Case Studies, Pendrell Place: Lynne Gonzalez looks for the money trail - "Too much information"

In a previous letter, Mrs. Gonzalez requested a review of the financial statements of the Strata Corporation. In this letter, Mrs. Gonzalez questions the decisions and actions of both the Strata Council President, Gord Owens, and Ascent Real Estate Management Corporation in preventing access to these documents.

July 19, 2001

Gordon Owens, President
Strata Council
Strata Corporation VR1008

re: appointment to see financial documents relating to our Strata Corporation VR1008

Dear Mr. Owens:

I an unclear as to why our request to see financial documents for Strata Corporation VR1008 was first approved by you and then cancelled. The reason you gave for cancelling your authorization because I had requested "too much financial information" and, as such, "wouldn't be allowed to see anything" is not only unreasonable but once again leaves us in a stalemate situation. When I phoned you two days ago to inform you that Michael Roach of Ascent Management Corp. had sent us a letter stating that "As we have replied to your requests in the past, we must direct you to make your request to the Strata Council. Once the Council President or Treasurer authorizes the release of these items in writing, we will then make these records available to you immediately", you insisted that you had made all the arrangements to meet with Ms. Susan Lam, Bookkeeper at Ascent Real Estate Management Corp., and that "the only thing I had to do was to phone her and all the financial papers owuld be available to me." I questioned you about needing written authorization and you said, "No, that it wasn't necessary." I phoned Ms. Lam on Tuesday 17 July 2001, and we agreed that I would be at her office on Thursday at 8.30 am. I mentioned to her that I wanted to see all the financial documents for the fiscal years 1 April 1999 - 30 March 2000, 1 April 200 - 31 March 2001, and 1 April 2001 - to date. She replied that all that information, contained in two individual boxes, was available until May of this year, and that I could even bring my own photocopier and paper to make the necessary copies, and that if I required assistance, she would be available until noon.

As you know, we have been requesting access to financial information for our Strata Corporation VR1008 since we became owners in November 2000, especially because no financial documents wre made availabel to us, prior to purchase.

Both you, as Council President, and Michael Roach, as representative for Ascent Real Estate Management Corp., are aware through past correspondence, that it is not the first time we have made this request, and that we are not the only owners that have requested financial documents to better understand where our strata fees are being spent; you are also aware that these requests have never been addressed. Under our entitlement as strata owners, the Strata Act states under Chapter 43, Section 36 (1) that: "On receiving a request, the Strata Corporation must make the records and documents referred to in Section 35 available for inspection by, and provide copies of them to, (a) an owner..." For your interest, Section 35 refers to, among other things, documents such as: bank statements, cancelled checks, and certificates of deposit; the budget and financial statements for the current year and for previous years, and books of accounts showing money received and spent and the reason for the receipt or expenditure.

Furthermore, under our contract with Ascent Real Estate Management Corp., signed on 1 February 1999, by Rick Dickson, President, on page 3, under item 5: Duties, Responsibilities and Authority of Manager: (C)(2) Maintain the following: "Full and proper books of account with true and correct entries of all receipts and disbursements relating to the management of the common property, such as records and books of accunt shall be open for inspection by the Strata Council (hereinafter called the "Council") during normal business hours."

We do not see any reasonable objection for the release of this information to us as strata owners. We also find your behaviour of hanging up the phone, and refusing to explain why our request was for "too much information" quite unprofessional, unsuitable to a real estate agent and certainly not worthy of the financial trust vested in your positon as Strata Council President.


Jaime and Lynne Gonzalez

cc: Michael Roach, Ascent Real Estate Management Corp.; Rick Dickson, President, Ascent Real Estate Management Corp.; Mike Mangen, Barrister and Solicitor; Tony Gioventu, Advisor, CHOA

Other letters from Mrs. Gonzalez on this issue are:

April 26, 2001
August 8, 2001

This issue is also mentioned in Mrs. Gonzalez's June 11, 2001 email to Chris Monk.