Living/Working

May 17, 2019

Vancouver businessman set up ‘sham foundations’ and shell companies to dodge $9.3m U.S. court judgment: claim

BIV's lawsuit of the week

Photo: Rob Kruyt

A Utah-registered limited liability company and a Colorado man are suing Frederick and Thomas Sharp and several companies they control, claiming the pair aided a business associate in avoiding a $9.3 million court judgment by using “sham foundations” and shell companies to transfer and dispose of assets.

Big Indian Ventures LLC and Mark A. Steen filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on May 3, naming brothers Frederick and Thomas Sharp as defendants, along with Quarry Bay Capital Inc., Quarry Bay Equity Inc., Quarry Bay Investments Inc., Quarry Bay Capital LLC, City Group Alliance Inc. and Charterhouse Capital Inc.

“At all material times Frederick and Thomas Sharp were involved in the business of creating offshore companies to assist individuals and businesses with hiding money and avoiding paying debts and taxes,” the claim states.

The plaintiffs claim the Sharp brothers, through their many corporate entities, assisted non-party Richard Terrance Heard and his companies, Drillsteel Resources Ltd. and Mayan Minerals Ltd., to dispose of assets in an alleged attempt to dodge a $9.3 million court judgment handed down in Utah, which was later recognized by the BC Supreme Court in March 2018.

“Frederick Sharp and Thomas Sharp are business associates of Heard,” the claim states. “In particular, at all material times Frederick Sharp and Thomas Sharp participated in schemes designed to hide Heard’s and Mayan’s assets from the plaintiffs in order to defeat, delay, hinder, prejudice or defraud the plaintiffs of their just and lawful remedies against Heard and Mayan.”

Steen and Big Indian claim that Mayan Minerals disposed of three apartments in Vancouver’s Terminal City Club Tower between February and July 2016 for more than $3.2 million, with portions of the proceeds from the sales allegedly transferred to defendants Charterhouse and Quarry Bay Capital.

As part of the alleged conspiracy, the defendants “created, marketed, sold and serviced sham foundations and shell companies under the laws of jurisdictions outside of Canada or the United States for the purpose of obscuring beneficial ownership of assets held by Heard and Mayan to conceal from the plaintiffs.”

“Heard and Mayan transferred ownership of their assets, including among other things funds and contractual rights to diamond mining royalties, into the names of sham foundations and related shell companies, which had nominee officers and directors provided by Frederick and Thomas Sharp and the Sharp Entities, and Heard and Mayan continued to have complete access to the assets and complete control over the assets,” the claim states.

The plaintiffs seek damages for conspiracy and declarations that the asset transfers are void under the Fraudulent Conveyance Act. The allegations have not been tested or proven in court and none of the defendants had responded to the claim by press time.

 
Leading

Another instalment in Canada’s freedom of information follies

I couldn’t stifle the laughter when the defence team for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou said it was requesting documents under the federal Access to Information Act to fight her extradition.

I can only hope for her sake that the renovation of her $10 million Shaugnessy home will be senior-friendly. To her team as it embarks on this long-term trek, I can only quote the philosopher Alice Cooper: welcome to our nightmare.

As long as there have been freedom of information laws, Canadian governments and institutions have made thwarting them a national sport. As long as there has been an internet, the public has been on the losing team.

No Canadian government in the 35-year history of these laws vital to accountable democracy has ever led an advancement of the public’s right to know.

Not one.

Not that they don’t say they will.

But the pretension of the scripted promise with each new administration to be more open and transparent is as hollow as the cheapest drugstore chocolate Easter egg. Even a kid knows it’s crap.

The pattern of a shielding and deceiving culture is well-worn: For any meagre move to extend the law’s grasp on a wider range of government and institutional records we can request, the politicians, their aides and the bureaucracy have mounted new ways to take the information further from reach.

There are hundreds of exemptions of the records produced at our expense that cannot be seen at our request. There are buckling fees, mind-numbing delays, an entire industry of impediment with tricks galore up sleeves aplenty.

The latest ironic collision between professed commitment and practised culpability is the allegation involving our province’s minister responsible for the law, Jinny Sims, accused by a former constituency worker of evading the law’s purview by steering official communication into personal and inaccessible channels.

She says her former worker, albeit willing to swear this under oath, has it all wrong.

In time we shall see, but Sims would hardly be the first or the worst offender, and to be properly rude, her government has found hundreds of sillier errands to place ahead of the rather simple task of fixing the law.

Premier John Horgan, like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, made the proverbial pledge government would be done differently and that a candid era had arrived.

True to form, once in the saddle an opposition cowboy rides the horse with the same delicate rein of the dressage equestrian; in the process, the rodeo becomes a dance.

In our newsroom alone, where we file a half-dozen or so requests each week when we cannot get straight answers, we are told our lawful requests for rather basic information within 30 days will take 90, 120 or longer – they’ll get back to us.

