Newsletter articles that go back to 2003



October Issue 2017

June Issue 2017

April Issue 2017

Feb Issue 2017

Oct. Issue 2016

July Issue 2016

January Issue 2016

Sept Issue 2015

May Issue 2015

January Issue 2015

October Issue 2014

August issue 2014



April Issue 2014

Spring Issue Jan 2014

Fall Issue August 2013

Volume 2 Issue 6 March 2013

Volume 2 issue 5 November 2012

Volume 2 Issue 4 August 2012

Volume 2 Issue 3 June 2012

Volume 2 Issue 2 April 2012

Volume 2, Issue 1 - Feb 2012

Volume 1 Issue7- October 2011





Volume 1 issue6- August 2011

Volume 1 issue 5- April 2011

Volume 1 issue 4 - January 2011

Volume 1, Issue 3 - August 2010

Volume 1, Issue 2 - April 2010

Volume 1, Issue 1 - March 2010

Volume 1 Issue 8 - Summer 2009

Volume 1 , Issue 7 - Winter 2008

Volume 1 , Issue 6 - Spring 2008

Volume 1 Issue 5- August, 2007

Volume 1, Issue 4- October, 2006

Volume 1 Issue 3 - Spring 2006




What exactly is quorum?

A Quorum of an assembly is such a number as must be present in order that business can be legally transacted. The quorum refers to the number present, not to the number voting. The quorum of a mass meeting is the number present at the time, as they constitute the membership at that time. The quorum of a body of delegates, unless the by-laws provide for a smaller quorum, is a majority of the number enrolled as attending the convention,
not those appointed.


Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Co-op Counselor:
We just discovered that our site manager was embezzling money. What should we do?
Please advise.
Inquiring Member

Dear Inquiring Member:
Your first call should be to your Cooperative Attorney to spearhead coordination of the effort. They will work with you and your other professionals to take immediate action to assure the thief no longer has access to accounts and no further exposure exists. The second call will be to the police to begin the criminal process. Having a police report is often beneficial or necessary to get the insurance carrier involved.

Board Nominations:
They Don’t Have to be Scary!

The election of Board Members, who will end up running the Cooperative on behalf of its Members, is an essential part of what makes housing cooperatives a unique and successful form of home and communi-ty ownership. But for many Cooperatives, the ordeal of organizing and executing nominations and elec-tions can be incredibly tiresome and even stressful due to their long-term importance. However, this guide breaks down the process and provides a clear and easy to follow narrative:

The Gentle Art of Persuasion
Submitted by Marlene Dau, MAHC Board Member

I have been reading a book called “Verbal Judo” and realize how this is practiced or the lack of it is prac-ticed at every board meeting we all attend. So, I thought some of these Principals were so on point that they would be appreciated by our members.

A Meeting With MAHC Office Manager, Annette Dukes
By: MAHC Editor

We are pleased to introduce to you our new Office Manager, Annete Dukes. Dukes, who has extensive experience in ensuring that cooperatives run smoothly and effectively, has been coordinating MAHC’s support to its cooperative members from its Romulus, Michigan Headquarters.

Ms. Dukes is from the Detroit area and has worked as an office manager for individual cooperatives as well as a property management office. From her time in these positions, she knows many of the details that makes a cooperative successful, and likewise the issues they can face.



Democracy In Action

That phrase is a good way to sum up what Cooperative Housing is all about.  Everyone has a voice. Everyone has a choice. Everyone enjoys the benefits of the mutual efforts of all.

This year the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives  ( MAHC) held our Annual Conference in the heart of the world’s democracy – Washington, D.C.

Conference Wrap-Up
By Shirley A. Berger
President, North Park

As promised, I am writing a follow-up article after attending my first MAHC Conference in    Arlington, Virginia.  Representing North Park Cooperative at the MAHC conference was an honor and a privilege.  For me and Treasurer T. Regina Talbot, it was a “wealth of information”. Since there were so many topics of interest, she and I met just to map out who would attend what workshop.  Below are highlights of my training experience:

Update on Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Act
Michael A. Karman, Esq.

Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) was amended by the passage of three new bills in December 2016.  These new updates have implications for housing cooperatives and its residents.

The Act added the definitions for “marihuana-infused products” and “usable marihuana equivalent” to fall within protected use of medical    marihuana, permitting for legal use and possession in accordance with the MMMA.

Dear Co-op Counselor:
Can the Board remove a fellow Officer or Director?

Please advise.

Inquiring Member

Dear Inquiring Member:

Thank you for the inquiry.  Let me say that you pose a common question, and it does get confusing.  The larger picture that must be kept in mind is that power is specifically delegated in your governing documents to assure the members have ultimate power over their cooperative.   With the exception of Board    appointments, Members hold the exclusive power to elect and/or remove their Board of Director Members. 


What exactly does it mean to lose a motion to lay on the table?

If a motion to lay on the table has been made and lost, or if a question laid on the table has been taken from the table, it shows that the assembly wishes to consider the question now, and therefore a motion made the same day to lay that question on the table is out of order until there has been material progress in business or debate


Our committee chair hasn’t shown up for the meeting, can the meeting still take place?

It is the duty of the chairman to call the committee together, but, if he is absent, or neglects or declines to call a meeting of the committee, it is the duty of the committee to meet on the call of any two of its members.

Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Co-op Counselor:

We seem to have problem with trash.  The city where our cooperative is located only picks up trash once a week.  As you can imagine, we’ve had issues with Members leaving trash outside their buildings.  On one hand, we understand that they don’t want smelly garbage in their units, but we want to keep away critters from ripping open trash bags left outside.  How can we address our Members’ concerns yet keep the property looking nice?
Please advise.

                                                                                Signed, Ghastly Garbage


Dear Ghastly:

Co-op Counselor can understand your predicament. 

Colonial Townhouses Cooperative Awarded for Its “Growing Colonial” Tree Planting Project
by Vicki Miller, President
Colonial Townhouses Cooperative

                Colonial Townhouses Cooperative is a non-profit cooperative housing corporation built in
1963-1964 which is owned solely by its housing members.  We provide homes for 248 households, many of whom have called Colonial home for over 40 years. We are located in Lansing’s south side on 19 acres of well-kept lawns, manicured trees, beautiful shrubs and flowers

North Park Cooperative—First MAHC Conference
by Shirley Berger, President
North Park Cooperative

I have been the President of North Park Cooperative located in Downtown Detroit for approximately one year.  It has been an absolute pleasure for me to serve my shareholders as President.  It has not always been an easy task to balance 94 different opinions, but I believe it makes us a better Board. 

Since I am always online seeking information and best practices for cooperative boards, I discovered the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives.  WOW!  There was a wealth of     information that dealt with some of the concerns and issues that our Board was researching.  

People You Should Know
Thomas Hutch

Thomas Hutch saw the value of cooperatives early in life.  As a student at Morehouse College, Mr. Hutch and his roommate wanted to move off campus during their junior year.  A fellow student recommended a cooperative that would accept college students, and this started Mr. Hutch’s involvement in the cooperative movement which has continued for more than 45 years.  Having served on the Board of Manchester Knolls for more than 33 years, Mr. Hutch has gained some insight on the positive effects of cooperative living.

“In my opinion, co-op living is an excellent option for starting a family.   When you buy into a co-op when your income is low, as your income increases, you will get to market rate.  But remember to invest the money you save for ten years and become financially independent as your family grows.

The Road to Conference
May 21-24, 2017
Arlington, VA

A little more than a month before MAHC members head to Arlington, VA for MAHC’s 54th Annual Conference, MAHC Messenger is using some of this issue to focus on what attendees can expect.  If you have not had the opportunity to go to one of MAHC’s conferences, MAHC Messenger recently sat down with one of MAHC’s board members to find out more.

MM:  Why should Members attend the annual conference?
Answer:  MAHC’s annual conference provides a setting where members can get together and share ideas and learn new skills that they can take back with them and implement in their communities.  


How should a chair handle debate in a meeting?

The right of members to debate and make motions cannot be cut off by the chair's putting a question to vote with such rapidity as to prevent the members getting the floor after the chair has inquired if the assembly is ready for the question. Even after the chair has announced the vote

News Flash 

For all the Certified Cooperative Directors and Certified Cooperative Managers, it is imperative that you know that the way you continue to hold your certification has changed. 

You will no longer need the continuing hours every two (2) years.  This means you will NOT need to get anything signed by our instructors at the conference verifying attendance.  You will also not need to go on-line and take those classes for your re-certification.  Those classes are still very valuable, but now can be taken for your knowledge or refresher only, but will not count as continuing education credits.

Violence Against Women Act & Cooperatives
Creighton Gallup, Esq

When HUD published their final rule on the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2013 (VAWA), which became effective on December 16, 2016,  housing providers faced some new guidelines on how to handle issues relating to this topic. 

VAWA covers victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking regardless of the person’s, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.   One of the important aspects of this ruling is to ensure that victims of a VAWA crime are not denied assistance as an applicant or evicted due to having been a victim of a VAWA crime. This ruling must be applied consistently and with all nondiscrimination and fair housing requirements.

Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Co-op Counselor:

I’ve just moved into a Cooperative, and I’m so   happy I made the move!  I’d like to get a pet, but I’m not sure what kinds of animals are permissible, and, if I can even have a pet at my Cooperative.  What steps should I take before becoming a pet owner?  How can I ensure that having pets on the grounds won’t interfere with the rest of the members’ enjoyment of the property?
Please advise.

Pet Lover

MAHC at Work
Training Co-Op Leaders for the Future.

Editor’s Preface:  Just a reminder that MAHC members may receive training for the following certifications:  Certified Cooperative Director, Certified Cooperative Manager, and Certified Cooperative Maintenance Manager.             Check out for more information

Parade Park Homes has a lot going for it.  First, Parade Park homes became one of the first Cooperatives formed by African-Americans in the early 1960s.  Second, the Cooperative has a great   location—close to the Kansas City jazz district.

A Letter From Our President

While we are all looking out of our windows thinking this snowy season will never end, keep in mind that Spring is only a few weeks away.

Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation.   We plant flowers, fertilize our landscaping, and put out fresh mulch in the garden beds.  Sometimes we refresh our surroundings with a new coat of paint.

Spring is also a time to think about expanding our minds though our Cooperative Education.   Refreshing ourselves in the classic studies of how Cooperative Housing works.  Challenging ourselves to embrace new thoughts and ideas keeps us continually growing.   Sharing these educational adventures with others in the Cooperative movement also helps us to learn from different perspectives and viewpoints. 

Calling All Students!!!

MAHC will come to you for training!  When new board members, long term board members (who feel like they need an update), and employees need or want training: think of MAHC as your source.
Great classes are offered, ranging from four hour subject specific lessons to our popular certification classes.

Certified Cooperative Director class (CCD): 1 ½ days of intense training for Board Members, ranging from History of Cooperatives to How to read your Audit.

 Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Counselor;

I’m looking for some funding sources to initiate or establish some programs at my co-operative.  I know I may need to apply for a grant, but I don’t even know where to start.  Please advise.

Finding Funding

Dear Finding;

Coop wave of the future.

Finding affordable housing can pose problems for some families, especially in urban areas, but the cities of San Francisco, Boulder, and Denver think that they may have a solution.

