Q&A: Board Secretary Delinquent?

Q Last year, a board member discovered other directors have allowed our association secretary to be 10 months delinquent in his assessments. No action was taken. Other unit owners have been in the collection process for the same violation. After this problem was disclosed, the incumbent board members decided not to run in the next election.

We have another annual meeting this fall. It appears that some of the prior board members are going to run again despite their previous failure to uphold their fiduciary duty. Can they be held accountable?

—Up in Arms

A “Assuming that the directors knowingly chose to allow the secretary to accrue this arrearage, then, yes, they can he held accountable for failing to carry out their fiduciary responsibilities to the other unit owners. The question is how,” says attorney Norman L. Zlotnick with the Atlantic City-based law firm of Mairone Biel Zlotnick & Feinberg, PA.

“As they are apparently running for office, they can be vigorously opposed and hopefully defeated in the upcoming election. Additionally, there may be something in the condominium documents of this community that may bar them from running under the circumstances.

“Of course, another form of response to [the board] can be a lawsuit against them for failing to properly discharge their fiduciary duties, brought by any unit owner and/or the association itself. The damages sought would be the amount owed by the delinquent unit owner. Interestingly, the association’s insurance carrier might respond to such a suit on behalf the of the defendant directors under the association’s liability policy and/or Director’s and Officer’s policy, assuming the latter is in place.”

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