Owners push out serial board members who didn’t live in the building
Multiple board members at Five condo building to resign Friday in wake
of CBC News Toronto investigation
By John Lancaster, Mike Smee
26 May 2017
at Toronto's Five condo development George Laczko, Ray Blanchard and
Darryl McGregor, from left, said they will resign Friday. (LinkedIn)
Residents of a luxury downtown Toronto condo have successfully forced
the resignation of members accused of commandeering their condo board
and taking control of their building's multimillion-dollar budget.
The four members took over the board at the Five condo on St. Joseph
Street last summer after a controversial election at the centre of a
vote-rigging controversy. The four men controlled how the condo spent
its $2.6-million budget and reserve fund.
In the past week, residents organized and presented the board members
with an ultimatum: resign or be subjected to a vote by owners to push
Members sat on
boards of other buildings
This comes after a CBC Toronto investigation revealed some of the
members — Ray Blanchard, Darryl McGregor and George Laczko — were
elected to numerous condo boards in Toronto and Mississauga. In many
cases, the men were not registered owners of condos in these buildings
and didn't live in them.
Sam Cheng, also set to resign from the Five board, was elected even
though he didn't show up for the election. Some residents have since
told CBC Toronto they wonder if Cheng even exists.
"The board of directors realizes that regardless of the merits of the
allegations asserted in the media recently, many of the ownership and
residents of our building are very concerned and have lost confidence
in the board either completely or to some degree," Blanchard wrote in
an email to residents on Monday. "We all will be resigning."
Laczko has already resigned. The other men plan to do so by this
Friday, according to a subsequent communication with residents.
review building's finances
Condo owner Christine Dingmeman told CBC Toronto that the board members
are supposed to hand in formal resignation notices by Friday afternoon.
"It's great for the building. It will put an end to any conflict and
the residents are very happy their efforts and concerns have been
heard," she said. "Hopefully we'll be able to have more of a normal
life in the building."
The Five condo owners plan to hire a forensic accountant to review the
Residents said they only recently learned that the board and the condo
corporation are being sued for $650,000 by a property management
company that claims the board fired them without cause in the fall —
shortly after the men got control of the board last summer.
residents also push to turf board members
Residents at the Five aren't the only condo owners hoping to rid
Blanchard, Laczo and McGregor from their condo board.
The three also sit on the board at the L Tower on the Esplanade,
alongside McGregor's girlfriend, Anastasia Mustafina, and Toronto real
estate broker Kaive Wong.
The building opened in 2015 and has an annual operating budget of about
$4 million as well as a reserve fund.
Condo owners served legal notice against the five members and the
board's lawyers Wednesday to begin removing them from the board.
The board "failed to act honestly [and] provide full disclosure of the
nature of their dealings together," the owners allege in that legal
The board has already fired the L Tower's property management company,
security and cleaning staff, and signed new contracts with other
service providers. Residents say they don't know why those firms were
fired or how the new companies were selected.
But this week, condo owners learned the board had also sold off a
third-floor condo that was supposed to be reserved for an on-site
superintendent. The L Tower's declaration, or bylaw, forbids the sale
of that particular unit.
In fact, the superintendent's suite could only be sold if the move
earned the approval of 80 per cent of the building's condo owners. The
board, however, never sought permission to go ahead with the sale.
'Why did the
board do it?'
Lawyer Denise Lash is working with L Tower condo owners to help oust
the board, and said the sale of the superintendent's condo is
"Why did the board do it, under what authority? If they went ahead and
did it without professional [legal] advice then there's personal
liability for these directors."
That decision means a building with 591 units will no longer be able to
have a live-in superintendent, Lash said.
"What are the damages?" she asked of that decision. "That's something
we'll have to determine."
CBC Toronto contacted Blanchard, Laczo, McGregor, Cheng, Mustafina and
Wong several times to respond to the specific allegations against them.
Only Wong would answer CBC's questions.
In an an email from his lawyer, Wong said "the board, with guidance and
direction from the property management company, believed the L Tower
was permitted to sell [the unit reserved for a superintendent] and that
it was in the best interests of the L Tower financially."
Wong said the proceeds of the $338,000 sale were put into the condo's
bank account and he denies any wrongdoing.
Board signed gas
contract that could cost condo owners double
Until recently, Wong and Blanchard also sat on the board of The Element
Condos at 20 Blue Jays Way.
In February, they signed a fixed-rate natural gas contract that could
earn McGregor thousands of dollars in commissions through energy broker
Perfect Clarity Inc., of which he is the sole director.
That contract forces condo owners at the Element to pay almost twice
the market rate for natural gas.
Wong has denied any knowledge of the contract, as has the Element's
former board president, Sean Ramnarine. Both men resigned from the
board in March.
The current board accuses its predecessors of leaving behind a string
of unpaid bills. Ramnarine and Wong have denied those allegations,
saying they were able to save the residents money and keep maintenance
Act has major loopholes
CBC Toronto's investigation found that Ontario's Condominium Act allows
that almost anyone older than 18, and who is not bankrupt, can sit on
any condo board — even if the person doesn't own or rent in the
Serious criminal convictions also don't disqualify someone from sitting
on a condo board.
In 2013, McGregor was convicted of breaking into a condo at 270
Wellington St. W. and stealing a resident's belongings. It's the same
condo building where McGregor is suing residents to get back on the
He was turfed there, at Icon, following allegations that he
submitted "forged proxies" to get elected.
In his affidavit to the court, McGregor denies any knowledge of