Page 1 - CooperatorNews Chicagoland Winter 2022
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Winter 2022                            CHICAGO.COOPERATORNEWS.COM  CHICAGOLAND  THE CONDO, HOA & CO-OP RESOURCE  COOPERATORNEWS  continued on page 13  205 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY 10016 • CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED  continued on page 10  Fans of the TV show “Seinfeld” may recall an episode in which the character Kramer   posts the names and photos of all the residents in his building in the lobby so everybody can   get to know each other better—maybe even (  gasp  ) say “hello” to each other in the lobby or   elevator. Kramer’s neighborly initiative didn’t work out too well for Jerry, who didn’t want to   participate and was then ostracized by his neighbors for being a curmudgeon.   Turns out that “Seinfeld” episode, satirical though it may have been, is a pretty good   summation of why most co-op and condo communities don’t maintain a presence on so-  cial media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter, preferring other tools for   building cohesion and camaraderie between neighbors.   The Tried-and-True  While there are some communities that have tried social media as a means of commu-  nity communication, most have remained ‘old-school.’ “We have a Facebook page that was   started by one of my neighbors,” says Dana Greco, a longtime resident of a large, active co-op   community in Riverdale in the Bronx, New York, but “nobody posts anything. There’s just   not a lot of newsworthy events. We have a brief newsletter perhaps twice a year, and we also   have a bulletin board for those in need of assistance from neighbors, or who want to sell   something.” In the age-old tradition of many multifamily buildings, she says, “most of our   news comes from gossiping with the doormen.”  According to Gayle Goodman, director of communications for New York-based manage-  ment firm Gumley Haft, managers have many channels of communication through which to   reach their client communities. “As managers, we are proactive in our communications with   shareholders and unit owners. Not everyone in our buildings uses social media, \[so\] we dis-  seminate information by multiple methods so residents can get their   building news in the way they prefer. When there is news—whether   it’s regarding COVID regulations, water shutdowns, or notice of an-  nual meetings—we use email notifications, BuildingLink (more on   that below -  Ed.  ) and snail mail, as well as signage and distributing   materials in the lobby, when appropriate. Residents are always in-  vited to communicate with their property management team about   issues or questions of concern. When these issues are not already   Conflicts of Interest  Recognize Them Now to   Avoid Problems Later  BY A. J. SIDRANSKY  Co-ops, Condos, HOAs    & Social Media  Many Communities Say “No Thanks”   BY A. J. SIDRANSKY  If you live in a condo or a co-op, you   most likely have heard the term   fidu-  ciary duty  , usually in reference to the   responsibilities and obligations of board   members and management. But what is   a fiduciary duty? In essence, it’s a legal   relationship  between two  parties that   gives one party the right to act and make   important decisions on behalf of the   other. Fiduciary responsibility is a cor-  nerstone of both board and management   service.  Board members and  managers   alike must put their obligation to the   corporation or association over personal   gain—which means avoiding situations   that could present a conflict of interest.  Simply put, a conflict of interest is a   situation in which the concerns or aims   of two different parties are incompat-  ible. In a business environment such as   a condo association or cooperative cor-  poration, it’s a situation in which some-  one—like a board member or property   manager—is in a position to benefit per-  sonally from actions or decisions made   in their official capacity.  Honesty = Best Policy  “An  individual  involved  in  decision   making as a board member has a unique   personal material financial stake in the   transaction being considered,” says Mi-  chael C. Kim, an attorney with Schoen-  berg Finkel Beederman Bell & Glazer, a   law firm located in Chicago. “Suppose a   board is considering a budget increase.   Some are opposed, some in favor. Their   \[position\] may reflect their personal fi-  nancial situation. Just because a director   has a personal interest in the decision   doesn’t necessarily disqualify him or her   \[from voting\]. However, if a situation   or consideration is unique to the direc-  tor, he or she doesn’t share the general   consideration with other owners, and it   Digital Documents   Balancing Safe Storage   With Accessibility   BY A J SIDRANSKY  Paper, or electronic? It’s now a choice   for everything, from the books we read   for pleasure to the books we keep on   our associations and corporations. Even   restaurant menus are digital today in   the wake of the need for ‘touch-free’ en-  vironments amid the COVID-19 pan-  demic. With that said, co-op and condo   communities generate volumes of infor-  mation and data every year, from min-  utes of meetings to receipts for expenses   and  payments to  financial  information   on unit and share buyers. But how much   of all that really needs to be kept, and   for  how  long? And  is  there  anything   that should be kept specifically in paper   form, as well as digitized?  What Does the Law Say?  “In Illinois, condominium associa-  tions are subject to the Illinois Condo-  minium Property Act, Section 19 of   which requires the association to main-  tain and make available certain specified   books and records,” explains Michael C.   Kim, an attorney specializing in con-  dominium law  with Schoenberg  Finkel   Beederman Bell & Glazer. “That section   does not expressly address records be-  ing kept and produced in digital format,   but Section 18.8(b) of the Act provides   that  ‘the  association,  unit  owners,  and   other persons entitled to occupy a unit   may perform any obligation or exercise   any right under any condominium in-  strument or any provision of this Act by   use of acceptable technological means,’   which would  authorize keeping  digital   records to satisfy Section 19 rights and   obligations. Therefore, Illinois condo-  minium associations may digitize their   books and records and make them avail-  able in that format.  “With regard to residential coopera-  tives,” Kim continues, “there is no spe-  cific statute governing their operations;   however, most cooperatives are orga-  nized as  not-for-profit corporations.  In   that regard, the Illinois General Not for   Profit Act of 1986 generally permits the   use of electronic means for various types   of corporate actions and conduct, unless   the articles of incorporation or bylaws   continued on page 11

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