San Francisco with its expensive rental rates and premium housing has looked to its empty spaces and existing structures to provide an answer. 

Students working with the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association have designed dwellings

MAHC Member Profile 
Latisha Billy

Latisha Billy knows the value of hard work and sees opportunity in any challenge she faces.  Her strong work ethic and excellent customer service skills have helped her progress through her current company, Kirkpatrick Management Company (KMC).

As Regional Property Manager for KMC, Latisha ensures that each property is in compliance and managed in a fiscally sound manner.  Preparing financial reports is just one aspect of her job. 


A little history about that Robert guy…As Henry Robert first conceived his book, he wanted it to be brief and simple enough to serve as a guide in the hands of every meeting-goer. He thought it might run to about 50 pages. By the time the first edition was published, he found he needed 176. Following its publication, letters asking questions about parliamentary situations not clearly answered in the book began to pour in -- by the hundreds through the years.

Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Counselor;

I understand that HUD has issued a new rule on criminal convictions in screening applicants for membership; does this mean that we can no longer ask about criminal histories? Please advise.

Criminal Conscious

Dear Conscious;

What To Do When The EEOC Comes Knocking? 
By: Randall Pentiuk, Esq and Kerry Morgan, Esq

Has your Cooperative ever received a charge of employment discrimination?  Such charges are often filed by Cooperative employees after termination.  The terminated employee contacts the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a State civil rights commission and files a charge.  Charges often allege the employer discriminated against an employee because of race, color, gender, religion, age, etc. In the past dozen years, the number of claims against employers alleging discrimination based on disability has also risen dramatically.

Red Flags For Cooperative Boards
Kerry Lee Morgan, Esq., Pentiuk, Couvreur & Kobiljak

Last summer my family visited the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina. When we arrived on the beach however, we noticed that red flags were flying. The red flags warned us that there were rip tides and that swimming was out of the question.  We had to wait a few days to get in the water, but it was safe when the red flags came down.

                Are there red flags flying at your cooperative, but you can’t see them?

President Letter
Richard Berendson

Another year is entering its last quarter, 2015 is almost in the history books.   However, our efforts to continually improve and grow as an organization never stop.
                Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives plays a central role to elevate the cooperative housing model not only at the local and state level, but also at the national stage in collaboration with other players in the housing field.
                Recently, the MAHC Board members spent 2 full days over 2 weekends to update our strategic planning with a focus on how Cooperative housing needs efficiency goals to achieve effective operation along with a need to have a “trained and fully engaged” board members to do so.

Uncovered Coop Property and Casualty Claims?
Your D & O Policy Might Not Protect You -
Policy Audits Can Help

Michael S. Hale, J.D., CPCU, AAI
Melissa L. Hirn, J.D.
Insurance Coverage Attorneys

Editor’s Preface:  During the Co-Op legal update classes presented at the Annual conference, we strongly advised Boards and Management Agents to conduct “insurance audits” to ensure that each Co-Op has the right protection against lawsuits and claims.  Please read the following article as it contains vital information. Randall A. Pentiuk, Esq.

Would your D & O policy cover a claim against the board members for purchasing inadequate insurance coverage which exposed the cooperative?  In our years of experience as insurance consultants we have seen many D & O policies specifically exclude coverage for decisions relating to insurance.  This could mean disaster for you as a board member.

We Go a Long Way Back
Brenda McElhaney

Kansas City has many reasons to celebrate recently (Go Royals), but another big party here in the Heartland was Loma Vista West’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. And the best way to feed a hungry crowd is by serving World Championship Barbeque. Members came to together to mingle, munch down and commemorate on Loma Vista’s past 50 years of being a community.

Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Counselor;

I have a question about professional hierarchy and specifically who answers to whom?  Does the cooperative attorney represent the Management company or the cooperative?

                As a board member, I was told by my management company NOT to take matters to the Cooperative Attorney.   I am not sure who I can talk to? Please advise.

                                                                                Signed, Who’s Who

When The Two Sisters Came A Calling…
Creighton Gallup, Esq

What happens when the family of a recently deceased member shows up at the Cooperative office expecting immediate access to the unit and presents you a Power of Attorney as their authority?

Deaths of members can be tricky scenarios as the Cooperative is tasked with balancing sympathy for the grieving family, while at the same time practicing a uniform policy which protects the Cooperative from potential lawsuits. Don’t panic by handing over the unit  keys as your conscious may suggest.  Remember: no good deed goes unpunished. Simply follow some general guidelines and it will work out.

First, let’s quickly dispel the Power of Attorney issue, or POA’s to which they are often abbreviated.  POA’s by their very existence are finite in duration, and expire with the deceased.  Anyone  attempting  to use this as authority to get access to the unit is holding monopoly money, particularly to the well trained site manager who is now armed with this knowledge.



Can something be defeated by adopting a motion to table it?

This is a common violation of fair procedure.

Best Practices Of A Management Agent
Kathy Sinicropi, CPM

During the recent MAHC Annual Conference, it was surprising to hear attendees share alarming stories of the poor experiences they encounter with their Management Agent. Having been in the property management business for over 37 years, I have developed a set of “Best Practices” that serve useful as a tool to professionally deliver and fulfill our fiduciary responsibilities to our clients. The concepts that follow are merely suggestions and qualities you should look for when selecting a professional property management company.

First and foremost, an initial meeting between the Agent and the Board should occur to identify and confirm in writing the Board’s goals and objectives. This clearly outlines the Board’s priorities so the Agent knows what is expected.  Then it is important to keep the lines of communication open and provide updates on progress and discuss any additions required so everyone stays on the same page moving forward.

Customer Service & Communication

This Special Report was written by Kenneth R. Hale, J.D., CPCU, AAI, LIC of Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC.

We hear this from clients all the time, and the answer is that it is not enough!
The reasons are as follows:

The contractor’s insurance may not protect you – even if the policy lists you as additional insured. There is a real possibility that an incorrect additional insured endorsement will be used and that the contractor’s insurance limits will be insufficient. Furthermore, the issuance of a certificate of insurance does not amend the actual coverage which is controlled solely by the policy – not the certificate.

This Special Report was written by Daniel P. Hale, J.D., CPCU, ARM, CRM, LIC, AIC, AIS, API of Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC

A frequent and major source of claims against business owners is that of employees of independent contractors who become injured while working at the business owner’s building. This could involve employees of painting, carpentry, sprinkler, roofing contractors, or other trades people working at the business premises during construction or renovation activities. It could also include employees of independent contractors who are involved in repairing machines, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors performing repair or maintenance or janitorial work. Other exposures to property owners from the use of such independent contractors involve property damage caused by the contractor, defective work of the contractor, or liens resulting from the contractor’s failure to pay sub-contractors or material suppliers. Marsh and McLennan attorneys have represented clients in such cases and the purpose of this Special Report is to outline some risk management techniques that can be used to limit your exposures to such risks.


Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Counselor;
We are a Senior Living Community, a Cooperative, and a 55+ community or so we say in various advertisings. We have been told that we have a Fair Housing 55+ exemption which I am told means we are able to discriminate based upon age for prospective members. When the question came up about a person wanting to buy in to the cooperative who was 55 but had a 52 year old spouse, one person said we could not stop them and another person said we could lose our 55+ exemption if we allowed the 52 year old in. Without the 55+ exemption we would have to allow anyone to buy in who wanted to and our community and atmosphere would be forever changed. Which person is right or are they both right or wrong?


He rules! Even if we don’t have a clue who he is?...

Is it possible to withdraw a resignation after it has been submitted?

Applicability of the MMMA In Multi-Family Housing Facilities
Randall Pentiuk

In 2008, the Michigan legislature enacted the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), which legalized the use of medical marijuana in the State of Michigan.¹ Specifically, Michigan residents who obtain a valid medical marijuana identification card are permitted to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or 12 live marijuana plants.²

Numerous other states have enacted similar measures regarding medical marijuana, and some states have gone so far as to legalize marijuana for general recreational use.

However, despite the recent development in this area of law, legislative change has been limited to the laboratory of state legislatures. As it pertains to the federal government, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance with “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” ³ Naturally, there is some conflict in this corner of the legal world; numerous states have chosen to legalize marijuana in various contexts despite the federal government’s steadfast identification of the drug as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Conference Education Recap
Dave “Rudy” Rudicil

The 2015 MAHC Annual Educational Confer-ence provided yet another successful, innova-tive and informative program, filled with oppor-tunities to build your professional network. Each year this event allows you to learn, reflect and engage with colleagues from around the country. Topics covered included fair housing, ethics, legal structure of cooperatives, policy making, decision making, financial integrity, and battling renter mentality in today's coop-eratives. “It was awesome,” said a Co-oper who was attending for the first time. “The speakers not only knew what they were talking about, but they were very open to questions and en-gaged with the audience, which is different from many other conferences I have attended. I was blown away by the amount of knowledge and experience many of the speakers have in Coop-eratives. I learned a lot.”


Re-certification classes on-line

Is it time for your re-certification classes for the CCD, CCM, CCMM. or you did not get enough classes at the conference.

MAHC now offers re-certification classes on line to help you get your 6 hours re-certification need. They are easy to maneuver and MAHC and you will be notified that you have passed that on-line class immediately after you have taken the class.

Our Online’s self-paced courses offer the ultimate in convenience.  Delivered totally online, participants can work anytime, anywhere, 24/7, as their schedules permit.   The test is multiple-choice format and covers general course knowledge.

Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Counselor;
Our Cooperative board has compatibility issues, our meetings are not productive because of the conflict and difficulties we have getting along with each other. I feel that racial tension and personal prejudice may be an underlying factor. How can we address this issue and eliminate this toxic atmosphere so that we can have productive board meetings.

Signed: Board With Drama


2015 Cruise Conference Interviews—Perspective..

The MAHC Messenger caught up with a few attendees from this years conference to find out what their opinions
were on some interesting topics. We spoke with MAHC Member, , Fred Gibbs who is a Managing Agent with FK Gibbs Company in Kansas City, MO, and Ted Dowl of Town Square Cooperative in Detroit, and Linda Asim
from Retreat Cooperative in Indianapolis, IN. The interviews are as follows:



Isn't it necessary to summarize matters discussed at a meeting in the minutes of that meeting in order for the minutes to be complete?


Housing Cooperatives and Social Media
Cyntheia Pentiuk

Social media is becoming more popular than ever, this presents the question of whether or not your housing cooperative should utilize this forum.  Consider that Americans spend an average of 37 minutes daily on social media, a higher time-spend than any other major Internet activity, including email.¹ Last year nearly 2 billion people worldwide were actively engaged in the use of social media, and it is expected to double in 2017.  By January 2014, Facebook alone had 1.23 billion monthly users active on their website, 600 billion of them logged into their account from their mobile device. ²   Twitters user’s numbered 255 million monthly users in 2013 with over 500 million tweets being sent daily. ³


Re-certification classes on-line

Is it time for your re-certification classes for the CCD, CCM, CCMM. or you did not get enough classes at the conference.

MAHC now offers re-certification classes on line to help you get your 6 hours re-certification need. They are easy to maneuver and MAHC and you will be notified that you have passed that on-line class immediately after you have taken the class.

