8-Dec-16 – A Gold Coast condominium association is threatening a unit owner with a fine of $50 to $500 for sending a letter to his fellow owners urging them to attend a condo board meeting.
The problem State Parkway Condominium Association has with the letter is that it was dropped in person to each door, in violation of one of the association’s rules.
Michael Novak, whose complaints to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection resulted in three citations from the city against the condo association, calls it retaliation. The citations are over tax returns and other financial documents that Novak, a former CPA with an MBA in Finance, claims he was not allowed to see. Hearings were scheduled but then postponed.
In his one-page letter dated September 26, Novak urged unit owners to attend the condo association’s annual meeting and vote against the incumbent board of directors. He says they are responsible for a $10 million shortfall that owners will have to make up for through increased assessments.
He wants a court-appointed custodian to manage State Parkway’s affairs and says the 197-page memorandum of law he has filed in state court details “massive fraud, including criminal federal and state tax evasion, oppression, and misapplication or wasting of assets” of the condo association.
He hand-delivered the letter, he says, only because the condo association refused his request for a list of unit owners and their addresses.
Novak was running for the board himself – he did not win election – and says the condo association threatened to censor his candidate information sheet distributed to owners, refused to let him introduce himself as a candidate at the September 26 annual meeting, and when he was finally allowed to speak at the annual meeting, the treasurer of the condo association kept interrupting him.
At the meeting that followed the annual election, according to Novak, the condo board approved a 12.2 percent increase in assessments.
Unit owner offered hearing to contest fine
In its November 23 letter to Novak, State Parkway Condominium Association, managed by Lieberman Management Services, told Novak he is charged with violating association rules concerning deliveries.
“The State Parkway policies are clear with regard to distribution of door to door letters,” it reads, without going into detail about the policies.
The letter gave instructions on how to contest the violation notice and request a hearing, which Novak says he has done. At the hearing, says the letter, he “will have the opportunity to be heard and to present testimony or other evidence” on his behalf but if he fails to appear, “the charges against you will be deemed admitted by default and the board may impose a fine of $50 to $500 as determined by the board pursuant to the fine schedule.”
Novak says the policy about door-dropped letters was added so he could not distribute written materials at board meetings – necessary, he says, because he is deaf and some people cannot understand him when he speaks. The policy, he says, has not been enforced until now.
If the condo association fines him for the door drop, Novak says he will “seek the appropriate legal action.”