KILLINGTON - A lawsuit brought by an owner at the Village Square
condominium complex at Pico is on its way to the state Supreme
Marcia Ratner brought the suit, claiming the condo association
failed in its duties to properly maintain the building in a
financially responsible manner.
"The board of directors is supposed to establish the reserves,"
Ratner said. "Buyers can be harmed if the board of directors isn't
following the by-laws. It can affect your ability to get a
Ratner said she went 10 months without hot water in 2007, so she
withheld her condo fees in protest.
"What other recourse do homeowners have?" she asked. "I felt it
was a meritorious reason."
Ratner is not the only dissatisfied owner. Bob Merrama said he
believes the condo fees, which he said are in excess of $500 a
month, are too high.
In particular, he'd like to see the heating in common areas made
"It costs $60,000 to heat the building and the common area," he
said. "The heat comes out of the ceiling."
What Merrama, a property manager himself, said he'd like to see
is a small, glassed-in waiting area in front of the door, so that
heat wouldn't escape into the atmosphere when someone opens it.
There are other improvements he'd like to see: centralized trash
collection, key-card access to the building, and to replace the
carpeting and wallpaper, which he said dates back to building's
opening in 1986. He said the improvements would drastically reduce
the current condo fees.
"They aren't following their own by-laws," Merrama said. "I've
filed a complaint with the attorney general."
Some of the numerous claims Ratner made in her initial filing
included that the condo association did not keep enough money in
the capital reserve fund to keep up with maintenance, that the
association ignored the advice of the auditors, and that they kept
fees artificially low to the detriment of the owners.
However, many of the allegations Ratner made date back more than
10 years. In her findings, Judge Mary Miles Teachout ruled that
Ratner had no standing to sue, and even if she had, she waited too
long to file.
"The best interest of the corporation may not always by
synonymous with the best interest of all the shareholders," she
"When these interests conflict, it is clear that a director owes
the fiduciary duty to the corporation as a whole and not the
As to the timing, Teachout wrote that the statute of limitations
started running in December 2004, when the association made a
special assessment which Ratner disputed.
"Although Ms. Ratner could now know the full extent of all
future special assessments at this time (December 2004), the
inability to calculate all damages does not stop the statute of
limitations from running," Teachout wrote. "Even if Ms. Ratner had
standing to bring this direct action against Defendants, her suit
is time barred because it was not filed within six years of
December 2004, when, at the latest, her claims accrued."
Bob Harvey, the condo association's current president, said he
couldn't comment on litigation still wending its way through court.
He said he believes Merrama's claims are somewhat overblown.
"I don't know about the other things," Harvey said. "He hasn't
said a word. One thing he's harped on is the common area. The only
heat in the common area is over the top of two doors. We're talking
about an area that's only 5 or 6 percent of the building."
Harvey said the association had hired an engineer to come to the
complex to inspect the boilers. He also said they'd discuss the
possibility of an energy audit at that time.
Merrama said if his complaint and a number of others he's made
aren't taken care of, he's considering moving.
"I like it here," he said. "My daughter's of age to start skiing.
But if things don't get corrected, I'm out of here."