Dispute over mansion's bloody history provides a window into Vancouver's high-stakes housing market

Dispute over mansion's bloody history provides a window into Vancouver's high-stakes housing market
From CBC - March 14, 2018

The story begins with an apparent gangland hit in an exclusive Vancouver neighbourhood. But from there, it spins out into a tangled web that includes a disgraced former real estate agent, hints of shadow-flipping and a real estate investorwith a massive portfolio.

A B.C. Supreme Court decision issued last week has already revealed how the $6.1-million sale of 3883 Cartier St. was scuttled when a prospective buyer discovered alleged gang member Raymond Huang had been shot and killed at the front gate.

But that same court documentoffers a glimpse into Vancouver's high-stakes real estate market. It's filled with the names of major players in the Metro Vancouver real estate market and suggestions ofpractices that have been blamed for helping to drive housing prices into the stratosphere.

A $154-million portfolio

First, there's the nervous buyer who backed out of her real estate contract: Feng Yun Shao.

Shao, who is also known as Amy Barsha Washington in court filings, was not an inexperienced home shopper when she agreed to buy the Cartier Street mansion. She'd been living in Canada for just two years and had already purchased a home on the west side, according to last week's decision.

Today, Shao's personal real estate portfolio is valued at more than $154 million, according to records from B.C. Assessment.

That includes her current address in West Vancouver's ritzy British Properties, an 8,000-square-foot mansion on a lot that overlooks Burrard Inlet, Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver.

Shao was also at the centre of a 2016 lawsuit over accusations of an unpaid $10 million loan. A Chinese businesswoman alleged in her statement of claim that the loan was issued in China toShao's company,Chongye Developments, with the unusual stipulation that it be repaid in B.C.

Chinese citizens are barred from transferring more than $50,000 US out of the country each year.

Shao denied agreeing to repay the loan in Canada and argued that B.C. courts had no jurisdiction in the matter, according to court documents. The suit was settled out of court in July 2016.

Disgraced Realtor

The next major player in the case of the Cartier Street mansionis former real estate agent Julia Lau. In 2009, when the house went on the market, Lau was a highly successful agent earning 100s of thousands of dollars in commissions every year, according to an investigation by Postmedia News.

She acted as the listing agent on the first unsuccessful sale of the Cartier Street mansion to Feng Yun Shao, and then again when a sale was finally completed for $5.5 million, according to court documents.

Hints of shadow flipping


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