It’s January 20th, 2016. As attendees enter the door, before they have a chance to sign in, we are told, “Check to see if your name is on the eligibility list, and if not, then you may not participate in the meeting”. There is obvious confusion among those signing in. And for good reason. Never before has there been a real eligibility list at the sign in table. Rarer than an election.
Some are missing on the list while others, with judgements against them, are on. And so began the concerns of the attendees.
With what seemed like seconds, or, “as soon as the bulk of the attendees took a seat”, the attorney Stephen Kotzas announced. “There wasn’t a quorum present so the meeting could be adjourned or continue as is, with no votes taking place.” Someone from the audience blurted out “What?”. Stephen Kotzas repeated, in a more direct manner, there weren’t enough people in person or by proxy to hold a meeting. And the meeting could be adjourned for say 48 hours to try and get a quorum. After some slight discussion back and forth, with Mary Anne Hayes and the audience, it was stated, that due to an unknown availability of the Millbrook Manor clubhouse, the adjournment would have to be 30 plus days, and new notices would have to be sent out. Stephen Kotzas then prompted Mary Anne Hayes, “she would have to do the adjourning herself”. That sparked a question, from those in attendance, directed to Stephen Kotzas, “Are you the President of the Board?”.
Comments afterwards, were filled with bewilderment as to why Mr. Kotzas was leading the meeting and why the Vice President, George Bischoff, simply sat and said and did nothing for the entire meeting. Mr. Bischoff, being Vice President, was acting President of the Board, due to the resignation of former President, Martin McDermott. Also, representing the Board was Peter Alvarado, who was also completely silent, during the meeting. So the question at hand, “Why was Mary Anne and Stephen Kotzas running the entire meeting? And why were they in such a rush to end it?”
The option to ask some informal questions were suggested and reluctantly agreed to. One question of major importance to all the members of the Association; “How are the assessments determined for each unit?” Answered by Mary Anne as if confused about the intent of the question. Repeating the question a few more times in different ways, Mary Anne transitioned into a reference of a former amendment of the Master Deed, which had no schedule attached to it. Mr.Kotzas reference the amendment as being recorded in 1985 and also stated it did not include a schedule of percentage interests for the owners. Although, after reviewing a copy of the amendment, handed to him by George Bischoff, Mr.Kotzas stated it did have a schedule. He then explained the percentage interest is used to determine the calculation of each unit assessment due. Mr.Kotzas then referred back to Mary Anne to finish the explanation of the calculations. Mary Anne then went on to explain, the following details of importance;
- They have never used the schedule of percentage interest to calculate each owner’s fair share of fees due;
- The developer, in 1985, created his own fee and they have simply piled additional amounts on it, ever since;
- The Board will not and firmly refuses to calculate fair and legally required fees, since the smallest number of units would have the highest fees in town.
- Mary Anne also stated, with confidence, that the apartment and Twin Lakes areas do, in fact, pay extra.
The amendment, referred to above, is known as the “Fifth Amendment to the Master Deed of Burnt Tavern Manor Condominium“, as a New Jersey Superior Court Order, and as signed by Stephen Kotzas. It has the changes required by court order and the updated schedule of “Percentage Interests” of all unit owners.
This shows the Board’s direct refusal to abide by any laws but their own. This, supported by the attorney, was an open display of disregard for the members, the Association and the requirements of the State of New Jersey.
NJ Corporation Act
NJ Condominium Act
Master Deed of Burnt Tavern Manor Condominium
By-Laws of Burnt Tavern Manor Condominium