J.S. from Bergen County, New Jersey writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I have been writing letters to the association for answers 5 times in 2 weeks. So far, no response about stolen money by the vice president. She had the president removed by the 4 others on the board after he found out about the theft. What can I do now?
Mister Condo replies:
J.S., I am sorry that you have experienced theft by a Board Member at your condo association. Your association governance documents detail what can and should be done about such things. State and local law enforcement may also need to get involved. The bottom line is that it is up to the Board to handle the business dealings of the association, which include managing and safeguarding all of the assets of the association including cash. If the Board is aware of theft, they can notify the police. They should also notify the association attorney who can advise them of additional steps they can take to get the money back. As a unit owner within the association there isn’t too much you can personally do as the money stolen belonged to the association, not you as an individual. As you have seen, writing letters to the association isn’t very effective and the association does not need to respond to your letters. They do have to keep accurate Minutes of their meetings and provide those Minutes to any member who requests them after they have been approved. My advice is for you to keep a close eye on the Minutes of the Board Meetings to make sure they are keeping on top of the theft. Hopefully, the Board will also change whatever financial policies they had in place that allowed the theft to occur in the first place. There is a great document on the subject at the Community Associations Institute website at https://www.caionline.org/AboutCAI/Documents/Preventing%20Fraud%20and%20Embezzlement.pdf. All the best!