Monday, March 26, 2018

Radburn Primer - A Brief History of Dysfunctional Governance

I thought it would be beneficial to provide some historical context about how we got to the situation we're currently in. I'll keep it brief and will do my best to refrain from editorializing. 

  • In 2004, the trustees voted in secret to approve the sale of Daly Field to Landmark. This resulted in outrage in the community and sparked the formation of the Concerned Citizens for Radburn's Future (CCRF), a pro-democracy advocacy group that sought to protect Daly Field from being sold and developed, and advocated for democratic reform in Radburn.
  • In 2005, June Meyerson (RCA President) filed a complaint with the DCA alleging that the Radburn Association was not following the law as per PREDFDA. This was done in response to large legal fees that the RA was spending in order to resist conforming to the PREDFDA statute. More info can be found at
  • The DCA letter to Radburn can be seen at The DCA later ended up dropping its complaint 
  • In 2006, a group of residents, led by Kathy Moore, filed suit against the Radburn Association (Moore v The Radburn Association) that sought to challenge the governance structure and lack of financial transparency. 
  • In 2008, the court ruled in favor of the Radburn Association with regards to the validity of the system of governance and nomination procedure. However, the court also ruled that the RA needed to amend its bylaws to conform to GAAP accounting principals as required by the NJ Condominium Act, and to also provide financial disclosure to residents.
  • In 2009, the ruling was appealed to the NJ Superior Court.
  • In 2010, Judge Contillo affirmed the ruling of the lower court and concluded that Radburn is a Planned Real Estate Development (PRED) in the context of PREDFDA (
Judge Contillo's ruling also included this statement (emphasis added):
"Characterizing Radburn's current system of nomination as oligarchic or paternalistic or elitist or being out of step with the times does not, in my view, render it illegal. The system at Radburn has not been shown to be unfair or unreasonable or otherwise illegal, notwithstanding that it doesn't allow for nomination by petition or write-in. It is not for the Court to say whether the system is wise. Had the legislature intended to impose open petition and nomination, under Title 15A or via PREDFDA, it could easily have done so. I can divine no legislative warrant for the mandatory restructuring of Radburn and therefore decline to impose it by judicial order. If the unit owners want reform, they must petition their elected representatives in Trenton."

  • In 2015, under Scott Bray's leadership, the Radburn Association secretly hired a lobbyist to oppose a bill in the NJ legislature that was being written to bring democratic nominations to common interest communities. More info can be found here.
  • In 2016 Radburn United was formed as an advocacy group for Radburn residents. 
  • That same year, RU organized many meetings between concerned residents and Senator Bob Gordon. The result of these meetings was a bill that was introduced to the NJ legislature, co-sponsored by Senator Kevin O'Toole, the purpose of which was to require democratic nominations for all common interest communities. 
  • In May 2017, prior to the final bill being signed into law, Marion Paganello called for a members' meeting to vote on a new set of bylaws that were secretly written by herself, Don Morris, Art Zucker, and maybe one or two others. The meeting was an orchestrated event designed to scare members into voting in favor of something that they were not given enough time to evaluate, discuss, and make changes to. Proxy votes were then used to sway the final voting tally in favor of those amended bylaws.
  • In July 2017, the Gordon bill, which was unanimously voted in favor by both branches of the NJ legislature, was signed into law by Governor Christie. 
  • In their haste to vote on new bylaws based on a bill that was not yet finalized, the Radburn Association's May amended bylaws were (and still are) not in compliance with PREDFDA, nor were they filed with the county clerk.
  • In November 2017, elections for the BOT were postponed indefinitely.
  • In January 2018, RU filed an extensive complaint with the NJ DCA, and also named attorney Art Zucker in the filing, alleging significant violations of state law. You can view the complaint here
  • On March 2, 2018, the NJ DCA responded to the complaint filed by RU and ruled that the May 2017 bylaws are illegal and not in effect. Read the response
  • On March 14 2018, in a letter addressed to the board, Marion Paganello resigned her position as President and her seat on the BOT. Her resignation was subsequently communicated to residents by way of the Radburn Bulletin on March 21, 2018.
  • On March 20, 2018 the Radburn Association's insurance attorney responded to the DCA complaint and stated that the DCA has no legal authority to rule on the RA's bylaws. Read the response.
  • As of March 26th, 
    • We have a 4-4 split board.
    • We have no idea when elections will be taking place.
    • We have an active complaint filed with the DCA.
    • We do not have a definitive resolution as to which set of bylaws are in effect.

Hope that helps provide some more context regarding the events that have transpired over the past 14 years.

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