Milford’s Great Brook condo owners to meet Thursday night, want to remove manager and board of directors

MILFORD – Unit owners at Great Brook Condominiums say they will try to recall the president of the board of directors at a meeting tonight in the VFW hall.

The owners, who say they have been mistreated by the manager hired by the board, have organized into a committee that planned tonight’s meeting.

According to Walter Swanbon, the group’s unofficial leader, they obtained 32 signatures, which is more than the 30 percent that is needed to hold the meeting and reorganize the board.

Complaints center around Cal Davison, of Cardiff Management of Brookline, who, they said, has a heavy-handed practice of fining owners for infractions of the complex’s bylaws. They also say they want more transparency regarding governance and finances of the 96-unit complex.

The meeting, Swanbon said, is for condo owners and their family members, attorneys and the press.

“This story needs to be told,” Swanbon said in a phone interview last week.

Swanbon said many of the owners have been unhappy with management for years, but a punishing fining system discouraged them from pushing for changes. The board of directors operates under the authority of Davison, he said.

But Davison said in an email that the meeting will have no legal standing.

“For removal of board members,” she wrote, “there first has to be a petition that meets a range of requirements referenced in the bylaws. It has to be presented to the association clerk. The association president is then obligated to schedule a meeting. As to those they want removed, they have to all be available at the subject meeting, as the bylaws also require that they have a right to be heard at the meeting. And, each of the board members identified have to be notified individually, not less than 10 days prior to the referenced meeting, also per the bylaws.”

Davison said owners are “being mislead and lied to” by Swanbon and the others pushing for changes.

Attorney David Rienzo, in the state attorney general’s consumer protection bureau, said he has heard from several owners of the units over the past few months and received a notice about the special meeting.

Under state law the attorney general’s office has little or no jurisdiction over condominiums, he said.

Whether they can recall a board member “depends on the provisions of their bylaws,” he said.

The state law governing condos sets up a framework for how a condominium is established, Rienzo said, and there is some jurisdiction over marketing and sales, but “it tries not to interfere too much” and allows the owners to run their own communities as “self-governing and autonomous.”

Condo associations are supposed to be responsive to the unit owners, he said.

The law was established in the 1970s, he said, and New Hampshire has not done much to modernize it.

“There is not much recourse” for unhappy owners, he said, “except for hiring a lawyer and going to court.”

Robert Geisenhainer, president of the board of directors for Great Brook, did not return a call for comment.