As you are likely aware, the 111 East Chestnut Condominium Board sent out an email ALERT late Friday responding to our “degraded cement” issue. As is typical of our Board President, it was “truthiness” followed by a raft of scapegoating. In typical Anthony Milazzo form, he played to the least discerning among us; distorted the facts; and used the power of the office to shut down open discussion. Unintentionally, he did, however, provide a clear choice, i.e. an inconvenient truth or a reassuring lie. Here, be it unpopular, we staunchly oppose the institutional ignorance and offer the inconvenient truth. Here we set the record straight with more about our degraded cement issue.
MILAZZO’S CLAIM: “Our building’s structural concrete is not at all in a hazardous condition. The few relatively small, isolated sections of degraded concrete in our building are not a safety concern. They represent a manageable expense that will be addressed in an appropriate, structured manner.”
FACT: We don’t know the extent of the degraded concrete, let alone the cause. We have been looking for two years apparently at addressing cracks and air pockets in one limited area, not a systemic review of the overall durability and strength of our concrete structure. The former is cosmetic; the latter is structural and is potentially a safety problem. Again, the Board cannot know if it’s hazardous if Milazzo isn’t actually asking.
As to “addressed in a structured manner,” that is correct. Again see Gajderowicz v. 111 East Chestnut Condominiums. The lawsuit is for Negligence, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, and Consumer Fraud.
MILAZZO’S CLAIM: “Several years ago we hired an experienced, independent engineering consultant named Mike Bonick from the respected firm of Kellermeyer Godfryt Hart to help us assess our building’s infrastructure concerns. He has been thoroughly studying any areas of suspect concrete and preparing bid specifications for their repair.”
FACT: Bonick, an architect, has been doing “soundings,” i.e tapping the cement with a steel rod and listening, again in very select viable areas. And of note: Of the tests to do to determine cement integrity, tapping is the least accurate. It’s borderline dowsing. It can possibly identify blemishes but surely not the underlying problem(s).
We recently contacted the CTLGroup. CTLGroup originated a century ago as the cement and concrete technology Research and Development Laboratories of Portland Cement Association. After being briefed on the history and present issues with the concrete in the A Units on floors 22 through 27, they advised that we determine the level and extent of deterioration and contamination, and not take a band-aid approach. They underscored strongly that the band-aid approach is only a short-term solution.
Milazzo’s insistence and personal motivations aside, our present approach raises two fundamental questions: 1) How can the Board fulfill their statutory duty to repair the common element without knowing the underlying problem? 2) How can the Board expect to get anything but repair specs from an architect? Are we, in typical 111 fashion, asking the wrong guy the wrong questions?
THREE CONSTRUCTIVE RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Get an independent study done ASAP that gives a thorough analysis of the extent of cement contamination as well as the overall condition of the strength and durability of our infrastructure.
2. Upon receipt of the study results, call a Homeowner Meeting to discuss what we are planning to do and what it’s going to cost.
3. Milazzo stop the name calling; stop the abuse of power; stop all the lawsuits. You are there to serve all members of the Association and promote community and cooperation.
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AN ADDENDUM: ON SCAPEGOATING CONNOLLY
The rest of Milazzo’s eblast was designed to shoot the messenger. Here, too, we set the record straight:
“The person responsible for this impostor website…”
Brian Connolly is proudly a part of our group of involved activist homeowners. As such, he has been, and continues to be, Milazzo’s go-to scapegoat. When Milazzo is called on the carpet to account for his performance, it’s all Brian fault.
As to “impostor website,” there’s not a thing impostor about it. It’s anonymous by design to shield against Milazzo’s track record of personal attacks and abuse of power.
“[Connolly] has initiated numerous lawsuits against your condo association, none of which he has won, that have ended up costing us well over $100,000.”
Of the three suits Connolly has filed (all notably since Milazzo became president), two settled in Connolly’s favor, one was dismissed. That is, twice now, we or our insurance company, wrote Connolly a check. Of note: both settlements far exceeded the amount he had originally/reasonably demanded. It’s not “Connolly cost us,” it’s how much Milazzo ostensibly squandered by fighting what should not have been fought in the first place. The buck stops there.
As to other related lawsuits Milazzo fails to mention, Milazzo filed two suits against Connolly (14 MC 1202 479-01 and 2015-L-007852). Both were dismissed.
Lastly, of the $100,000 Milazzo cites, $93,000 was spent on defending ostensibly a $1,000 dispute. For three years Milazzo has refused to settle. It has been a ridiculous waste, and it’s absolutely shameful of him to now try to shift the blame.
“He was kicked off the Board of Directors by a super majority of homeowners.”
Ironically, that was the basis of one of the suits that just settled in Connolly’s favor. Five years ago Milazzo orchestrated a defamation campaign that led to Connolly’s ouster. The Association got punked. Insult to injury, the Association then paid Connolly handsomely for it. And variously the Association continues to pay in keeping him personna non grata.
“The Board is currently pursuing judicial sanctions against him for filing what we believe was a frivolous lawsuit.”
If anything, it appears the latest suit was thrown out prematurely. The ruling made findings of fact and law in defendants’ favor without proper basis. The facts defendants spun were fiction. Is what it is. But what it was not, was frivolous. Three years in court, two attorneys having reviewed the merits of Connolly’s suit in depth and favorably, in addition to the Judge’s first ruling essentially saying that Connolly’s pleading had some technical flaws that were “easily repaired,” along with finally a vigorous debate of the legal issues… is not the stuff of a frivolous claim. As such, Milazzo’s bid for sanctions is improbable at best. Milazzo’s current pursuit rises to good money chasing bad, i.e. More of YOUR MONEY down the drain in another Milazzo personal adventure in pursuit of vengeance. Question: When does the ownership say, “Enough is enough”? Five years ago would not have been soon enough.