Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vancouver, home of Speculators

I found this on Vancouver Condo info, hat tip China bust, it is a legal action brought by investors who purchased units at the Olympic Village and who now want their contracts  rescinded .

They are suing the City of Vancouver.

Here is the list of investors named in the law suit:

ok J. Choi, Il Ho Ahn and Ra Young Choi,
Yen Hai Doan, Tian Gao, Thomas Gisby,
Jung Gu Han and Hyun Joo Han,
Jung Kyoo Han and Sung Sub Han,
In Cheol Jang and Sunkyu Choi,
Heebo Kang and Soon Bin Kang,
Mi Hyang Jin and Yung Jun Kwon,
Mohamad Lafta, Hak Hyung Lee, Flora Kwangah Lee,
Sang Wook Kwang and Hyun Jung Lee,
Kyoung Won Lee and Nam Won Park,
Gordon Mah, Wendy Milligan,
Sook Ja Oh and Mu Hong Oh,
Young Ock Park and Yi Yong Pan,
Young Mi Seo, Shermar Holdings Ltd.,
Susana Yim and Hardy Yim,
Sook Ja Yoon and Eul Byong Yoon

Here is the case, and from what I can understand, the first question is whether the City of Vancouver can be deemed to be the developer of the project. I definitely do not know or even understand the legal intricacies. 

But I am an over-taxed Vancouver resident worrying about cuts to other City-funded services or a Provincial bail-out. I am also a student of the speculative frenzy in this city, where Billions of Dollars of real estate are bought and flipped or bought and left empty.

A few things come to mind:

1) The names are apparently mostly Korean. I don't know whether they are resident in Canada or not. They could be German or Mongolian, but the fact that one ethnic group has so many unhappy buyers, makes one wonder if the project was aggressively marketed to this group by a realtor.

2) Are they end users who have some concern about construction or are they speculators who are upset about the drop in value. ie were they speculating. The GetLegal blog linked thinks they are investors who bought at the top and are now regretting their decision and trying to get out of their obligations.

Certainly there have been a lot of condo projects built in this city which have been late or have had issues. When the market is flying no one seems too bothered, but once it falters the law suits start flying, like Sangrila and now OV.

3) How much more is this going to cost us? What we do know is that when lawyers have the Government as a client, ie the taxpayer, the fees are exorbitant. Let us not forget the defence that we paid for in the Dave Basi and Bobby Virk case which cost us $6 Million, before they pled guilty

To add insult to injury Judge Robert Bauman who IMVHO is a very misguided Judge, refused to allow the tax-payer's watchdog, the Auditor General, to audit the Legal bills to see how come they were sooo high.

Apparently the rights of two individuals who have already pled guilty trumps the ability of the Auditor General to do his job and point out waste and corruption.

What message does that give the legal profession? If you can get a clerk in Victoria to sign off on your billing, you are audit free!!!

I cannot believe what a carte blanche Bauman has given his fellow lawyers!

Once again I say PPP do not work. If the project is profitable, the Private keeps it, and if it doesn't the Public owns it. The financial sharks make sure they write the deals so that is how it works out. The other side of the table are well-meaning but naive councillors and city officials who are no match for the sharks. We are witnessing the result now.

Of course the councillors are mostly gone and the officials still get their bonuses and pensions and us suckers get to pick up the tab.