Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Alberta Venture Magazine Crowsnest Pass Development

Story from May's addition of the Alberta Venture Magazine very well written by Joni MacFarlane from the Crowsnest Pass.

Troubled Waters: The Rough Side of Real Estate Investing in Alberta

A pair of salesmen told an Alberta coal mining town that it could be a resort destination. Six years later, the scenic Crowsnest Pass is still learning a tough lesson about easy money and the business of real estate


Anonymous said...

I was shocked to read Irwin's comments.

Anonymous said...

The company, he says, was asked to do too much all at once, such as building roads and bridges and installing water and sewer systems in addition to paying property tax on the land. “[Municipal council] put more demands on them than other developers and they tried to meet them,”

So Mr Irwin which road did they build, which bridge did they build, which water or sewer system did they install. Did they really pay municipal taxes?
Demands they did none so what the hell are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Dean, What happened to that 500,000$ cheque the municapality got from bridgecreek?

Anonymous said...

Somehow I think Mr. Irwin will be in a court room sometime in the near future? hmmmmmm?

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if BB is getting paid for storage of equipment on "RiverRun".
If so, are they paying property tax based on vacant land, or a storage business.
Are we entitled to an answer from CNP property tax department?

Anonymous said...

Land "In Camera"
Land "In Camera"
Land "In Camera"

Smells to me of cigar smoke filled backroom wheeler dealing - do we have more BB deals in the making?

Anonymous said...

Dean, it seems to me you are very reluctunt to take a stand on issues eg. overtime or to answer questions eg. $500,000 cheque, unlike Mr. Prince who is very forthcoming and direct, unafraid to answer questions or to take a stand no matter how unpopular it may be with the majority. Your credibility is coming under some serious scrutiney. Not trying to be smart or anything like that, just trying to give you a push by making you aware of your possible shortcomings.

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

Wow what a statement where did the Overtime issue come from.

The $500,000 given to the town was intended to be used for the engineering out at the lakes, and the river run property we were told again and again by our administration that the work was done and the money was all spent.

You can also check out the following press release:

Please clarify the issue of overtime I am very interested


Crowsnest Pass Home said...

Can you tell me which other "tough" questions I have not answered?

Thanks for the opportunity

the miners journey said...

anon 9;35 why dont you take a stand on these issues or come out and show who you are. Its easy to hide behind anon and get someone to publicly discredit themselves because they run a popular blogsite. Lets here what you have to say ----Peter Rosner

Chloe said...

The residents of CNP should be seriously concerned about 'in camera' council discussions when land issues are present. The BBoys are not finished with CNP. There are serious questions out there concerning the handling of the BBoys presence in the CNP. I do not believe that the taxpayers or investors are going to get answers anytime soon from the new Mayor or council. Too much money has disappeared. I believe that there is a concerted effort by many politicians, bureaucrats, bogus land appraisers, to protect the BBoys, their initial investors and the former Mayor of CNP. Only a formal RCMP investigation will shed any light whatsoever into this whole sordid affair. The good folks of CNP not doubt be screwed by one of their own. Take care

Anonymous said...

9:35 what are the issues be specific give Dean the chance to answer them. Then the followers of this blog will decide if he is giving the answers or not.

John Prince said...

Dean and Peter, why is it anytime somebody says something nice about me you guys either delete the comment or attack the commenter?

btw/are you two joined at the hip?

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

John don't have a problem with 9:35saying something nice about you or anybody else (We are all nice guys, I'm sure any of our wives would agree !I hope!).
The only problem I had with his post, is that I am seeking more information so I can have the opportunity to answer his comments.

Anonymous said...

Go back on your blog, never mind Mr. Prince's, and you will find numerous comments where direct questions were put to you that never got a reply? You seem to be long & good at throwing figures around but short and bad on opinion? e.g. Bridgecreek What was the mayor's role vs adm/couincil? who's to blame? Call a spade a spade instead of playing it safe. Let us know you have a pair. It seems the former mayor has taken a stand... he's blaming you. Yet you say nothing?

Mr. Rosner,
On a previous post you took exception to another anonymous comment which I thought the commentator explained quite well to you the reasons why, yet you persist in being Mr. Ward's 'tough guy' and self annointed Crowsnest Pass Freedom Fighter for the rights of the KKK ie: we want to know who you are, yet we hide behind sheets (you being the notable exception... or front man?

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

Anon 12:19

OK you have drawn me in.

If you have particular issues with questions I have not answered I would be glad to try when you specify which ones.

Anyway to your comments:
Who's to blame on the Bridgecreek.
Well I will say this if the Mayor wants to slam the majority of council because we had expectations of this developer well thats up to him. My opinion we did not have "enough" expectations. This was a developer that bragged about a $1.5 billion project but the Mayor felt we expected too much of them that's a joke.