And no one can compel release. Our legislation, like others across the country, provides merely moral suasion as the weapon of the office acting on the public’s behalf. Even a court ruling can be defied.

We incessantly face heavy processing fees that would ruin many media organizations, so we argue for a waiver under the law because disclosure is in the public interest.

Interested in where that argument leads? Into a semantic game on whether requests are a “matter” of public interest or an “issue” of public interest – that difference makes the difference between free and fee-laden disclosure or disclosure at all.

And that is only on what we know exists. Email subterfuge has been discovered at every level of government in almost every government in this country. Heaven knows what’s out there that we will never see. The future for historians is much more bleak because of our institutional ability to erase the pathology of policy.

Which is to wish Meng’s cadre well in their journey. Perhaps a posse of lawyers will wring loose the to-and-fro correspondence and documentation that will help her cause.

If they do, and if they have some pro bono hours to fulfil, I have a few files on the go, and I am easy to reach. •

Kirk LaPointe is editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver and vice-president, editorial, at Glacier Media.

 

 
Spending

Take in National Rosé Day on a Vancouver patio

Ancora Waterfront restaurant is hosting a Paella and Rosé party June 8

Peruvian-style Paella. Photo courtesy Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio.

If you’re enjoying a seawall stroll on a sunny June Saturday and the enticing aroma of a seafood-studded paella being prepared and the sounds of glasses of crisp rosé clinking waft your way from one of the city’s chicest waterfront patios, you’re going to want to be the one with a ticket to the party.

That gathering happens to be the upcoming Paella and Rosé Patio Party that will be happening at Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio on Saturday, June 8 – which happens to be National Rosé Day. Even better, Ancora is holding this delicious late spring event at both their Vancouver False Creek and West Vancouver Ambleside restaurant locations.

For just $49 plus tax and tip, attendees will get to enjoy a reception style party featuring six notable rosé wines from B.C. and beyond, as well as appetizers and a serving of freshly-made (while you watch) Peruvian-style paella.

1

Photo courtesy Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio

Ancora Chef Ricardo Valverde is behind the restaurant’s signature paella, which showcases local crab, prawns, scallops and clams, and the additional zing of chimichurri and Huancaina aioli drizzled atop each serving of the soulful, savoury, seafood-forward classic.

In addition to the paella and rosé, guests can nibble on Mediterranean-inspired tapas like Boquerones (white anchovy on toast), Castelvetrano Olives and an exclusive taste of Cinco Jotas Jamón Ibérico; Ancora prides itself on being the only Vancouver restaurant where you can enjoy this exclusive Jamón Ibérico, made from 100% purebred ‘black hoof’ acorn-fed Iberian pigs.

2

Chef Ricardo Valverde “jamons” for the camera. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross

Guests will sip on their choice of pours from the following wine list of top-notch rosés:

  • Sea Star Blanc de Noir Rose 2018, Pender Island, BC
  • La Frenz Pinot Noir Rose 2017, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, BC
  • Mt. Boucherie Rose 2018, Okanagan Valley, BC
  • Boutinot, Pasquiers Grenache Cinsault Rosé, Pays d’Oc. 2018, France
  • Quinta da Calçada Lago Cerqueira Rosé (Vinho Verde) 2017, Portugal
  • Rocca di Montegrossi Rosato 2018, Tuscany, Italy

3

A serving of paella. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross

4

Anchovies on toast. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross

5

Photo by Lindsay William-Ross

Paella and Rosé Patio Parties

When: Saturday, June 8 from 2-4 p.m.
Where: Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio – 1600 Howe St #2 in Vancouver and 1351 Bellevue Ave in West Vancouver
Cost: Tickets are $49 each plus tax and gratuity and are available online

Vancouver Is Awesome

 
Spending

These stand up paddle boards light up during this magical Vancouver tour

@shareshed / Instagram

While stand up paddle boarding offers a great workout during the day, Vancouver Water Adventures hosts a mesmerizing Light the Night tour.

Not only do the paddle boards light up, but they illuminate the water with vibrant colours. Groups are led out at dusk and make their way across Vancouver waters as the sky grows darker.

The water is extremely calm during the night, as there is very little traffic and boat noise. As such, the experience offers a tranquil, breathtaking experience beneath the stars.

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Regram from and one of the guests from our tour on Thursday night . Thanks for coming out!!

A post shared by Vancouver Water Adventures (@vancouverwateradventures) on

Guests may also choose to kayak after dark, instead. There are two options available: ‘Sit on Top’ kayak-single and ‘Sit on Top’ kayak-double.

The one-and-a-half hour long journey begins at sunset and takes place every Friday and Saturday from Granville Island’s Boatlift Lane.

