CBC Montreal recently had an excellent report on a group of former Sutton Royal agents who were done out of a combined $600,000 in real estate commissions when their agency was forced into bankruptcy.
The story began with an alleged cheque kiting scheme implicating the agency's director and his executive assistant. Two banks, the TD and National, stepped in when Sutton Royal accounts came up about $2 million short.
When it was discovered that the agency was depositing commission cheques for sales by its agents to a Bank of Montreal account, TD and National asked the court to seize the money. Last December, the Dollard des Ormeaux agency was forced into bankruptcy.
That's when things got ugly for Sutton Royal's agents. Money they had earned selling homes and supposedly held in trust by their agency, as per the Real Estate Brokerage Act, was gone - poof - sponged up as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. To make matters worse, Sutton Quebec appears to have quietly paid off the collaborating agents (the agents who represented buyers in deals involving Sutton Royal's sellers) while stiffing their own people. Ouch.
I cannot imagine the nightmare these brokers are living. First, the agency they work for collapsed in scandal. Next, their revenue was snatched away - in the case of one agent, $300,000 ! The brokers allege Sutton Quebec president Christophe Folla promised to help them but has not.
An aside. When I was The Gazette's real estate reporter, I had a story about a Sutton agent (they were called agents then, not brokers) at the La Salle brokerage, who appeared to pretty much try to screw an old lady out of her condo. Her daughter came to me with the story. (Quebec's real estate authority later convicted him of breach of ethics and his license was suspended.)
I tried very hard to talk to Christophe Folla at that time. He never once called me back. I hope these agents have better luck.
Click on the link above to read the whole story and watch the TV report. The CBC promises that a second report is coming up.
Stay tuned, as they say.