Let me tell you, it is really hard to write about anything even remotely close to the issues surrounding developers and builders, as they all have proven to be much more happy paying litigators to shut people like me up, than to simply “do the right thing” and settle with the consumer.
If you think that there is any “integrity” at any level within Condoland you are seriously confused!
I’ve confessed to not being a big fan of lawyers (other than Myles Waxman, my personal and real estate lawyer and personal friend) repeatedly over the decades of my blogging, initially under my simplycondos.com banner and now under simplycharles.com.
The main reason for this is grounded in my personal lack of education because lawyers and specifically litigators are highly educated, “so-called” professionals where unfortunate, “non-credentialed” souls like me are looked down upon (in most cases legitimately but there’s always exceptions to every rule).
I see their educations wasted, being applied to fight illegitimate battles for unworthy clients . . . . for pay.
For decades I’ve worked hard trying to publish “meaningful real estate (primarily) information“, but every time I would publish something, these highly educated “flimflam men/women in suites” attack me, (consistently falsely) alleging “that I have Libled their client“.
They do so to clearly shut me up.
I’ve been battling for years to simply stay alive as an entrepreneur as many or even most entrepreneurial endeavours land up on the slippery slopes of fights.
When it comes to fights, I have proven myself as actually rather good at holding up my side.
I learned how to win decades ago, from being beaten up a few times.
That’s alright with me as that’s the only way I’ve learned . . . . by losing fights in the early days (it’s no shame to lose to professionally trained litigators but I gave that up years back).
When I decided to blog about Condolnd, I studied and read numerous books on “Liable Law in Canada“, and was relieved to discover that in Canada you can always “represent yourself” a strategy that takes away their usual blackmail chip of forcing you to hire a highly paid litigator to represent you.
That is, of course if you have the stomach for it.
I actually enjoyed fighting and simply saw it as a strategic option and part of being successful.
I saw and continue to see, these litigators burdening innocent consumers whose only alternative is to seek satisfaction in the court system (a highly costly, and burdensome path for average consumers) by simply requiring them to hire a lawyer.
Most consumers can’t just cough up then grand or so as a “retainer“.
Have you ever heard the phrase “innocent until proven broke“?
In Condoland, you get jerked around from the moment you see that article about some upcoming “world class condo” not realizing that that “editorial looking” announcement was actually a page purchased by the developer on which his ad agency created this “editorial looking propaganda page“.
It was designed to look like a journalist had written it, an unbiased reporting of fact.
So, anyone trying to tell the truth about how they are being shaken down by the system in Condoland, is left with only one solution and this is to have to hire a lawyer with no assurances of success.
I simply circumvented that logic by representing myself.
I don’t recommend this to people but for me personally in over two decades of blogging about and walking the streets of Condoland for almost four decades, I’ve learned to fend off their frivolous threats of law suits.
Strategically I simply agree to co-operate fully with them once they “state with specificity what it is they are alleging to be defamatory in any way” and assuring them in my initial reply to their Notice of Pending Litigation that “I will co-operate fully once they have done so“.
They cannot move foreword with a law suit as I am offering to co-operate while shifting the burden back onto them.
Developers are notoriously cheap and are usually willing to only spend a couple grand to chase people like me away.
I kick their bill immediately up with a co-operative and polite response assuring that I am willing to co-operate.
There really was very little to it as the fundamental bottom line is that the best defence is to simply have told “the unequivocal truth“.
Truth is the ultimate defence in liable or slander (liable is written and slander is spoken) cases and as long as you haven’t lied or even stated an inaccuracy, you have a solid defence.
It is nerve-racking to fight highly educated lawyers especially with no legal training whatsoever, but I’ve been attacked dozens of times and have managed to survive if not prevail every time.
And if they get you into a corner, before you’ve run up the bill so high that cheapskate developer bails out (it’s kind of like a game of chicken) you always have 72 hours to withdraw the article and/or publish a retraction and/or apology.
