Management rigging elections
It is a serious mistake to allow management companies to have any role
at all in condominium elections. They are not disinterested
parties and far too often, they manipulate the election results,
sometimes extremely crudely.
At a Scarborough condo, there were two new candidates running for the board; an incumbent and a
challenger. The ballots have been collected and the scrutineers start
counting. The challenger beat the incumbent by two votes.
The District Manager becomes frantic.
It is now time to refer to the condo's bylaws:
Method of Voting (vi) (e):
"When all the ballots have been
deposited into the ballot box the scrutineers shall then tabulate the
votes for and against the matter being voted upon. In the event the
vote is not decided by the ballots cast, the Board shall collect any
outstanding ballots until the vote is conclusive either in favour of or
Isn't that something? Unbelievable. I never saw that in any legitimate
meeting rules that I have ever come across.
So, the challenger won by two votes. When she hears the results, the
property manager says: I made a mistake. I have a few votes in my
pocket. She adds two ballots to the count.
Now it is a tie. The district manager counts the votes. Then counts
them a second time. Then he says: "One more time." He counts and
recounts the ballots. Twelve times he counts the ballots
but contrary to the generally accepted Laws of Mathematics that has
since the days of the ancient Indian and Greek societies, the numbers
remained the same.
The challenger asks for the Chair, the corporation lawyer for a ruling
on these two added ballots. The Chair confirmed that the two ballots,
that came out of the property manager's pocket, are invalid.
The challenger won a seat on the board.
By the way, the property management company was not one of the
rinky-dink small outfits; it is one of Ontario's three biggest condo
property management companies.
Here is an e-mail that I got from a reader in the autumn of 2014.
We had our AGM in June and someone at the meeting made a comment to the
property manager about the director's name being pre-printed on the
proxy form. (Condo owners are starting to read CondoMadness.)
Here is the important part of the form.
So, this form strongly suggests that the owners can vote for Susan and
one additional director of their choice. What's more, Susan has been
given the primary ballot position. (See where is says "in the order set
Nothing says that the owners have the right to strike out Susan's name
and replace it a different first-choice candidate.
In response to the complaints, the manager said do you want to start
again? It will cost you a lot of money to re-schedule.
So the manager knew that the proxy
wrong but he distributed it anyway.
No one in the room wanted to spend another summer evening at another
meeting and the cost was another factor. The meeting continued, two
unit owners agreed to run in the election.
Here is where I get pissed with the
owners. A cheaper crooked election, especially since they will not have
to come out for another meeting, is better than an having an honest one?
The scrutinizers handed out the ballots, and the property manager
continued to hold on to the election proxies. Once the ballots were
filled, the scrutinizers collected them and went into the office with
I know what happened in that office because my good friend and
neighbour was a scrutinizer for the second year in a row.
The manager held on to the proxies and after the ballots were counted
the manager removed two proxies that he disqualified because they had
no unit numbers on them. He showed these two proxies to the
The scrutinizers never got to view the rest of the proxies. He then
proceeded to leaf through the remaining proxies repeating the
Never got to see the proxies? They
should have then walked out and told the meeting that the election was
When they came out of the office the winners were announced. The
director, of course, being one of them.
At this point an owner spoke up saying that this is not fair and
something must be done about this.
Great. At least someone spoke out.
At this point it was decided and the owners voted that the director
would be in her position for one year and not a full three-year term.
Well guess what? The director is using our money on a Toronto lawyer to
get her three-year term back.
This could not happen unless the
majority of directors, at a board meeting, voted in favour of seeking a
The lawyer writes back that
the director was the only declared candidate prior to the mailing of
the AGM package so her name being the only one on the ballot should not
disallow her from being elected for a full three-year term.
true on its own. Yet, the owners were
right to believe that it was not
correct to put her name on the prime position on a ballot and there
should be a place to put other candidates names on the ballot, not just
one more. So to
limit the damage without disqualifying the entire election, they voted
to have the incumbent run again at the next AGM.
Pressure at the registration desk
A director told me that in 2013, when she ran for the board, she urged
a neighbour to come to the AGM and vote for her. He replied that he
would not stay for the meeting but he would come down to the
registration desk and hand in a proxy.
A few days after the meeting, the newly-elected director thanked her
neighbour for his support. He replied that he was sorry but he did not
voter for her as when the manager, who was accepting the proxies at the
registration desk saw how he voted, told him to change his proxy to
support the incumbent. So, feeling intimidated, he did.
At the same condo in Mississauga, during the 2014 AGM, the chair, the
vice-president of the management company, selected two scrutineers to
assist the manager count the proxies and ballots.
During the counting, the manager took a few ballots off the table and ripped them up.
She told the two scrutineers that she saw the candidate urged some of
the owners to vote for her during the meeting and no election
campaigning is allowed on election day.
The chair, who was the management company's vice-president—who it is
assumed knew what happened—announced that the incumbent director was
When a candidate requested that he announce the total number of votes
that each candidate received, the chair refused. He ruled that it was a
The two scrutineers were to afraid to say anything. Later, one of them
told a director what transpired in the counting room. (Then the
director told me.)
Management fills all the roles
In the fall of 2015, a condo in western Ontario held their AGM.
The property manager was the Chair and the management employees
registered the owners at the door. Nothing unusual about that.
An owner attends the meeting and asks for her proxy back. She handed in
her signed blank proxy to the manager's office as the manager said that
proxies were needed to meet quorum.
This owner was upset to see that management had filled in the incumbents' names on her proxy.
There is more
The management employees automatically assumed the scrutineer
responsibilities. The owners had no role to play in this condo's
At the start of the meeting, the scrutineers, who registered the owners at door, reported to Chair:
24 Units in attendance
Asked to repeat this information at end of meeting, after referring to some papers, the scrutineers reported that there were:
25 units in attendance
The actual count by owners who tracked the names and unit numbers during the registration, came up with different numbers.
When two different owners asked the property manager, who was the Chair
after all, why the difference in totals, she gave each owner a
Lying is common. Being a good liar takes practice.