This newsletter contains an email that I received from some of the Home Owners who were originally part of the Elizabeth group but have since become aware of what Elizabeth is really doing.
Here is their actual email sent to me:
“ELIZABETH’S ANNOUNCEMENT & OUR AUGUST 6th VOTE
Many concerned Bentley owners are puzzled why Elizabeth’s recent behaviour is different from our original mission to stop the Board’s irresponsible spending and secrecy.
The truth is that, Elizabeth is no longer a part of the original group, that worked to defeat the $6,000,000 borrowing by-law and to elect Kope and Bill. She is now working against our mission and is supporting the property manager and the old Board.
We are continuing, on the same path, to stop the secrecy and financial hardship being forced on us.
Elizabeth is not on the same side. She is now with Paul Cassucio and the “3” old board directors working against us, to remove our newly elected Director, Bill Siudak and replace him with the “Board’s choice”, Dr. Kashif Zaki. At the same time, she’s encouraging Paul Bentley to run for the Board, creating more confusion and weakening the support for Bill.
This is not the first time the contractor we pay, and our “special” board members, maneuvered to get rid of elected directors/homeowners who got in the way of their agenda, is it?
On July 7th Jane signed Elizabeth’s nomination form to run on behalf of ordinary Bentley Place owners in the event that Bill was defeated on Aug. 6th. Along with others, Jane replied with a lengthy very positive endorsement noting Elizabeth’s admirable traits and talents that supported her nomination. On Wednesday, July 17th at 10:23 AM, Elizabeth texted Jane asking “u up for a call?” In a brief phone conversation Elizabeth informed Jane that she had decided not to run for Bill’s position on the Board if it became available. Jane thanked Elizabeth for the message and offered to pass it along to her supporters via email. Elizabeth declined saying “No thanks. I’ll take care of it myself.”
It is now Monday July 29th and to our knowledge, Elizabeth still has not announced to her many long-time supporters that she is NOT running as our candidate should Bill be removed. There is confusion among these owners who assumed that Elizabeth would step up to represent us if Bill is removed. This decision on her part has many supporters wondering why? The strategy she espoused leading up to the AGM meeting in May involved electing 2 of “our” candidates at that time. Later we would elect Elizabeth when an opportunity presented itself so we would finally have 3 likeminded Board members with a quorum to effect change!
We find this situation perplexing to say the least! So, this begs the question, what’s going on here? Let’s back up … originally there were 3 other Bentley owners who started the concerned group that eventually elected Kope and Bill in “landslide” victories. Although confidential, leaked information indicates that Kope won 55 votes and Bill won 51 votes … likely the largest support for any previous candidates throughout the history of Bentley Place elections! Sharon and Jim were soundly defeated.
In about mid-February, Elizabeth joined the original group of 3 and later 2 more owners joined to make it 6 owners on the committee to elect our boys. They were wildly successful!
After the February 26th Special Meeting, Elizabeth and Diana worked VERY hard to overturn Sharon’s 16-year reign. They hosted a friendly, neighbourly, early morning coffee, tea and treats “drop in” for owners on their way to work. Elizabeth made herself available to discuss issues of concern with owners, offered warm, caring emotional support, organized meetings and along with the rest of the committee and several home owners, she helped to prepare communications and documents, collect email contacts, prepared agendas for meetings as well as chaired a couple of the meetings. She even spruced up Kope’s promotional “bio” page. At meetings she chaired, she encouraged orderly participation that was inclusive so everyone could express their opinions. She listened intently and followed up on issues of concern to individual owners. She assisted in obtaining contact information for offsite owners and was involved in getting proxies from many of them. Few times she accompanied Kope, knocking on owners’ doors to help him campaign. The other 5 core committee members and several homeowners obviously worked tirelessly in a major way, but this account is about Elizabeth’s role.
Many people in the group were very grateful for Elizabeth’s involvement and support to make things more transparent and better with respect to the Board. She was considered our “saviour” by many! Elizabeth also obtained some Board documents and together with the other committee members, she combed through them, noting issues of concern and relating these to us. She was a “miracle” for weary owners and soon most of us were solidly behind her. But in the background, unknown to us, her support from the other 5 committee members was beginning to fail and disintegrate. This change started in March, well before the May AGM and election. The other committee members who were working closely with Elizabeth began to see behaviours that concerned them and one by one, started removing themselves from her.
