Ask an Expert

Ask an Expert: How can we kick this bully off the board?

Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral
By Teri Karush Rogers  |
May 28, 2013 - 3:16PM

Q. For the past 20 years, the board of my co-op has been controlled by one man.  If you do not do as he wants, he forces you off the board. He will not let us speak at meetings, makes major expenditures without telling the shareholders, makes and changes house rules for the benefit of himself and his friends and often at the expense of other shareholders.  

Due to his bullying, a doorman is going to sue the building, which will cost us all lots of money. We want him off the board but somehow he gets enough proxy votes to continue. Some suspect proxy fraud. 

Can you help us?

A. He may be a bully, but your co-op is a democracy, so your best move is to get him voted off, say our experts.

Write a letter to your neighbors sharing your concerns, and organize an opposition group to "solicit a sufficient number of proxies to elect a slate of candidates at the next annual meeting that does not include the long entrenched board president," says real estate attorney Jeffrey Reich of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz.

Avoid running a negative compaign, however, which "is never a good direction for a building," says Michael Wolfe, a property manager and president of Midboro Management. Instead, he says, "Campaign diplomatically--emphasizing background, experience and what you wish to accomplish."

Your opposition group should collect its own proxy votes, though "some owners may be afraid not to give their proxy to the bully," says asset manager and real estate broker Roberta Axelrod of Time Equities.

As far as your suspicions of proxy fraud, says Wolfe, "inspectors of election--managing agent, attorney, accountant--are supposed to be appointed to verify the vote, including examination of all proxies." 

Trouble at home? Get your NYC apartment-dweller questions answered by an expert! Send us your questions.

See all Ask an Expert.



Ask an Expert: How do we fight corruption in a small co-op? 

The 5 secrets of successful boards (sponsored)

Ask an Expert: How to run for the board and win




Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral

Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.