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The Sponsor’s Voice Is Heard the Loudest

Q.  My 75-unit Manhattan co-op recently adopted an amendment to our proprietary lease banning smoking throughout the building. The change required approval of owners holding two-thirds of the outstanding shares. The sponsor — who converted the building 25 years ago — owns about a third of all shares and voted for the amendment. Fewer than half of the shareholders who are not board members voted for it, so the sponsor’s vote was necessary to adopt the amendment. Isn’t this a case of a sponsor improperly controlling a co-op after its conversion?
A.  The sponsor can vote his shares as he wishes,” said David A. Kaminsky, a Manhattan co-op and condominium lawyer. The fact that the amendment might not have been adopted without the sponsor’s votes, Mr. Kaminsky said, does not constitute evidence of the sponsor’s exercising “control” over the building.

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