The spotlight has turned to Denis Coderre’s business dealings — and if there’s a conflict of interest — as election day nears in Montreal.
Coderre released new information Wednesday about work he did in the private sector between 2017 and 2021, following his tenure as mayor.
One of his recent clients was revealed as COGIR, a real estate company that was in the news in August when city councillor Marvin Rotrand told reporters he believed the company was skirting the law by evicting waves of people in the neighbourhood of Côte-des-Neiges, something the company said was a mistake.
“All these questions, people are asking. What does it mean when you are working for a promoter, yourself? What does it mean?” asked incumbent mayor Valérie Plante.
Coderre responded he would recuse himself from city business with COGIR if elected.
“Anything regarding housing and them, I’ll pull out,” he said.
Commercial printing and specialty media company TC Transcontinental has also confirmed it is the mystery company that worked with Coderre prior to his municipal campaign run.
“At Denis Coderre’s request and in the public interest, TC Transcontinental is lifting its confidentiality agreement and confirming that it had retained Denis Coderre to provide strategic advice on the company’s circular economy and recycling investments in Montreal’s east end,” said François Taschereau, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs. “The company will not comment further on this matter.”
According to TC Transcontinental, Coderre held contracts with it from July 2019 to March 2020, as well as from November 2020 to March 2021.
Information uncovered by La Presse reveals the former mayor’s mandate was related to the publisac, a collection of flyers distributed to every home in the Greater Montreal area.
The City of Montreal has already expressed its interest in limiting the publisac’s distribution, stating it is too difficult to recycle.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST?
The Lobbyist Registry shows that since 2019, TC Transcontinental has been trying to stop the City of Montreal from passing a municipal bylaw that would establish an “opt-in” system for the publisac.
Under this system, those wanting to receive the bundle of flyers would have to sign up.
The registry notes the company wants to “ensure that the publisac distribution system is preserved in its current form and reject a possible municipal regulatory proposal to establish an ‘opt-in’ system.”
According to the Lobbyist Registry, the company is hoping to solve this problem by “guid[ing] public policy and funding requests” to buy equipment to sort plastics “at a plant yet to be determined.”
“This equipment would improve the current recycling of residual plastic bales from the sorting centres, with the aim of maximizing the outlets and thus monetizing this deposit,” the document states.
When asked about potential conflicts of interest, Coderre affirmed he plans to take any issues to the ethics board.
WHY THE SECRECY?
Wednesday, Coderre revealed the list of eight companies he has worked with over the last four years amid mounting pressure over the supposed secrecy.
In addition to COGIR and TC Transcontinental, his contracts include work with real-estate company, Stingray, Felix & Paul Studios, Parc Omega, the Jewish General Hospital, Eurostar and the International Automobile Federation, which governs the Formula One.
According to his statement of revenue, Coderre’s contracts pulled in $458,263 last year and he paid $187,850 in federal and provincial taxes.
Red-hot Canadian property market to lose some steam in 2022: Reuters poll
Canada‘s double-digit house price inflation will lose steam next year, but affordability is still almost certain to worsen in one of the world’s hottest property markets, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
A rush to purchase homes ahead of expected increases in Canadian interest rates https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/bank-canada-q3-2022-rate-hike-expected-q2-rise-possible-2021-12-03 next year is boosting the housing market in the final quarter, with prices skyrocketing 18.2% https://www.reuters.com/article/canada-economy-housing-idCAKBN2I01EP in October compared to the year-earlier period.
Extra froth in the market, driven by investors fueling perceptions that prices will keep rising, has prompted the Bank of Canada https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/canadas-housing-market-higher-risk-correction-says-bank-canada-2021-11-23 to recently warn of an increased risk of a correction.
“Affordability is unlikely to improve next year as prices should march higher, even as interest rates creep upwards as well,” said Rishi Sondhi, economist at TD Economics, who expects house price inflation to slow considerably next year.
“We think rate hikes will weigh on, but not upend, demand, as the macro backdrop should remain supportive for sales.”
Average house prices in Canada are expected to rise 18.6% this year, up from a 16.0% rise predicted in an August poll.
