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Anger Management Sagging Economy and a Decline in Civility Are Driving Antagonism

For most people, “foaming at the mouth” is just an expression. Attorney Ellen Hirsch de Haan has encountered the real thing – and not at an animal shelter, but at a condominium owners’ meeting.

A former president who recently had been voted off the board began angrily pacing between the board table and the audience. He got so upset he was actually frothing, the lawyer said.

Hirsch de Haan responded by “circling the wagons.” She explained, “I gathered all the board members around the table, and we talked very quietly.” The man continued to rant and rave. After a few minutes, audience members said, “Hey buddy, would you sit down and shut up? We want to hear what’s going on.”

The man responded by leaving and slamming the door. “The audience burst into spontaneous applause,” said Hirsch de Haan, a managing partner in the Tampa Bay, Florida, office of Becker and Poliakoff, P.A.

When Frasier, the stuffy TV psychiatrist played by Kelsey Grammer, ran afoul of his condo board president, much hilarity ensued. But as condo boards and management staff have to deal with increasing levels of anger – both in their day-to-day exchanges and public meetings (annual or monthly) – it’s no laughing matter.

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