The winner that didn’t run
“If nominated, I will not run; if
elected, I will not serve.”
—William Tecumseh Sherman
Nothing written up to now can match
this case from Florida where the board keeps an owner from getting on the
board by declaring a woman elected who never ran for the board and had
no intentions of serving as a director.
However, by means of this fake election, the board gained time to find
a "suitable" director after which they announced that the "fake
candidate-director" resigned and they appointed their man to the
Presidential politics have nothing on Kings Point
condo board race
The Palm Beach Post
By Frank Cerabino—Staff Writer
10 March 2013
If you think the shenanigans with Florida elections are bad at the
state or county level, you’ll really be impressed with the major-league
artistry of a shady condo election.
Take the case of Kings Point, the sprawling 7,200-unit condo complex in
suburban Delray Beach.
Kings Point has been under siege since Martin Koitz, an enterprising,
tenacious and relatively young real estate agent, moved there from New
Jersey two years ago. Koitz, 58, wrote a column called “I Love Kings
Point” in the community newspaper, The Kings Point News, and began
singing the praises about the untapped potential of his new community.
But the praises eventually turned to gripes about no-bid contracts, a
governing board too compliant with property managers, and a lack of
transparency over how money was being spent. That got his column yanked
from the newspaper, which also stopped accepting his real estate ads.
So Koitz started writing “email bombs” to inform his fellow condo
residents of his complaints, while asking the Florida Attorney General
to investigate. He called it “Arab Spring” at Kings Point.
The condo’s board of governors filed 22 individual libel suits against
Koitz, which were quickly dropped after Koitz spent $35,000 to hire an
attorney and announce that the lawsuits would help him get the
financial records he needed.
“They were picking on the wrong guy,” he said.
This fall, Koitz decided to wage his fight from the inside. He put his
name up for a condo directors slot in the annual election for the
Flanders N building where he owns a unit.
The 48-unit building would elect three directors. Koitz and three
others were listed as candidates.
“I smelled a rat right from
The election ballots were opened Nov. 11 and tallied. Koitz came in
fourth of the four candidates, meaning he was the sole loser in the
“I smelled a rat right from the start,” Koitz said.
He knew two of the candidates who had been elected, but the third one,
Mary Schlesinger, wasn’t somebody he had ever seen at Kings Point. It
turned out Schlesinger was an absentee unit owner who lived in
Koitz contacted her there, and she was surprised to discover she was
elected in a condo board race she never entered.
“I declare that I never put in my name to run for director, nor do I
have any interest in being a director, as I do live full time in New
York,” Schlesinger wrote in a notarized affidavit a month after the
Bingo. Election fraud wrapped in a neat bow, Koitz thought. He
contacted the Florida Department of Business and Professional
Regulation’s condo compliance division in Fort Lauderdale.
Meanwhile, the condominium association got its Tallahassee law firm,
Sachs Sax Caplan, engaged in a spirited defense of the election,
relying on a mailed form purportedly signed by Schlesinger and received
by the association’s manager in September.
“She is presumed to have knowledge of the effect of signing the
nomination and certification forms, and the Association is entitled to
rely on this,” condo attorney Karl M. Scheuerman wrote.
The lawyer suggested Koitz just confused or cajoled Schlesinger, 72,
into claiming she wasn’t really a candidate.
“Certainly, the greater weight of the evidence shows that she fully
intended to nominate herself, a conclusion that she did not
affirmatively deny in telephone conversations with the board,”
This was enough of a defense to cause the state not to pursue the
elections fraud complaint.
The bureau of compliance “lacks the jurisdictional authority to hear
testimony and weigh the credibility of conflicting evidence or
conflicting factual statements,” wrote Steve Antonoff, an investigation
I spoke with Schlesinger last week. She was emphatic that she never
filed that candidate form that purports to have her signature, and she
never sought to be a candidate for the condo board.
“It’s not me,” she said. “I haven’t been there in three years.”
Three months after the election, the board announced that Schlesinger
had resigned her position on the board.
“She said she does not wish to be a board member, does not have a
computer, and she said she would sign a resignation letter if I would
send her one,” wrote Scheuerman, the condo attorney.
“How could I resign? I
never ran in the
Schlesinger told me she found it baffling that she was being asked to
“How could I resign?” she said. “I never ran in the first place.”
Schlesinger’s name on the ballot kept Koitz from being automatically
elected, and her resignation after the election allowed the board to
appoint her replacement. Somebody other than Koitz.
The final indignity, Koitz said, was a little joke aimed to rub it in
even more: After the election, he inspected the ballots of those in the
building who voted. One of the absentee ballots was purportedly sent by
Schlesinger, the mystery candidate.
Schlesinger’s ballot indicates that she didn’t vote for herself. She
voted for Koitz.