Our Online’s self-paced courses offer the ultimate in convenience.  Delivered totally online, participants can work anytime, anywhere, 24/7, as their schedules permit.   The test is multiple-choice format and covers general course knowledge.

Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Counselor;
How does a cooperative find members that are interested in serving on the board? And once elected long should a member serve on the board?
Signed:  Wondering about Term Limits.


Meet MAHC Newest Staff Member… 
An Interview with Joanne Day

We were able to catch up with MAHC’s newest staff member recently and decided that you might want to know a little more about her;


Code Of Conduct
Marlene Dau, Educational Chair of MAHC

Does your Cooperative Board of Directors have a Code of Ethics?  Has every Board Member signed it?
Maybe with a new year, it should be a topic on your agenda to just review it again at a Board meeting so everyone starts out with a clear perspective.


An Interesting Look at MAHC Board Member,
Dwayne Moore

The Messenger staff had the honor and privilege of interviewing one of MAHC’s newest board members recently. We learned some very interesting things. Dwayne’s answers were pretty impressive and above all we found him to be very sincere. He comes from Bloomfield Townhouses Cooperative, in Bloomfield, Michigan Here is the interview;


Does your Co-Op have a Web Presence?
Richard Berendson

Many people research and find their homes and jobs over the Internet. Most people are coming to expect that any professionally run business will have a web site. With a well-designed site your small business becomes a real player both on and off the net. Websites are an essential component to doing business in today's world. What is basic business information?


Nightmare on Board Street
From the blog of Randall Pentiuk

I t was a quiet, peaceful community, until residents of a housing cooperative insisted on keeping a pet. Many housing coops do not allow pets in their units, and advised the members that they could not keep their dog, even though the member had a doctor’s note diagnosing the pet as a companion animal for psychological reasons.

The management company attempted to take matters into their own hands and filed an eviction against the member, which is illegal as a Condo owner cannot be evicted from their own property. The management company then showed up in court, and attempted to represent themselves as the cooperative’s legal counsel instead of working with the coop’s attorney. When the judge realized the management company was not a lawyer, he sanctioned them $500. The case went to trial, and the Board of the cooperative was hit with a judgment of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

We have a member that is constantly complaining to HUD. The latest complaint is about an excessively noisy upstairs neighbor that no one else seems to hear? HUD is telling us that we have to address this member’s concerns. What should we do?
Signed: Weary of the HUD Hugger.

Dear Weary:


New Online Recertification class

The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives continues to work for its members in many ways and one of the most aggressive ways is our ongoing Certification Programs for CCD, CCM, CCMM,

The MAHC organization realizes that a Certification Program needs to always have a high degree of credibility in the industry in which it offers that education. The “Continuing Education” program for your certification that will keep you up on new and changes education that will affect the Cooperative Industry. The CCD certifications are valid for two years.


David Rudicil

I ’m sure there are many co-op board members, who from time to time look at the cost of attending a MAHC or other organizational conference and think "Wow! It sure does cost a lot to go to a conference." Then we start thinking of ways to cut corners. Over the years, either as a cooperator, an educator or as a student, I've seen and heard many horror stories from cooperative board members. Some of the statements I've actually heard are:
* "My Managing Agent lets our board know when we will have a board meeting".
* "That's the way we've always done it".
* "I was against it but was pressured into it by the rest of the board".
* "I'm new on the board so I just depend on the rest of the board".
* "The manager pays the bills, all I do is sign the checks".
* "It's not my responsibility".
* " I didn't have the experience of the rest of the board".
* " I thought it may be wrong, but I didn't want to argue with the other board members".


He rules! Even if we don’t have a clue who he is?...

Can ex-officio members vote, and are they counted in determining whether a quorum is present?

“Ex officio” is a Latin term meaning “by virtue of office or position.” Ex-officio members of boards and committees, therefore, are persons who are members by virtue of some other office or position that they hold. For example, if the bylaws of an organization provide for a Committee on Finance consisting of the treasurer and three other members appointed by the president, the treasurer is said to be an ex-officio member of the finance committee, since he or she is automatically a member of that committee by virtue of the fact that he or she holds the office of treasurer.


A Word From Our New President, Richard Berendson

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives (MAHC), I want to thank you for attending the MAHC's 52nd Annual Conference. This was truly a Celebration of Knowledge and Experience!

More importantly, I salute you, the representatives of your Cooperatives, whose voluntary efforts and enthusiasm make Housing cooperatives a wonderful place for your neighbors to live at a cost which they can afford. .

Meet New MAHC Board Member
Christine Johnson – Nieves the future

They say it’s not what you say, but rather what you do that truly counts.
While Christine Johnson – Nieves is not likely to ever be found tooting her own horn her life has been dedicated to service.

Tips To Help Prevent Misappropriation of Cooperative Monies
From the blog of Randall Pentiuk

Since a bond taken out by a cooperative covers only cooperative employees and officers and a bond held in the name of the management agent covers only their employees and officers, a gap exists with respect to a cooperative having the ability to make claim for a loss when it employs a management agent.

Whether the cooperative is added by name in any fashion to the management agent’s bond, the bond and any claims made under it are strictly controlled by the management agent as the named insured. If the management agent fails to make claim or is not around to make claim, the cooperative, unless there are specific provisions in that bond, cannot make a claim and takes the loss itself.

Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Counselor;
As a board member, I am not sure how I should respond to a member who recently approached me to complain about a problem she is having with her neighbor.  It seems that her neighbor is creating a disturbance due to excessive noise and loud music that is being played regularly.  How do I respond to this?  What should my involvement be?   

AND The Winner Is….

Richard Berendson -Cumberland Green Cooperative.-St. Charles, IL
William Magee Spirit Award -  In recognition for promoting and consistently displaying dedication and commitment to the preservation of the Cooperative Housing Movement and the MAHC Organization    

Robert Kirkpatrick
Cooperative Leap of Faith Award - Displaying the confident belief and trust in the housing cooperative concept and assisting cooperatives in attaining their goals today and in the future

Marlene Dau

When healthy dialog turns into personal insults, innuendo, gossip and disruptive arguments, board meetings can get off message and contentious.  Left unabated, the board fractures, no one is satisfied and the community suffers.  How can a board deal with a disagreeable board member?  Each situation is unique, so specific approaches will differ.  However, there are a few helpful tactics boards can use.

Is it true that the president can vote only to break a tie?

No, it is not true that the president can vote only to break a tie. If the president is a member of the voting body, he or she has exactly the same rights and privileges as all other members have, including the right to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote on all questions. So, in meetings of a small board (where there are not more than about a dozen board members present), and in meetings of a committee, the presiding officer may exercise these rights and privileges as fully as any other member. However, the impartiality required of the presiding officer of any other type of assembly (especially a large one) precludes exercising the rights to make motions or speak in debate while presiding, and also requires refraining from voting except (i) when the vote is by ballot, or (ii) whenever his or her vote will affect the result.

Cooperative Dos & Don’ts

Do– Understand that if your staff does not perform to your (The Boards) liking, discuss it with your property manager.  But be sure to develop an effective channel of communication with the on-site staff independent of the Property Manager.

Don’t –Your Property Manager does not have a monopoly on wisdom -open communication is important within the Co-op. 

Cooperative Dos & Don’ts

Do– Understand that your Co-operative is in fact a serious business...

Don’t –Play games, reward friends, punish enemies, push petty personal projects, or accumulate power. The Board of Directors is morally and legally responsible for running the Cooperative as a serious business to the best of their abilities

He rules! Even if we don’t have a clue who he is?...

Is it true that, once a quorum has been established, it continues to exist no matter how many members leave during the course of the meeting?



Avoiding Liability When Selecting Tenants
From the Blog of Randall Pentiuk

The federal government recently amplified its pledge to reduce discriminatory practices that limit opportunities for minority groups. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a new rule on March 5, 2012 that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in HUD assisted programs.

In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a bulletin reinforcing prior commitments to strict enforcement and compliance with equal credit opportunity laws. HUD’s proposed rule reiterates its promise to forbid housing business practices that have an unequal impact on protected classifications. Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended prohibits the sale, rental, or financing of dwellings and in other housing-related activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. HUD has long interpreted the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing practices with a discriminatory effect, even where there has been no intent to discriminate.

 Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Counselor;
We have a board member that is divorced with two small children living in her unit.  She has been a member for nearly four years.  Recently our board members have heard rumors that a man is living with her, but he is not listed on her latest re-certification.  What can we do in this situation?
Signed: Miss Represented

Dear Miss;

Share Loan Feedback and Information...

We received some very important feedback and information in response to our Share Loan article in the January 2014 issue of the messenger.  We thought it would be a good idea to share it with you.

Dear Randall:
Your article in the MAHC Messenger is one that cooperative directors and owners need to hear.  You are correct that progressive cooperatives need share based financing to maintain their value and meet emerging trends in the housing market.   Share lending puts cooperatives on the same competitive footing as condominiums.  Our industry will not grow, nor will it thrive unless financial tools like share based lending are available to our members. 

A Profile Interview with Board Member
Blaine Honeycutt

of Georgetown Place Cooperative, Taylor,  Michigan

We had the opportunity to interview MAHC Board Treasurer, Blaine Honeycutt recently and were very privileged to gain his perspective on life as a Board Member at his Co-op as well as his insight on what MAHC membership means to him. 

MM: Hi Blaine, thanks for taking the time to do this, let’s start by asking you how long have you served on the board at your cooperative?

BH: Well. That would be 23 years. 

Cooperative Share Loans:
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Randall A. Pentiuk,  Esq

One of the big problems we run into with Housing Cooperatives is that this form of home ownership is such a big mystery.  Consequently, financial institutions miss a large business opportunity to provide loans to people interested in buying Cooperative units, or those already living in Cooperatives that want to finance improvements or draw some of their equity out.  

Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives
Continues on it’s Educational Path!
Marlene Dau Educational Committee

The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives has made it one of its priorities to offer quality education to its members, its associates, its partners, and anyone interested in Cooperative Living and Managing in today’s market.

Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Counselor;
Our cooperative just learned that one of our best employees has a criminal record.  The employee failed to disclose this in the application process.  Because the criminal charge was “a long time ago” and no longer relevant.  This person is an excellent worker and we hate to lose them as an employee.  What can we do?
Signed: Not Bugged By Bugsy.

Co-Op New Year’s Resolutions
Creighton Gallup Esq.

Happy New Year!  We hope the holiday season was enjoyable for all and that you are as excited as we are for 2014! As we all begin our efforts to work off those holidays pounds and create our own personal resolution lists for the coming year, we thought it was appropriate to come up with a list of a few  helpful “resolutions” to start making your Cooperative more efficient in 2014!

Governing Document Review. Use this coming year . . .

With Great Fondness And Admiration
Remembering our President, Mr. Bill Magee

It’s not often that you meet people that leave a lasting, profound effect on your life.  It is certain that we all are impacted by people that are driven with a purpose to make a change.  People that have a desire and willingness to serve for all the right reasons have a lasting effect on each of us.  Bill Magee was in fact one of those people.  Mr. Magee, or “Bill” as he liked to be called lived a life that modeled his heart of servitude.  His service, which spanned a lifetime and included service to our country as well as service to his community, both on a state and local level are impressive; but it is without a doubt his service within our Cooperative community that has left the largest impact and is for certain his greatest legacy. 

