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CCOC Decision Summary

#291-O, Page v. Grosvenor Park I Condominium (November 3, 1995) (Panel: Stevens, Gick, Fox)

Several condominium owners (CO) complained that their condominium association (CA) conducted an improper election of the board and asked that the Commission order a new election to be conducted under the supervision of a neutral party.

The evidence at the hearing showed that in 1994 a large group of unit owners formed a committee to discuss and reform the operating practices of the CA, and over the next several months there was increasing hostility between the committee and the board of directors, which culminated at the annual election of the board in December, 1994.  2 of the committee members were candidates for the board at that election, and there were two director positions to be filled at the election, both of them for 2-year terms.  The CA selected an 6-member election committee but gave them no instructions.  At the election, the CA failed to maintain a sign-in list so it could keep track of whether there was a quorum; nor did it require holders of proxy votes to sign in for the units the holder represented.  Moreover, several proxy votes were received which did not designate a proxy holder or the candidate chosen, and the members of the board of directors decided to write into these forms that the "board of directors" was the proxy holder and the board voted those proxies as the board saw fit.  Only 2 of the 6 inspectors certified the election results.  There was some testimony that ballots which had been received unsigned were found after the election to have been signed.  The CA did testify that it had agreed to have the 1995 elections supervised by the League of Women Voters.

The hearing panel found that the CA inadequately managed the 1994 elections to the extent that the integrity of the elections were seriously undermined; and that under principles of Agency law, the voter must designate a proxy holder to act for him and that proxy holder must be a person, not "the board of directors" as a group. Furthermore the proxy holder is permitted only to vote for the candidate specifically selected by the unit owner, pursuant to Section 11-109(c) of the Maryland Condominium Act.

The hearing panel ordered that the two directorships filled at the 1994 election must be subject to election at the 1995 meeting for the remainder of their terms; that the CA must establish clear rules for conducting and counting votes, and that proxy votes must state the name of the designated proxy who must be a person.

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