Postpone the Aquarius Elections? January 2022
It seems that a number owners doubt the elections and being conducted the way they should. What do you think?
Please, read carefully this proposal:
January 14, 2022
By Email, certified mail, Hand, and posting on Aquarius Blog
To: Aquarius Condominium Association Board Buck Gupta, Victor Rocha, Judith Ort, Linda Satz, Paul Finfer
Re: Demand to Postpone Election and Monitor Voting
Dear BOD Members:
We write because the upcoming election of a new Board of Directors (“BOD”) does not comply either with the Aquarius Condominium Association Amended Bylaws (“Bylaws”) or Florida law. Based on recent events, we have also lost confidence in the ability of the current BOD and Property Manager (Marie Goehl) to conduct a fair and impartial election. Accordingly, we make two demands: (i) the election must be briefly postponed; and (ii) an impartial committee must be established to collect and count ballots for the upcoming BOD election.
First, Section 2.4 of the Amended and Restated Bylaws provides that “Not less than thirty (30) days before the election, the Association shall . . . mail or deliver a second notice of the election to all unit owners entitled to vote,” which shall include a ballot, proxy, and other election materials. Here, the Second Notice of Annual Meeting/
Election of Directors and Notice of Organizational Meeting, which includes ballots and proxies, is dated December 22, 2021, which is only 27 days before the election. On its face, that breaches the Bylaws and makes the scheduled election invalid.
Moreover, this does not take into account that the election packages were likely mailed after December 22, the holiday season jam at the post office, or the logistical problems that Covid has created. The BOD has produced no affidavit of mailing. Therefore, the election must be postponed until it can be conducted in accordance with the Bylaws, leaving enough time to establish an impartial committee, as we discuss below. As a practical matter, we understand that some out-of-town owners have not even received their election packages.
Second, in light of the concerns that have been raised about the independence and fairness of the current property manager (such as the now-admitted failure to cooperate in staging a candidate forum or even respond to unit owners about that issue), under Rule 61B-23.0021(10) of the Florida Administrative Code, we request that an impartial committee be immediately established to collect and count ballots (“Committee”). Under Florida law, that Committee may not include any current BOD members or their designees. The Committee’s selection must of course be fully transparent to all unit owners.
* * *
Please confirm in writing by 9:00 a.m. ET on January 17, that you will comply with these valid and lawful requests. You should send your response to us and the entire Aquarius Association. We hope that we will not have to escalate this matter and that this can be handled cordially. Nevertheless, we reserve all rights.
Very truly yours,
Howard Jacobs and Yana Svirsky
Unit 1005 S
cc: Marie Goehl, Property Manager (by email)
Unit Owners (to the extent email addresses are available)