Dear Paul: I found out that our Board of Directors had a meeting last week at a local restaurant. In the process, they had a nice dinner and a few bottles of wine at the condo corporation’s expense. They justified this by saying that they deserved it because of all the volunteer hours they put in on behalf of the owners. I think this is wrong and illegal?
Dear S.Q.: There is no doubt that conscientious directors will devote many hours to fulfill their responsibilities. However, you should ask if this has been a common practice over the years. Is this something that happened once, or on multiple occasions? I am not aware of any law that would specifically prevent them from doing this, but you should consult your Bylaws to determine if it is an approved practice. Was it budgeted? If your Bylaws do not address the board’s perq, then, in my opinion, it is unethical for the board to line up at the buffet table. While directors may have the authority to spend the corporation’s money, it should not be for their personal benefit. This type of behaviour borders on conflict of interest, or misuse of corporate funds since they are deriving a personal gain from their position at the expense of the owners. If this gets out of hand either because of the frequency or the cost of such outings, you may want to request a special meeting of owners to discuss the board having meals on the house. Good luck!