B.C. Supreme Court Vancouver registry

Judge increases fine for Langley realtor over White Rock deal

Court decision describes how a long-term friendship went bad

A falling-out over a business deal involving two former long-time friends and business associates has ended with a judge ordering Langley real estate agent Geoffrey Stephenson to pay a $25,000 punitive fine for the way he dealt with Thomas Mulligan.

According to the judgment, filed Oct. 24, Stephenson and Mulligan had been friends for decades, and Mulligan had worked as a licensed realtor from 2002 to 2005 at Greyfriars Realty International Ltd., a company owned and operated by Stephenson.

The written decision described how that relationship ended over the forced sale of a White Rock house that Mulligan bought in 2004, shortly after he was discharged from bankruptcy.

Mulligan had “repeatedly” borrowed money against the value of the house from Greyfriars Mortgage Investment Corp., another company owned and operated by Stephenson.

When Mulligan fell behind on his payments in 2008, Stephenson suggested selling.

After another realtor proved unable to find a buyer at the desired asking price, Mulligan had his house listed with Greyfriars Realty International Ltd.

Shortly after that, Greyfriars Mortgage foreclosed, and, assisted by Greyfriars Realty, sold Mulligan’s home “with a significant shortfall left owing on his debt,” the judgment said.

“All things considered, I am satisfied that Mr. Mulligan did not think much about conflict of interest issues until Greyfriars Mortgage commenced foreclosure proceedings against him,” the judge wrote.

“However, when that happened he began to think about them a lot.”

Mulligan complained to the Real Estate Council, which fined Stephenson $1,000 for professional misconduct in a consent order that, among other things, said Stephenson failed to fully disclose that he acted as Mulligan’s realtor at the same time he owned Greyfriars Mortgage and knew it would probably commence a foreclosure action.

After hearing the same issue, the judge called the Real Estate Council fine a “modest punishment (with) little, if any, discernible punitive or salutary effect,” and imposed a punitive damages award of $25,000.

While the judge ruled that Stephenson’s conduct was not malicious, it was a “marked departure from ordinary standards of behaviour reasonably to be expected of a realtor.”

“What Mr. Stephenson’s ownership of Greyfriars Mortgage does mean is that he was in a serious conflict of interest position when he agreed to act as Mr. Mulligan’s realtor.”

Reached by the Times for comment, Stephenson would only say that “it was a very bad experience and the only people who really won were the lawyers.”

As of Monday, Mulligan had not responded to a Times request for comment made to his lawyer.

Just Posted

UPDATE: ‘Shots fired’ report in Cloverdale neighbourhood was likely fireworks, say RCMP

Surrounding neighbourhood evacuated, street closed in both directions as officers investigated

Swansong Ride2Survive raises $1M-plus in single-day cycle from Kelowna to Delta

Saturday’s ride was the 15th and final fundraiser of its kind for North Delta-based charity event

Dominion Day celebrations set for South Surrey’s historic Stewart Farm

Old-fashioned fun and games run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 29

It’s the start of a busy summer on the Peninsula

Activities and entertainment abound in July and August

Legacy of South Surrey rugby player comes ‘full-circle’

Joah Atkinson died in a Calgary crosswalk 16 years ago, but her memory remains strong

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Thieves steal tents from B.C. school, Grade 7 camping trip happens anyway

Nanaimo businesses, school staff and parents ensure trip goes on

Only legal pot shop between Vancouver and Kamloops now open

Private cannabis store on Skwah land in Chilliwack is first B.C. licensee to be Indigenous owned

‘I feel free’ says mother of BC murder victim after daughter’s belongings returned

After 11 years, Rosemarie Surakka said she feels like it is 99.9 per cent over

‘Predatory’ suspect sought after exposing himself on SkyTrain

Man had been riding the trains for about an hour between Main Street and Edmonds stations

Canadian communities responding to climate change

New research highlights state of local adaptation planning in Canada

Victoria woman in L.A. hospital after she was run over twice

Lynn Phillips has suffered from multiple broken bones and internal bleeding

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

Woman found after absence from forensic psychiatric hospital in Coquitlam

Barbara Tom was reported on an unauthorized absence from Brookside Treatment Centre

Most Read

l -->