contractor. I am curious as to what advice you were given by the Attorney General’s Office or other state agency. If you alerted them of a potential crime, what action did they tell you to take?
As for your being bullied or threatened by a Board member, that is an entirely different matter. Board members do not have a right to threaten you or any other unit owner. As a citizen, you have the right to make a complaint with the local police. Of course, timeliness is part of a police report so if you haven’t already made a complaint with the police you can’t be too certain of the outcome. However, if a similar event happened again, I would not hesitate to get the police involved. Threats should not be tolerated but it is not the Board’s place to police the community. If a crime is committed, call the police!
One final note, L.H.. It seems to me that the condo you are living in is not an ideal community for you and your husband. I know I wouldn’t live in such a place with such a horrid person serving on the Board and behaving in such a way as to make life there difficult. If you don’t have him jailed for his bullying behavior, I suggest that this Board member should be voted out of office. If you can’t garner enough votes to do so, I strongly suggest you consider moving to a more agreeable community. The situation you are describing is the exception, and not the norm, in most condos. I am sure there is a lovely community nearby that would welcome you and your husband to a more peaceful life. Best Wishes!