But those increases were forecast to slow significantly, to 5.0% in 2022 and 2.0% in 2023, according to the poll of 15 market analysts which was conducted from Nov. 17 to Dec. 6 and released on Tuesday. That compared to rises of 3.2% and 2.6%, respectively, in the August poll.
Only two respondents expected prices to fall in 2023, and by modest amounts.
Asked what would have the biggest impact on house prices next year, nine of 14 respondents said higher interest rates or tighter monetary policy. The remaining five cited supply constraints.
A follow-up question on how many basis points of interest rate hikes would significantly slow housing market activity had a median forecast of 100, with predictions in a range of 75 to 175 basis points.
Canada‘s central bank is expected to start raising interest rates by the end of the third quarter https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/bank-canada-q3-2022-rate-hike-expected-q2-rise-possible-2021-12-03 next year.
“One or two rate increases is unlikely to have a meaningful impact, but if we see four or more rate increases in 2022, this should take some demand out of the market, especially from interest rate-sensitive investors,” said John Pasalis, president of brokerage and research firm Realosophy Realty.
For many first-time home buyers, prices have climbed beyond their reach and a supply shortage of housing units has only aggravated their woes.
“Investors, house ‘flippers,’ and speculators, who according to the Bank of Canada account for over 20% of home purchases, have aggravated the severe demand-supply imbalance, boosted prices even higher and made housing more vulnerable to a correction,” said Tony Stillo, director of economics for Canada at Oxford Economics.
All 15 analysts who answered a question about affordability over the next two to three years said it would worsen.
“Out-of-reach housing prices will invariably lead more Canadians to rentals, especially if they have to live close to where they work. However, people who can work remotely will continue to migrate out of more expensive urban centres and ‘drive until they qualify,'” Stillo said.
(For other stories from the Reuters quarterly housing market polls:)
(Reporting by Swathi Nair; polling by Indradip Ghosh and Sarupya Ganguly; Editing by Ross Finley and Paul Simao)
Grand County real estate transactions, Nov. 28-Dec. 4 – Sky-Hi News
Grand County’s real estate transactions Nov. 28-Dec. 4 were worth more than $21.9 million combined.
• Valquero Subdivision Lot 2, Access Easement/Drainage Easement – Byersview Inc to Triton DG Granby LLC, DGGrand LLC, As Investments LLC, $2,050,000
• 448 Condominiums Unit 303 and Garage Unit 1 – Virga Corporation to Timothy Smith, $634,496
• Wells Minor Subdivision Lot MH-1A – Colton and Jeffrey Powley to Colorado Mountain Resorts Investors LLC, $381,741
• Fairways at Pole Creek PH 1 & Open Space Lot 4 23 – Linda and Donivan Ridgway Jr to Melissa and Joe Penn Jr, $2,480,000
• Eggert Subdivision Lot 5, Block 1 – Marjorie and Robert Noakes to Matthew Herron and Heidi Keyes, $412,250
• Fraser Crossing-Founders Pointe Condominium Unit 4470 – Copernicus LLC to Winter Park Drive 4470 LLC, $480,000
• 448 Condominiums Unit 101 and Garage Unit 5 – Virga Corporation to Jeffrey Vose, $725,944
• Roam Filing 1, Lot 18, Block 5 – Ski Idlewild Property LLC to Hunt Vac Services LLC, $950,000
• Zephyr Mountain Lodge Condo Bldg 1 & 2, Unit 2605 – Scott and Kimberly Balfanz to Scott and Anne Steputis, $850,000
• Zephyr Mountain Lodge Condo Bldg 1 & 2, Unit 2401 – Erik Amy LLC to Jeffrey McDonald, $579,000
• SEC 6 TWP 1N R 76W Partial Legal – See Document – Ellen Pacheco to Samuel and Monika Conger, $600,000
• Ptarmigan Subdivision Fraser Lot 102, Block MH – Fiona Russell to Derek Jotzat, $725,000
• Inn at SilverCreek PH 1, Condo Unit 322 – Glenda Sinardi and Parker Clonts to Charles and Lea Maxwell, $225,000
• Frontier Investment Company Addition to Kremmling Block 6, Lots 1,2,3 – Lodema Reinier, Lodema Cullum to Kelsy and Devin Ailport, $479,000
• Heinis Addition to Kremmling Block 1, Lots 5,7 – Benjamin and Kellie Steinle to Kristina Costa, $440,000
