A follow-up this morning on our story about the controversial board elections at the Seward Park Cooperative on Grand Street.
As we reported earlier in the week, an apparent voting machine snafu during last month’s balloting called the results into question. A limited re-vote (in only one of four buildings of the sprawling housing complex) was scheduled for this coming Tuesday. Some residents were outraged, saying a co-op wide re-vote was required. The former board president, Margarett Jolly resigned in protest, telling shareholders that one faction on the board was trying to “force a preordained election outcome.”
Now Tuesday’s re-vote has been canceled. Wednesday night, the board voted unanimously to put the election on hold, probably until the fall. There was no indication whether all shareholders will have the right to cast ballots or precisely when the new election will take place.
Eric Mandelbaum, the board’s secretary, said in a memo distributed last night:
We took (this) action because it was necessary; the goal of a proper and expeditious re-polling was severely undermined by logistical errors and failures in the distribution of the proxy package. These errors exacerbate legal questions surrounding the completion of our 2011 Election. Accordingly, the Board also voted unanimously last night to task Election Chair Bill King with a search for legal counsel with expertise in coop election law… These delays in obtaining definitive results are wearisome and inconvenient for so many cooperators, not to mention candidates, and even Directors. It has been trying for all; and this year, all because of an apparent machine error.
During the meeting, some board members expressed concern about how the story was playing out in the media. A New York Times article on Seward Park earlier this week had Grand Street buzzing. Mandelbaum, an incumbent defeated in last month’s election, said the board originally opted for the limited re-vote on the advise of Arthur Weinstein, the co-op’s attorney.