Kimberly Bois doesn’t see herself as a martyr or someone who is now at the center of a bitter legal dispute over property rights with her condominium association board after she planted flowers and shrubs in front of her unit.
If anything, Bois, who works as a marketing manager in Massachusetts, would like nothing more than to see the dispute get resolved so she could sell her unit and move.
“In all honesty, I wish I just let them have their way so I could have sold my house and just move out,” said Bois, who lives at 20A Albacore Way.
But now the Atlantic Pointe condo owner knows this is a legal battle she must fight to the end because there are thousands of dollars at stake in legal fees, penalty assessments for allegedly being in violation of the condo bylaws and her own attorney’s fees.
She and another condo owner who also planted flowers and shrubs have hired Portsmouth Attorney Paul McEachern to represent them in the condo board suit.
The key issue that a judge could be asked to decide is whether the permission that Bois and three other condo owners received from the condo builder in 2008 that they could plant flowers and shrubs in front of their units supercedes the bylaws that the condo board created after its formation in 2010? Bois firmly believes it does.
“Why would I ever think that this was a temporary grant or permission?” she said. “If I knew, then I wouldn’t have spent the kind of money I spent to put those flowers in the ground.”
In the spring and summer of 2009, 2010 and 2011, Bois maintained her daisies, bearded irises, lavender, hydrangeas and tulip bulbs and often drew praise from her neighbors, some of whom serve on the condo board.
Bois said she tried several times to resolve the dispute by offering to pay either $3,000 or $2,000 to the condo board and to remove the plants herself, but she said the condo board refused and demanded that she pay all of their $8,000 in legal costs as well as the assessments she has been charged for each month she has allegedly been in violation of the condo association bylaws.
“Every month I get a certified letter of what my assessments are and I’m up to $5,500,” Bois said. “it’s kind of like they sucked the joy out of owning my first home.”
When the story about Bois’ legal battle broke on Sunday, Bois said she received several e-mails, letters and phone calls from Portsmouth area residents pledging their support for her cause. She has also been bombarded with interview requests from newspapers and television news stations from throughout New England and elsewhere. During her interview with Portsmouth Patch, she received a call from a television news station in Davenport, Iowa.
But Bois’ newfound celebrity is not enough to make the pain of the legal dispute feel any better. She also doesn’t know how her case will end up.
“I have no idea. I just know I didn’t do anything wrong and I tried to do what was right and I didn’t like being called a violator in front of the other homeowners,” Bois said. ‘I’m really upset about it.”
She also believes the condo board has abused its power and if she wins the court case, then all of the condo owners who were granted permission to plant flowers, add storm doors or porch railings by the condo builder would have to remove them.
“It’s really scary that five people have so much power to make people unhappy and ruin their credit by putting liens on their homes and just be such bullies.” Bois said.