NEWS

LaSalle condo buyers feel duped by project developer

09/15/2014 08:26 EDT | Updated 11/15/2014 05:59 EST

Some people who put down deposits in a new condominium development in the Montreal borough of LaSalle say they're still waiting for their condos — or, at the very least, a refund.

Last November, CBC News reported on the fact that the road leading to these very same condos hadn’t been paved in the two years since the first owners moved in.

The road is still not paved, and now CBC News has learned that some people who bought units on another part of the property still don’t have a home to move into.

$40K deposit and no condo yet

Fulai Liu is one of them. He plunked down a $40,000 deposit on a condo in LaSalle after seeing the building project advertised in a local Chinese newspaper.

The prospect of having a building with an elevator was particularly interesting, because his young daughter uses a wheelchair.

“It’s very hard for my family to carry my daughter going upstairs and going downstairs,” Liu said.

But three years later, there’s still no sign of construction — or his money.

He’s a group of about 20 investors in the LaSalle condo project who took their complaints to police this weekend.

Like Liu, many of them are Chinese immigrants. However, most did not want to share their identity.

“We already have a lot of trouble, so we don’t want to have more. We want to protect ourselves,” said one woman.

Liu and the others said they handed the money over to a numbered company owned by Allan Schachter and Patricia Navarro.

The project has since been sold and the development renamed Utopia Gardens.

Some want their money back

The deed of sale stipulated that the original owner had to pay back the deposits by the end of March 2014. However, Liu said the prospective owners weren’t even informed of the sale until April, after that deadline had passed.

"(They) never gave us information — letter or phone call or email — nothing for us. It's incredible,” Liu said.

A representative for the new company said the road will be paved by the end of October, and that the condo building will be completed next July.

As far as the deposits go, that’s the responsibility of the former owners, the representative said. The group of condo investors said a few people got a couple of payments from the original owner, but a number of the cheques bounced.

Most of them just want their money back, but Liu and a few others want their deposit applied to a unit when the next phase of the project finally gets built.

Liu said police are handing over the matter to their fraud unit to investigate.

Corrections

In a previous version of this story, Arian Azarbar was erroneously named as the owner of the Utopia Gardens development project. The owner is a numbered company.

MORE:cbcNews