Firm News

Phaedra Howard wins case for residential cooperative client, judge issues published opinion

Hellmuth & Johnson real estate attorney Phaedra Howard recently won a case for Rolling Meadows Cooperative, a 202-unit cooperative of townhomes in Inver Grove Heights.

In 2015, the coop’s master mortgage was paid off, which resulted in HUD’s control of the coop to end. The result was an incremental increase in charges over several years for some members who had been receiving HUD subsidies. Several coop members refused to pay the increase, refused to sign Rolling Meadows’s amended occupancy agreement and refused to pay related assessed fines. Over the course of subsequent months and years, all situations were brought to a resolution for the coop with the exception of one that continued to languish.

Led by Howard, the cooperative gave the lone member more than every chance allowed to respond and remedy the situation. Those regular and consistent attempts were ignored and legal action was required.

“It was a case that took many twists and turns, but in the end it was all about helping this cooperative be the best and most equitable place it can for all members,” said Howard. “I’m happy I could play a role in getting this matter resolved so the cooperative can move forward.”

As part of the ruling, which was entirely in favor of H&J’s client, Judge Schellhas issued a published opinion that further clarified the rights that cooperatives have. Specifically, once a coop member’s membership has been terminated for cause, that person is unable to have it reinstated by going back and curing whatever defaults or behaviors led to the termination.

“This successful result is an important step for our cooperative,” said Chris Gallahue, Rolling Meadows Cooperative property manager. “We are thankful for Phaedra’s methodical and strategic approach to resolving this situation for our community. I would highly recommend Phaedra Howard to anyone seeking information on cooperative law.”

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