Saturday, October 19, 2013

oh, i knew that

How do you spot a liar?   

How do you fight a liar?

This is something that I have been struggling with for a long time, and only recently has it become a problem in my own home. 

A few months ago I was asked to sit on the board of directors for the condiminium of my residence.  I had run for the board, but was not succesfully voted on.  One member resigned after the most recent AGM, and as I recieved the second most votes, I was asked to sit until the end of the term which would be in 8-10 months (depending on the AGM).

My only experience with the board prior to joining was when I ran into 2 of 3 Directors in the parking elevators after the initial AGM a few years ago.  I greeted them and was greeted with the following;

"Who did you vote for in the election?"

Not 'hello', or 'how are you?', but an agressive statement which had me on my heels.  At that point, I made a quick judgement call that these Directors were primarily interested in power.  Finding out who was on their side and who was not.  What other reason could there be for such an unorthodox greeting?

In the most recent AGM each candidate was given a chance to speak.  The candidate who spoke before me (the winner of the "vote") was actually asked to stop by the crowd because he was rambling.  

At the time I went up and started to speak, the same two board members who had greeted me in the parking elevators started speaking amongst themselves behind me while I attempted to speak.  I say attempted because their conversation was audible enough for me to turn around, look at them until they stopped talking, and then return to face the audience for my speech.

Now, my speech was nothing of consequence.  It was the general, this is who I am, this is what I would stand for, proper governance and transperency.  But I was told by multiple parties afterwards that I had spoken quite well, and I felt that I had given the best speech,  the fact that I was the only candidate who didn't read off a piece of paper did help.

Once the votes were counted, something interesting happened.  The lawyers reading the vote results stopped, looked up and stared right at me.  At that point I knew that I had lost and I knew exactly why.

A few days before the election, there was a coffee club meeting where some of the candidates were given a chance to meet with residents and introduce themselves.  At that meeting were myself and the winning candidate.  Along with the same Director who was in the parking elevator and speaking outloud during my candidate speech.  

This Director made his support for the winning candidate known.  In fact, he didn't even mention that I was there or running.  That's fine, I don't need him to know who I am, but I did know where he stood as a result of his words.

Back to the election; in order to have a quorum, proxy forms were signed and handed out by residents who did not attend the AGM.  Their votes, if left blank went to the incumbent board of directors.  It is safe to say that none of their blank proxy votes were in my favor.   I finished second in the voting.  The proxy votes accounted for 1/3 of the votes and there were only 3 candidates running.

After a few days I was called in and asked to join the board by the property manager.  I took a day to accept, but I did.  This being a volunteer position, my only interest was to ensure that proper governance was in place and that the corporation was financialy sound.  As it was a new building, maintenance fees were low, expenses were also low, so the corporation was flush with cash.  But that cash would be needed in the future so  unnecessary  spending would need to be looked out for.

However, once I was on the board the lies started to begin.  

I'm not going to bore you with all the lies, I'm just going to highlight one as the most recent example of the outragousness that goes on.

And it has to do with Apple Quicktime.  

Property management was given a file by an outside party and their PC recognized the file as being in Quicktime format.  The property manager asked me (being in IT) if I could help with it.  

At that point the liar spoke.  The same man who had confronted me in the elevator, spoke while I was giving my speech, and who on one occassion had lied to me directly by saying he had handed me a document which he clearly had never done so, said this about Quicktime;

"I know what quicktime is."  He then started using his hands to help explain.  He held one higher than the other and then as he spoke he brought one down and said, "Quicktime is a type of camera where they take this picture on a camera through a tube." 

At which point he brought one hand forward as though he was putting it through a tube and made a sound "And pfff, the camera goes quick through and they take the picture and they pull it back through the tube"  at which point he returned his hands to his starting position.

I was flabbergasted.  Not only was he not asked the question, but he decided to jump in and speak and, quite frankly, speak right out of his ass.  

I ignored what he said and told management what Quicktime really was and that I would be glad to help.  After I finished speaking the liar said,

"Oh, I knew that."

In this experience I have learned one thing.  If a person says "I know that" more than actually stating what "that" is, they're probably a liar.