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Board dealings not transparent: Towers residents

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At an April 28 meeting officers of the civic group, which was formed by some of the shareholders in the buildings, contended that a 2002 independent architect's report advising that complete repairs to each apartment's terrace doors should be made in 2007 was never divulged to residents by the board of directors.Replacements of windows and curtain walls were also suggested in the report at a cost of $10,000 per apartment, or $18 million for the entire development, according to Bob Silver, executive committee member of the shareholders' association. He went on to say that there was not enough money in the co-op's reserve fund to cover the renovations. The shareholders group was able to get a hold of the report after a former board member who no longer lives in the co-op gave a copy to Shareholders' Association President Morris Feuer. The shareholders group went to state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer due to the lack of disclosure by the board and Spitzer agreed that the sponsor of the building should have been more forthcoming, according to Feuer. "Our board of directors does not tell us what's going on. We are entitled to know. It's our money," Silver said."We hope a new board will bring disclosure," he added.Chuck Robbins, a former board president who is still on the board, disagrees with Silver's statement."(The board of directors) is the most forthcoming group in America," Robbins said in a separate interview, but he added that he has no knowledge of the architect's report that Silver cited.Robbins went on to say that the shareholders are the ones who are guilty of not being more open."Maybe Mr. Feuer has to put his money where his mouth is and start disclosing the shareholders' financial reports," he said."The shareholders never held an open election and have not given a single financial report in the past nine years and that's the pot calling the kettle black," Robbins added. He was president of the Shareholders' Association from 1993 to 1996.Shareholders' Executive Vice President Dianne Stromfeld mentioned that the lobbies in the three towers underwent renovations in the seven-figure range instead of monies going to the structural improvements to the approximately 30-year-old, $750 million property."Beautiful lobbies are wonderful, but they're not what's necessary now," Stromfeld said before announcing her candidacy in the June 16 election for four new board of directors. Feuer also declared his candidacy for the board. He said he was running because he believes he has done his job well in informing the community about the board's actions during his two-year stint as Shareholders' Association president. Stromfeld also commented on an article in the Tower Times, the co-op's newspaper, written by former board president Jim Quinn, which suggests that shareholders should be taxed $1 per share to cover advertising North Shore Towers."(The residents) are not the ones who should be advertising our community," Stromfeld told the meeting's approximately 200 attendees.She contended that the co-op's apartments are undervalued because there were never any maintenance increases under former board president Chuck Robbins. In Robbins' resignation letter, he said the fact that there were no maintenance hikes under his reign was an accomplishment, according to Stromfeld.Robbins said that under his presidency, repairs were always madeÐincluding new roofs, roadways, sidewalks and elevators without having a maintenance increase.He added that the problem with the Shareholders' Association is they bash the Board of Directors without trying to fix problems."They haven't put forth a single proposal in five years. They criticize the board, but offer no solutions."Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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