Proxy tampering

In many, probably most, condos, only a small percentage of owners attend the owners meetings. Instead, they give their proxies to either the property manager or to a candidate who asks them for support.

Since the owners do not know what happens to their proxies once they hand them over, proxy fraud it easy to do and hard to prove.

A homeowners tale
Most reports of proxy fraud are hard to substantiate but within a couple of boxes of personal papers, that documented the 12 years a condo activist battled his board, was this e-mail from an owner in his building.

“I, the sole owner of my unit, state that I did not sign the proxy form that the candidate Frank submitted in his favour at the AGM for fiscal year 2007.

What apparently happened is that my mother, who was approached by Frank who came to visit her soliciting votes, agreed to sign on my behalf.

I stress that the vote is invalid as:
I was never consulted by candidate Frank on this matter.
I did not authorize my mother to sign on my behalf.
I am the sole owner of my unit.
I was only aware of this proxy vote when this matter was brought to my attention by a fellow homeowner.”

Frank won the election and became a director. He abused his newly-won position by accepting rent money for a parking spot that was owned by the corporation and he committed other unethical acts.

When confronted with allegations of misbehaviour, he resigned from the board.

Collecting blank proxies
Persons canvassing for proxies may ask the owners to just sign the proxy form and the canvasser will fill in the details later. (It will save time.) Blank proxies are like currency; they can be held, traded or sold.

Horse trading
The one possessing the proxy can horse-trade with other candidates and if she will add your name to her proxies, you will add her's to yours.

Date & time
An owner can fill in a proxy with voting instructions, date and sign it and then hand it in. Later on, the owner may change his mind and he can then change the voting instructions on the new proxy form, date it and then hand it in.

The proxy form with the latest date and time invalidates any earlier proxies.

So a canvasser who receives a signed proxy form that was left blank may fill in the date of the AGM and write in the time that is one minute prior to closing of the registration desk.

Any proxies with a time written in that is so obviously incorrect needs to be brought to the Chair's attention.

top  contents  chapter  previous  next