Lawsuit accuses Aventura condo board of election violations

The unit owners want a court-ordered petitioner to hold and monitor an election on behalf of their condominium association

Miami /
Jul.July 31, 2019 11:30 AM
Turnberry Village North Tower

Turnberry Village North Tower

For Harry Catton and two unit owners at the Turnberry Village North condominium in Aventura, their two-year effort to force new elections for the building’s board of directors has been a futile exercise – even with the assistance of state regulators, according to a recently filed petition in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

The trio are seeking a court-appointed receiver to take over the board’s duties for holding an election and monitoring the results, alleging the condo association’s current directors have violated Florida law by repeatedly canceling annual meetings when unit owners can vie for vacant seats.

Franklin Zemel, the attorney representing Catton, David Harari and Mark Massry, said an independent election monitor is the only way to ensure legitimate elections for the Turnberry Village North condo board. State legislators have sought to criminalize condo fraud, which is rampant in South Florida.

“The self-proclaimed board of directors has not had an election from 2013 to 2016, and then cancelled the 2017 election in order to make an eligible candidate illegible,” Zemel said. “We often read about fraud in condominium association elections and my clients are more than concerned with the actions of the current board.”

The petition alleges that the Turnberry Village North directors misled Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation into closing an administrative investigation by falsely claiming it would finally hold an election in 2018, but never followed through. Joshua Krut, Turnberry Village North’s lawyer, said the petition is without legal and factual merit. “The association plans to vigorously defend this action,” Krut said. He declined further comment.

According to the petition, the board called off its December 2017 annual meeting because the directors did not want Catton to fill one of five vacant seats. Catton owns a unit in the Turnberry Village South Tower, but resides in the north building, the petition states. Zemel said the directors canceled the annual meeting in order to rewrite the association’s bylaws so that only North Tower owners can sit on their board. He noted South Tower owners pay lower annual assessments than their counterparts in the sister building.

During a June 26, 2018 special meeting, the proposed amendment passed with 72 percent approval of the building’s owner. “An incredible number for a vote conducted during the summer months when, typically, the majority of the owners are absent,” the petition states, also citing a number of alleged irregularities, such as the validity of certain signatures.

According to an exhibit attached to the petition, Florida’s Department of Professional Regulation determined in December that the north tower association violated state law by scuttling the 2017 election despite having sufficient eligible candidates. The petitioners accuse the condo board of failing to provide unit owners with proper notice for the next election and that some of the notices were never received.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Allied Partners' Eric Hadar and RH's Gary Friedman with the Savoy hotel (Allied Partners, Getty, Google Maps)
Inside RH’s plans for $100M renovation of Miami Beach hotel
Inside RH’s plans for $100M renovation of Miami Beach hotel
Codina Partners’ Armando Codina and Ana-Marie Codina Barlick with 5350 Park condo project (Codina Partners, Getty)
Judge orders Codina Partners’ affiliate to pay Grycon $8M in damages
Judge orders Codina Partners’ affiliate to pay Grycon $8M in damages
Balzebre Investments' Robert Balzebre with 8710 Southwest 72nd Street
Winn-Dixie sues landlord over leaky roof at South Miami store
Winn-Dixie sues landlord over leaky roof at South Miami store
Allied Partners founder Eric Hadar and The Savoy Hotel & Beach Club at 425 Ocean Drive (Google Maps, Getty)
Investor seeks $50M for allegedly botched Ocean Drive hotel repairs
Investor seeks $50M for allegedly botched Ocean Drive hotel repairs
Restoration Hardware’s Gary Friedman, Michael Comras and Apollo's Ben Gray (Getty, Comras Company, LinkedIn)
“No f*cking around:” Restoration Hardware’s Miami Design District deal implodes
“No f*cking around:” Restoration Hardware’s Miami Design District deal implodes
Jose Luis Zapata with 505 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard (Orchestra Hotels, Google Maps)
No check-in zone: Fort Lauderdale Hilton-branded condo-hotel unit owners fight for access
No check-in zone: Fort Lauderdale Hilton-branded condo-hotel unit owners fight for access
Moishe Mana, 48 East Flagler Street (left) and 76 East Flagler Street (right) (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images and Google Maps)
Moishe Mana’s downtown Miami tenants allege fraudulent eviction
Moishe Mana’s downtown Miami tenants allege fraudulent eviction
Regalia at 19575 Collins Avenue Sunny Isles Beach, Armani Residences at 18975 Collins Avenue Sunny Isles Beach, Asia Brickell Key at 900 Brickell Key Blvd, and Muse at 17141 Collins Avenue Sunny Isles Beach (Condo.com)
Miami-Dade’s August top condo sales show market emerging from summer slowdown
Miami-Dade’s August top condo sales show market emerging from summer slowdown
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...