Do I think the Mayor was getting paid off by this group? I have never said that, and would certainly not say it unless I could prove it.
As far as I know the Mayor never received a "paycheque" from these guys.
Do I blame the Mayor for not giving the rest of council more leadership? absolutly he was an old dog at this game.

The biggest mistake we(former council) made was allowing them to break ground prior to security being in place. That's why I brought forth the policy on security deposits prior to the election I knew there was going to be change, but it was very important that we give future councils the "policies and tools" to make sure that this mistake was not made again.

You know what was really interesting is the number of people that jumped on and off the bridgecreek band wagon during this last five years.

I remember raising concerns about this group and voting against bylaws and development issues.
The next day members of various organizations in town would be "shitting" all over me because I was sending the wrong message to the development community, that I needed to back off on these guys they were going to do so much for our community. Some of those same people today are saying you were way to easy on those guys.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone is just frustrated with the whole Bridgecreek deal.The question should be, How do we force council to let us all know what has happened on their part concerning Bridgecreek.If they have nothing to hide, councillor, mayor and administration, it should not be a problem.
Any ideas out there?
Bradley and Becker should also be forced to account for where every penny was spent.The story says they co-mingled funds.Big deal, they should still be able to show an accounting of where this money went.Even if they did a thousand inter company transactions there has to be a paper trail.And if not, maybe the CRA should do an audit.Maybe tax evasion.Somebody has to get to the bottom of this.

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

You think I'm not frustrated when I read the Mayor's comments?

Anonymous said...

Dean, I am on your side.I do recall you bringing up unpaid costs by Bridgecreek and then being told by the others(Council, Mayor, Administration)not to worry.
I just would like to see some justice done.

John Prince said...

Dean my friend,
Having been there (on council) I know how we were kept deaf, blind and stupid by the mayor and administration on many important and costly projects. I also know, as most of this community does, who was always calling the shots, and who thought he was brighter and smarter than everyone else and therefore rules, regulations, policies and procedures were there for the other guys, not for him.

No Dean, not to worry, we know who carries the guilt and shame here... and it is not you and the majority who sat on the former council. Knowing the players as I do, I’m guessing you guys got hoodwinked as much as everyone else did, including the investors. Serious breeches of good business practices were made on somebody’s authority? Suggested staggering amounts (millions of dollars) of future liabilities were assumed by somebody’s say so on the municipality’s behalf on the bases of the purchase of two parcels of land and pie in the sky dreams and promises only, with absolutely no collateral whatsoever to back any of it up. In fact, it now looks like the municipality was a ‘partner’ in the whole scheme playing their part in requiring no securities, bonds, etc. for the project. I find it hard to believe we did all this out of the kindness of our heart with no ulterior motive driving force behind it all? No, I suspect, there was more sinister and monetary motives involved here than what our former mayor would like us to believe, and therefore the old bait & switch tactic has been used to take people’s minds off the fact of the ‘major role’ played in this whole business.

Start telling your story Dean, laying the blame where it belongs... before his story becomes gospel, rather than yours, and the truth. Think how Harper did Iggy with the smear campaigns.

p.s. Council needs to come clean here and do a public accounting of what we are on the hook for and what this whole business has already cost us, including future liabilities. As someone has already stated a forensic audit needs to take place and criminal charges laid if warranted along with recovery of all monies fraudulently misappropriated, and/or liabilities negligently assumed by this municipality as a result of a lack of due diligence. There has to be some accountability on the municipality’s part. Bradley and Becker did not get away with what they did on this community without there having been an inside man in a position to influence decisions that were very, very favourable to them... and much, much less so for the taxpayers in this community. .

Anonymous said...

Dear Joni MacFarlane, May 5, 2011

RE: Your informative article ... "Troubled Waters: The Rough Side of Real Estate Investing in Alberta" May 01, 2011

I am a spouse of one of the investors who’s money has been stolen.

My questions are ... Why does it seem that the Provincial public authorities are sitting on their hands on this matter? Why have they not contacted the investors with respect to this fraud? In fact ... Why are the police agencies, on all levels, not following up on what is clearly and definitively a Ponzi scheme? Why aren't the previous mayor and council members of Crowsnest Pass not being held fully accountable for either incompetent actions ... or for involving themselves in a "too cozy" relationship with Becker and Bradley ? ... And the excuse "that they were hoodwinked by slick salesmen" cannot be used as a defence. In fact, the previous Mayor and council were elected to protect the public interest, which they miserably failed to do. And for that, they should not only pay for their apparent "too cozy" relationship (collusion), but shouldn't hey also be brought to justice, and placed behind bars, just like Becker and Bradley ?

Many investors have lost more than their life savings. In fact, a few have lost not only their homes and their RRSP nest egg, but some of us who borrowed money from a bank are still on the hook to repay the full amount plus ongoing interest. Others have lost their dignity, their personal and professional credibility, and some have lost their independence, their health, and perhaps one or more have lost their lives due to this Ponzi scheme.

