This is about how on Friday March 3, 2017 an independent legal team of 4 representing a land owner, and BC Assessment, suggested they knew nothing about a land transfer completion of a property under assessment appeal.
In January our Society filed four assessment complaints. One complaint was that the approved Oakridge Development property was assessed far too low. It was and is assessed at about $140PBA (per buildable area). For comparison, many single family homes in the same area of Vancouver are assessed at about 4.5x that amount ($625PBA).
Ownership structure: The legal ownership of Oakridge by Ivanhoe Cambridge has been legally divided between two 50% undivided interests for quite some time. Ivanhoe has owned 50% in their name which the full property Transfer Tax must be paid by the purchaser if transferred. Ivanhoe has also owned the other 50% through a fully owned numbered company (7503059 Canada Inc).
Hours before going into our BC Assessment appeal hearing last Friday, our Society learned, that the owner (Ivanhoe) of Oakridge had finalized a ($480.6M) sale (several days earlier), of their 50% undivided interest of Oakridge to their own numbered company (7503059 Canada Inc). What we didn’t know, was that Ivanhoe had completely disposed of their 100% ownership of 7503059 Canada LTD as well.
A team of 4 experts (two legal reps, an appraiser, and a lobbyist/consultant), were there to represent four land owners. The reps did not declare they were representing the Quadreal division of British Columbia Investment Management Corporation “BCIMC”. An Ivanhoe Cambridge executive was present but we could not identify any representative for BCIMC/Quadreal and none was declared. We asked the lawyer for clarification of transfer details but he seemed to have no awareness that his client had transferred the Oakridge property already. Despite this, it would appear that BCIMC/Quadreal were the only owners of Oakridge on that day so how come these people didn’t seem to know?
The lead legal counsel countered that we had no evidence of a sale completion. We informed him that his client had sold, at very least a 50% undivided interest just a few days ago and perhaps as much as 100%. We presented the transfer document. Apparently he didn’t seem to know about the transfer. We suggested he ask his client (An Ivanhoe V.P.), who was seated nearby. The legal rep did not appear to like that idea very much.
Their argument: BCAssessment’s two experts and the four outside experts soon began to suggest that a 50% undivided interest sale is not as dependable as a 100% sale for value indication. It turns out that 100% had already been transferred and we find it hard to believe the at least one of them would not have known.
Monday’s New findings: 100% of Oakridge had been sold and transferred to the same purchaser prior to the hearing.
- The numbered company’s old address of 1600-925 Georgia street was changed last week.
- The old 1600-925 Georgia street office was that of the lawyer at the hearing who didn’t seem to know the transfer had happened.
- The numbered company no longer has any directors from Ivanhoe or their parent company in Quebec.
- Quite appropriately, a “new address” filing was made for 7503059 Canada LTD at 1238 – 666 Burrard Street.
- As of today, the numbered company has 3 directors listed on the federal corporate information registry.
- The numbered company directors are all employees of BCIMC’s “Quadreal”.
- The numbered company now only has directors from Quadreal. It appears there are only 3 directors controlling 100% of Oakridge now. Two of the directors were hired in the last 2 months.
- BCIMC/Quadreal now appears to own 100% of Oakridge. Transfer of both 50% undivided interests appears to have occurred on or about Feb27, 2017.
- The owner of Oakridge was not present and was not represented in our Friday hearing.
- How come these four experts did not announce or apply to be representing the new owner Quadreal/BCIMC instead of Ivanhoe in the hearing?