You might wonder how that could happen? Remember Elizabeth previously served on the Board as a Director in 2017. She was a dedicated Board member, completed reviews of documents and came prepared for meetings. Since Elizabeth took her duties seriously, she was concerned about fiscal responsibility regarding homeowners’ funds. She asked lots of pertinent questions, sometimes offering suggestions for alternative and better options. These ongoing questions and comments likely became an annoyance for our Board spokesperson Sharon and Property Manager, Paul. It came to a head when Sharon and Paul apparently confronted Elizabeth, requesting her resignation. The now regular threat used by Paul to resign if Elizabeth did not leave appears to have factored heavily in her mind. It seems that she did not want to be the precipitator of other owners losing their Property Manager and possibly Andy, our long-time reliable Superintendent. Apparently against her wishes, Elizabeth reluctantly resigned under these pressures.
Sometime after her “forced” resignation, it appears that Elizabeth started to resent Sharon and Paul for essentially pushing her off the Board. It seems that the more she thought about it, the greater her resentment grew. Eventually, it seems reasonable that Elizabeth decided to teach Sharon and Paul a lesson and planned her retaliation. Sharon pushed Elizabeth off the Board, now it was time for her to experience the same consequences. It looks that with this in mind, Elizabeth set out to achieve her goal to impart justice. Elizabeth was wildly successful! She put in a huge amount of time and effort to elect Kope and Bill and defeat Sharon. Bravo Elizabeth!!
So, what happened along the way? Leading up to the AGM election, we could speculate that the Board and Paul took notice of Elizabeth’s dedication, organizational skills, attention to detail, growing support base and ultimately her anticipated success! We suspect that Paul may have approached Elizabeth, recognizing her considerable powers of persuasion. What’s that saying about “Keep Your Enemies Close”? Paul may have wisely decided to reach out to her, listen to her ideas, converse with her about Board matters, share requested information and answer her questions. The Board may have even adopted some of Elizabeth’s suggestions? … we don’t know. She was likely treated as an unofficial Board consultant. By providing the recognition and inclusion that Elizabeth may have craved, it appears that her anger towards Paul began to evaporate. Paul can be very charming and persuasive so somewhere along the way, he may have decided to recruit her to change sides and support the Board and Property Manager instead of the disenchanted condo owners. Its impossible to say what the impetus was, suffice it to say, that Elizabeth clearly changed allegiances and became a Board-supporter!
This was evident to many of us through observation of her actions. The old adage is “judge others by what they DO, not by what they SAY, since actions speak louder than words”! Elizabeth’s actions changed. There were late afternoon one-on-one meeting between Paul and Elizabeth in the party room, ahead of 7:00 PM evening meetings with the owners-at-large that she normally led. There were many email messages between Paul and Elizabeth. We know this is true because Paul forwarded one email concerning a scheduled meeting to Bill by mistake. We heard Elizabeth say several times “Paul’s so nice!” and “Paul says … “, or “I’ll ask Paul”. There are various incidents of ongoing regular communications between Elizabeth and Paul and they were very positive from her perspective.
While its normally a good thing to maintain positive communications between the Board/P.M. and condo owners, the relationship between Elizabeth and Paul had been so contentious and disharmonious previously that it motivated her to mobilize and take the actions detailed above. The issue most concerning for us is “Have Elizabeth’s loyalties switched from fighting for the rights of besieged fellow condo owners to supporting Board policy now?” Unfortunately, it appears that the answer is YES!
Elizabeth has not even informed her co-owners that she no longer intends to run in the Aug. 6th election should that be the outcome if the vote to remove Bill succeeds! She has essentially abandoned our side by withdrawing from our cause. Until Sunday, when she initiated a meeting with Paul Bentley to encourage him to run against the Board candidates to replace Bill.
This represents a Board directive for the following reasons: 1. It provides a non-Board alternative candidate to run on behalf of concerned condo owners. 2. It provides a “mild temperament option” for owners who can’t handle Bill’s brutal honesty, sarcasm, and no-nonsense approach. 3. Elizabeth is coaching Paul B. and is misleading him into thinking that he will be able to “influence Board members Brenda and Rob” to switch their support from the Board’s position to our causes. Paul is clearly unaware that the Board had Anna, Brenda and Rob sign a “code of ethics” document committing them to unwavering allegiance (“loyalty pledge”) to the Board in all circumstances. With this legal document in place, Paul Bentley’s naïve hopefulness about persuading the other Board members to change their support is impossible. For your information, our Board candidates Kope and Bill refused to sign the blind allegiance to the Board. They have expressed commitment to their fellow condo owners over the Board! Clearly, Elizabeth knows this, yet is encouraging Paul Bentley to believe it’s a possibility. He remarked that he would have a greater chance of convincing Brenda and Rob to support the ordinary owners than Bill would. Elizabeth knows this fact yet did not share it with candidate Paul B.
