Open Letter to Unit Owners at Georgian Court North, Ft. Lauderdale
At 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 20th of 2014, I was taking my early walk and happened on a shocking discovery. The enclosed Green Sheet was posted on every building in our co-op as well as in the laundry rooms!
Moreover, it was posted on the bulletin boards that are reserved strictly for co-op business. It also said, “After a bit of investigating, I found…” I wonder that it took “investigating” to read our names and see our flyers on the Ballots that were sent to each and every unit owner.
The upcoming election for Board of Directors for our co-op is the first to happen in over ten years. I am proud of everyone who helped make that happen. The ballots have been sent out and YES, I am running for the board. And YES, I am one of those mothers–a proud one at that!
The Green Sheet mentions a “hostile takeover.” If secret ballots are allowed, how could it be a “takeover”?
Having lived here almost three years, and visited and being connected through family almost ten years, I gave myself a great deal of time to learn all I could before getting involved in the politics of the co-op.
What made me become active and run for the Board was my accumulation of knowledge (by that I mean provable facts) that our Georgian Court North Association is out of compliance with the State of Florida on many counts. Folks, where I come from in Texas, that means AGAINST THE LAW.
I wrote this letter just to express my heartfelt feelings. However, when a board member told another (neither was in Florida at the time) that “Hildra is just as wrong as the person that put up the green sheet. . . she should not have posted it all over the complex.” He added that I should have gone to the Board & they would have taken action.
Really? Actually, I didn’t post it anywhere on the complex. But that gave me an idea: maybe I should share my concerns with other unit owners.
Upon asking about it, someone said “It’s all true”. Is prejudice, even against mothers, how Association funds should be used? Is this what our GCN Board leaders should be doing?
My most heartbreaking discovery was realizing that our President, Mr. Ed Ryan, whom I have liked and gotten along with, made a personal choice for many years to collect Homestead Exemption in two states. Broward County recently caught up with him and assessed him penalties, etc. totaling around $26,000.00! I have had to ask myself, “If he would be willing to knowingly take financial advantage (that means take money, folks) from the States of Florida and Michigan, what other questionable decisions would he make about money???” Stop and think about that. Most of us learned about right and wrong at church and home, and this just isn’t right.
The current and previous Boards exposed themselves to personal liability (& the Association) by approving and supporting these activities of questionable legality:
- Paying a Board member (president) to manage without a CAM license, and that license is required by Florida statute. The State sent a Cease and Desist order but not too much has changed; particularly, since there is no way for unit owners to view the financial records after that order to check for compliance.
- The purchase of a car for the manager and president of the board, originally in his personal name till the State made him change the title to the Association, yet the insurance is still in his personal name, so any legal counsel will tell you this presents liability issues for our Association.
- Failing to conduct elections for over a decade.
- Refusing to allow a variety of unit owners — on numerous occasions over many months — to view any records which theState of Florida says should be transparent and available to be seen.
- Purchasing Unit 832 from Association funds with dubious purposes.
- Borrowing from our Reserves (against the law).ALL THESE COME FROM YOUR POCKET!
Any information herein above is available to anyone since it is in the “public record.”
I have witnessed with my own eyes inconsistent enforcement of the Rules & Regulations, where some folks get more unit owner rights than others.
This Green Sheet was signed “From Long Term GCN Unit Owners”. Does that mean they should have more rights than newer owners? I’ve had the pleasure to meet a number of long-term owners who are good people, and some have been welcoming to me and my disabled husband. It is great to see friendships renewed across the years at this co-op. But does being here long term give them the right to support breaking the law, and attempt to break the spirit of newer residents?
Now, to address the financial angle since that’s mostly what the Green Sheet seemed to be concerned with–that we would somehow hurt the need we all have to stay within a limited budget. It seems to me that if we conducted the Association’s business within the law, the finances would have a better chance of improving, thus avoiding unnecessary expenses! The current illegal practices will continue to catch up with us and each board member may suffer personal financial losses as well as the Association as fines and penalties add up. Wouldn’t it be smart to become legal while holding the line on spending?
Before the posting of the enclosed inflammatory Green Sheet, I was fairly passive in my efforts. However, being included in these derogatory words about “two mothers” I am now quite motivated to pursue this with much more diligence. I pledge to use all my skills as a writer, as a caring mother, and as a unit owner who loves my retirement home, to right some of these wrongs and help bring our Association into compliance with the law while I continue to cherish and help improve this fine place where we live as neighbors.
I am aware of bullying and intimidation here directed toward our family and others that the Board President has known about. I will not stand idly by and watch. I may be old. I may be small. But I will stand and shout to the world that we need to be legal and live in peace as neighbors.
There was also a statement at the top of the Green Sheet about lifestyle. I always taught my students to accept others. They don’t have to like them, but they did have to get along. Besides, the March 31st election isn’t about that–it’s about the issues. Perhaps this appeal to people’s prejudice could cloud people’s judgment about more important matters, like going by the law!
Oh, and about money, I don’t have much. We spent much of our retirement on my hubby’s cancer, and we live very frugally. I’m spending a week’s grocery money to mail this out because I feel it’s really that important.
Part of the reason I moved here was to receive assistance from my son when needed. When I had a bad fall, my son-in-law was right here to take me to the hospital last year. So, I don’t have much money; therefore, I don’t want to spend unwisely. I just want to go by the law.
With utmost sincerity,
Mother, Teacher, Writer, and Unit Owner Georgian Court North, Ft. Lauderdale firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright by Hildra Tague, 2014. Obtain permission for use online or in print.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
ATTER A BIT OF INVESTIGATING, I FOUND OIJT THAT THERE ARE TWO
men (wHo RESIDE IN THE SAMEAPARTME’NT)AND THEIR TWO MoTHERS RUNNING FOR A pOSITION ON THE BOARD IN THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS
OF GEORGIAN COURTNORTH.
IS THIS WHAT WE WANT? THIS SOUNDS LIKE A (WANNA BE) HOSTILE TAKEOVER.
OUR MAINTINANCE FEES HAVE REMAINED THE SAME WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ONE SMALL
ASSESSMENT A FEW YEARS BACK. (OUR MAITENANCE FEES ARE APPROX’ 15 % LESS THAN THEY WERE rN 1999.)
THE GROUNDS AND THE BUILDINGS ALONG WITH OUR RESERVE FUND,
ARE IN GREAT SHAPE. IMPROVEMENTS TO THE BUILDINGS CONTINUE TO BE ON GOING RESULTING IN MANY COST SAVING MEASURERS.
Feom LONG TIME GCN UNIT OWNERS