Condo News

Vegas man pleads guilty in condo scam
30 August 2011
Craig Huber, Web Managing Editor
Las Vegas  KUUV TV

A Las Vegas man has pleaded guilty to a condominium scam aimed at driving business to a law firm and construction company.

According to Metro police and the FBI, 54-year-old Steven Wark was part of a fraud scheme to gain control of a condominium home owner association (HOA) in the Vegas area so that he  could in turn direct business to the aforementioned businesses.

As part of a plea deal Wark pleaded guilty in district court to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Wark admitted that from 2003 to 2009 he participated in a scheme to control various HOA boards in order to award the handling of construction-related lawsuits and construction contracts.

Wark and his co-conspirators allegedly used straw purchasers to buy mortgage loans for units in HOA communities in order to gain a foothold in those communities. Wark also admitted to agreeing to run for election to the HOA board in the Vistana Condominium community. Once elected to the board, he accepted money from his co-conspirators, in turn directing business to the law firm and construction company.

Many of the payments were wired from California to Nevada.

Wark also admitted to helping his co-conspirators get elected to HOA boards.

The maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud is 30 years in prison.

The prosecution is part of efforts by President Barack Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. For more information on the task force, visit


Free ice cream at condo sales centre when heat is too much to take
Toronto Star
17 August 2012
Neil Sharma

The joint builders —Lifetime Developments and Centre Court Developments— are giving away free ice cream at the on-site sales centre for their INDX Condos project at 70 Temperance St. whenever the temperature soars past 30C in August — a promotion aptly named the Heat Indx.

“We’ve got a Haagen-Dazs freezer full of bars in the sales centre,” said CentreCourt senior associate Shamez Virani.

Sutton Place Hotel holds charity sale of contents before being turned into condos
Toronto Star
08 August 2012
Laura Stone staff reporter

It’s all part of a charity fund raiser organized by Lanterra Developments, the developer that purchased the hotel for $57 million and plans to turn it into condominiums, set to open at the end of 2015. A similar sale — albeit a more high-end auction — took place at the former Four Seasons Hotel, two months ago. The luxury Yorkville landmark is also being gutted and turned into condos.

All proceeds from the Sutton Place sale, which began Wednesday, go toward Mount Sinai Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. Beds and sheets from the hotel will also be donated to Toronto Community Housing.

Lanterra president and CEO Barry Fenton said the company hopes to raise about $200,000 from the Sutton Place. That means everything — from $1 plates to a $30,000 painting — must go.

Items include those you might expect at the sale of a hotel’s contents: mini-bar ($50), ice bucket set ($20), iron ($10.) And others, such as a $5,000 grandfather clock, a marble-topped night stand for $75 or the $30,000 original Antoine Bouvard painting of a Venetian canal at sunset, are all part of the Sutton Place charm.

Visitors can also enter to win a hotel bedroom or living room set. Some pieces you just couldn’t find anywhere else. Jack Maguire carried around a Sutton Place plastic desk pad — price: 50 cents — to lay across his table at home for scrawling. “I always throw the big paper away and it ends up in some pile,” he said.

The sale runs Thursday from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., and Monday to Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m.

These auctions can be a great place for a condo to buy items to refresh the lobby, party room , management office or hallways.

A couple of condos bought items at the Four Seasons Hotel auction in July. They got great pieces at reasonable prices.

The prices are good and it will give the residents bragging rights for years to come.
Despite signs of cooling housing market, Toronto developers keep building
By Ora Morison Globe and Mail
07 August 2012
Toronto developers appear to be forging ahead with new projects, according to data from Statistics Canada released Tuesday, despite some signs the housing market is cooling, particularly for condos.

The number of building permits for all dwellings in Toronto has increased 141.7 per cent from June 2011 to 4,421.


Troubles in Condoland
Toronto Life magazine
July 2012

In this issue, Toronto Life lifted the veil on the serious construction defects that the owners of some of the new downtown towers are facing.

Every condo building in Toronto has a secret: they all believe that if anyone learns the truth about construction flaws and ongoing developer disputes in their building, they’ll never be able to sell. The owners also fear retribution from the builders and their neighbours if they publicize the building’s defects.

We can see the glass balconies falling but all the other builder defects are hidden from view and there is a real possibility that many more of these buildings, built during the boom, will bust.

One problem is that construction offers many opportunities to cut corners. Cheaper materials keep costs down, resulting in brand new towers built with junk.

Then there is the “blacklist”. Any tower with known construction problems, bad finances and pending lawsuits can suddenly find itself cut off from a substantial group of potential buyers as CMHC will not insure them. These buildings can become stuck with units they can’t sell and a building that’s become too expensive to fix.

The article names a half-dozen downtown condos that have construction defects and that are heading to the courts. These buildings are already in trouble and that is before  the normal condo politics takes its toil.

Be sure to find a copy of this magazine issue at your local library and read this article.

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