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Submitted by John Carricato

Jan 15, 2023

Like everyone I have spoken to about the board’s newsletter, I was amused.

Last month residents of the Artist Lake Condominium (ALC) received the ALC Board’s quarterly newsletter. Rather than discussing significant condominium news and business, the board leadership and property manager decided to focus on me and the newsletter. Like everyone I have spoken to about the board’s newsletter, I was amused.

Before I go on, I want to clarify some of the accusations about me: Tina Losgar was never verbally abused. She was challenged when she refused to assemble the Board to discuss how the condominium would deal with the newly declared Covid Pandemic.  Once the Condominium bylaws were brought to the discussion, Ms. Paula Roth, your Condominium Secretary, made a motion to remove me from the board. To my regret, I let YOU down by resigning. This entire communication transaction was via email. I’ve gone back and investigated my email archive. I assure you this is exactly what happened. In early 2020 I hadn’t fully studied the Condominium’s governing documents, the bylaws by which the Board has a fiduciary duty to abide by and enforce. I assure you, they do not. What I  later found to be odd, after reflection,  was that Ms. Losgar nor any other officer of the board required a newly appointed manager to read the bylaws before beginning to participate in meetings. 

At that time I hadn’t realized that the board COULD NOT remove me. The only people who could remove me are YOU, the owners who voted me in (supposedly), not the board. Unfortunately, I resigned.I’m not going to address every petty and false accusation made by Tina Losgar – Board President, Julie Taylor – Board Vice President and Steve Latucca – Artist Lake Property manager. I will mention Ms. Losgar’s reference to me verbally abusing a resident in the community. To be clear, we had a verbal dispute after I visited her unit to have a conversation with her about negative gossip she was spreading about the newsletter and about persons visiting newsletter supporters asking they not support the newsletter. The owner of unit 61, Artist Lake Drive, immediately escalated the conversation into a mutual verbal dispute.  This is how SCPD’s report was filed: they had a verbal dispute. Yes, she called the SCPD and filed a report. SCPD did not feel it necessary to speak to me. I was not asked to provide input into their report. Anyone who knows the resident of unit 61 knows disputes with her are an ongoing pastime in the community.This was all an excuse by the board to find a way to fine me $600, without ever asking for my side of the story. An appeal took place, via Zoom meeting, where I was unable to hear the accusations of my accuser, nor provided any discovery evidence supposedly provided by an eyewitness of the dispute. The appeal was ruled against me. The fine stood. The fine has since been paid in protest pending a court hearing. So what really is at the core of the Board’s attacks on the newsletter and this guy? Why attack a guy like me and his little newsletter and social media outlets? Is the board worried what might come from digging into how the board operates? How it does business?

Over the past few months I’ve spoken to: 

  • Several board presidents from complexes across Long Island.

  • Long time owners in the condominium

  • Several lawyers who specialize in condominium governance.

I’ve attended several Community Association Institute seminars on Condominium and HOA leadership and governance best practices. I can tell you with confidence, all is not well in Artist Lake Condominium. Just a few examples and questions I encourage you to think about:

  • Have you ever requested an examination of the condominiums Books and Records as is your right as an owner? ( more on this below)

  • Do you fully understand how your common charges are being spent and allocated?

  • When was the last time all the owners received an annual statement, prior to the annual meeting, certified by an independent auditor that didn’t caveat his or her audit with a disclaimer absolving him or her of any responsibility or accountability for the audit.

  • When was the last time all the owners received, at the annual meeting, an operating budget for the coming year?

  • When was the last time all the owners received meeting minutes for the annual meeting? An open session of a monthly board meeting? Do the owners receive a public notice requesting board candidates for upcoming elections?

  • When was the last time the board called a special meeting of the owners to hear what the board is thinking and planning?

  • Have you ever heard directly from the board’s President and Treasurer on: 

    • Reserve funding

    • Future capital maintenance and improvements?

    • Future and vision for condominium?

  • When was the last board vote where the ballots were counted, recorded, and inspected by an independent 3rd party?

Some of you may recall that earlier this year I made a request to examine the Condominium’s Books and Records. This is an owner’s right and allowed by both the Artist Lake Condominium Bylaws and NYS Real Property Law, Article 9B, The Condominium Act.After 6 months of being ignored, I guess the board thought I would eventually go away, I hired a lawyer. I was granted access; however, it came with a caveat that my lawyer strongly advised me NOT to sign off on.The board required me to personally sign a non-disclosure agreement that prevented me from discussing and sharing, to ANYONE, anything I learned because of the examination.This meant that if I shared any document, I was allowed to copy and take with me, with my lawyer, my accountant, any owner, or neighbor, or talk to anyone about what I learned, I would be personally sued by the board.

All counterproposals sent to the board were rejected. The counter proposals would have prevented me from sharing the information in the newsletter and social media, however would have allowed me to share with other owners and my representatives.

  • What is this Board so afraid of?

  • Is there something to hide?

  • What don’t they want you to know?

So, who is this guy?  I’m a guy who believes in the principles of law, governance, and fairness. I’m a guy who takes offense to those who think these principles a joke to be ignored; Those who believe the minority does not need to be heard; Those who ignore the law, governance and take advantage of a minority for their own self-dealing and benefit. I am for real.

A condominium is supposed to be one of the purest forms of a democracy. NYS Law and our governing documents reflect this.Examining the 2021 TOB tax assessor rolls, I project that at this time the Artist Lake Condominium is 60% resident and 40% Llc/investor owned. Resident owners are not the minority. We are the majority!I put forth it is time to start the process for the owners to replace the three resident board managers, Tina Losgar - President, Julie Taylor – Vice President, Paula Roth – Secretary and the 4 LLC board managers: Dave Kluger, Bill Brandstadter, Joe Ventimiglia (Our research found that in January 2022 Mr. Ventimiglia was likely quick deeded 24% ownership to a unit owned by Mr. Latucca. We believe this was done for the sole purpose to keep Mr. Ventimiglia on the board) and Mr. Salvatore.  

It’s time for fresh new ideas in Artist Lake Condominium. We need a Board of Managers that believes in the principles of condominium governance and ethics. 

John Carricato:

Owner Resident, Artist Lake CondominiumEditor and Publisher, Our Community Newsletter

Event Committee Chairperson - Middle Island Civic Association

Ambassador to the Commissioner’s Office, SCPD

Member, Community Associations Institute, LI Chapter.

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