An Interview with Harriette L. Woodards
She’s been here longer than anyone...

Harriette Woodards joined MAHC as a board member from Fountain Court Consumers Cooperative back in 1976 before the organization had had a chance to grow. We tracked her down for an interview which was a very difficult task since she is one very busy lady. Here is what we learned:

Dear Co-op Counselor; HELP!

Dear Counselor;
Can you help me with a issue our cooperative is having with confidentially? How do you hold a board member accountable when you know that they are discussing cooperative business with others whom should not be subject to privileged information?
Signed: Passionate about Privacy

The MAHC Story
By Carolyn Jackson

I n early 1964, the Foundation for the Cooperative Housing (FCH) became heavily involved in the functionalities of the Michigan Association of Housing Cooperatives. Subsequently, securing and maintaining membership was made easier by FHC’s decision to build Association dues directly into the initial budget of the new cooperatives.

A Letter from the President

Dear Members and Associates;

Over the years MAHC has contributed to the cooperative movement in so many ways. First MAHC is the leading organization, run by its own cooperative members.  MAHC encourages cooperatives large and small to join forces to improve and preserve the cooperative lifestyle for all. MAHC’s focus on education has been instrumental in cementing the future of our way of life, bringing young cooperators into the fold is a primary focus. While education may not have physical properties, the lack of it is readily apparent. An uneducated board has no idea of their responsibilities to themselves or their membership. We teach individuals to live with imagination to see their likenesses and understand their differences by building dreams with foundations. In summary, the answer to the question is; MAHC has consistently
and continually contributed knowledge, wisdom, hope, time, travel, and yes money to create leaders for tomorrow.

Submitted by Marlene Dau

After 43 years of operation, the Noble Square Cooperative group decided it was time to upgrade the heating system. High efficiency was a must-have in choosing the best system for the building in order to save on the rising costs of heating, while providing the comforts of heating and hot water to tenants.


It is inevitable. The ravages of time, and the natural elements, take their toll on buildings and their related common areas. Sooner or later the buildings and surrounding improvements must be repaired or replaced. Boards of Directors are prone to leave what appears to be a complex process to their management company, a retained construction manager, a general contractor and/or an architect, only to be disappointed when costly surprises pop up during or after the performance of the work.

Rich Berendson sits down with us to share the ins and outs of working behind the scenes of MAHC.

Many of you have attended the Annual MAHC Conferences in exciting locations such as Jacksonville, Las Vegas, and San Diego. However, you may not have realized that this elaborate and complex conference is the brainchild of MAHC Secretary, Rich Berendson. Working diligently behind the scenes, Mr. Berendson is constantly organizing and ensuring that things go off without a hitch. Rich has been involved in housing cooperatives for over a decade, and it shows.

FACT SHEET: Sequestration Would Harm Affordable Housing Programs and Low Income Residents

On September 13, the Obama Administration released the OMB Report Pursuant to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (P. L. 112–155).” The report provides detailed estimates of the Budget Control Act’s required sequestration (i.e. mandatory across-the-board spending cuts) to defense and non-defense funding. NAHMA was very concerned to learn that federal affordable housing programs could be cut by 8.2 percent across-the-board (if they are funded at FY 2012 levels) in 2013 due to sequestration.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) listed the following federal multifamily housing programs as eligible for sequestration:

The Perils of Nepotism

In the cooperative world, nepotism is the practice of showing favoritism toward one's family members or friends in economic or employment terms. A good example is using the Director’s position to give special dispensation to certain individuals or even hiring a friend or relative in a position with the cooperative. This not only has a damaging effect on the overall operation of the cooperative, but also erodes the membership’s trust. Further, it may ultimately lead to situations where elections are fixed, member issues are ignored, members who speak out are intimidated, or worse, embezzlement of corporate funds. In recent years we have witnessed flourishing cooperatives that have discovered that the relationships between employees and board members have destroyed member confidence in the Board, and even resulted in tens of thousands embezzled due to cover-ups and favoritism towards family members and friends. In short, Directors should not be related by marriage or blood to other Directors or employees.

Planting Seeds

Sometimes we wonder whether the classes we present to the MAHC Membership at our Annual Conferences provide information that the attendees are able to take back to their cooperative and actually use to make a difference.

Well, that question was answered when an energetic, bright eyed board member from Birch Run Cooperative, Ms. Wavie Oneal-Kawolo, came up to me and said, “I’m going to plant a community garden for the children, I was just in a class about planting a garden and I know I can do it.”

Taking Pictures of your Residents? Think Twice.

If you are thinking about using pictures of your cooperative residents in a photography contest or any sort of fundraiser, think twice. While it is unlikely that a court would allow a suit alleging misappropriation of a resident’s name and likeness in order to promote products or services, or make money from the commercial use of their identity, your cooperative could be subject to a lawsuit. Michigan is the only Sixth Circuit State without a “right of publicity” statute, and the only one that does not provide post-mortem right of publicity protection. In most states, you can be sued for using someone else’s name, likeness or other personal attributes without permission for an exploitive purpose. As a general rule, you should never use someone’s name or photograph in advertising or promotion of your website or blog without permission.

Six Month Continuing Resolution Deal Reached

The House and Senate leaders announced that they reached a deal on a continuing resolution (CR). The CR would fund all government programs at FY 2012 levels for the first half of FY 2013, unless otherwise specified. The fiscal year begins on October 1. The CR would last through the end of March 2013.

This means that all federal affordable housing programs would be funded at FY 2012 levels, including project-based Section 8. While NAHMA continues to strongly support providing fully funding project-based Section 8 at $9.8 billion as provided by the Senate's FY 2013 T-HUD Appropriations bill (S. 2322), the FY 2012 appropriations levels are still preferable to the HUD and House proposals. The FY 2013 HUD Budget Request and H.R. 5972, the House's FY 2013 T-HUD Appropriations Act, propose cutting funding for project-based Section 8 by $611 million below FY 2012 levels.

HUD Announces Publication Changes

HUD has issued page changes to the Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide Book.
HUD explained that the renewal guide changes:

  1. Discontinue the use of Attachment 20 which allowed the Renewal Contract to which it was attached to be extended. The revised text now permits early termination and renewal of the Section 8 contract upon approval by the Hub Director or Designee.

Legal Updates: Your Cooperative May be Affected

Unless Congress miraculously acts in a bi-partisan manner, the federal government will be forced to have automatic 8.4% across the board spending cuts beginning January 1, 2013.

Our member cooperatives should start to plan for the likely event that those cuts become a reality. What HUD will do and how HUD will handle the cuts is not known at the moment. If the cooperative has a project based Section 8 contract, there is a possibility that individual members’ participation to rent (carrying charges) will rise from 30% to 35%. This possibility and the possible short funding, which we experienced a few years ago, would require Boards with a HUD subsidized or a HUD insured cooperative, to make difficult decisions. It is important for these Boards to begin to plan NOW.

RECAP: MAHC at the Indiana Black Expo
MAHC visits Indiana at the Annual Indiana Black Expo
Jennifer Rhodes

The world of cooperative housing was a hit at the Indiana Black Expo, and the MAHC booth was a success. The concept was well received by attendants who had no knowledge regarding housing cooperatives. We had the opportunity to network with Senator Carson, other politicians, judges, attorneys, insurance companies, seniors, social workers, health workers, and visitors from Alabama, Ohio, Mississippi, Texas, and Illinois.

Are You Liable for the Actions of Your Volunteers?

If your housing cooperative employs the help from any volunteers, you may be liable for their actions. In California a volunteer was supervising an after school group on a non-profit’s property. One boy was getting a little rough during a game, and was admonished several times by the volunteer. The boy did not listen to the volunteer and made a dangerous gesture toward the volunteer, who lightly tapped the boy upside the head and told him to “knock it off and settle down.”

A Message from the President of MAHC, William Magee
Thank you to all the people that made donations in San Diego to the education fund. This fund helps so many people and members of MAHC, and truly makes our organization one of a kind.

I would be remiss as President of MAHC if I did not take the time to thank all the wonderful people that donated money to the educational fund to make it possible so that we can educate fellow cooperatives.
This education is badly needed in this country. Here at MAHC we stand ready to go wherever we are needed because you make that possible.

PROFILE: Harold Rider of Realty Mortgage Company
Harold Rider sits down with us to share his secrets of running a successful, family owned business. RANDALL PENTIUK

Harold Rider, Co-President of Realty & Mortgage Company, is no stranger to the Midwest. Mr. Rider grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and then headed east to attend Colby College, where he graduated in 1988. From there he moved to Wilmington, Delaware where he worked for JMB properties, which was the largest real estate company in the world at that time. Mr. Rider went through JMB’s training program and worked in their office group for a few years before he moved back to Chicago and started working at Realty Mortgage Company.


With summer upon us and warm temperatures abounding, one of the main concerns of housing cooperatives is how to maintain attractive and affordable lawns. It’s time to weed, fertilize, remove moss, and reseed to create “curb appeal”.

For housing cooperatives, this means that the landscape contractor has also been busy readying the irrigation system, doing drainage corrections, removing and replacing dead plants, sweeping, blowing, and mowing. There is a lot to know about how to properly landscape cooperative grounds, and it is important to recognize the difference between “mow and blow artists” aka “lawnscalpers” and true landscape contract professionals.

Avoiding Liability When Selecting Tenants


The federal government recently amplified its pledge to reduce discriminatory practices that limit opportunities for minority groups. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a new rule on March 5, 2012 that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in HUD assisted programs.



It was the cutest little kitten Mrs. Smith had ever seen.  She scooped it up and took it home, back to her Coop unit.  What Mrs. Smith didn’t know is that her Coop had a no pet policy.  Mrs. Smith didn’t bother to read it and no one said anything about her new little kitten.  Pretty soon, Mrs. Smith’s kitten grew up to be a cat and Mrs. Smith would let it outside on occasion.  It also had a nasty habit of clawing the curtains and checking out the garbage.  Mrs. Smith worked a lot and was not aware of where her cat was at all times.  Pretty soon, neighbors began to complain.  Eventually, the fact that Mrs. Smith had a cat made its way to the Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors read on the internet that they could ban all pets in the Coop, and decided to enforce their policy.  They gave Mrs. Smith two weeks to dispose of her cat or else she would be evicted from the premises.

Are Your E-Discovery Policies Up-To Date?        

With the rise of computer use and quickly advancing technology, e-discovery policies are a necessity to protect businesses during litigation. 


With the rise of technology and the increased computer use in the legal profession, E-Discovery for lawyers has become increasingly important.  Whether you are advising your client on e-discovery issues before a dispute arises, or you are requesting or producing electronically stored information in the course of litigation, there are important updates that you should know to help you stay on top of your e-discovery obligations. 

NCBA Brings 150 Cooperative Leaders to White House                 

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwire) -- 05/03/12 -- One hundred fifty cooperative leaders from all sectors of the economy and corners of the nation will meet with top policymakers at the White House on May 4 to discuss how their organizations spur economic recovery through job creation and ongoing investments in their local communities.

Huntington Management

A Michigan Management Company shares the secret of its success.

