Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The “Condo Industry” And The Art of Corruption

During the month of May 2017 The CBC published several articles dealing with the most common election frauds during the Annual General Meetings (AGM) of Condominium Corporations in The City of Toronto. Often unscrupulous individuals use and abuse loopholes in the Condominium Act, forge proxy signatures to take over The Board of Directors and dispense lucrative contracts to friends and cronies supposedly to provide goods and/or services critical to the “common good” of a condominium, but in reality designed to make rich contractors richer.

One of the most interesting articles that caught our attention is the following one titled:
“Condo board approved energy contract that benefited a member's colleague”

What is so interesting about this article is the sad reality that fraud has been elevated to an art form that makes a big mockery of our “Democratic System”. So resourceful were the conspirators in a scheme targeting several downtown condominiums that “In one case a condo owner who had died years earlier was supposedly able to sign a proxy ballot. Other residents claim their signatures were forged. 

Of course other colourful methods were used to enhance the chances of fraudsters in their quest for a hostile takeover of Condominium Boards. From handing blank proxy forms to forging unit owners’ signatures, to...

Reading the following 2 articles will paint a more accurate picture of the sad reality of the condo industry managing billions of dollars collected in the form of maintenance fees.

“Court battles, forgery allegations and questions over who controls Toronto highrises”

“Questionable proxies shut down Charles Street condo election, sources say”

After reading the above mentioned articles can we connect the dots and figure out why the lawyer (The Chair Person representing the corporation/unit owners) prompted by a member of the management team left the head table during our 2017 AGM, and put an end to the efforts of the scrutineers to review the log book and the proxy forms?

None of us should be surprised about the questionable move made by the lawyer or the unethical approach used by the management team to organize the election and being very selective in what the scrutineers can or cannot see. Remember the emails and the replies we received after suggesting to The Board the notion of adopting the highest level of transparency and strict ethical principles promoted by “Elections Ontario”. The management company on behalf of our Board replied: “Board elections are not public office elections”, meaning we don’t care about ethical standards as long as we are complying with the letter of the existing laws.

Meanwhile, the tragedies of Board elections are taking place day after day with politicians watching with utter indifference the saga unfolding in the more than 1000 condo corporations located in The GTA. Politicians are claiming that the new revised law, once implemented in 2018 (rough estimate) will invest more power in the hands of unit owners, and hopefully put an end to the corrupt practices used during Board elections. 

In the meantime, it would be very "nice" if managers, boards of directors, and condo lawyers began applying the spirit and ethics of the new rules that will be in effect to protect condo owners' rights and enhance their well-being. But, so far, the hundreds of letters received (by Anne-Marie Ambert, Ph.D. The Administrator of the web site below) indicate that this is not happening.

Admin The 215 Forum © 2017 

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