J.C. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am an owner in a condo building. The Board of Directors decided to treat themselves to a “Special Meeting” at a Steak House and invited non-board members. The total was over $2,000 for the dinner with drinks. As an owner, do I have the right to post this on the condo bulletin board letting other owners know where our money is being spent?
Mister Condo replies:
J.C., I take it you and I weren’t invited to this Steak House extravaganza? How rude!
As bad a taste this dinner has left in your mouth, unless your by-laws allow for unit owners to post whatever they want on the community bulletin board, my guess is that you are NOT allowed to post anything on the association-owned bulletin Board. Why? Because the association owns it; not you. Any more than you can write an article for the community newsletter or post stories on the community website. These are all owned by the association and are for the association’s exclusive use. For your information, your association is not alone in providing meals, celebrations, and other “perks” to volunteer Board members and guests for their service to the association. I am not saying I condone or condemn this practice but I am saying it is not uncommon. Volunteering for an association can take up hundreds of unpaid hours over the course of a year and some associations have decided that a reward is in order. Since they cannot pay themselves for their service, they offer a party such as the one you have described and partake of some enjoyment at the association’s expense. This is not illegal but it does border on the questionable and can certainly outrage the association members who were not invited but still had to foot their share of the bill in the form of common fees that were used to pay for the party. The best way to stem activity like this is to find Board members who will truly volunteer their time and remove this type of expense from the association. While you cannot use the association-owned resources to spread the word, you can mail other unit owners and you can have conversations with other unit owners and get a feel for how they feel. If enough unit owners feel these parties should stop and they are willing to back those feelings with their votes, these parties can be stopped. Pasting unauthorized messages to the community bulletin board won’t do anything but get you a fine and labelled as a troublemaker. You need to understand the problem and gather support if you are to make a change. Good luck!