I find fighting with them actually very fulfilling.
But the lies and distortions that come out of these people who are simply getting paid to “win at all cost” including lowering themselves to a standard subversive to “used car salespeople“, and thereby wasting that most valuable asset of all, called “educated integrity” is just downright sickening to me.
But that’s the reality in which we live.
So, in this Oakville Case Study that I’ve been writing about, the most recent development is that the law suit brought on by one of my “to-be neighbours” had the initial “Motion” addressed on Friday in court on University Avenue.
I was served with all of the documents, as the “to-be neighbour” is simply trying to put a lien on my “to-be house” (I am not Closing until all contracts have been fulfilled including one that has been breached by the Municipality of the Town of Oakville).
So I decided to attend the hearing so I could see how this unique type of Motion was dealt with.
I was surprised to see that both parties did not have to be notified of the hearing in advance and that the Plaintiff could appear, submit the request for an Order by the Court requiring that a percentage of the money I am about to pay to the builder “is to be held in Trust in the Court until the Pending Litigation between them and the builder was satisfied or settled“.
There is no “theory” in the detailed proceeding course being offered here.
This is “Real Life, Real Time Consumer Self-Defence 101“!
This Buyer has had enough and is not going to take it any more.
The Municipality screwed up when it breached its own originated Settlement Agreement (its lawyers wrote the Agreement!) saying that “NO OCCUPANCY was to be done until grading, fences, roads, etc. are all done“!
Yet they chose, for some unexplained reason or logic to disavow that critical consumer protection clause and grant Occupancy Permits on partially completed (I’m told one had no sink or toilet) homes enabling the builder (who’s contract with buyers says that with an occupancy permit he can “impose closing“).
Now, that’s what I call a “short or bottom shuffle of the cards“!
Some of the Buyers in this site have been living there through last winter, categorically against all integrity set out in the Subdivision Agreement!
No-one has offered any legitimate excuse for this flagrant breach of existing documents that have so negatively impacted these buyers/consumers.
They actually had protection under the Subdivision Agreement and that protection was arbitrarily taken away from them despite it being clearly articulated in the existing Agreement.
Worse yet, the Subdivision Agreement (should have been delivered attached to and forming a part of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale) was withheld from all buyers with the exception of me who had to literally go to the builder’s offices, sit in his board room and inform him that I was not leaving without it!
This is all unethical if not illegal!
And consumers are the only ones paying for it!
The City, having read my blog, got back to me right away and assured me they would do everything in their power to resolve this situation but that there “was very little they could do“.
I have legitimate difficulty believing this but don’t want to get into minor skirmishes when there are such pressing details as the odds of these buyers being forced to live in construction site for another winter.
So my “to-be neighbour” has “taken the bull by the horns” and actually initiated a serious law suit against this builder. I would imagine there will be one against the Municipality for having breached the Subdivision Agreement and allowing the builder to “impose occupancy“.
This whole deal is so screwed up that it has come to light that the development (a POTL – Parcel of Tied Lands) was actually “Registered” years before we bought!
The documents were also withheld for a year and I received my copy at the “I’m not leaving until I get the paperwork” meeting I mentioned earlier.
How the Municipality could issue Registration on a roadway before it was built is a conundrum that we’ll try to get answers on down the road.
All legal and reporting requirements of a registered condominium, to my knowledge have NOT been done.
I can’t see how they could have been as there was no “Turn Over Meeting“, no “Board of Directors comprised of Owners” was elected at that meeting, and if it was already Registered, Buyers should have received a Status Certificate showing all contributions in maintenance fees and Reserve Fund deposits.
None of this has taken place!
I don’t know how the municipality’s lawyers are going to answer this one but it is one question that has to be asked!
So now, at the Motion Hearing the other day, I get my hands on the “Record” (I could be talking about any of this if it weren’t for the Record as, once you get an issue before the courts, all documents, transcripts, evidence becomes “Public“).
