The Murrayville House project, seen here in May 2017, is finally finished but remains unoccupied. (Langley Advance files)

Contentious Lower Mainland condo project under investigation: RCMP

Police in Langley are looking into a condo project that suffered delays and lawsuits.

The Langley RCMP have confirmed that an investigation is underway into the troubled Murrayville House condo project.

“I can confirm that we are investigating a situation relative to those buildings,” said Langley RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Holly Largy on Monday.

She noted that no suspects can be named in an ongoing investigation.

On March 8, the first indication of a local investigation into the project came from a bail hearing for Mark John Chandler, who had a key role in the numbered company that built Murrayville House.

Last week, Chandler was ordered extradited to the United States to face a fraud charge following an FBI investigation of a failed condo project with which he was involved from 2009 to 2011.

With an appeal of the extradition ruling pending, Chandler’s lawyer argued he should remain free on bail.

A lawyer representing the Canadian Department of Justice, arguing on behalf of the U.S., mentioned the RCMP investigation as part of arguments against Chandler’s release.

On Dec. 5 last year, the B.C. Office of the Superintendent of Real estate forwarded information about the Murrayville House project to the Langley RCMP, said lawyer John Gibb-Carsley.

“There are no charges,” said Gibb-Carsley. “I have been informed that an investigation is ongoing.”

Murrayville House was originally planned to be finished and occupied as early as February, 2016.

Would-be residents waited through numerous delays as construction dragged on.

Since Oct. 4, 2017, Murrayville House has been placed under the control of a public trustee, the Bowra Group, following multiple lawsuits and foreclosure proceedings.

Court hearings began Monday to sort out ownership of the suites.

According to the Bowra Group, the 91 condo units in Murrayville House were sold 149 times, with 44 sold more than once, and one unit sold four times.

These “multiple sales” have been defended as “loans” by lawyers speaking for Chandler.

The four-storey complex still sits empty, pending the outcome of court hearings this week.

According to the Bowra Group, the project owes approximately $62 million to creditors. A recent appraisal suggests it is worth about $38 million.

Several dozen pre-sale buyers in the project have been waiting as long as two years to move in or take possession of their units.

Chandler remains free on $500,000 bail while awaiting an appeal of his extradition order.

If convicted in the United States, he could face a maximum of 20 years in prison, according to Gibb-Carsley.

READ MORE: Court heard that a builder violated his bail by flying to Mexico.

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