Condo clash: Court battles, forgery
allegations and questions over who controls Toronto highrises
CBC Toronto investigation reveals three men seeking control of condo
boards in the city
15 May 2017
Owners and property managers at several downtown condominium buildings
are accusing a group of individuals of hijacking their boards to get
control of multi-million dollar budgets and reserve funds.
CBC Toronto has linked a group, made up of three men and some
associates, to condo boards in about a dozen highrises in Toronto and
Mississauga over the last several years.
In many of these cases, the individuals controlling the boards don't
appear to own units in the building.
CBC Toronto will bring you more on this story tomorrow, with details
about energy contracts and the boards at two more high-rise buildings.
"We're certainly aware of a half-dozen buildings where attempts have
been made by this group to take control of the board of directors,"
said Audrey Loeb, a lawyer with Miller Thomson who specializes in
The CBC investigation uncovered allegations of "forged signatures,"
irregularities in the election of members to the boards and even the
suggestion that a board member at one Toronto condo doesn't really
Ontario's Condominium Act has very few restrictions on who can be
elected to a condo board. Loeb says as long as one is over 18 years of
age, mentally competent and not bankrupt, almost anyone can be on the
board. The elected board members then make decisions — including
setting rules and overseeing financial operations — on behalf of condo
owners, who pay monthly fees.
However, under provincial rules, elected board members don't have to
own a unit in the building.
Some residents in the buildings where the three men have been elected
to the board complain the boards haven't allowed them to attend
meetings, won't reveal information about how service contracts were
awarded and allege that their buildings have fallen into physical and
financial disrepair on the men's watch.
"I have to wonder why they're running for the board of directors," Loeb
said. "They're not getting paid but they're in control of significant
amounts of money."
Who are the 3 men seeking spots on boards?
The group identified by CBC Toronto as taking aggressive steps to
control condo boards in the city involves three main characters:
currently sits on two condo boards in buildings where he
is not a registered owner. He tried to get on a third condo board in
George Laczko: The co-founder of a Danforth Avenue immigration company
and web-based businesses that has received dozens of complaints in the
past year about its business practices from irate customers. Laczko
currently sits on two condo boards in buildings where he is not a
registered owner. He tried to get on a third condo board in January.
In the past
year alone, Ray Blanchard has been elected to at least three different
condo boards. (LinkedIn)
Ray Blanchard: A self-described restaurant owner and investor. In the
past year alone, Blanchard has been elected to at least three different
condo boards. He tried to get on a fourth. Land registry records show
he is not a registered condo owner in any of the buildings he helps
was convicted of breaking into a condo unit at the Icon and stealing
items belonging to a resident in 2013.
Darryl McGregor: The director of Perfect Clarity Inc., a Toronto-based
energy management firm. McGregor has had several run-ins with police.
He currently sits on at least two condo boards in buildings where he
owns units and has launched a court battle to get back on the board of
the Icon condos at 270 Wellington St. W., where he also owns a unit.
McGregor was convicted in 2013 of breaking into a condo unit at Icon
and stealing items belonging to a resident.
In each of the cases CBC Toronto investigated, the new boards have
terminated the contracts of property managers, cleaners and security
staff and other building services.
The boards have signed new contracts with other service providers. In
some cases they also signed energy contracts through Perfect Clarity,
the energy management firm directed by McGregor
McGregor, Blanchard and Laczko would not answer questions directly or
through their lawyers.
Last month, a group of residents at the Icon condo building in downtown
Toronto filed a complaint with Toronto Police. They allege that during
their board of directors elections last December, McGregor submitted
more than a dozen proxy ballots containing "forged signatures" of condo
Proxy votes are used when an owner of a condo can't cast a vote in
person, so they sign their vote over to someone to cast a ballot on
has launched a court battle to get back on the board of
the Icon condos at 270 Wellington St. W., where he also owns a unit.
CBC Toronto has learned some of the condo owners who claim their
signatures were forged have provided sworn affidavits to police. The
investigation into the forgery allegation is ongoing.