So let’s see how the interaction rolls out.
“To-be neighbour” . . . . hereafter “tbn” files ex parte motion in court to have a portion of the proceeds of the sale on my house held in the court until the disposition of the law suit being brought by tbn.
In “filing an Ex Parte Motion” (. . . Wikipedia – “with respect to or in the interests of one side only or of an interested outside party“) the lawyers for each side exchanged barbs:
The builder’s lawyer, upon being served with the Motion and seeing that tbn was adding my house to her challenge on another property in the development wrote:
“In your email . . you propose serving the purchaser of Lot ## (mine) with the COP motion materials. This was not a part of our clients’ agreement, and is not acceptable to my client, as it would put the purchaser of Lot 17 to needless anxiety and legal expense and may put the sale itself in jeopardy“.
He then basically goes on to “trash” tbn and tbn’s lawyer by alleging that they “manipulated what was being presented in the Motion” (I would think this to be a very serious claim of serious wrongdoing)!
I appears to be simply bluster, but shows how “billable-hour-lawyers” work!
So he makes a big stink over the original house that tbn had disclosed intent to lien, “being sold and thus falsely presented to the magistrate“.
Here’s where the plot thickens.
Builder’s lawyer sends three (3) supporting documents to prove that the other property is “sold” to support their claim that tbn’s lawyer had “mislead the magistrate“!
All three are so heavily redacted that they tell nothing meaningful (purchaser’s name, address, etc.).
Tbn’s lawyer responds by stating: “Your tampering ring with evidence by redacting crucial information is improper“!
“TAMPERING WITH EVIDENCE”!
Each piece of evidence has no, and I mean no, meaningful information.
Tbn is convinced as shown in her Motion, that the builder is paying the stone mason contractor with a house, and is backdating documents (fraudulently) to support the builder’s lawyer’s false claims that “tbn misrepresented their argument to the magistrate“.
Tbn’s lawyers had also requested bank verification of the alleged sale and received a one page bank statement showing only a $20,000 deposit but not showing to what bank account, the name of the account holder, what the money was for or “to whom“!
I guess you call this a “fine case of lawyering“!
Where I come from they call this outright lying and the fact that lawyers do this for pay is absolutely egregious to me!
Tbn’s lawyer, having stated that builder’s lawyer was “tampering with evidence“, patiently and professionally outlines to Builder’s lawyer the reason and logic for the names and information to be included and not “redacted” as builder’s lawyer had done.
Here is why good lawyers earn their oats. Tbn’s lawyer writes: “Please advise of the legal basis authorizing you to redact documents in such circumstances” reminding him that my having been “served was at the instruction of the magistrate“.
He also explains, with specificity, the issue around the other lot with disclosures from the developer’s site supervisor saying “Sunrise is holding on to Lot 14 but is probably going to have to use it to pay Rui the stonework guy“.
I’ve published in the past about Ontario’s “Underground Economy” and this clearly would constitute a matter under that banner. Think of the tax avoidance implications!
The court appearance proved a relative non-event other than teaching me how these things go.
Tbn, (the Plaintiff) submitted two copies of their Motion along with about a dozen other Plaintiffs, the magistrate took them all back to his chambers and started releasing his Orders one by one to his clerk who then passed them out to the various parties.
He found for tbn ordering lawyers for both transactions (mine and the earlier one) to deposit $150,000 into the Courts for disposition following the resolution to the law Pending law suits.
Seeing all the redacted material furnished by the builder’s lawyer it is hard to not suggest that they are intentionally misleading everybody.
They complied with the court but delivered nothing under the guise of having followed instructions of the court.
And for this kind of lawyer misconduct, consumers facing their last resort to any satisfactory resolution of any disputes in Condoland, end up paying.
Simply another dysfunctional component of the Condoland conundrum.
Stay tune . . . . there is a lot more to come!
And if you have an interesting or compelling situation you want investigated, simply write me at [email protected].
Municipality of the Town of Oakville