Huntington Management, overseeing 25 properties with 3,500 units in Southeastern Michigan, adheres to a clear and concise mission statement to keep consistently on point.  The company’s mission is to preserve, maintain and enhance value.  So what does Huntington Management value in Cooperative living? “The biggest benefit of living in a Cooperative is not only cost containment, but the advantage of having an environment of neighbor awareness or a ‘village’ so to speak, where everyone looks out for everyone’s best interest.  Co-ops have a mutual awareness which is not always present in a rental community”, says Executive Director, Cindy J. Jones, who has managed 48 properties in her many years of experience.

MAHC BOARD MEMBER: Nikita Frederick

Although Nikita Frederick is one of MAHC’s newer board members, she has been in the housing cooperative community for years.  Ms. Frederick was first introduced to housing cooperatives while living at Birch Run Cooperative in Romulus, and joined their board in 1989.  She went on to serve for more than 17 years, and became a staple in their housing community.  Ms. Fredericks remembers, “I ran for the board just to see what was going on, but once I joined I saw how important it was to be a knowledgeable board member.”  She went on to serve as a Secretary as well as the President of the cooperative. 

Does Your Housing Cooperative Have a Tenant Selection Policy?

Ensure your policy aligns with HUD, or create your own policy and streamline the application process.  RANDALL PENTIUK

Most housing cooperatives have a tenant selection policy, which helps ensure that tenants are selected for occupancy in accordance with either HUD requirements or state, federal and local laws.  If your housing cooperative is regulated by HUD, then there are specific guidelines you must follow in order to continue to receive government assistance.  If your housing cooperative is not regulated by HUD, then you can use these ideas to create your own policies in accordance with applicable state, federal and local laws as well as the cooperative’s established management policies. 


Kevin Kanoyton, the President of Ralph Bunche Housing Cooperative sits down to share his story

A leader has quietly risen among the ranks to become President of the Ralph Bunche Cooperative in Detroit.  Kevin Kanoyton, a native to Detroit, became the interim president this last March, and was officially elected as the cooperative’s President on March 22.  Mr. Kanoyton grew up in Detroit and cites his grandfather as his biggest role model.  His grandfather taught him the value of good work ethic, the spirit of entrepreneurship, and how to be a good provider and role model for his family.  Mr. Kanoyton graduated from Cass Tech High School in Detroit, and graduated from Madonna University in Livonia. 

Blanket Policies Against Hiring Ex-Cons Could Mean Trouble for Employers

Jane Doe was 19 years old when she was charged with prescription fraud.  The court allowed her to enter into a diversion program and was able to avoid  having a criminal record that would follow her for the rest of her life.  She went on to have a productive career as a nursing assistant until she was fired after seven years of employment at a nursing home.  The Department of Community Health informed her that she was barred for life from working in long-term care because of the drug offense in her youth.

MAHC at the Indiana Black Expo 2012!

Great news! MAHC (Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives) will have a booth at the Indiana Black Expo 2012. We view this as an opportunity for over 200,000 people from all over the United States to get exposed not only to MAHC and what it has to offer but to give your coop a marketing tool that would cost thousands of dollars for this much advertisement.

Dog Wars

Coop loses big on companion animal lawsuits

It was a quiet, peaceful community, until one resident of a housing cooperative insisted on keeping a pet.  Many housing coops do not allow pets in their units.  The member was advised she could not keep her dog, even though the member had a note from her doctor diagnosing the pet as a companion animal for psychological reasons.

Without consulting legal counsel, the Board President took matters into the President’s own hands and directed that the member be evicted.  Upon being sued for eviction, the member filed a complaint with HUD.  HUD’s attorneys got involved, and the member also retained a private attorney.  Suddenly a simple eviction proceeding had mushroomed into a federal case against the Cooperative.  The Cooperative Board got dragged into the litigation and were all deposed; which revealed confusion and finger pointing.  The cooperative retained legal counsel but it was too little, too late.  Rather than advising the client to follow the law, the lawyers were told by the President to fight all the way.  The case went to trial, and the Board of the cooperative was hit with a judgment of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The Board had to obtain a mortgage just to pay the judgment.  

Federal Mandate on Healthcare Taxes Home Sales        

Certain cooperatives and home owners will be hit with a 3.8% tax on home sales starting in 2013

Every day in America, we are used to making purchases and paying sales tax on paper products, prepared foods, vehicles, and now digital downloads.  However, we have never paid sales taxes on the sale of our homes.  It was the one investment that remained untouched by the sales tax, instead it was taxed on a yearly basis according to market value.  That is all about to change.

Bed Bug Infestations                                     

Long believed to be almost extinct, these pesky little night-biters have returned with a vengeance and are headed for a mattress near you.  Bedbug infestations in recent years have increased dramatically in all 50 states, according to the National Pest Management Association.  Last summer, Terminix  pest-control service ranked Chicago as the fifth-most bedbug-infested city in the country. 

What Can Be Done about Bed Bugs?

Exploring alternative methods to preventing bed bug infestation

A few years ago, who would have imagined the increasing chaos that bed bugs are causing? These elusive parasites are very hard to predict and they’re gaining ground in Chicago.  However, they are not un-predictable.

Unfortunately, the most commonly used strategy is a re-active pattern of exterminating when residents self-report (a risky, and unreliable front line of defense).  This repeating process does not allow management to gain control of their situation, while it does provide the bugs with various opportunities to develop an expensive presence from which they can spread throughout the building. 

PROFILE: Marcus Management Company                            

An interview with Ralph Marcus, the President of Marcus Management and a Chairman on the National Board sits down to share his story

“Cooperatively strengthening communities by focusing on future needs and current benefits”, is how President of Marcus Management, Ralph Marcus, describes his mission.  Ralph, a Board of Governor of the RCM program (Registered Cooperative Manager), is part of a long-standing tradition with Cooperative housing.  His mother was one of the first MAHC Board Members, and his son is joining the Marcus Management team. 

Are You a “Known Quantity?

Exploring the unlimited talent that lies within our own MAHC family.      

“IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, IT’S WHO YOU KNOW” We have all heard this cliché phrase in our lifetimes, particularly when looking for a job or a business opportunity.  The question is; why is this one of those “trite but true” sayings that permeates our culture? 

Why do we as employers hire people that we know and feel familiar with? Why do we as employees or job-seekers look to make personal relationships in order to get our foot in the door of our dream company? 

I BELIEVE IT IS BECAUSE, AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE FEEL SAFE WITH A “KNOWN QUANTITY”.   Humans are relational.  We appreciate familiarity, revere safety, and crave stability.
Outside of our careers we build bridges with each other and “do life” with our friends and families.  Inside of work we network to build relationships and forge alliances with our supervisors and colleagues. 


An interview with David Rudicil, the Vice President of MAHC and the Board President of Colonial Village Coop sits down to share his story

Dave “Rudy” Rudicil is a lifetime resident of the Downriver community, which is located on the south side of Detroit.  As the second youngest of eight, he learned not to take life so seriously.  Rudy says that his greatest influence in his life was his mother, who said, “Smile and the world will smile with you; cry and you will cry alone.”

UPDATE: HUD Funding and Initiatives                    

HUD Funding:
The Congressional “Super Committee” was tasked with coming up with $1.5 trillion in debt savings over a ten year period.  Their failure to do so, has forced agencies, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  to implement mandatory budget cuts to  its fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget.  Overall funding for the department will be down $1.1 billion from the net levels in FY 2011.  Expect to see additional across the board cuts of 7% in 2013 and 8% in 2014.

Tips to Help Prevent Misappropriation of Cooperative Monies  


Chicago, Illinois, April 8 -  To supplement the excellent article by Randall Pentiuk in the April 2011 MAHC Messenger on the above subject, it should also be borne in mind that the backup protection, in the event that the advice provided by Attorney Pentiuk does not work, bearing in mind, no systems are full proof, there bonding or crime insurance coverage.

An Excerpt from
101 Ways to Improve Your Cooperative
A Law Primer
By: Randall A. Pentiuk, Esq.


People, pets and parking are the common issues faced by every Board.   Getting a handle on these problems and developing strategies to deal with them will alleviate a lot of headaches among the Board.

HUD Release - Nov. 23, 2011
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

SUBJECT:             Notice H-2011-20 Issued August 16, 2011
Guidelines on Bed Bug Control and Prevention in HUD Insured and Assisted Multifamily Housing


Similar to the laws enacted in Illinois requiring certification of property managers, we may soon see a bill signed into law requiring the adoption of a manager certification program here in Michigan.  The matter was initially presented during the 2010 Legislative session however gained no support.  It was presented again in 2011 with some positive support leading some to believe that a bill will likely be introduced and quite possibly passed by the end of 2012. . . .

Land Survey’s and Refinancing
By Joseph G. Couvreur, Esq.

The refinancing of a cooperative is a expensive and time consuming process. One of the cost associated with refinancing involves the purchase of land survey which is known as an ALTA survey.    Lenders commonly require such a survey. ALTA stands for American Land Title Association and an ALTA survey is a very detailed map which is drawn to specific specifications. . . . .

 International Year of the Cooperative

The year 2012 has been recognized as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) by the United Nations. This is an acknowledgement by the international community that cooperatives drive the economy, respond to social change, are resilient to the global economic crisis and are serious, successful businesses creating jobs in all sectors. . . .

Linville Management Company
N. Kansas City, MO

Linville Management Services, Inc., is a full-service professional management firm with more than 30 years of experience in cooperative housing.  “We work for the governing body of a cooperative -- the board of directors -- and are    responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the property, the job performance of on-site staff, occupancy and marketability of the cooperative and the handling of all accounting . . .

Decrease turnover and build relationships by becoming a Customer service guru    

Every area of life has customers, and the real estate management industry is no exception.  Your tenants/residents,  vendors and owners depend on you for solving problems, saving money and getting things done right—in addition to providing a high level of customer service.

Cooperative Youth Program
Lucille Morgan Williams:

With approval of the board of directors; Lucille Morgan Williams, Clementine Stitt-Wood, Barbara Williams, Pearly Williams and Janice Tillman (none of the Williams are related), the “Summer    Intern” program at the Chicago Cooperative, Hermitage Manor, was implemented.

CO-OP Action- Michigan Alliance of Cooperatives - November, 2011
-Joel Welty

The Occupy Wall Street protestors are right: our global corporate economy no longer serves our interests; the over-paid corporate executives have failed.  We are plagued by persistent unemployment, by relentless inflation of the prices of staples, by lack of new investment in renewable energy,

Congressman Fattah Introduces Bill to Spur the National Cooperative Movement

WASHINGTON D.C., Dec. 15 - Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Congressional leader for the national cooperative movement, especially urban co-ops, today introduced the National Cooperative Development Act.


On October 7th and 8th, Branford Cooperative played host to the MAHC CCD (Certified Cooperative Director) class.  We had almost 40 attendees and every single one passed their test!  We would like to thank Branford Cooperative for playing host and Georgetown Cooperative for sponsoring lunch.  Most importantly, we want to thank all of those who participated – you made this successful!  Congratulations to all of our new Certified Directors!

