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Say Goodbye to ResalesBoards that don’t keep minutes are playing a dangerous game with their building value. [[wysiwyg_imageupload:1032:]]
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:955:]]Tom Sinclair and Liz Roberts, a married couple who owned a co-op on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, felt like they’ve been sandbagged. They brought a buyer for their apartment to the board and expected an easy approval. “She had submitted what seemed like pounds of paperwork, showing how strong her financial picture was, along with sterling character references,” Sinclair recalls. “I had heard how tough some co-op boards were, but neither Liz nor I expected any trouble. After all, my wife had been a long-time model resident [in the years before our marriage] and our potential buyer seemed perfect.”
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:953:]] WHEN BOARDS ATTACKAfter a hellish month, I didn’t expect the board to turn on me. But it did. The issue was supposedly simple: who would pay the $2,000 bill for exterminating bed bugs in my apartment. A no-brainer, you say? The bugs traveled through the walls, making it a building-wide problem, right? And you wouldn’t expect the apartment resident to pay for the extermination of rats or mice, right?
PARTNERING WITH THE BOARD [[wysiwyg_imageupload:947:]]Call it a different face of management. Or call it a change of approach. But whatever you call it, don’t call it mundane.
Sheldon Gartenstein, a senior vice president at the National Cooperative Bank, is matter-of-fact about the refinanced loan he handled recently for the 74-unit cooperative at 760 West End Avenue. “This particular co-op needed capital improvement funding of about a million dollars,” he recalls. “They entered into a new loan that allowed for a cashout of that million while at the same time reducing their monthly payments.”
ABSOLUTEPOWER By TOM SOTER Two scenarios, two boards, one questionScenario No. 1: The board in a Bronxville co-op forbids subletting. A unit-owner, incensed and feeling that the board has overstepped its authority, sues. After 14 months of litigation, the court finds that the board behaved properly.
THE KICKBACK INVESTIGATIONMore IndictmentsEllis Hayeem, board president at a co-op at 85 Eighth Avenue, was more than surprised. He was shocked.
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:823:]]She thought the board had it in for her. A lawyer, she was a tenant-shareholder in a small Manhattan cooperative. She had tried to sell her unit. But the board had turned her potential buyer down – for undisclosed reasons – and she had often remarked on what she saw as the unfairness of the rejection. She then began an unauthorized sublease that was later approved retroactively by the board.
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:819:]] For many at the Fort Lee, N.J., cooperative, “the problem” was getting out of hand. In a nutshell, some owners were upset about a group of residents, all aged over 70, who kept sitting in the lobby day after day. They would talk to each other, talk to the staff on duty, and, in the words of one owner, “make a nuisance of themselves.”The board was at a loss. The directors knew that the lobby was not a place for congregations. They politely asked the group to leave. Many times. But the so-called “Lobby Gang” continued to sit and chat. The board discussed it at innumerable board meetings. The members grew frustrated. And the gang remained in place.