The mess at Murrayville has caused hardship for dozens of prospective homebuyers, as one B.C. Supreme Court judge noted last April, calling the situation a «house of cards» that «quickly disintegrated.»
A pair of cases are moving ahead against Mark John Chandler, with the Metro Vancouver condo developer facing regulatory enforcement close to home and potentially criminal prosecution south of the border.
Last week, B.C.’s real estate watchdog posted a formal notice of hearing, alleging Chandler mishandled more than $10 million of deposits from home buyers for a Langley condo project. And Chandler has a court date this week in connection with the U.S. government’s request he be extradited to face charges of defrauding real estate investors in California.
B.C.’s Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate, the government agency that oversees and regulates the province’s real estate sector, set out the allegations against Chandler and a numbered B.C. corporation of which he is the sole director, in the notice posted last week. The regulator alleges Chandler and his company committed misconduct in connection with the Langley condo development known as Murrayville House, including mishandling deposit funds and failing to provide adequate disclosure to purchasers.
The allegations are not proven and a hearing date has yet to be determined.
Chandler is to be in B.C. Court of Appeal on Friday for his appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision last year that moved him one step closer to extradition to the US.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted an “investigation into a fraudulent investment scheme involving Mr. Chandler,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Duncan wrote last March in her reasons ordering Chandler committed for surrender. The dealings at the centre of the U.S. allegations date back to 2009, Duncan wrote, and “the essence of the alleged fraud is the FBI’s belief that Mr. Chandler pitched a highrise condominium development to be built on South Hill Street in Los Angeles as an investment to a variety of people (termed ‘victim investors’).”
Duncan ruled the U.S. had established an initial case against Chandler. Chandler was briefly arrested, then released a few hours later after he was granted, bail.
His veteran Vancouver lawyer, Michael Bolton, declined to comment on Chandler’s case ahead of Friday’s court date.
Last March, a federal Justice Department lawyer, John Gibb-Carsley, raised the B.C. regulator’s investigation into Murrayville House while arguing against Chandler’s release on bail. The B.C. findings, Gibb-Carsley said, raised “concerns that some of the same conduct that underpins the request for extradition is alleged to be occurring here.”
In the months since Chandler’s extradition hearing last year, Gibb-Carsley has appeared in international news in his role as federal Crown prosecutor on the case of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, whose extradition the United States is seeking.
Gibb-Carsley also told the B.C. court last year that the Langley RCMP had opened a criminal investigation into Chandler’s dealings involving Murrayville House.
On Monday, Langley RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Holly Largy said the case is still open.
The Murrayville House development was already entangled in several lawsuits in October 2017, when the B.C. regulator issued a public alert and the court ordered the property into receivership.
The mess at Murrayville has caused hardship for dozens of prospective homebuyers, as one B.C. Supreme Court judge noted last April in a judgment on one civil lawsuit, calling the situation a “house of cards” that “quickly disintegrated.”