Milford condo owners fire management

MILFORD – The new board of directors for the Great Brook Condominiums has fired the Milford complex’s management company, concluding months of struggle to end what condo owners called an oppressive relationship.

The termination of Cardiff Management, of Brookline, which goes into effect June 1, was announced at the board’s first public meeting Monday night, held in the Town Hall auditorium.

The board’s action comes after a three-month struggle by owners to wrest control of the 96-unit condominium complex from Cardiff’s Cal Davison and what they called her hand-picked board of directors. Owners said Davison’s aggressive and unfair fining and other management practices made the complex an unpleasant place to live.

At a special meeting Feb. 10, condo owners voted to replace three board members, paving the way for Cardiff’s termination.

A fourth board member resigned.

“It’s no longer us versus them,” said board secretary Karen Nestor, who helped moderate the March 3 meeting.

Some of the meeting time was spent airing concerns and complaints about services, with one man saying his driveway has only been plowed four times in 11 years. Board President Richard MacDonald said the board will begin looking at new contractors.

On the whole, however, the meeting was informal and celebratory.

At one point, a woman asked for information because she’d come to the meeting late, and MacDonald joked that she would be fined.

He also announced that all fines as of Jan. 1, 2014, would be suspended.

Board members and Walter Swanbon, a leader of the owners’ revolt, were applauded by the roughly 50 owners and renters in the audience.

There was also applause for state Reps. Ruth Heden, of Milford, and Kermit Williams, of Wilton. The two lawmakers are working on legislation to reform state laws related to condo management.

“Now we have to get behind” the proposed bills, Swanbon said.

Near the end of the meeting, Williams told the group that he is proud of them, and that watching the owners deal with their situation helped legislators understand the problems involved in running condominiums.

Now “this feels like a real community,” Williams said. “It will be a lot of work, but it feels like you are on the right path” to self-governance.

And John Bisson, from the board’s new law firm, Cronin, Bisson & Zalinski of Manchester, commended the new board for “the tremendous amount of work they accomplished in a short period of time.”

Owners talked about having a community yard sale, parties and a website, and they indicated none of those things would have been possible under the old management.

The five-member board is one member short, and Nestor asked for volunteers and also asked for owners and renters to send her letters and
other communications from Cardiff so the new board can compile a record.

On the board with Nestor and MacDonald are Cheryl Dadah, the new treasurer, and Kerri McGuy, who was elected to the board last November.

Davison did not attend the meeting.