Milford condo owner files suit Court asked to prevent Great Brook manager from interfering with recall election

MILFORD – One of the unit owners at Milford’s Great Brook Condominiums has filed suit to prevent the complex’s property manager from interfering in a recall election of condo board members.

A hearing was scheduled for today, Jan. 30, in Hillsborough County Superior Court North in Manchester.

Walter Swanbon, of Amherst, who owns a condo at Great Brook, filed the suit, asking, among other things, that the court prevent property manager Cal Davison from attending a special meeting on
Feb. 10.

Condo owners led by Swanbon petitioned the condo association to hold a meeting to recall at least one board member. The board, they say, supports Davison and her management practices.

“There is clear and present danger that Ms. Davison and Cardiff Management Inc. will frustrate the efforts to organize and conduct a special meeting,” according to court papers asking for injunctive relief.

Owners in the 96-unit development have charged that Davison, with the support of the condo board, fines them when they question or complain and tries to intimidate them with threats of lawsuits.

Swanbon is asking the court to prevent Davison and Cardiff Management “from threatening, imposing fines or intimidating unit owners.”

Davison and Cardiff Management, of Brookline, have “a history of draconian management tactics and have been removed from other associations as a result of similar tactics,” according to court papers filed by Swanbon.

Davison has said that late charges and other costs levied against unit owners are based on Great Brook’s bylaws and the state Condominium Act, as well as a fine schedule that was adopted by the board.

Swanbon detailed his first confrontation with Davison and the board in the court papers, saying that after he purchased a unit on July 2, 2012, he was confronted by Davison and fined for an alleged violation of the association rules. He questioned the fine and requested details about how fines are assessed and was fined again for questioning the initial fine, he said.

Then, Swanbon contends, he visited the president of Great Brook’s board of directors and asked for an explanation of the fine system. They had a cordial conversation that ended with the president saying he would look into it.

Swanbon said he was fined again for questioning the president.

After that meeting, he learned that “many other unit owners were subject to similar fining tactics, and many unit owners were fearful of challenging the fines as it resulted in further fines and liens against their unit.”

The condo association’s annual meeting in November to vote in new board members – attended by about 60 unit owners, according to the court papers – turned out to be “a sham and designed to avoid discussion and matters of substance.”

Davison scheduled the meeting for one hour and read “meaningless statutes, verbatim, in an effort to take up most of the time,” and no budget or other financial information was presented,
according to the document.

The board refused to accept motions to remove board members or nominate candidates from the floor, it said, and the board of directors “is under the spell of Ms. Davison and has failed, refused or otherwise neglected to discharge their duties as required.”

Swanbon also charges that Davison failed to produce financial records for review.

On Jan. 20, unit owners say, the board did make records available for inspection at Wadleigh Memorial Library.

The Feb. 10 recall election is scheduled to be held in the Milford VFW hall at 6:45 p.m.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@
cabinet.com.