Coop financials show legal fees continue to skyrocket

Our audited financial report for 2013-2014 shows another big jump in legal fees, to $723,710 from last year’s already-high $594,791.

For context, legal fees were as low as $128,636 just three years ago. Had they been kept at that level through FY 2012, 2013, and 2014, we would have had an additional $1.25 million to pay down our mortgage or start a meaningful reserve fund.

The legal fees, according to a March 17, 2014 memo from the board, stem from fighting “illegal dogs in violation of our lease”, and presumably, the federal counter-suit our coop was hit with last December. That federal suit is still in discovery; no court date has yet been set.

Other numbers of interest:

  • As the board noted in that March memo, our insurance costs have increased even though the coop did not submit any claims from Sandy. After holding steady for years at around $750,000, this year’s insurance bill came in at $1,080,755.
  • Contrary to the board’s March memo, fuel costs rose hardly at all, from $4,900,475 to $4,958,485. Remember, high heating costs from the recent harsh winter was cited as the reason for making permanent a temporary fuel surcharge.
  • Apartment resale fees, after peaking at $5,426,278 last year, dipped down $900,000 in FY 2014. Last year’s high was likely due to a backlog of apartments waiting for the real estate market to recover; this year may represent a settling of the market. There were 32 first-time sales and 28 second-time sales in the year ending June 30, 2014. (One year prior there were 55 first-time and 26 second-time sales.)