 

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Our Weekend Evening Tour getting ready to Light The Night as the sun goes down

A post shared by Vancouver Water Adventures (@vancouverwateradventures) on

Vancouver Water Adventures also offers seadoo, kayak, and paddle board rentals, as well as dinner tours. They also do boating adventures that include city tours, wildlife tours, sunset cruises, fireworks tours, and more.

Light the Night Tour

When:

  • June 10 to July 16: 8:45 p.m.
  • July 21 to July 30: 8:30 p.m.
  • Aug 3 to Aug 12: 8:15 p.m.
  • Aug 17 to Aug 18: 8:00 p.m.
  • Aug 24 to Aug 25: 7:45 p.m.
  • Aug 31 to Sep 1: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Vancouver Water Adventures – 1812 Boatlift Lane, Granville Island
Cost: $75, plus tax for stand up paddle boarding; $85, plus tax for ‘Sit on Top’ Kayak-single; $105, plus tax for ‘Sit on Top’ kayak-double.

Vancouver Is Awesome

 
Spending

Vancouver’s largest car free day festival takes place this spring

Car Free Day Vancouver/Facebook

As Vancouver’s largest car free day event, Main Street Car Free Day spans an impressive 21 blocks and offers a variety of food, shopping, and entertainment.

From funky artisan shops to popular food vendors, family-friendly activities to live performances, there are a number of things to see and do at the Main Street festival. What’s more, the event will run from noon until 7 pm, offering guests plenty of time to enjoy the festivities during the day.

The event will offer 15 stages, unique zones and multiple mini-festivals along the street. Entertainment will include live bands, spoken word, dance, and other live performances.

TransLink has also rerouted to ensure that transit doesn’t interfere with the festival. However, guests are encouraged to walk, take transit, or ride their bikes to the festival, as it is Car Free Day.

The Main Street festival takes place on Sunday, June 16 starting at noon.

Want to help out at this year’s festival? Click here to volunteer.

Main Street Car Free Day

When: Sunday, June 16 from noon to 7 pm
Where: Main Street between Broadway and 30th

Vancouver Is Awesome

 
Exploring

What are we reading? May 16, 2019

Shutterstock

Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.

Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

Robert Lighthizer, chief U.S. negotiator of the so-called United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – as a trade agreement name it calls to mind the infamous video clip of Donald Trump elbowing his way through other leaders to put himself front and centre at a at a NATO summit photo op – catches flak in this discussion by Yahoo Finance panellists. Among them is Bruce Heyman, former U.S. ambassador to Canada, who says Lighthizer “bungled” the negotiations. - Yahoo Finance

https://finance.yahoo.com/video/usmca-agreement-jeopardy-taking-backseat-161213859.html

 

Atlantic staff writer Sarah Zhang documents a little-known ambition among the Soviet Union’s many grand plans: to eliminate the plague, which continued to kill people in recurrent outbreaks in the 20th century. Officially, the efforts were successful; in reality, not so much. - Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/05/when-soviets-tried-to-eradicate-the-plague/589570/

 

Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Canada's appetite for cannabis edibles waning, already? - Dalhousie University

https://www.dal.ca/faculty/management/news-events/news/2019/05/09/release__canadians_now_less_enthusiastic_about_the_prospect_of_legalized_edibles.html

 

Interesting insights into the future of Canada's beleaguered forestry industry. - CD Howe Institute

https://www.cdhowe.org/public-policy-research/branching-out-how-canada%E2%80%99s-forestry-products-sector-reshaping-its-future

 

Glen Korstrom, reporter:

CBD seems to be everywhere, as it is marketed as a seeming cure-all.  This excellent, and very long, read examines CBD (the cannabinoid known as cannabidiol that comes from the cannabis plant), and whether it can really do all its marketers claim.  It also provides a better understanding of how marijuana can make people high and about its history. - New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/14/magazine/cbd-cannabis-cure.html

 

Tyler Orton, reporter:

“Your 5G Phone Won’t Hurt You. But Russia Wants You to Think Otherwise”: RT’s campaign against 5G (health concerns, they say) seem to be at odds with Putin’s promotion of the next generation of mobility. Report comes out the same week the first 5G phone hits the markets. - New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/12/science/5g-phone-safety-health-russia.html

 

“A Bizarre Form of Water May Exist All Over the Universe”: Superionic ice is pretty much the opposite of what you find in your freezer (black and hot) … and yet it’s still ice. - Wired https://www.wired.com/story/a-bizarre-form-of-water-may-exist-all-over-the-universe/  

 

Nelson Bennett, reporter:

Another interesting analysis of B.C.’s high gasoline prices, with an explanation for why regulating gas prices is a very bad idea. Sauder School of Business professor Werner Antweiler pours cold water on the idea that price gouging is responsible for B.C.’s high gas prices, and concludes there is no quick fix. - Werner’s Blog

https://wernerantweiler.ca/blog.php?item=2019-05-01