Professional Profile
Tailor Made Property Services

Since 2002, Tailor Made Property Services has been in business by telling property owners, “you tell us what you need, and we’ll go from there”.  Now managing 16 properties, the Tailor Made name continues to be based on a promise to constantly adapt to each property’s custom needs.  The property services group has implemented what they call the “out of the box” philosophy which is designed to encourage all clients who own property to look beyond the day to day errands regarding people, pets and parking, and think about future goals.  Tailor Made wants to be a part of their client’s vision for the future and aspires to always keep the big picture goal in mind.

An Excerpt from
101 Ways to Improve Your Cooperative
A Law Primer
By: Randall A. Pentiuk, Esq.

These suggestions are for new Board members and serve as a refresher for seasoned Board members, to prepare you for serving most effectively.  Incumbent Board members should pay attention to them in order to be helpful to new Directors.


The KC Connection

On Saturday October 15, 2011, MAHC hosted an educational seminar in downtown Kansas City, Missouri at the Hotel Phillips. Eighty-four participants registered to attend this event which represented twelve cooperatives from the states of Kansas and Missouri.

Board members gave condensed overviews of just a fraction of the educational classes that MAHC offers. Those presented were “The Police and You”, by David Rudicil; “Cooperative Law”, by Randall Pentiuk, Esq.; a Certified Cooperative Director review by Marlene Dau; and “On Cue”, by Bill Magee, which is an interactive class. Attendees actively participated physically and also verbally



If you change furnace filters, make sure this gets done before the cold weather hits.  Also use this time to inspect and clean the furnace.  Make sure flue pipes are in good condition and connected properly, check the heat exchanger for cracks.

Remind Residents to change their smoke alarm and CO2 detector batteries when Daylight Savings Time changes.

Have boilers inspected and cleaned before they are fired up for the season.


By Jennifer Rhodes

As president of a coop, I truly understand how hard and time consuming it can be to take care of your coop. We all struggle with getting members to volunteer for committees, and take    responsibility for contributing to the success of their coop. The best way for a coop to be successful is to get as many members involved as possible.  The best way to accomplish that goal is through committees. MAHC has two classes to help you - “Committee Charges” and “How to get Volunteers.”  I encourage you to attend these classes that will give you the information needed for your board members to get your committees started with confidence, a positive attitude, and make your task easier. .


Karen Mitchell

“My board and myself work hard to keep our property safe and clean so that our children can have a great place to live”, declares MAHC’s new Board Member, Karen Mitchell.  Karen, mother of six     children, and Nanny to 17 grandchildren, is indeed no stranger to hard work.  Born and raised in Gary,      Indiana, she started out working in a steel mill.  When her position was phased out in 1998, she moved into the Grandville Cooperative in Indianapolis and a community activist was born.  She ran for the board in 2003, and has been serving ever since. Today Karen is the chair to the senior services committee and has been the    president at her Cooperative since 2005.


Preparing Co-op Budgets in an Age of Austerity
By Herb Cooper-Levy

As co-op managers and boards begin to think about preparing their budgets, they are faced with a series of new concerns. Co-ops that count on HUD funding for significant parts of their operations have to plan on probable reductions in HUD funding.

The recently enacted debt ceiling limit makes clear that more budget cuts in Housing are likely. While the FY 2011 HUD budget maintained rental and operating assistance, it cut the HOME program by 12% and the CDBG     program by 16%. When it came time for the Congress to adopt appropriations bills for this fiscal year, it was HUD funding that both houses agreed to cut in order to pass the bill. . .


An Excerpt from101 Ways to Improve Your CooperativeA Law Primer
By: Randall A. Pentiuk, Esq.

This section looks ahead to the future viability of the Cooperative and the measures that today’s Board can take to ensure that your corporation enjoys a bright and long future.

                82.          Be aware that there are forces that are hungry to get their hands on your property to transform the Cooperative into other forms of housing, most notably condominiums.  If the Board and membership are truly committed to remaining a cooperative form of housing or, in the case of affordable housing cooperative, there are steps to take that will thwart efforts to convert the Cooperative.  The Cooperative Attorney should provide guidance in this area, which includes amending the governing documents to require a very high vote to alter the form of your Cooperative, and recording a deed restriction in the chain of title that limits the opportunity to convert.


Thank You for Another Successful Conference

The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives recently completed another successful annual conference in Jacksonville, Florida.  Over 200 Board  members and Managers from over 50 Cooperatives made the trip.  MAHC’s commitment to education continued with the Key Note Speaker, Alex Miller of the Southeast Region and over 25 classes offered to members during a four day     period.  Classes  included cutting edge topics like bed bugs, recent developments in Fair Housing Law,  refinancing, effective meetings and recent developments in Coop law.       

James Pierson

Mr. James Pierson has served on the Fountain Court Board for many years and has been President since 1992.  MAHC's newly elected Board Member says it was attending the MAHC conferences that drew him into his current level of involvement.  "Through annual conferences and continued support, MAHC  prepares all its Board Members to work their Cooperatives through top notch service.  The knowledge is presented very simply and if you attend and participate I  guarantee 200% you are going to walk away with a better  understanding of what coops are all about," says James, who hopes to begin teaching at next year's event.

Will Caldwell

Will Caldwell, President of Blackstone Cooperative and Board Member for 20 years, was selling BlueCross health insurance over 20 years ago when he was first introduced to MAHC.  Incidentally, Will met the mother and father of Ralph Marcus, Blackstone Cooperative’s Manager.  After talking with the couple regarding different ways to cut costs in healthcare, they developed a relationship and recommended him for his first board position.  Will immediately began researching financial operations of a Cooperative in a quest to be an educated, well-rounded addition to his Board.

Bed Bugs
A Fact We Have to Deal With

At the MAHC annual educational conference in Jacksonville, Florida, a session was given on bedbugs.  Just the subject we all want to deal with, right?   But one that is a reality that many Cooperatives as well as rental properties, nursing homes, group homes, hotel, motels, and other multi-unit properties are dealing with all over the world.    

By Patricia Walter, Author

“Life changes, goes up and down, you never know until it comes around. We try to smile, through good and bad, depend on friends to keep away sad. The journey is long, the road is rough, faith and hope will be enough. Don’t waste a day in anger or regret keep joy in your heart your needs will be met.”

Professional Profile
A regular feature of the Messenger where we profile one of our professional members
Unified Management Services

Boasting over 30 years of experience and currently overseeing more than 10,000     apartments across 4 states, “Unified by numbers” indeed fits for this company’s slogan.      Unified Management Services is on a mission to consistently exceed the property management expectations of the property owners and residents who they work for.  But how?   President, Kathy Sinicropi, says it’s “the depth of our relationship with our clients that really sets us apart.  Everything we do is focused on the people we serve.    

Carolyn Jackson
MAHC Office Manager

Carolyn Jackson has been with MAHC for a strong 10 years.  She was retired from a Health and Safety position with General Motors, when she began helping out by answering the phones in the main office.  Carolyn, when asked how she got involved in this position said, “They needed someone to do it, so I did it”.  Soon enough, she had taken on every clerical duty you could think of in addition to handling the organizational duties of the annual conference while simultaneously sitting on her Board of Directors in Romulus, MI.  Not quite the relaxing life style most people envision for retirement. 

Violence Against Women Act Subject to Fair Housing Review
Recent guidelines published by HUD make it clear that individuals evicted from housing as a result of domestic violence may have a basis to file a discrimination complaint under the Fair Housing Act.  The Violence Against Women Act establishes protections to victims of abuse and who are subsequently evicted or denied housing.  As a result of its application in relation to the Fair Housing Act, HUD would be able to take complaints filed by victims of domestic violence and determine whether adverse housing action violates Fair Housing dictates based on gender or another federally-protected basis.            

Tips to Help Prevent Misappropriation of Cooperative Monies
As a housing cooperative, often many individuals forget that it is also a corporation subject to various legal fiduciary and accounting principles.  Over time, human nature begins to take precedence over these principles creating too many opportunities for the less scrupulous to take advantage of the corporate accounts.  The results of failures to properly govern and watch over those we entrust with the corporate accounts are devastating.  Simple key undertakings however, will tighten the ship and make it less enticing for someone to take financial advantage over your cooperative.  This article is not intended to be an exhaustive list of financial safeguards, rather, it is a guide to help you first, prevent misappropriation of funds and second, identify items that out of the ordinary.

Professional Profile
A new regular feature of the Messenger where we will profile each of our professional members
Keli Management
How many times have you wished the people you work for, or with, knew what it was like to perform your job?  If you work for Lisa Gamble, President of Keli Management, this wish would come true. Lisa began her climb through the ranks in 1986 as a receptionist for a commercial real   estate company.  She rose steadily taking on roles including secretary, administrative assistant,  bookkeeper, controller, human resources coordinator, office manager, property manager and finally, corporate vice president, before opening Keli Management with her husband, Kenny Gamble, in   November 2010. 

MAHC Board Member Profile  (A New Regular Feature)
Jennifer Rhodes  (Co-State Vice President Indiana, Ohio &Kentucky)
Jennifer Rhodes may be relatively new to her position on the MAHC Board in Indianapolis, but is a seasoned pro at co-op living.  Jennifer moved into her first co-op in 1979 completely unaware that she would later refer fondly to cooperative living as “America’s best kept secret”.  Her desire to constantly educate herself, drove the new tenant to attend a couple of Board meetings where she linked up with like-minded ladies and made her first contribution to associated living.   The small group of women formed the Membership Committee, which, among other things, took the application screening process into local hands.  Today, Jennifer says the most important thing she does is simply take the information that she gains from the MAHC conferences back home and not only share it, but implement it.  It’s Jennifer’s rule that each member who attends a conference has to come back and give a presentation on what they gained.  She remembers the San Diego conference as one of her favorites, as they launched    multiple new classes. 

FHA Proposes Revisions to Regulations Governing Refinancing of Existing Cooperatives 
Earlier this year, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Housing proposed a new rule to revise existing regulations limiting FHA insurance to existing rental projects. 

In summary, the rule addresses the continuing downturn in the multifamily housing market by increasing available refinancing sources for existing housing cooperatives.  The goal is to provide FHA mortgage insurance as a basis to improve the availability of funds and provide a more favorable interest rate.  Such a rule, if approved, will enable existing multifamily cooperative owners to obtain FHA  insurance for the refinancing of existing indebtedness.  The public comment period was scheduled to close April 4, 2011.  More news to follow

Denial of a Parking Policy Accommodation Request Stirs Up Trouble 
HUD has charged the owner and manager of a New York apartment complex with violation of the Fair Housing Act.  According to the charge, repeated denial for a reasonable accommodation in the form of an assigned accessible parking space constitutes a failure to provide equal access to housing for persons with disabilities.  The resident initially requesting the accommodation, suffers from a neurological disease that makes it impossible to walk long distances and maintain balance.

 Board Member Profile (A New Regular Feature)
Cynthia Phillips  Oakdale Residents Cooperative
Cynthia Phillips moved into a Cooperative over 38 years ago and immediately started getting involved. She initially wanted to overturn the existing local board, but after petitioning for change, she decided, “If you can’t beat them, join them”, and was elected in 1980. 

She was drawn in by the fact that she would’t have to worry about cutting the grass or fixing the roof because the Co-op would take care of it.  “Unless I go and punch a hole in the wall for no reason, the co-op will take care of what breaks and this means no unexpected expenses for me”, says Cynthia.  This made her feel very taken care of and she didn’t mind the fact that she would never solely own her entire unit because she feels people never solely own their entire home.  “Even if is paid off, which it probably isn’t, you still have to pay property taxes”, she said.

