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CCOC Decision Summary

#50-11, Lichtman v. Grand Bel Manor Condominiums (November 21, 2012) (Panel: Shontz, Farrar, Gelfound)

The condominium owner filed a complaint about the conduct of recent elections and about a new parking policy requiring residents to use hangtags on their cars or be towed.

The evidence at the hearing showed that in 2010 the condominium's engineer began to solicit for proxy votes from the members, the board president (who was not a candidate for office) appointed a relative to be an election judge, and the president also discussed a proxy ballot with a member and persuaded the member to withdraw it.  At the 2011 election, the property manager chaired the election and acted as an election judge, disqualifying some of the ballots. There were discrepancies in the ballot counts.  On the parking issue, the evidence showed that there was a ruling requiring members to display hang tags or be towed, that the complainant's car was towed for failing to display her hangtag, that at least one board member's car was also towed for lack of a hangtag, and that the building engineer did not display a hangtag because he was not a resident and was only on the property during the day.

The panel concluded that it was not improper for the board president to appoint a relative as an election judge since the president was not a candidate for office.   The engineer's proxy solicitation was not requested or approved by the board and when the board learned of it, the board directed that he stop the practice. As to the board president discussing a proxy with a voter, the purpose was to verify the voter's signature, and the voter resubmitted the proxy.  The panel concluded that it was proper for the board president to recuse himself from chairing the 2011 election because he was a candidate that year, but it was not proper for the manager to act both as the election chair and as an election judge because the association's rules required the association to appoint election judges, and there was no explanation as to why the association could not do so.  There were discrepancies in the ballot counts, but they did not affect the final results of the elections. 

The panel held that the parking policy was properly and consistently enforced.  However, the panel concluded that the association's election procedures were "sloppy at best" and ordered it to develop more clear and detailed written procedures.

The panel denied the association's requests for attorney's fees because it concluded that the complainant had prevailed on at least one issue (lack of election judges) and because the association's inadequate election procedures contributed to the creation of the problem. 

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