Skip to main content

Decisions and Orders Main Page

CCOC Decision Summary

#677-O, Paul Kelly v. The Willoughby of Chevy Chase Condominium, January 11, 2005 (Panel: McCabe, Stein, Vergagni)

The Homeowner (HO) filed a complaint against his homeowner association (HOA) claiming that the annual pre-audit meeting should be open to all the members and that the "management letter" provided annually by the audit firm to the Board of Directors should be available to all unit owners.  The HOA argued that the pre-audit meeting is not a public meeting under Maryland law, and the "management letter" is also not a public document because it is exempt as "accountant-client privilege" under Section 9-110 of the Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article.

After a public hearing, the Panel ruled that Section 11-109.1 of the Maryland Condominium Act allows the Board of Directors to hold closed meetings only for the specific purposes stated in the law.  However, the "pre-audit" meetings conducted here only involve the audit firm and the management company, and do not involve the board of directors or any of its committees.  Since the law does not regulate management and audit firms, these meetings are exempt and do not have to be open to the members of the association.

After the audit is conducted the management firm sends a "management letter" to the Board of Directors and the Budget Committee, which convene a public meeting to develop policy recommendations for Board action.  The letter is restricted to the board and to the Budget Committee.  The Panel ruled that Section 11-116 of the Maryland Condominium Act provides that all association records are open to inspection by the members of the association except as specifically exempted, and that law contains no exemption for an "accountant-client" privilege. The Panel concluded that although an accountant may claim the protection of the privilege, the client, which is the Board of Directors, cannot do so in connection with the members of the Association.  "What the accountant may not disclose is controlled by the statutory accountant/client privilege.  What the condominium must disclose to its unit owners is controlled by the Maryland Condominium Act."

The Panel ordered that the "pre-audit" meetings may remain private so long as they are not meetings of the board or its committees.  The Panel ordered the HOA to make the "management letter" available for inspection by the unit owners, unless exempted by a specific section of the Condominium Act.

Go Top