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DATE: Thursday, January 16, 2020
TIME: 6:16 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: January 16th Board Meeting CANCELLED
TYPE: Community News

Due to unforeseen events, tonight's meeting is cancelled. Very sorry for the short notice.

We will hold a special meeting next week, to reschedule. Once the date is set, another notification will be sent out to inform.

Thank you,


DATE: Friday, January 17, 2020
TIME: 6:58 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Special Meeting January 21 @ 8pm
TYPE: Community News

We are calling a special meeting, as a reschedule to last night's cancelled meeting, on Tuesday January 21 @ 8pm. This meeting will take place in the community clubhouse, per usual.

Thank you


DATE: Thursday, December 10, 2020
TIME: 8:19 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Election Results
TYPE: Community News

Forest Luu 158
Patricia Mincarelli 133
Kevin Wine 124
Brian Timper 119
Atif Nazir 110
Dilip Patel 67
Mahesh Patel 55

Forest Luu and Patricia Mincarelli win the 3-year seats, and Kevin Wine (me) gets the 1 year seat.


DATE: Tuesday, December 29, 2020
TIME: 12:34 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Dec 28 Special Meeting Report
TYPE: Community News

I was going to send a community email before yesterday's meeting, but I assumed everyone received the official meeting notice and agenda from the management so instead I am sending this message after the meeting, which will be much more interesting anyway.

Originally there wasn't going to be another meeting until January, in spite of two major year-end items still up in the air - the 2021 budget and the insurance renewals. But then late last week, a special meeting notice went out, so I guess the plan changed.

The board meeting package for yesterday included the 2021 budget proposal, similar to the proposal presented a month ago (and available to owners on this site). The proposal still includes the plan to take all the escrow funds and use them for capital work, specifically the re-roofing project. The by-laws currently prohibit the use of escrow funds for this purpose. I asked if the board plans to amend the by-laws, or just go ahead and do this anyway, and Mr. Zhou refused to answer the question. Instead, he started quoting from the by-laws where it says the interest earned on the escrow fund can be used for general operating purposes, which is true, but it does not say the entire fund can be used for general operating purposes! I know he is not that clueless, so this was just a shallow attempt at covering yet another one of his illegal actions. As I mentioned here previously, there were a handful of owners and some board members who were deeply offended at even the hint of a past suggestion that money could be borrowed from the escrow fund, and here we are with some of those same people finding no problem at all with just TAKING the entire escrow fund (about $250,000). I voted no on the budget in protest, to protect myself from personal liability if the board actually goes through with this plan as seems to be their plan. The 6 other members voted yes.

The good news is they are leaving the fees alone for 2021. I guess they have no choice really, since I have to run again this fall in the elections, and of course they don't want to give me any "I told you so" campaign points.

The board meeting package also included one insurance proposal, from Brown and Brown, with no indication that there were any other proposals sought or received. At the meeting, it eventually became apparent that there was a last-minute proposal from another agent, the MacCormack Agency. It was so last-minute the proposal had to be emailed to the board during the meeting, with no time to review. It also shortly became apparent that a sub-set of the board had agreed to accept the MacCormack proposal prior to the board meeting, so of course it passed. I voted no, as I was being asked to vote on a ~$250,000 proposal that I had zero time to review. If I did this to the board when I was chairman, I would have been heavily criticized. Somehow the management company had time to review and compare the proposals and make a recommendation - for MacCormack of course.

There are at least two significant changes to the insurance coverages, as the current board is so desperate for money they are cutting anywhere they can. The water damage deductible is now $25,000!! So watch out - if you don't have an HO-6 policy on your unit with at least that amount of coverage, you will end up with a large bill if your unit suffers a large leak. We have had many pipe leaks of this magnitude here in the past, so don't think this can't happen. This change will save the association a whopping $13,000, lol. Every single owner will now have to contact their HO-6 carrier to make sure they have sufficient coverage, and if not, increase their coverage. While the yearly cost of the additional coverage is probably not that much ($20 to $30 was mentioned at the meeting), when you multiply that cost over 545 owners it's still more than the $13,000 that was "saved", so again it's another attempt at saving money that really isn't saving money in the big picture.

The second change is that Mr. Zhou (our self-proclaimed insurance expert as he said at the meeting) decided to remove the terrorism coverage from the the master policy. This saves another $17k in premium for the year. It is fascinating for as radically conservative as he is, he just keeps rolling the dice like this. I don't know if this is the best time to be deleting terrorism coverage, but whatever - not my call. I have not had time yet to decipher exactly what this means in terms of policy coverage, but on the surface it means that if someone blows up a couple buildings, the repair/replacement cost is entirely on the association. What are the chances??

The first proposal from Brown and Brown did not entirely match the deductibles proposed by the second agent, and although it was suggested to give Brown and Brown an opportunity to update their proposal, Mr. Zhou and the management railroaded the MacCormack proposal through for $232,000. This could still change in the next few days, as the policy doesn't expire till Dec 31, and this may be another one of Mr. Zhou's "negotiation techniques".

In other news, I am still waiting on an election document review session for the 2020 election, as well as the 2019 election. Recent changes to the NJ state law relating to condo associations requires the board to allow owners to review the election documents for up to 90 days following the election. If you recall for the 2018 election, I actually had to file a complaint in superior court to obtain inspection access to the 2018 election documents. The judge ruled that of course I should have had access, and now that right has been formalized in state legislation. This is another example though, of how lawyers and management companies do everything they can to keep the information away from the owners, which is exactly the opposite of how we ran things until the coup in 2018.

By the way, there was another recent change to the state legislation making it much riskier for boards to be conducting routine "executive session" closed-door meetings. Condo lawyers and management companies (including this one!!) strongly encouraged such a practice, in spite of it being clearly contrary to the intent of the 1994 open meetings act for condo associations. But they got away with it for 26 years, until finally it has been essentially outlawed. There are still things the board can discuss in private, but they can no longer abuse it like they used to. Have you noticed there have not been an more executive session since May of this year??


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