Lawsuit against FMCA alleges wrongful denial of membership

A civil lawsuit has been filed against the Fort Morgan Civic Association (FMCA) for denial of a citizen’s membership.

Attorney Cliff Brady filed the lawsuit on behalf of Joseph McAleer, alleging that McAleer, despite his good reputation and having met all the necessary requirements for membership of the association, was wrongly denied membership and had yet to be given a reason.

According to the FMCA statutes outlined in the lawsuit, the requirements to become an ordinary member — also known as a voting member — “are open only to property owners and/or residents in the area known as Baldwin County District 25, which includes Fort Morgan.” -Peninsula. A resident is defined as: (1) a person registered and eligible to vote in Baldwin County District 25, or (2) an individual who owns property or properties in Baldwin County District 25, or (3) a resident individual in Baldwin County District 25 at least 6 months per year, or (4) a legal entity such as a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, trust or similar entity that owns a property or properties in Baldwin County District 25 after the appointment of one representative of a natural person.”

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Although McAleer meets the requirements for membership by owning property in the designated area, according to the complaint, his application for membership was denied without explanation.

“The FMCA is a not-for-profit organization ostensibly formed to advance the interests of Fort Morgan residents residing in District 25. The only requirement for membership is set out in the articles of incorporation and consists of ownership of property, payment of, and approval by the board of directors,” the lawsuit reads.

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As stated in the lawsuit, on June 29, 2022, McAleer applied for membership while paying the mandatory $25 membership dues, which the FMCA accepted.

On July 7, McAleer requested that the books be reviewed and the records in the books copied for the association – a right for every member in good standing under the bylaws and Alabama law.

Soon after, FMCA President George Mitchell McAleer was told, according to the lawsuit, that he could attend meetings but was not allowed to see the records.

As noted in the FMCA’s August 2022 newsletter, the structure of the Board of Directors is somewhat confusing.

George Mitchell holds the seats of President and Vice President, while Greg Strategier and Jamie Strategier hold the positions of Treasurer and Secretary. These four bodies are solely responsible for deciding the fate of a member in relation to acceptance or rejection of membership status in accordance with the Constitution.

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Then, in late August, McAleer sent inquiries asking for confirmation that he was indeed a member in good standing with the association. On August 16, the FMCA, through its attorney, Judy Newcomb McAleer, said his membership application was “pending” and could not be processed because the board had failed to meet the membership requirements.

The lawsuit seeks to declare McAleer a member in good standing of the association while establishing his rights as a member to enable him “to review the books and records of the Fort Morgan Civic Association at a mutually convenient time and at any time.” to inspect and copy relief if the court deems appropriate.”

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