The 2012 TBN budget has been out for a little over a month. This budget, much like those of years past, contains many inconsistencies and implausible numbers. Two board members, Mr. Bogdan and Ms. McCarty, got together and enumerated these in a letter to the president of the board/building manager. Mr. Bogdan also provided a comparison of the budgeted numbers vs disbursements for the balcony special assessment. After not receiving a reply for almost two weeks, a follow-up letter was dispatched. Finally, a week later, a bright light shone on our building, the angels sang and a response from management was dispatched.
It’s too bad that even after taking a month to formulate it, the response did not address any of the questions posed. Here are the salient points from the response with comments:
1) There is a slight reduction in the amount unit owners will pay in 2012.
- This is nothing to tout. We are all being hit with a fresh special assessment. Also, if the building’s finances and physical assets were properly maintained over the almost two decades the president of the association / building manager has been in charge, perhaps this we would have had enough reserves and addressed the building’s issues before they became this dire.
2) The restatement that Mr. Bogdan asserted that our special assessment was overpaid by $109,800.
- This is not a response, but a restatement, along with a misquote. The actual quote was that our special assessments will triple for the month of December 2011 which will be a hardship for owners, especially during the holiday season. Nothing was said about the assessments for 2012. This is true because of the additional balcony money requested. A question regarding the legality of this additional assessment was also raised. Making claims about how much interest has been saved does not address the questions regarding the budget numbers which, on their face, seem fabricated.
3) The board saved thousands of dollars in interest by using money earmarked for the balcony project for other purposes.
- Once again, this does not address any of the points in the letter. Also, if building management had maintained our reserves, this point would be moot.
4) The condo garbage rebate has been extended.
- This has nothing to do with our management, although they make it seem that way. Groups like the Association of Sheridan Condo/Coop owners brought to light that the rebate may be in jeopardy, and it was letters from the residents of Sheridan Road to Mayor Emanuel which made the difference. In fact, TBN is one of the only buildings in the area which is not part of this association, and our board did not once mention to unit owners that we could potentially lose the garbage rebate.
The building management is expert in distracting people’s focus when difficult questions are asked of them. Their response letter is a model example. A much easier rebuttal would be to stop hiding building finances and receipts from unit owners (which is against the law). Currently, only Mrs. Ingold, Mr. Tatera and the building lawyer, Elis Levin have access to these documents, and they proudly tell this to whoever asks. The other board members — most of who have historically blasted each year’s budget through with great zeal — have zero knowledge of the true financial state of TBN, or any knowledge of the veracity of the budget numbers.
The board meeting to approve the budget is on December 1, 2011 at 8pm. As a share holder and member of the building community, you should try to attend this meeting and get answers you deserve regarding the 2012 budget. You can also witness first hand how our rubber stamp board functions, which may arm you with valuable insight for next year’s elections.