Trouble seems to be brewing for Markham-based real estate developer Sunrise Homes as allegations of unlawful misappropriation of millions of dollars have come to light, raising concerns about the company’s financial stability. The directors of the company, Muzammil Kodwavi and Sajjad Hussain, have been accused of diverting substantial sums of money from various construction projects for their personal use, in violation of legal and fiduciary obligations.
The unfolding drama surrounding Sunrise Homes has left many in the real estate industry intrigued and concerned. According to recent reports, Kodwavi, during cross-examination, admitted to the diversion of funds from one construction project to cover costs at others, repeatedly. This practice, he claimed, was common within the construction industry. However, questions remain about the legality and consequences of such financial maneuvers, especially if the projects take a downturn.
A legal document reveals that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) issued a Receivership Order on June 9, 2021, appointing a Receiver for all assets, undertakings, and properties of the company related to its business activities, including valuable real estate holdings in Markham, Ontario. This move came after investigative efforts by the Receiver, as mandated by the court order.
The Receiver’s investigations have raised numerous red flags, including the revelation that millions of dollars were unlawfully siphoned from the company and funneled to the two directors, Mr. Kodwavi and Mr. Hussain, as well as certain affiliated parties. These actions are alleged to be in violation of the company’s commitments to its secured lenders and the directors’ fiduciary duties and other legal obligations owed to Sunrise Homes.
During a legal proceeding, Mr. Kodwavi acknowledged that the advances and transfers of funds among different projects were meant to support the company’s development activities. Such practices, he argued, are typical within the construction industry, allowing firms to shuffle funds as needed for various projects, including construction funding and purchasers’ deposits.
Sunrise Homes’ woes do not end there. Reports indicate that the company purchased a lot for $3.6 million and secured loans worth nearly $30 million against it. Furthermore, a construction lien has been placed by a company responsible for concrete forming work, adding to the developer’s financial burden. Additionally, a settlement agreement requires Sunrise Homes to pay a substantial sum of $10.5 million this year.
This development adds to the mounting issues in Toronto real estate. Earlier this week, the Federal Court gave the green light for a class-action lawsuit, centered around accusations of price-fixing and anti-competitive practices within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) real estate industry.
The lawsuit, initiated in April 2021 on behalf of Mark Sunderland, a Toronto resident, and anyone who has sold a home in the GTA since 2010, alleges wrongdoing by prominent brokerages such as Century 21, Remax, and IproRealty Ltd. Additionally, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) are named defendants in the case.
Information for this briefing was found via the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.