HOA Owners that make it tough to follow the law

You must follow the Law and the laid down rules no matter how outrageous some condominium owners might get

This week, we’ll be analyzing the decision of an Illinois court backing an allegedly obnoxious condominium owner, who was alleged to have exposed his genital area during a condo meeting.

The owner alleged that the condominium board failed to follow the right procedure when notifying him about violations and the court upheld it.

Boucher v. 111 East Chestnut Condominium Association is about a long-standing dispute between a homeowner and some of the management and board members of his condo. And from all indications, Michael Boucher, the plaintiff seemed like a difficult homeowner. That’s what I concluded after going through the court documents.

However, the big lesson from this case is that you must abide by your community’s governing documents and obey the law, regardless of how frustrating an owner might be.

Here’s the background to the case. The condominium association in 2013, sent Boucher a notice alleging that he had violated the declaration of the association prohibiting any offensive or obnoxious activity in any of the units or common elements. Two incidents are under contention here.

In the first incident, Boucher was alleged to have yelled profanities at one employee who tried getting into the same elevator as him, demanding that she get off. In another incident, he allegedly used a lot of profanity while requesting for replacement key card. He tried to force them to accept cash payment knowing it was against management rules to accept cash payment.

The real fight was about the way the board handled the entire incident and not even about Boucher’s behavior. The board instituted a meeting where Boucher and his lawyer were invited and asked to review the evidence against him. The request was denied by the board, who also declined to provide a copy of the audio or video recording of the entire hearing to Boucher. Boucher was then fined $500; he paid, then proceeded to sue.  

His lawsuit had three counts:

* In the first, he alleged that his rights under the First Amendment were violated by the board when they retaliated against him for complaining about both the board and the practices of the condominium management.

* In the second count, he alleged that the board’s failure to provide him with  any audio or video of the proceedings was a violation of his right under the Illinois law which mandated boards to ensure that members got minutes of meetings.

* In the final count, he alleged that the board members went against their fiduciary duties when they concealed evidence against him.

All three counts were kicked to the curb by the trial court


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