Failure to disclose murder costs homeowner

by Neil Sharma on 25 Mar 2018

Given how high the stakes of mansion sales are, one would think every pertinent modicum of information would be disclosed. Turns out the owner of a Shaughnessy mansion in Vancouver forgot to tell a buyers about a gangland murder on the premises that occurred no fewer than 22 months earlier.

The victim was the owner’s son-in-law.

A judge ordered the owner Mei Zheng Wang return Feng Yun Shao’s $300,000 deposit on the mansion, located at 3883 Cartier Street, which the latter initially agreed to buy for $6.138mln. However, upon hearing about the unsolved murder, Shao began fearing for her family’s safety and backed out of the deal.

Raymond Huang, Wang’s son-in-law and a prominent member of Big Circle Boys, an international gang involved with drug trafficking, was assassinated by gunfire outside the premises in November 7, 2007. By September 2009, Wang had entered a purchase agreement with Shao.

The sprawling 9,000 square foot mansion featured six bathrooms, 10 bathrooms, a wine cellar and extensive gardens, and was eventually sold to another buyer for $5.5mln.

Shao, a mother of three, backed out of the agreement and was sued by Wang for breach of contract, arguing she was entitled to keep the deposit, and wanted $338,000 in additional damages. However, Shao filed a counterclaim in which she accused Wang of failing to disclose her son-in-law’s murder.

During cross-examination, Winnie Yuan, Wang’s daughter who was married to Huang, was evasive about the nature of her late husband’s business dealings. According to the Vancouver Sun, she was arrested by Hong Kong police in 2009 and jailed for money-laundering.

Shao argued during litigation that Huang’s violent death constituted a “latent defect,” and that the house was presented a danger to its occupants. While the judge rejected those arguments, the ruling ultimately placed blame on Wang for fraudulently misrepresenting the reasons for the sale—Wang initially claimed her daughter was changing schools.

“Ms. Yuan knew, as she acknowledged at trial, that her daughter would not have changed schools but for the murder of Raymond (Huang), ” the judge was quoted as saying in the Vancouver Sun.

“Although Ms. Yuan disclosed the murder of her husband to (the realtors), and sought advice concerning the circumstances in which she would be required to disclose Mr. Huang’s death, she and the plaintiff had no intention of disclosing the death unless they were obliged to do so.”

The judge also awarded Shao $4,000 in damages for legal fees.

 

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