Q. I would like to know if it is legal for board members to share personal and financial information regarding our home in the community with other residents (who don’t even serve on the board – and some who don’t even own property here), but live in the community as renters. We feel that what goes on in executive sessions should ‘remain’ in those sessions, and not be shared as a topic of casual conversation, gossip or threatening with other members of our community. Is this a true and correct belief?
—Concerned About Privacy
A. “The rights and obligations of your board vis-a-vis ‘financial information’ are likely set by statute and your community’s governing documents,” says attorney Elysa D. Bergenfeld of Ansell Grimm & Aaron, which has offices in New Jersey and New York. “Advice in this regard cannot be provided without consideration of both, and without knowing precisely what you mean by ‘financial information,’ which could mean many different things to many different people. Lastly, it is often a misnomer to believe that an ‘executive session’ has any significance at law. It is also a misnomer to believe that for some reason, individual board members are not able to reveal the contents and/or facts of documents reviewed and/or of discussions at a board meeting. It is imperative that you speak with counsel who can help you understand the nuances of all of this, what authorities apply, and how they apply.”