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Q: I live in a community association where the president of the board is violating several statutory provisions and community rules. When a homeowner brought this up at a board meeting, the president told the audience to deal with it or just sue him. What should we do?
A: The very large majority of people who take on the often-thankless and time-consuming job of serving on the board have the best of intentions. Unfortunately, sometimes a rogue board member gets in power and wants to carry out his or her own agenda or to abuse the new-found power by ignoring the rules.
Even if the president is just trying to bend the rules for what he perceives to be a good cause, no one in any position of authority should ever substitute his own judgment for what was agreed to in the community documents or the law.
Your best course of action is to discuss the matter with the offending party. Instead of immediately challenging the president, thereby putting him on the defensive, try to find out what his motivations are. He may simply be trying to do the right thing in the wrong way.
However, if his actions are truly harmful, you may need to take legal action. Your choices include suing the board to make it do the right thing or to force a new election to get the right people in place. Of course, you would need to pay the legal fees, and such lawsuits can get expensive. While there is a chance of being reimbursed if you win, there also is the danger of having to pay your community's legal fees if you lose.
Before you go this route, consider whether his actions have any consequences worth fighting over. For example, if he's breaking a technical rule that doesn't have a negative effect on the community or yourself, it's probably not worth spending the time, money and energy on a lawsuit. You might be best served waiting it out and voting for someone better at the next election, no matter how emotionally frustrating it may be.
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