Monday, March 30, 2020

Alarming Discoveries at Mint and Master Associations

Dear Riverfront Unit Owner,  [For SPANISH translation version click here]

These are very challenging times in the face of the most contagious pandemic in our lifetime. There are obvious implications with regards to physical and financial well- being. We hope that you and your family are safe during this crisis.

This letter is to speak to you as fellow investors at the Riverfront Condos. If the financial crisis of 2007-2008 was devastating, indicators suggest the fallout from coronavirus could be catastrophic on many levels. So how do we protect our investment?

We are a growing number of concerned unit owners gathered to address the leadership surrounding our financial investment at the Mint, Wind, Ivy and Master Associations.  To endure the impact and to minimize damage of COVID-19 requires leadership that is capable, transparent and ethical. Alarming events in past months have raised grave concerns about the current leadership, particularly at the Master and Mint Associations.

For example, Mint owners received an email on Sunday March 29 listing all the improvements made at the building without a special assessment or significant maintenance increase. For any person who has owned and lived in a condo for many years and closely follows the operations alongside the budget, knows this is not something to be proud of.  Quite the opposite. It is cause for great concern.

As investors, we must look beyond the superficial, beyond the glistening aesthetic appearance to understand the financial soundness.  The discovery of unapproved actions and expenditures and unnecessary maintenance increases has set off alarms.  For financial well-being or even survival as we enter turbulent times demands new leadership, a new board of directors with core ethical principles.

Upon receiving a copy of the Master Association budget a number of red flags were raised. 
· Why is there a 56% increase in utilities when the average FPL increase is well under 10%?
· Why is there a more egregious 80% increase in water usage?
· Why did the Master board assign the only 2 marina boat slips to themselves (to the Mint President and the developer), without opening it up to owners of Association when we have 1500 unit owners?
· Why should the Mint President (Troy Taylor) only pay $1200 per year for the boat slip, when the average market value is $7-10k/month?
· Did you know the Mint & Master President Troy Taylor benefits from the Marina by earning $7-10k a month from sublicensing the slips to outside persons? Are you aware that sublicensing to non residents is against the bylaws of the Master?
· Why do we have to pay an increase of 36.2% for the Master Association while the Mint President pays ZERO increase for his marina boat slip, whose “rent” goes to the Master Association?
· Why did we pay over $200k for the Marina improvements but we are not earning any revenue from it to offset other costs? This could lower our maintenance!
· Why is there no expiration date on the marina lease with the Mint President? It is an evergreen contract, automatically renewed each year.
· Why have we been paying for the water and electricity for the yachts? Is this why our water bill is up 80%?
· Why are Master Association meetings only conducted weekdays during the day while most owners are at work?


You may have noticed the dark artwork in our light, airy lobby. Did you know we are “renting” the artwork from the artist in Atlanta for $5,300 a month? This is highly unusual.  Why rent when the artwork sells for $5k to $10k? In our findings we learned that Troy Taylor is part owner of an art gallery (ZuCot) in Atlanta that represents the artist Julio Mejia. Payments for the rent are sent to Art Premiere Inc., with the same address and phone as the gallery. There was also no Board meeting to discuss or vote on this $64k a year expenditure to inform owners.  Isn’t this against the bylaws? Payments have now totaled $85k to date. We appreciate fine art and décor but who is really benefiting? Where is the transparency?

Why replace the beautiful mirrors in lobby with this harsh artwork that is costly?
Where are those mirrors?

Casa Design 
The remodeling of our hallways  has commenced this month (March 2020) with  Casa Designs + Interiors Inc (an unlicensed contractor). Casa Design was awarded the $1.3 million project to remodel our hallways even though some Mint board members felt concerned with the appearance of the board having a personal preference with the contractor Casa Design and that they felt uncomfortable approving the job with Casa Design. Click here to learn more

So why did Casa Design get the job?

Structural Defects
So how is the Mint able to undertake so many projects totaling millions of dollars without a special assessment?  One possible answer: Money that was suppose to fix structural defects is now going to aesthetics like the hallway remodel. This is a natural concern as it involves structural soundness and safety. Click here to learn more.

Isn't this negligence? 

Why spend money on artwork 
and instead use funds towards fixing structural issues?

Missing Published Minutes of the Meeting
In 2019 there was more than one Board meeting held where Minutes (documentation) of what occurred have never been published. Why? Could it be that a board member came with a thick file and wanted to share some concerns about the Mint President Troy Taylor? The manager follows directions of the President and perhaps was instructed not to publish the Minutes. Owners are encouraged to demand the minutes be published and approved by the board as soon as possible in a board meeting. 

In November the Riverfront Master passed a $1.9 million budget which represented a  36.2% increase. The Mint & Wind associations never sent an email to their owners advising about this important meeting to discuss the significant $400k increase before it was passed. A notice may have been legally posted but it was not clearly visible. Two Mint owners attended as they learned about it from our neighbors at the Ivy. Only the Ivy management sent an email to their owners.

We believe in improvements for a better and stronger security, but the bulk of the increase for the security at the Master Association was for a new security team which has not proven to be any better than the previous team. We believe in improvements of our beautiful condominium, but not at unnecessary costs and risk of physical harm. We believe it is time to pare down exploding budgets and make board members accountable!  Therefore, we need a change for more transparency and revised ethical procedures to benefit all owners, not just select board members.
What is the fastest, best, and most cost effective way to change this? Through elections! The Mint elections are coming up in May.  The Wind elections are at the end of the year.  


PLEASE visit the website to learn important details:

On this website you will find official documents such as the association budget, the marina leases, and amendments.  Please visit this website regularly for updates.

Important Next Steps for MINT OWNERS:

1. WE NEED YOU. Please consider running for the board of directors! You do not need to live here to contribute. Board members can phone in. But our association needs new leadership!  You may run for the Mint Board or serve as representative to the Master Association or both. Candidate forms have been sent by the Mint Association. You should have received it in mail.

2. REQUEST ELECTRONIC VOTING.  It´s affordable and easy to add. More associations are switching to electronic voting. To implement this system, you must email the Mint Manager formally requesting that the Mint Association switch to electronic voting. This will help ensure unit owners abroad have a chance to vote in their investment instead of relying on paper ballots that take weeks to mail and risk arriving after elections. 

3. PLEASE VOTE. Even if you do not run for the board, the most important step is to VOTE in your upcoming elections in May.  We need over 100 votes! If not enough owners vote, the current board automatically remains.  YOUR VOTE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO REACH QUORUM.

4. STAY INFORMED. Please send your name, unit #, and contact phone number via email to to be added to the distribution list for important updates.

Please do not hesitate to ask any questions via email! We understand this can be confusing.  A Mint owner (non-board member) will be more than happy to reply.

Please be safe during this pandemic.

Concerned owners at the Riverfront Condos, Miami FL

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