I have diligently marketed the property both as a rental and as a sale. The co-op board has turned down 1 potential tenant and 2 potential buyers.
Apparently getting a buyer or renter approved by a co-op board can demand some ingenuity and subtlety:
Did your co-op board tell you why your prospective tenant and buyers were each rejected?
Ideally I would have liked to sell my shares but at this time would be very willing to let the co-op have the apartment back, pay off the past due balance, have no further benefit or responsibilities involving the co-op.
I doubt they even have any way to do that. You could read the co-op documents to see if the rules allow for that; almost certainly they don't.
My guess, based on what you have told us, is you just have to work harder (and perhaps smarter) at selling or renting the unit. Do your best to find out or figure out what this board is looking for, and to find buyers that fit. Maybe now that you aren't paying the maintenance they will be a bit less picky about prospective buyers - ?
My wife and I moved out of NJ earlier in 2012 in order to further lower our cost of living.
Is it really costing you less to live where you live and pay the maintenance on this empty apartment than it would cost to live in the apartment? You'd have to be saving enough money on everything else to more than make up for the entire cost of the new place. That's tough to do, unless you're living with family for free or close to it.
Obviously, if you can't commute to your job from the co-op, that'd be a little problem with the moving-in idea.
All the months of maintenance you're failing to pay are going into a ledger of what you owe. I read that you have to wait 8 years after completing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy before you can file Chapter 7 again, and 4 years before you can file Chapter 13. In that time you are vulnerable to wage garnishments, bank account levies, liens on property, etc. So you really want to do your best to pay those monthly maintenance dues, and therefore get the place either sold or rented out for enough to cover your costs as soon as you can.