The other problem with Elizabeth’s manoeuvre is that for “moderates” among our ordinary condo owners who have difficulty ignoring Bill’s sometimes blunt approach, Paul Bentley offers an alternative candidate to the 2 Board-sanctioned candidates. She can then campaign on Paul’s behalf reassuring these concerned moderates, who still maintain unwavering trust in Elizabeth, that they can vote crusty Bill off the Board safely, and after vote for Paul Bentley to replace him. This way they get rid of the sarcastic guy and replace him with the more benign and naïve candidate who will be too weak to impact any decisions in a Board vote. This action is ONLY beneficial for the Board, NOT effective for promoting OUR issues of spending restraint and prioritizing projects and timelines.
Sad to say, but when you consider the obvious FACTS, our former saviour Elizabeth has switched her loyalty to Board-sanctioned positions and abandoned support for our/HER candidate Bill Siudak! Hence, Bill’s newsletter when he describes this betrayal and uses the biblical reference to Judas to illustrate how he feels! First Elizabeth does her utmost to get him elected, then she turns on him and throws him under-the-bus. When you consider his point of view, its easy to understand why he is so upset with her.
Now, a word about the two Board-sanctioned candidates … first Jim Somerville strikes us as having a bombastic personality, which is the Board’s chief objection to Bill. His comment at the last meeting was revealing … “Do you want to step outside and we’ll settle this?” This remark was directed to Bill. Really? Fisticuffs?? If they object to Bill’s sometimes feisty communication style, how is Jim Somerville any different?
The other Board candidate is a newcomer from Toronto who performs dentistry in Hamilton. Dr. Kashif Zaki, D.D.S. is undoubtedly quite affluent, as most dentists earn high 6-figure incomes. As a Toronto import, Kash is used to much higher condo maintenance fees than we have in Hamilton. Also, with such “deep pockets” he will likely always support elaborate renovation projects that maintain the integrity of the structure AND those that enhance the cosmetic appearance also. He does not seem to be a good fit for careful financial management in consideration of other Bentley owners with more restricted financial resources. Our Board of Directors should not cater to the affluent owners.
We believe it was at the February 26th meeting vote on increasing our borrowing bylaw that Dr. Zaki stood up and said that our condo fees should all be $1,000/month at minimum and we should get our cheque books out and be prepared to write a cheque for thousands of dollars to cover all the reno projects in order to complete them immediately and bring the building up to date as soon as possible. Please see his perspective detailed in an email sent on June 19th below.
To summarize, we emphatically believe that Bill must be supported since he is the strongest candidate who has proven that he will protect the interests of ordinary and sometimes long-term Bentley Place condo owners. There is a very significant decision facing us on Aug. 6th. Please review and carefully consider all the facts. Ensure that you choose wisely for your own sake and that of our neighbours. Don’t allow the interests of a small group of unidentified owners dictate our future by exerting unyielding control and influence over our property management decisions in support of some hidden agenda that we are unaware of and helpless to stop!
Concerned Bentley Place Condo Owners
From: Kashif Zaki
Sent: Wednesday, June 19, 2019 11:44 AM
Subject: Re: 2019 expenditures
I feel like this conversation is getting a little ridiculous.
From turning the balconies into a DIY project and now to stop the work that’s already been been started.
Do you really want to have a building that is half renovated? The condo corp was most likely contractually obligated to complete this work prior to the new board members being elected.
I’ve heard complaints that previous work was not properly supervised. Now people are complaining about the cost of supervising the work?
At this point I am no longer interested in incurring any extra legal fees.
I for one think the renovation looks great and will add to the value of our units.
The reality is that this building is 30 years old. It is going to require a signicant financial investment over the coming years to keep the building functional and attractive both for current owners and future buyers. I am a new owner in this building. For those of you who have been here for a long time, you have enjoyed low maintenace fees over the years. I'm afraid those days are over.
I agree with you that there has to be more discussion and transparency about decisions regarding the buidling. Hopefully the new board members will help make that happen. Nonetheless tough financial decisions are going to have to be made going forward. That is just the stark reality.