Over 70 agents are still waiting on the payments for their commissions, CBC News reported.
“They've always been a little bit slower to pay commissions,” former agent Ibrahim Elhage said. “It would be two weeks, three weeks, sometimes a month. But in the last year or so it got more out of hand. It got worse because you'd stay there hoping to recover some of the money.”
Elhage, who had been one of the company’s top performers for more than a decade, recently had to refinance his home to remain solvent. He is still owed $122,866 by the brokerage.
“It's disgusting. It's theft,” he lamented, adding that he attempted contacting Discover owner Graham Mayne, with little success.
Similar efforts by reporters to get in touch with Mayne were unfruitful.
“I will phone you when I have the money to pay the agents. That will be very soon,” Mayne wrote in an email to CBC News dated July 16. A follow-up email sent afterwards failed due to an “invalid recipient” error.
When some former agents tried petitioning the Real Estate Council of Alberta for redress, they found out that commissions in Alberta are neither insured nor protected. According to current provincial regulations, any professional fees go into the brokerage’s general account before agent payments.
“I realized, what happened to our money? Is our money protected? No! I was just speechless. What do you mean no?" agent Hong Wang said.
Prior to going bust, Discover has at one time held the title of the largest independent brokerage in Alberta, boasting of over 600 agents.
Dozens of agents in Calgary are owed more than $1 million from their transactions prior to Discover Real Estate’s closure in July, highlighting a significant risk that Alberta agents face at present.