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This is the independent WEB site for the Society Hill at Piscataway Condominium Association, located in Piscataway, NJ. This site is not sponsored, endorsed, or supported by the Association, the Board of Trutees, or the Managment Company. It is run by a former member of the Board of Trustees.

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Election Results, Court Hearing Outcome, Special Meeting Dec. 19th by Kevin Wine, Dec 01, 2022, 11:09 PM, reply, branch, edit

It's already over a week since the election and the court hearing on the petition lawsuit. I meant to write a message last week, but had to deal with so many other neglected things that I'm just getting to it now. The management finally sent a community announcement on December 9th, so I guess I'm not that late. If you didn't get their email, the election results were:

Mohiuddin Syed - 141
George Tsacnaris - 133
Thomas Lopez - 98
Mary Thomas - 81
Dilip Patel - 41
Mohammed Sharif - 12

Mohiuddin Syed and George Tsacnaris won the two seats. Tong Zhou and Mary Thomas are off the board. The current board member are now Mohiuddin Syed, George Tsacnaris, Doug Sanford, Wendy Zhang, Forest Luu, Patricia Mincarelli, and Nalaka Dias.

Management also announced a Special Meeting of the Board for Monday, December 19th, to reorganize the Board officer positions. Since Tong Zhou and Mary Thomas were the President and Vice President and are no longer on the Board, at the very least those two officer positions need to be reassigned. I was very surprised by the election results, as I had fully expected former President Zhou's favored candidates, Tom Lopez and Mary Thomas, to be handily elected. But it looks Zhou's 4-year election domination streak has finally come to an end.

The election results were the happy news from December 1st, after earlier that day Judge Vignuolo decided in favor of the defendant (the Association) on my "Order to Show Cause" complaint that I had filed back on October 13th. This was very disappointing, as the PREDFDA language was very clear in not disqualifying delinquent owners from signing a petition to remove Board members via a special recall election. But she saw it otherwise, and decided to second-guess the NJ State Legislature's intent. It is common for the court to resolve "legislative ambiguity", either directly in the wording of the law, or indirectly in conflicting statutes. I would not have guessed that there was any such ambiguity in this particular instance. Obviously, I don't agree with her conclusion, and as soon as I have the time, I will be filing an appeal to get her decision reviewed.

On the other petition to amend the Bylaws, Judge Vignuolo again declined to intervene, and in fact agreed with the Association's position that the language of the proposed Bylaw amendment is defective to the point where it needs to be corrected, and approval for the corrected language needs to be sought from all the owners that signed the original petition! This would in effect defeat the petition, because now we will have to re-do the entire mailing, and/or run around/call/txt/email nearly 200 people and nag them to OK the changes. In the meantime, a lot of those original signers have probably become delinquent, so now they can't sign, and on top of that there may be efforts by those opposed to the amendment to solicit prior signers to not sign again. Obviously, I am not happy with this either, and again I don't think this is what the legislature or PREDFDA intended, so I will include this in the appeal as well.

In the course of all the legal activity, I finally got the details on how many owners withdrew their petitions. It turns out 14 units withdrew. One didn't sign petition one (recall election), so that left 13 that withdrew petition one. Therefore, of the 19 petitions disqualified for "other reasons", only 6 were either duplicate, non-owner, or otherwise rejected. We had submitted 9 extras, so even after the 6 rejects, there where still 3 more than needed to call the special 6-seat election. If it was no allowed to withdraw petitions, and if delinquent owners could sign, we were good.

I guess the good news is that we didn't spend tens of thousands of dollars on this. Without a lawyer, this only cost me $250 for filing the original lawsuit, plus $50 for the order to show cause. Serving the papers on the defendant cost $125, so I was in $425 total. It's the lawyer services that make legal matters so expensive. I think the appeal costs another $250 for filing (same as filing a lawsuit), plus another $300 (I believe) to obtain a written transcript of the hearing, which must be attached to the appeal. Appeals usually take several months to a year, so as far as any impact on our immediate situation, it is likely the next election will be in progress by the time the appeal is heard, and of course who knows how the court will decide. An appeal is more a matter of principle, to hopefully correct the record.

The bad news is that while I'm trying to be optimistic, there is still the very real possibility that the 4 trustees leftover from the Tong Zhou regime may not cooperate with the new trustees, and block any further progress on solving the hill problem and the $1,200 robbery. This would once again leave us owners in the lurch, with little or no recourse. The anger level would have to rise again to a point where 51% of owners, and who are not delinquent, are wiling to sign yet another petition to try again to call a special recall election. The chances of that happening at this point are pretty low, even though everyone should still be furious as we are still being robbed. We should get a feel for the new board dynamics at the December 19th meeting. Now that the head of the snake is no longer there, there is some hope.

The other bad news is that "the system" is really stacked against the owners in these associations like ours. Look at all the trouble this board caused us, and all the things it has destroyed, and all the money it has wasted, and at the end of the day, what little recourse we have gets trampled on again. Things have to go to such an extreme before there is any pushback at all, and even then it's a steep uphill battle, with little or no help from the courts. The management companies and condo attorneys know this, and know what they can get away with, and take everything right to that limit, often with the unwitting (or no so unwitting) assistance of a supportive board, leaving us SCREWED. This is the same thing going on with the prior management company/attorney/contractor setup before we got rid of them all in 2008.

I don't know what the new board is going to end up doing with the $1,200 special assessment. The logical thing would be to put that all on hold until the engineering works is complete, the scope of work has been defined, bid documents have been created, and bids have been received. At that point, when we actually know what it is going to cost, create the special assessment. In the meantime, I'm still not donating my $1,200 to this clown show. At least I want to see what happens at the special meeting on December 19th.


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