As last we spoke, we seemed to be at an inflection point. Now there appears to have been some movement. Could be a critical tell. Association President Anthony Milazzo was able to keep his contempt for the law in relative check at last night’s monthly board meeting. Only three laws broken!
But first, here are a few of the meeting’s highlights:
FIRST UP, Headhunter “Fulfillment” Manager Diana Shay read the Treasurer’s Report. According to Shay, we’ve got approximately $309K in the reserve account and are still approximately $1.3M in the hole ($763 Barrington loan and $493 2nd line of credit). Reading from a prepared script, Ms. Shay said that the 2015 budget “would be ready for board review by the end of the month.”
Having finished her presentation, Shay was peppered with questions. Director Gajderowicz asked: “What is the exact amount for fire-speaker system installation and when is the payment due?” Director Del Monico asked, “Are we up to a date on all payments for the work that was completed?” and “What is the amount due for design services and was it paid?” And Director Green (whose unit is for sale) asked, “When will we stop spending copious amounts of money?!”
Sadly, the young Milazzo-protégé and “special friend” was a deer in the headlights. In the words of one homeowner, “All I could see is Diana looking left and right and flipping through the pages of the package she had been given.” Milazzo-Graf-Sara were able to stave off Directors Gajderowicz and Del Monico as to any detail. As to the “stop spending copious amounts of money,” according to Milazzo it sorta seems that we’ll start accumulating reserves in 2016… “or so.”
NEXT UP, Sudler’s Sara Rudnik gave the Management Report. Her rundown included an update on the hallway conduit installation. It’s approximately 50 percent completed and on target for the City’s January 1 deadline. Ms. Rudnik also noted that the City’s Life Safety Inspection is scheduled for October 9. Apparently, the list of things the City is going to inspect include unit doors as well as distances to the entry door. Word is that A&K units that moved their entry doors (especially with the permit violation pending) will cost us dearly in our overall scoring, i.e. count on repercussions. Director Brush requested that Sudler conduct a “dry-run” inspection prior to the actual.
Wrapping up her report, Ms. Rudnik gave an update to the great HVAC Inspection Program (read “shakedown”). The program starts next Wednesday and is mandatory. Director Gajderowicz asked about how the graduated pricing was determined. Sudler’s Bob Graf said the pricing was from the contractor, Althoff. Ms. Rudnik offered that HVAC inspection (shake down) was discussed last Fall and had been performed previously. Gajderowicz asked about how the waiver on units 2-year old was determined. Ms. Rudnik said that it was a balance of cost and safety, not having presented any actual criteria for cost or safety.
NEXT UP, was old and new business.
The Board finally approved the Fitness Center Renovation Project… well sorta. As all contractor proposals were about the same, i.e. in the $18K range, the determining factor was/is timing. The Sudler service provider MPD said that they can finish the job in 2 weeks; and as the project is 6 months past his promised completion date, they were Milazzo’s choice. Director Brush admonished him saying, “Forget timeline and focus on quality.” So ultimately Triad (Dan Peters) will be offered the job with the caveat that he finish in three weeks or face a penalty of $500-$1,000 a day. So, as it is rumored that Dan Peters is actually sane, that’ll never happen.
A few duly noteds: Since it’s a new contractor (i.e. sans George Tudor), new permits will have to be secured. Also, Milazzo strongly insisted that the West wall have mirrors because he uses dumbells and since he insists “it’s a safety issue.” Also of note, of course, the budget is blown before it even starts. It was $40,000. Sans the work on the separation wall, the total is about $38K, with the wall $43K. But the good news is we have a president with a gift for contorted rationale. Milazzo insisted that the wall is somehow not part of the project so it’s okay.
Lastly, the Board revisited the hallway mockups.
Based on the recommendation of Jodie Evans and a few others belonging to a secret design committee, they’re going to make a mockup that’s a little wider, add some rope lighting and a few brass plate accents. A photo featuring a design from Powell/Kleinschmidt, Inc. was presented. After several oohhs & aahhs from the homeowner John Bury, Gajderowicz said, “It’s not within the budget and would not look at all like that because our hallways are lower and not straight.”
Gajderowicz also added her concern about lower soffits during move-in, move-outs. Milazzo’s response: “We’ll just charge residents… no problem.”
Punctuating the discussion was homeowner and professional designer Barbara Waters. Almost apoplectic, Ms. Waters described how the kludgy conduit in front of the A&K units would surely lower property values. Then irony of ironies, the guy who pushed through the center of the hallway conduit cramdown Milazzo said, “There’s only so many options based on conduit installation.” Arrrgh. Insult to injury, the annunciator system was budgeted at $200k. The actual now installed is projected to be about $375. Double arrrgh.
Anyway, a vote was rammed through approving an additional $2,500 spend for new mockups of the hallway soffits, with Ann Marie and Asia having abstained in disgust.
SPEAKING OF CONTEMPT…
As was reported in the lead, only three laws were broken last night. Those included circumventing board authority, secret meetings, and a surreptitious special assessment. In order of appearance:
Not on the meeting agenda, at the end of the Management Report Milazzo gave some of his initial decisions as to the secret Friends-of-Milazzo (FOM) board committees. So far, it a refried version of last years failed committees. We got “Mr. 111” Richard Evans as head of Operations. Mel Thillens is thrown in to head Rules & Regulations to give the appearance of credibility. And a surprise addition is Jodie Evans (Mr. 111’s wife) heading Design.
But wait a minute, per our By-Laws Section 8, “The Board shall have the following powers and duties: (g) to appoint committees of the board and to delegate to such committees the Board’s authority to carry out certain duties of the Board.” Regrettably and now predictably, the FOM Committee Charters circumvent our Bylaws, and as such are not lawful. At last night’s meeting, Directors Gajderowicz and Del Monico were surprised by Milazzo’s announcement. They’d not been appraised of any candidates for any committees. Other than the names of the committees, no vote on the matter has ever brought before the Board.
Secondly, apparently there have already been secret meetings in violation of the Condo Act and the statutory requirement that meetings be open and properly announced. In light of the recent Palm decision, it’s pretty outrageous. But Milazzo doesn’t care. Until held accountable, corruption does what corruption does.
And then there’s the little item of a surreptitious special assessment. According to our sources, that’s exactly what the HVAC inspection program is. The HVACs are a limited common element. It is the Board’s duty to manage that. That said, per the Condo Act Section 18(a)(8):
(i) that each unit owner shall receive notice, in the same manner as is provided in this Act for membership meetings, of any meeting of the board of managers concerning the adoption of the proposed annual budget and regular assessments pursuant thereto or to adopt a separate (special) assessment,
(iii) that any common expense not set forth in the budget or any increase in assessments over the amount adopted in the budget shall be separately assessed against all unit owners,
(iv) that separate assessments for expenditures relating to emergencies or mandated by law may be adopted by the board of managers without being subject to unit owner approval. As used herein, “emergency” means an immediate danger to the structural integrity of the common elements or to the life, health, safety or property of the unit owners.
Bottom line, nothing worse than a special assessment then one done improperly. 🙁
Yes, apparently since the inflection-point story there’s been movement. Any wonder why there are so many units here for sale?
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STORY UPDATE 9/19: Looks like the Fitness Center Rehab is a go. Triad got the job. Work starts September 23 with an expected completion date of October 13.