Basement Flooding
Spring is upon us and with that comes the spring thaw and plenty of April showers.  This translates to a most frustrating period of time for many cooperatives, especially those buildings which are built with basements.  Members are often strongly encouraged to maintain adequate insurance coverage for their unit interiors and the contents, however, some individuals continue to ignore the advice of the cooperative, assuming such a risk is the cooperative’s problem.  This, however, is an incorrect and risky assumption. . . .

Are We Learning?

By: Bill Magee, CCD, ARM, IAP, NAP
President – Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives

I am aware that some of us look at the many educational conferences we attend during the year as a vacation or a chance to go to an interesting city and see things to which we have not yet been exposed.   I would never say that you should not take in a lot of what different places have to offer, but always keep your proper perspective.   In the forefront of your mind should be the many    reasons why your cooperative sent you there in the first place.  Remember you are spending not just your cooperative’s money; it’s your money and your neighbors’ money that sends you to these educational events.   It’s not some distant corporation with no face and no name.   It’s your Coop and the people who elected and placed their trust in you by financing your trip; you owe them something.   Collect all the knowledge you can while in attendance and bring it back, in the Cooperative spirit, to your fellow members.

Restricted Smoking area or No Smoking At All
By: Randall A. Pentiuk, Editor & April E. Knoch, Esq.

On September 15, 2010, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a policy statement regarding implementation of optional smoke-free housing. The policy  statement urges owners and management agents  participating in specific Multi-family Housing rental assistance programs to implement smoke-free housing in some or all of the properties they own or manage. 

MAHC’s Story  By: Carolyn Jackson
In early 1964, the Foundation for Cooperative Housing (FCH) became heavily involved in the functionalities of the Michigan   Association of Housing Cooperatives. Subsequently, securing and maintaining membership was made easier by FHC’s decision to build Association dues directly into the initial budget of new cooperatives.

Congratulation to Frankie Morton
On Friday, November 5, 2010 Ms. Frankie Morton, Board President of Mayfield Green Cooperative in Indianapolis, IN was presented with the 1st annual Cooperator Community    Service Award from the Indiana Cooperative Development Center (ICDC).

 Townhouse Plaza  A Model in the Coop Community
Townhouse Plaza Cooperative is a leader in Cooperative Housing.  A bold, but true statement supported by some pretty staggering facts.

Built in 1967, Townhouse Plaza Cooperative is located in Clinton Township.  Like most Cooperatives some of the benefits included in the Association Fees include gas, water, grass cutting, snow removal and full maintenance.  They don’t stop there however.  As a Cooperative member or Board Member reading this - imagine what it might be like for your Cooperative if you had no Mortgage.  Impossible in this economy?!  Not at all. 

Charity for Charity Sake
“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.” - John D. Rockefeller

They Yappo Community Learning Center located in Walton Park Meadow Cooperative has been helping young people and adults gain independence for some time now.  Mr. Yappo was a resident of Walton Park who had a dream to open a computer learning center that would allow each resident and board member alike learn how to use a computer and help families help themselves, making them more self-sufficient.


Midwest Association of Housing Cooperative's Annual Conference
was held at the Bally's in Las Vegas, Nevada. With more than 300 attendees, 64 Cooperatives were represented, and 10 management companies all convened in Las Vegas May 23-27, 2010.

Miss Tangela Woodley was recognized on the Oak Park High School
billboard because of her outstanding level of academic achievement. She has earned a 4.3 G.P.A and she is in the 11th grade. Tangela is taking her Associates Degree at Oakland Community College,

Success Starts With Teamwork
Annual Board Member Retreat - July 10, 2010 On July 10th, 2010 the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives held its Retreat Board
Meeting in Romulus, Michigan. All board members were able to make this meeting except two. The discussions were lively and productive.
The annual retreat centers around two things:

Conducting Effective and Meaningful Board Meetings. By: Herbert H. Fisher, Esq.

This article is designed for Board members who are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of a board meeting but is principally addressed to presidents in preparing for board meetings, and to entire board's whose assistance is required in assisting the President in carrying out the ideas to be discussed.

The State of Housing Cooperatives in the Year 2010
– By Bill Magee, ARM, IAP, NAP, CCD President Noble Square Cooperative, President MAHC

Cooperatives have good times and bad times the same as any other organization, but the founding cooperative principles
by which cooperatives govern themselves provide them with the power to stay the course.

In this turbulent economic environment we have seen giants of industry fall, entire blocks of homes foreclosed upon, unemployment skyrocket. But Cooperatives' have for the most part been able to weather the storm. What is the key to our survival in this challenging time? Cooperatives by their very nature are frugal and tend to live within their means. The dangers of spending what you don't have and basing your decisions on pure speculation could not have been made clearer than in the last 18 months of American history.

News from one of Our Coops

On September 16, 2009 our Board of Director's Vice President, Said Hakimi and our newest member, Paulette Spencer, received one of Rockville, Maryland's highest honors from the Mayor and Council Members—"The Good Neighbor Award." They have been invited to the Capital City of Maryland (Annapolis) to tour the city, State House,

MAHC Proudly Welcomes Board Member
Anna Howard

My name is Anna Howard, and I have been graciously granted the opportunity to serve on the MAHC Board. I became aware of
cooperative living in 1996 when I moved to Ash Street

Don't be a Discriminator!
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) receives more than 10,000 complaints a year about discrimination. You would think that in the year 2010 we would not have to think about discrimination as an issue. Unfortunately, the world still is not perfect, so we must keep making a conscious effort to change.

Getting Into Techno-Trouble
We all know of a certain Detroit Mayor that was involved in a texting scandal. He never thought that the text messages he sent would ever get him caught, or a certain football player that tweeted about his coach and then ended up sitting for the majority of the season, just to be traded to another team. Celebrities are constantly on twitter updating their status to the world, which has only gotten easier with today's free technology at everyone's fingertips.

Going Green - Saves Green
Whether you believe in global warming or not, the government is giving away benefits upon benefits to energy saving technologies. We all know that natural energy like wind, water, and solar are what our energy sources of the future will be. The newest incentives from the government are from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, along with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. These acts can save you green!

How Much Debt Could a Woodchuck Chuck if a Woodchuck Could File Bankruptcy?
According to the Bankruptcy Code, if the woodchuck is a member of a housing cooperative, he is not going to get to discharge all of his carrying charges, and if there is a possession judgment against him, the automatic stay may not protect him either.

As part of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Act of 2005, charges which accrue during the time the debtor physically occupies the unit, or, for as long as he holds a legal, equitable or ownership interest in the share of the cooperative are excepted from discharge.

MAHC's First Line
The first line of MAHC's mission statement is "To support and champion the cause of quality housing through education ". This is the part that I personally take seriously, which is the heart of MAHC. Members have been requesting more education, and thanks to Marlene Dau, Melanie Phillips and Dino DeMare, three new classes have been developed for cooperative living. Certified Cooperative Director, Manager and Maintenance.

Polly wants a Crack at It?
Cooperatives ban fur bearing animals for many reasons including health, safety and welfare of the members. On the surface, pets are cute, fuzzy and adorable. They cuddle with you and alert you to trouble. They provide the conversations a lot of us crave because they cannot talk back. For all that cute fuzziness however, some pet owners just do not get it when it comes to pet care in a housing community making it necessary to limit types of pets and or all out banning pets

What to Do If the Upstairs Neighbor Clog Dances and Other Trials of Community Living
If you are like every other community, you receive complaints from Members spanning from noise to odor. Understanding that people are unique and expect to be treated that way, a lot of communities struggle with how to handle arguments and disagreements between neighbors. Rules are a good place to start.

Perhaps you recall that radio commercial which ask "Do you know where your children are tonight?" Well now something else has come along that takes that question to the next level for cooperative housing and management agents. The question now being asked is: "Do you know where your email and electronic data are today?" If you don't, you could be in for a rough legal time when litigation comes knocking on your door. What brought about this concern for e-data anyway and why ought you be concerned?

Intoducing new MAHC Board of Director Brenda McElhaney
"The heart of education is with MAHC"

My name is Brenda McElhaney and I have received the privilege to serve on the MAHC Board. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the members of MAHC


The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives Board of Directors and staff have responded to overwhelming requests for new, improved, and extensive training for Directors and their staff

The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives is pleased to announce that new classes they have been working on at the request of their members and comprehensive courses which offer certifications are now ready.

The new classes are announced as follows:
• Certified Cooperative Maintenance Manager (CCMM)
• Certified Cooperative Director (CCD)
• Certified Cooperative Manager (CCM).

Low- Equity Cooperatives = Housing Solutions
As federal housing policy continues its journey into the twilight zone, and the housing needs of low - moderate-, and now middle-income households become more acute, programs that supported low-equity cooperatives, the most successful federal housing programs in the nation's history, continue to lie dormant.

Coops—Ultimate goal is not to make a profit; it's to provide benefits

Don White's smitten with the Park Forest town house he and his wife: Susan, moved into last August. After the couple married in January 2008, they began looking for a home that could accommodate visiting grandchildren and also deliver economic sense as retirement neared.


Spring is when we usually begin to shed our winter pounds. Everywhere I turn, I find people dieting, getting ready to look their best for the summer.

And just as it's important to make smart choices about the food you eat, it's important to choose what kind of people you surround yourself with, and let yourself be influenced by.

You can think of this as you would an Atkin's diet, which values an abundant consumption of proteins, a moderate consumption of good carbs, such as whole grains, and a reduction in bad carbs, such as white breads and sodas.

In the spirit of spring, you should start to think not only about how to make your body look its best, but how to make your sense of self more healthy, both in and out of work


I did not rest well at all the night before April 25, 2009. My phone rang early in the morning; the person on the line was saying to me that it was time to get ready for my trip to the airport. I was glad and sad all at the same time that morning. Halfway to the airport I realized that I had left my ticket and passport at home. The driver had to turn around and take me back home to retrieve the documents before I could truly say that I was on my way.

Once on the plane, I tried to sleep, but I could not because something within my mind kept whispering to me that this attempt to venture into a new direction for the organization could be a disappointment to all who were attending – MAHC's Education on the High C's. Would they feel that their money was spent wisely? Would they get out of it the increased knowledge they were looking for?

Company's coming!" In the small-town, pre-Internet, pre-videogame world that I grew up in, those words were almost always good news. It usually meant that friends or relatives were on their way, and that our family would enjoy visits with people of importance to us. Or sometimes, the company would be more official in nature, such as a local priest or minister, or someone calling from a community business.

My name is Tracey Goetsch and I have had the privilege of being recently elected to the MAHC Board or Directors. I would like to introduce myself to the membership of MAHC

This famous line form the movie Jerry McGuire should serve as a mantra for our onsite managers throughout the Cooperative system. The greeting a person receives when entering our office, whether a member of the cooperative or a potential member, should make them feel immediately welcomed and comfortable talking with our managers.