Financial restitution is definitely acceptable and welcomed by most of us, but what is required, more than anything else, is to see Becker and Bradley brought to justice ... and to serve a very long penalty (100 years) behind bars, with no chance of parole (even if they have declared bankruptcy). And this should include any person or persons, or any corporation or affiliates who were directly or indirectly involved or influenced the facilitation of this ponzi scheme.

Yes, Becker and Bradley may have declared personal bankruptcy, however, the corporation/s that they ran (in our case RiverRun Vistas) has not declared bankruptcy. In fact, there are others who were directly involved in several corporations that Becker and Bradley ran who are or will be deriving benefits from this ponzi scheme. And because RiverRun Vistas has not declared bankruptcy. ... this means ... that until RiverRun Vistas declares bankruptcy, and we as investors get recognized as secured First Mortgage Unit holders (creditors), we as investors will not and cannot claim capital losses on towards our income tax filing.

So not only do we get ripped off in a deliberate Ponzi scheme, but we are also not able to claim our losses against other income until RiverRun Vistas declares bankruptcy.

Let me bring this scenario down to human scale that all can understand. What is lost or not mentioned clearly in your article is that human lives have not only been adversely impacted ... but dreams have been shattered ... and lives have been destroyed.
Joni MacFarlane ... If you are an investigative reporter, and you truly care about the story and the lives that have been destroyed ... what, in your capacity as a reporter, can you do to help those of us who do need help ?

see web site below

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

I have all the sympathy in the world for the people that invested in these properties.
I would provide any information I can to anybody that is investigating this issue.

Many of us (Council, Administrators, Investors, local businesses, Organizations, Realtors etc etc) made mistakes here, not limited to just the previous council. But for me personally, you never saw me on the golf course, up at the bunker, sitting in the bar (one exception the first time they came to council), or collecting a paycheque from these guys.

And yes I did ask many questions about these guys and there various issues and I voted against a number of things they wished to do. But you no what this as been a tremendous lesson for me, in the last five years the number of people that have jumped on and off band wagons is hard to fathom.

Couple of examples when they came to council with there $1.5 billion dollar development at the lake, I asked for a list of other developments that they had done or were involved in, it took months to get that info. Then there was nothing more than 20-30 unit projects. I raised the concern with others I was told not to be so negative.

I remember being at a Chamber luncheon, where the issue of affordable housing had come up.
One of the project leaders stated we are going to provide affordable garage suites at $109,000 early he had told us there building costs on the river run were $400 per square foot, I turned to one of the leaders of the Chamber and stated that's 280 square feet are you really believing that, the response I got was "Oh yes ok" no more interest.

I remember the day I spoke to two realtors who both told me that Bridgecreek was moving their office to the Pass, bringing down 30-40 people. Then the interesting party both realtors felt they had an exclusive deal to find homes for these people.

Then the ASP for the river run they were looking for council to waive parking requirements, in the agreement it stated that "parking would be provided else where in the CNP" I asked the question where is else where, the CNP is a big place. The Mayor looked at me and stated "we will find out when they are done"

I remember walking in to the bank one day to talk to my manager, the advertising was in the paper about investing in the various properties, with returns in the range of 12-16%, at the time the banks were paying 1-2% I asked the manager what he thought his response was "Dean if its too good to be true......."

You want to talk about being hood winked I don't think it was limited to council by any means.
The above is just a few examples of what I saw or heard.

Anybody that needs my help I will provide in any way I can. I have tremendous sympathy for people that got caught up in this.

Anonymous said...

Re: comment #2, the muni originally sold the slackpile for a low price reflecting the fact it had no roads and bridges and water and sewer systems. BC paid way more so Irwin thinks we should give them a break?

Dean: On undeveloped land that is taxed as vacant I think we are not entitled to park or store stuff or erect billboards and I think the muni enforces this. Do you know of any reason this should not apply to the slackpile?

It would be much less of an eyesore if we got rid of all that junk.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't seem like too many locals got 'caught up in this', as you put it? You don't hear Community Futures, Chamber of Commerce or local entrpreneurs/investors crying? Makes one wonder, why not, hey?

Anonymous said...

Don't hear them crying eh.
Well From what I'm Hearing from this side is some of the so-called insiders have been "singing like canaries" to authorities in exchange for immunity or to be let off easy...I guess that leaves the loyal ponzi schemers thrown under a bus and in for a big surprise.
its all a matter of protecting themselves I will be a tough go for some people in the future me thinks.

Anonymous said...

Dean how long do you think before Councillor Mitchell (Tax and spend).
Goes after the policy on security prior to developments starting?
I see he already took a shot at the Council Endorsement policy.