A Langley based developer has been ordered extradited to face fraud charges in the United States.
In a Thursday morning hearing in a Vancouver courtroom, Justice Jennifer Duncan ruled that Mark Chandler, of the Newmark group of companies, will have to face trial for an alleged real estate fraud in Los Angeles that took place between 2009 and 2011.
But it was local matters and Chandler’s previous conduct on bail that were key to a bail hearing held after Duncan’s ruling.
Chandler’s lawyer, Michael Bolton, asked that his client remain free on bail while awaiting an appeal on the extradition ruling.
Lawyer John Gibb-Carsley, a lawyer for Canada’s Department of Justice, opposed the motion.
The court heard that Chandler may be under RCMP investigation for the Murrayville House condo development project in Langley, and that he has already violated his bail conditions once by going on a vacation to Mexico via private plane.
On Dec. 5 last year, the B.C. Superintendent of Real Estate forwarded information about the project to the Langley RCMP.
“There are no charges,” said Gibb-Carsley. “I have been informed that an investigation is ongoing.”
The lawyers sparred about the highly contentious condo development.
Chandler is best known in Langley for his central and key role in the numbered company that developed the Murrayville House condo project. The building was to have been finished in 2016.
After multiple lawsuits by creditors were filed, the project was placed in receivership, and a court-appointed firm is currently working out the ownership of the units, and court hearings are scheduled for later this year.
According to the receiver, the Bowra Group, the project owes approximately $62 million to creditors. A recent appraisal suggests it is worth about $38 million.
According to the Bowra Group, the 91 condo units in Murrayville House were sold 149 times, with 44 sold more than once, and one unit sold four times.
Bolton argued that the other “purchasers” were in fact lenders to the project.
The bail violation, which was called “egregious” by Gibb-Carsley, involved a family vacation in December 2016.
Chandler was born in Great Britain, and has British and Canadian citizenship. He turned over both a current Canadian and expired British passport to authorities when his extradition proceedings began.
But in 2016, he told officials at the British consulate that he had lost his passport, and acquired a temporary one to allow him to travel to Mexico.
He lied to his bail supervisor, saying he was going to Kelowna for a few days, and also called in from Mexico while on vacation, still pretending to be in Canada.
He was arrested after a private plane returned Chandler and his family to Boundary Bay Airport in Delta.
After that breach, his bail was increased to $500,000, approximately triple what it had been previously, according to Bolton.
Willcock agreed to allow Chandler to remain on bail pending his appeal of the extradition order. But in light of the questions about Murrayville House and other ongoing real estate projects, Willcock imposed a new bail condition.
Chandler will no longer be able to accept loans or other money for his development business, except through a trust account held by a lawyer.
A hearing for the appeal has not yet been scheduled.
Murrayville House remains empty, pending court hearings this month to sort out final ownership of the units.