Nine Island owners opt for change, turn out incumbents

Nine Island Avenue

Under the supervision of state election monitors, Nine Island Avenue condo residents chose a new board Wednesday, rejecting three incumbents.

The new five-member condo board: lawyer Jeff Stokols, recording engineer Michel Webe, philanthropist Blanka Rosenstiel, real estate agent Mora Israel and current secretary Boris Klopukh, the only incumbent returned to office.

The new board quickly met to appoint new officers. They chose Stokols, the top vote-getter, as president, Wehe as vice president and Klopukh as secretary. They nominated Jim McLean, the incumbent treasurer, to continue in that role, but not as a board member. McLean and Klopukh  had tied for fifth place in the election, but McLean conceded his position to Klopukh, rather than compete in a runoff election.

“I yield to Boris,” McLean said.

The nomination of McLean as treasurer was initiated from the floor by former board president Jon Recicar, and advanced on the new board by Mora Israel. The decision to ask him to serve as treasurer was unanimous. It’s unclear if he’ll accept the position. McLean was no longer in the Bay Room when the board suggested that step, and the board decided to make a final decision at its first full meeting.

After officers were chosen, Stokols and Israel called on condo residents to work together.

Here are the vote tallies:

Jeff Stokols: 93

Michel Wehe: 85

Blanka Rosenstiel: 84

Mora Israel: 83

Boris Klopukh: 72

Jim McLean: 72

Cecelia Vasquez: 70

Chris Growald: 67

Richard Goldstein: 59

Jon Recicar: 57

Dmitri Andonov: 17

David Rosen: 7

The counting of ballots took about three hours to complete. The election auditor, Nan Green from the state Department of Condominium Ombudsman office, selected four unit owners to serve as election monitors to assist in opening, verifying and counting ballots. The monitors had to be unit owners, but could not be current board members, candidates or partners of board members or candidates.

“I’m here with Gerry because 15 percent of the unit owners signed a petition requesting that the state sent a representative to ensure you have  a fair and reliable election,” Green told about 35 Nine Island residents gathered in the Bay Room at 7 p.m. Green explained how the counting process would work, what the process would be to certify ballots from records of the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser and books of voting certificates from the condo association.

“We will make sure that the person who owns the apartment is the person voting,” Green said.

Wednesday’s result reflected a backlash at Nine Island over a variety of issues, including a series of assessments during the last six years to cover the costs of repainting the building, renovating the balconies, repairing the roof and other projects. The balcony project in particular resulted in extended delays and cost overruns.

Last week, at a candidate forum, the division among the 11 candidates became clear. You can read a recap of that meeting here, as well as a summary of candidate positions.

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4 responses to “Nine Island owners opt for change, turn out incumbents

  1. Actually, I did not nominate anyone from the floor. I merely informed the Board that the Treasurer did not need to be a sitting Board Member. The nomination of Jim McLean came from the Board.

    Jon Recicar

  2. Actually 9 Island unit owners have opted for inexperience and inaction. They are admittedly clueless to amount of sacrifice and time required to be an effective board. They have callously put their names to slanderous libelous documents. Simply put they have been careless and not done their research and due diligence. How will that translate in their efforts as board members? I bet you my last assessment dollar that nothing of substance is accomplished this year and that the hard work put in by the previous board and committee members will be shelved. This was all driven by financial fears and the desire not to be further assessed. Well you know what we are — a 30-year-old building that does not fund reserves. The only way that much needed maintainence is funded is through assessments. This is not a change for the better – For the most part the new board is a joke…and we are the punchline.

  3. Michael Koetting

    I agree with Raz. It is really too bad that the previous board’s diligent efforts in planning for numerous badly needed upgrades (which were rightly put in motion to improve our lives at 9 Island) are now in jeopardy. What about all the time and money already spent on these projects? Can it be true that residents actually voted for the new board members, who seemingly offered nothing in terms of vision or process for these projects, with the hope that they will improve our community? These new board members through their written statements complain about the quality of life at 9 Island and their “investments,” yet are the same ones who complain about spending any of their money on improvements which will actually increase property values and our quality of life. 9 Island is a beautiful building, unsurpassed by most any other in south beach in terms of location and outdoor space. Let’s hope this board does not resort to negligent inaction and penny pinching, which will get 9 Island nowhere. Next March is another election day.

  4. Pingback: Nine Island fires Continental Co., see the video « Belle Isle Blog

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