Ray Chepesiuk, who lives in the Icon, told CBC Toronto it wasn't until
after the condo board election "that the property manager noticed that
some of the signatures didn't line up with some of the signatures we
had on file on legal documents. Our lawyer told us this was serious."
McGregor was then kicked off the board.
The businessman is now suing the condo corporation and unit owners,
claiming they had no authority to remove him from the board.
In his affidavit filed in court, McGregor claims the election results
were final and that he "has denied and continues to deny any knowledge
of or involvement with any forged proxies."
The legal matter has yet to be settled in court.
Men 'acted like
they didn't know each other'
The Icon is not the only instance where the three men turned to the
courts to sue condo owners at buildings where they've been turfed over
allegations of improper proxies.
On July 27, McGregor, Laczko and Blanchard were elected to the
five-member condo board at the luxury Five condos at 5 St. Joseph St.
The 48-storey tower has over 500 condos and an annual operating budget
of about $2.6 million, plus a reserve fund.
the Five Condos say maintenance fees went up slightly
recently despite 'lots of operational issues' such as late or no snow
ploughing last winter, elevators and garbage chutes that are routinely
out of service. (Google Maps)
According to court documents and interviews with witnesses, last July
the three men arrived at the election meeting —called a turnover
meeting — and explained why they wanted on the board. All three claimed
to own condos in the building.
One person who was at the meeting told CBC Toronto "they all sat in
different parts of the room, and none of them talked to each other."
A second person in attendance said, "they acted like they didn't know
Laczko said if elected, he would push for security upgrades at the
condo because his girlfriend had been accosted while coming home one
Blanchard described himself as a former restaurant owner. He also said
he wanted to nominate a woman he had recently met in the building for a
spot on the board. Her name was Jennifer Chang.
McGregor is said to have become testy when asked about his professional
All three men won seats on the condo board that night by wide margins.
Chang did not.
The election was won in part by the 53 proxy votes Blanchard had
submitted — apparently signed by absentee owners.
The next day, residents in the building say they found out all three
men supposedly owned the same 13th floor unit. And the woman Blanchard
wanted to nominate was Laczko's girlfriend.
Land registry records also showed McGregor was the only registered
owner on title for the condo.
Days later, the proxies submitted by Blanchard were checked more
closely: 34 were blank. In other words, the proxies didn't identify
which candidate the absentee voters wanted to vote for. Blanchard was
allowed to vote on their behalf for whoever he wanted to.
The property managers of Five eventually claimed the proxies hadn't
been filled out properly and voided the election results.
Blanchard, McGregor and Laczko launched a court challenge under
Ontario's Condominium Act to regain their spots on the board and won.
On Aug. 31, 2016, Ontario Superior Court Justice Freya Kristjanson
ruled the property manager had no legal authority to nullify the
election and the proxy issues were raised after the fact.
Kristjanson ruled a second election should be held and in the meantime,
ordered the interim board not to make significant financial decisions
involving the condo tower. They seemingly ignored that court order and
fired the property management company anyway.
In court documents, the men said they had fired the same company at
another condo board they were elected to and believed the company
wanted to prevent the three from getting on the board of Five as well.
The property management company did not respond to questions from CBC
The three men submitted 200 proxies at the second election at Five and
won again. Also elected to the board was condo owner Elena Lokchina,
who later resigned in apparent frustration. Someone named Sam Cheng was
elected to the fifth spot on the board.
Cheng didn't actually show up for the election. Instead, his bio was
passed around to condo owners. In it, Cheng claimed he had "been
involved in over $600 million of real estate transactions." He also
claimed to "lead the acquisitions team" at a major Toronto real estate
CBC Toronto tried to make contact with Cheng, but the firm listed in
his bio said they had never heard of Cheng.
Two condo owners at Five say none of the dozens of owners they
canvassed had ever seen Cheng.
"I think it's unbelievable ... we have no idea who he is," said one
owner. "We don't even know if he exists."
Residents at Five also say maintenance fees went up slightly recently
despite "lots of operational issues," such as late or no snow ploughing
last winter and elevators and garbage chutes that are routinely out of
service. They have also complained about theft in the building.