Murrayville House was finished earlier this year, but sits empty as contracts and court issues are ironed out. (Langley Advance files)

Langley condo builders sold same units multiple times: report

The receiver for a condo complex in foreclosure found one unit had been sold four times.

Langley’s long-delayed Murrayville House condo project saw 91 units sold 149 times, according to a report by the project’s trustee.

Of the 44 units sold multiple times, 31 were sold twice, 12 units were sold three times, and one unit was sold four times, said the report, prepared four the courts by the Bowra Group, the trustee for the project.

A numbered company controlled by local developer Mark Chandler and his Newmark firm built the project, near Langley Memorial Hospital, but fell into lengthy construction delays that frustrated pre-sale buyers.

Some buyers have been waiting as long as 18 months from the original date when they expected to be able to move in.

The Bowra Group was appointed a public trustee after the builder was taken to court by its creditors and the project was placed in receivership earlier this year.

Not everyone who paid will receive a condo, obviously, noted Mario Mainella, a senior vice president with Bowra who is in charge of the Murrayville House receivership.

“There’s going to be a number of them [contracts] that will be cancelled,” he said.

Bowra is making recommendations that the buyers who put up their money in an ordinary pre-sale manner get their condos, but who gets a unit will ultimately be up to the courts to decide.

“There’s a lot of innocent people here, and unfortunately some of them are going to get hurt,” Mainella said.

The Bowra report says that $12.2 million flowed into the company’s coffers from a second group of pre-sale buyers, but there has not been an accounting of where the money went.

“The company has not proviced the receiver any accounting of these transactions or confirmation as to how much, if any of these funds are held in a bank account,” said the Bowra Group report.

In the past, lawyers representing Newmark have said that this second group of sales were not actual sales, but loans to the developer. The “buyers” were issued promissory notes. There were 56 promissory notes issued, according to Bowra documents.

Bowra has gone to court to ask that the numbered company that developed the project turn over a slew of documents, including:

• A complete list of all contracts of purchase, or sales agreements, in connection with the devleopment

• Statements from all bank accounts used by the builder in which funds from presales were deposited

• An accounting of what the pre-sale money was used for, including whether it was used in construction of the development.

Bowra was in court Monday, Nov. 20 to ask that the builder turn over more documentation. A judge ordered the company to disclose more information, and the firm has until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28 to do so.

The condos remain empty, despite being substantially finished, and no one has moved into the building.

The project owes approximately $62 million to various creditors. A recent appraisal suggests the building is worth about $38 million, said Mainella.

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