I was very curious about the Plaza elections, as 100 condo units out of 323 units are in the hands of the lender, that got the property from the developer in a bankruptcy case. The lender now owns 100 condo units besides the commercial space and the operation of the resort.
There are two associations, and the Master Association controls the commercial space, the Front Desk, and the operation, and it is run entirely by Lender’s representatives.
Then there is the Plaza Resort & Spa Condo Owners Association. So, when after the election the results were 112 votes for Michele Howe, who is Lender’s representative; 108 votes for William Caulfield, who is also Lender’s representative, and 38 votes for Anina Devanguardia, whose company owns unit 1401 since the conversion to condo-hotel in 2006.
What a difference: 112 and 38.
112 is, actually, a smaller number here.
The lender has 100 votes because they have 100 units, so 112 votes mean that there were 12 actual people, who voted for Michele, and 8 people, who voted for William Caulfield, the President of the Association. And there were 36 people voting for Anina Devanguardia. Now tell me who got the majority of votes?
To tell you the truth, I am not sure this is even legal. The Lender owns 100 units and has 100 votes… No matter how you run the election, they can have all 3 seats on the Board easily. Condo-hotels are those properties, where people do not live, so owner participation in the affairs of the association in minimal and overcoming 100-vote advantage is highly unlikely.
Plaza elections came as a surprise to some owners, critical of the management. Turned out there were owners voting for another owner, who was on the Board last year, and the confusion happened because one owner, who owns 13 units in the resort was voting for this person, and with other votes, the total number was supposed to be higher than 36.
However, as it happens to busy people, he lost on procedural grounds. He listed all his units on one ballot, while the requirement is that he had to send them 13 ballots, so they did not count them.
Having 2 people representing the Lender and only one really representing the owners, maybe not the best thing for the owners. 2 to 1 is putting the owners at disadvantage. While the owners are supposed to decide the fate of their investment, it is not really the case now.
Would the owners only Board do a better job? It is a big question. It is not the number of people on the Board that matters, it is the level of professionalism. Condo-hotels owners, who get elected to the Board, need to understand the hotel side of the operation and this is rarely the case. If not, there will be a misunderstanding, adversely affecting the communication between the parties.
Years back I considered having a small Board run by hotel operators a blessing. And seems like it worked well for Plaza when Joseph Gillespie was running the place. Of course, I understand that it is difficult to expect the same level of operation from the lending institution.
But for as long as the lender owns the commercial space and the operation, the situation is unlikely to change. Even when the Lender hires a professional Hotel management, which is the case here.
And with this in mind, it does not look that Plaza would reach the former glory anytime soon.