Cooperative Housing Boards are often faced with difficult questions regarding compliance with
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. There appears to be confusion about the law's application to different types of Cooperatives depending on whether or not they accept Section 8 funds, are built prior to 1973 or have their mortgages insured by HUD. This Article helps Managers and Boards be better aware of the law and what it requires of them in terms of a Cooperative's duty to make physical alterations to their structures and units in order to comply with the law and accommodate members with disabilities. For specific legal advice, however, you should always consult your legal advisor

Accidents happen; it's a fact of life. Every day, residents inadvertently expose property owners
and other residents in the community to a variety of risks. Some are life threatening—such as kitchen fires—and others are simple mistakes, such as accidentally overflowing a bathtub

Every cooperative, regardless of its size, should have an emergency disaster plan which addresses that property's needs. It is the road map by which the membership responds to the crisis, both during and after the specific event. The Board of Directors responsibility is two-fold. First, to protect the lives of the occupants, and secondly, to protect the investment of the membership.

Cooperative Housing Boards are often faced with many questions regarding compliance with
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This Article is the second in a series that helps Managers and Boards be better aware of the law and what it requires of them in terms of a Cooperatives duty to make program changes in order to comply with the law and accommodate members with disabilities. For specific legal advice, however, you should always consult your legal advisor.

As we all know, Cooperatives are formed for many uses; agricultural, retail, grocery, and of course some of the most beautiful properties in the world. They come in all shapes and sizes; high rise buildings, senior communities, town home communities, and much more.

The following list was generated by the National Fire Protection Association. It provides insight as to why, each year, hundreds of people die inside their homes trying to put out fires instead of getting out

Where do we go from here? As a community, we must remember the guidelines of a "higher and better way—the way of shared prosperity" as we seek to improve the lives of all Americans. I believe that a combination of sound, political and business leadership is key to that achievement.

Organizational Success
Every organization regardless of how large or how small they are is measured by its success..
"Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best that you are capable of becoming."
Organizational success is dependant upon its leaders. Always remember that while ability may get you to the top—character will keep you there. Preparation is a key part of how organizational leaders are measured. Are you prepared?

Animals Within A Corporation's Structure
1. Shark—The shark is constantly in motion, always looking for something or someone to devour.
2. Crocodile—Patiently waits in the drinking pond for its prey. The crocodile drags its victims down with it and may slowly devour its victim over a long period of time

8 Ideas to Manage Controversies in Meetings
Inevitably, any organization will encounter controversies with respect to issues or changes under consideration. Controversy as such is not bad, but the way it is handled can determine whether your organization will emerge from the discussions bruised and divided or healed, confident and united

Highlights of the 2007 MAHC Annual Conference
More than 262 participants from nine states convened in San Diego, California May 13—May 17 for the Annual Conference. We offered two extra events for 2007: the City Tour and a Casino trip. The City Tour was an early bird special for members that arrived early for the conference. We filled five buses with 218 people for the Casino trip on Monday .

Protect Yourself From Identity Theft and Scams
Scams are everywhere. However, identity theft and its evil twin, phishing, have become major problems. Strictly, identity theft occurs when someone literally steals your identity. They set up bank accounts, take out credit cards, and borrow money in your name. But related scams include someone using your credit card number illegally, or stealing your PIN and looting your bank account.

Water Quality for You and Your Neighbors
Cross Connections
A cross connection is an arrangement of piping which could allow undesirable water, sewage, or chemical solutions to enter your drinking (potable) water system as a result of a backflow. Cross connections with potable piping systems as a result of backflow have resulted in numerous causes of illnesses and even death.

The Devil is in the Details
Dealing with Co-op Vendors

Cooperative Boards, in discharging their duties, usually award contracts to low bids. They also try to cut corners in entering into contracts with bidders. Obviously, the motivation is to keep costs down for the benefit of their members. That is what they perceive as their job, and they are correct—in part.

But the rest of the story needs to be told. Sometimes the low bidder is not an established, reputable businessperson. Sometimes, the low bid means cutting corners. Sometimes, it spells disaster for the Cooperative.

Highlights of the 2006 Midwest Association of Housing Cooperative's
Annual Spring Meeting
Once again, this year's Annual Meeting held at the Jacksonville Hyatt Regency Hotel on. Sunday, May 19, 2006 was a great success with a turnout exceeding 200 attendees, We also had a "filled-to-capacity" turnout of vendors in our exhibit areas, which fortunately not only bring benefit to the Association but benefit to Association attendees as well. A testimonial to our growth and popularity over the years.

Say It Mean It Do It!
Getting Involved in Your Community

I have lived my entire life along the philosophy that if you say something it should be more than just mere words, it should translate into meaningful actions, as the old saying goes, "action speaks louder than words"

Cooperatives Offer Alternatives
Living in cooperative housing is the best of both worlds, according to Blaine Honeycutt, president of the board of directors at Georgetown Place Cooperatives.

It many cases, it is less costly than buying a house or a condominium, and it provides for a level of homeownership that apartments do not, he said.

Introducing Hope Turner
MAHC Board Director

Hello, let me introduce myself, I'm Hope Turner. I was recently elected in May to the MAHC Board at the Annual Conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

I am the President of the Concord Consumer Cooperative in Trenton, Michigan where my children and I reside

Thinking of Refinancing? Questions to Ask Potential Lenders
A large number of Cooperative Boards are presently exploring the option of refinancing their existing mortgage. Whether motivated by a desire to get rid of HUD, to take advantage of relatively low interest rates, a soft market for construction, a need to improve the property, or any combination of these considerations, the Board must do a lot of homework. We have listed some vital questions that should be answered by the prospective lenders before a selection is made

Take The Boring Out of Board Meetings
It's a board meeting day. You're expected to participate in discussions or give an update about a new initiative or some committee work.

What kind of thoughts run through your mind? "Wow. This is going to be a great day!" "I can't wait to tell them all about the task force results." "Board meetings make my day." Or is your thinking more like this: "Oh no, another board meeting." "I hope we can get a decision." "I wonder if we'll get anything done this time."

Directors and Officers Liability
Congratulations! You've volunteered and have now been elected to your housing cooperative's Board of Directors. Your civic duties will be rewarding but could be a source of unforeseen liability. Disgruntled shareholders in your cooperative may not be appreciative of your efforts and decisions while on the board or acting as an individual officer.

Finding and Electing Good Directors
Central to the success of any cooperative is a board of directors that represents all the members. The board is also responsible for the co-op's long-term future. This makes it vital that directors be free from conflicts—personal, financial or other.

The board is also responsible for the co-op's long-term future

The President Speaks
As volunteer leaders we are an integral part of the game plan of our Association, helping it to grow and providing an objective sounding board for the implementation of the association's agenda to move ahead. In realizing the extent of leverage, it is incumbent on us to use our consensus building skills to help the association reach its goals and objectives. Indeed, the grown of an association is directly proportionate to the collective strength, willingness and ability of its board-the volunteer leaders who truly set the wheels of change in motion.

Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams
What is phishing (fish' ing)? Phishing is a type of fraud designed to steal your identity, it is the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate business in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. In phishing scams, scam artists try to get you to disclose valuable personal information by convincing you to provide it under false pretenses. For example; an e-mail directs the user to a visit a web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, which the legitimate organization already has.

Letter from the Editor
Everybody I have talked to about the upcoming annual MAHC Conference being held this year in Jacksonville, Florida has expressed a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement about being in one of Florida's most beautiful cities, especially since the weather promises to be perfect for the occasion and may I add, just in time for those of us who are suffering from a large dose of "cabin fever" at this particular time, due to the harsh weather we have all suffered through this winter. I know that I am looking forward to being there and hope that I will be seeing you there, as well

The origin of the modern audit committee dates back to 1939 when the New York Stock Exchange recommended that public companies have an audit committee. The role of the audit committee has evolved over time, and not the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires public companies, including cooperatives that register their stock with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to have an audit committee

My Coop Board is confused about proxies and absentee ballots. What is the difference? Can we use either or both? Are they used at membership meetings or board meetings, or both? .

There was some confusion and uncertainty at the last NAHC Annual Meeting on how MAHC casts its votes. The Bylaws Committee has taken the initiative of addressing this issue and will be discussing ways to improve the process so that no cooperative within the MAHC membership feels disenfranchised. We are presenting a proposal for approval at the Annual Membership Meeting in May.

Be nice to the residents. Residents pay the salaries of all onsite employees, like it or not.

Keep the community clean. Pick up all trash or debris. Notify residents immediately when their Patios or balconies are not in compliance with the policies of the community.

Any community can become depressed, listless and out of sorts. Good health is often only a prescription away. Here are some that might improve the overall health and happiness of your community

Share Loans
With increasing interest, Cooperative Boards are asking us about share loans. These are loans that are made by a third party lender to a member usually for the purpose of purchasing a membership share in the cooperative.

First Time Buyers See Dreams Fade
Rock-bottom interest rates and low-down-payment mortgages have allowed more first - time home buyers to fulfill the American dream in recent years, hut some say the dream has turned to nightmare.

A number of inexperienced buyers now face foreclosure, complaining they didn't realize the high cost of home ownership everything from adjustable rate mortgages to hidden taxes to construction detects

HUD Focusing New Attention On Co-op Housing
Q & A

Allen H. Jones was sworn in as senior adviser and special assistant for cooperative housing in the department of housing and urban development in may 2003. Reporting to the federal housing commissioner, Jones serves as HUD's point person for cooperative housing issues and policies, he's the first to fill the position in many years. Jones answered questions on housing issued for cooperative business journal

Message from the President
Happy New Year! 2004 has gotten off to a great start for the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives and I want to share with you some of the things we are working on to improve services to our membership

At the various sessions, a common theme emerged, especially from the attorneys. Don't ignore a leak. Act on a leak and drying conditions within 48 hours. Act on resident complaints of smell or odor. Have an operations and maintenance plan for mold and moisture control.

Cooperator's (Renters) Insurance: Why Our Residents Need It!
"What would you do in the event of a fire? How would you replace your personal property?' If you ask your members those questions, how would they respond?

Mortgage Refinancing
A large number of cooperatives are contemplating refinancing their existing mortgages. Several reasons exist for this. First, interest rates are at an uncommonly low level which makes it rather advantageous to take out a loan, While the existing mortgages are typically low, the rates now are extremely attractive and may not last much longer,

Evaluations Create More Effective Boards
Some years ago a board member said to me, "I've been on the board for 21 years. That doesn't mean I have 21 years of experience. It means I have a one-year experience 21 times.

The President Speaks Some Thoughts For The New Year
Dear MAHC Members and Friends, As President of MAHC, let me take this opportunity to express my personal thanks to everyone for your continued loyalty and untiring dedication to helping us in the continuation of MAHC's very important educational programs, as well as all of the other work we do in an effort to make the housing Co-op lifestyle an even more affordable, safer and more enjoyable experience.

Keynote Speaker Address From NAHC
We, as members of a world community, have been caught up with remembering the tragic events of 9/11; and here I am one day after the anniversary of that deadly event, undertaking to define the significance of cooperative principles in a world of insatiable greed. You will have to judge the success of my endeavor.

What is the Real Cost of Resident Turnover?
Too often we only consider the "hard" or obvious costs associated with completing the make-ready. There are many hidden costs you need to be aware of when you lose a resident. Have you considered the following costs?