Is it OK for members of a condominium board to interpret record access laws as it wishes if it decides that unit owners making the requests are working against it?

That’s one of the questions that will be answered by a Palm Beach County circuit judge in a contentious trial underway between the longtime officers of the Boca View Condominium Association and unit owners Eleanor and Edward Lepselter over a request to inspect how money is spent at the four-story, 72-unit complex, located just a few blocks west of the beach in Boca Raton.

It’s the same association that secured a $395,554 judgment last spring against another unit owner, Eileen Breitkreutz, a single mother it sued over her 2016 record request.

The trial, which started Thursday in a West Palm Beach courtroom, stems from a Feb. 6, 2019, request by Eleanor Lepselter, also signed by Edward, appointing attorney Jonathan Yellin’s law firm, Backer Aboud Poliakoff & Foelster as their representative authorized to conduct a record request on their behalf.

On the same day, Yellin, one of the firm’s attorneys, sent his own letter advising that he was representing Eleanor Lepselter and planned to conduct a “forensic audit” of the association’s financial records. His letter said the couple planned to file a petition for arbitration with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation if the board failed to make the records available.

The state’s Condominium Act obligates condo boards to provide records access “to an association member (unit owner) or the authorized representative of such member.”

Boca View Condominium Association, which secured a $395,554 legal judgment against one of its unit owners, Eileen Breitkreutz, pictured, last spring, is back in court fighting another unit owner who claims the associations board violated condo record access laws.

On Feb. 22, 2019, the association’s property manager, Eric Estabanez, emailed Eleanor Lepselter, setting the following Monday as the date that the records would be made available. The email stated that only Eleanor, and not Yellin, would be allowed to inspect the records.

When Eleanor Lepselter showed up at the property manager’s office with Yellin at the appointed time, Estabanez said that only she would be allowed into the room where the records were assembled.

Yellin protested, telling treasurer Giuseppe Marcigliano, who was also present, that state law required access for unit members or their authorized representatives.

Eleanor Lepselter and Yellin testified at the trial that Marcigliano told them, “That’s your law. Not my law. I don’t give a s--- about your law.”

When asked about the statement in court, Marcigliano told the Lepselters’ attorney, Christopher Salavar, “You’re a liar.”

But then Marcigilano said, “I said that to terminate the conversation. I didn’t want to talk to [Yellin] anymore. He’s obnoxious.”