• Base Camp 9200 Second Replat Unit B2 – Sandhills Capital LLC to David and Marla Schmidt, $395,000
• Granby West Business Park Block 1, Lots 1,2 – Granby Industrial LTD Liability Co. to Elk Mountain Adventure Properties LLC, $300,000
• Mildred June Weaner Outright Exemption Lot J – Monarch Cabin LLC to Jerry Johnson, $430,000
• Rangeview Subdivision #2, Lot 33 – Randall Claeys and Stephanie Conners to Colin and Krystal Steward, $90,000
• Lake Forest 1st Addn Subdivision Lots 42,43,48,49; Laurent OE Lots A,B – Serge Laurent to Margaret J Blakley Revocable Trust, $800,000
• Meadow Ridge Lodges Court 7, Unit 9 – Eric Stanczak Jr to Rachael Watton, $580,000
• Muddy Creek Minor Subdivision TRT D – Muddy Creek Partners LLC to Areceli and Hugo Gonzalez, $325,000
• Bussey Hills Subdivision Block 7, Lots 7,14 – Michael Blasi and Arthur Aguilar to Heather and Michael Rinaldi Jr, $45,000
• Grand Lake Block 10, Lots 1,2,3 – GLL Real Estate LTD to McCarthy 401K Plan Trust, $1,150,000
• Rendezvous Center Condominiums Lot 3 – Rendezvous VC LLC, Koelbel Company to Brandon Kunz and Keith Jensen, $1,719,000
• Fraser Crossing-Founders Pointe Condominium Unit 3523 – FC 3523 LLC to Geoffrey and Rachel Nuwash, $485,000
• Crestview Place Condominiums Unit 604H – Debra and Robert Reehoorn to Beryl Foster and Robert Henry, $731,400
• East Mountain Filing 11, Lot 25 – Rendezvous Colorado LLC to Duncan, Peter and Suzanne Griffiths, Rochelle Rabeler, $1,465,904
• East Mountain Filing 10, Lot 138 – Rendezvous Homes LLC to Bawcom Living Trust, $1,424,366
Treasury wants more oversight of all-cash real estate deals – North Bay Business Journal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is looking to expand reporting requirements on all-cash real estate deals to help crack down on bad actors’ use of the U.S. market to launder money made through illicit activity.
The Treasury Department was posting notice Monday seeking public comment for a potential regulation that would address what it says is a vulnerability in the real estate market.
Currently, title insurance companies in just 12 metropolitan areas are required to file reports identifying people who make all-cash purchases of residential real estate through shell companies if the transaction exceeds $300,000.
“Increasing transparency in the real estate sector will curb the ability of corrupt officials and criminals to launder the proceeds of their ill-gotten gains through the U.S. real estate market,” said Himamauli Das, acting director of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Das said the move could “strengthen U.S. national security and help protect the integrity of the U.S. financial system.”
The metropolitan areas currently facing reporting requirements are Boston; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; Honolulu; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; and Seattle.
The U.S. real estate market has long been viewed as a stable way station for corrupt government officials around the globe and other illicit actors looking to launder proceeds from criminal activity.
The use of shell companies by current and former world leaders, and those close to them, to purchase real estate and other assets in the U.S. and elsewhere was recently spotlighted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ publication of the “Pandora Papers.”
The leaked documents acquired by the consortium showed King Abdullah II of Jordan, former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair and other prominent figures used shell companies to purchase mansions, exclusive beachfront property, yachts and other assets for the past quarter-century.
The tax dodges can be legal but have spawned various proposals to enhance tax transparency and reinforce the fight against tax evasion.
The effort to push for new real estate market regulation comes as the Biden administration on Monday issued its “U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption.”
The strategy was published as President Joe Biden prepares to host the first White House Democracy Summit, a virtual gathering of leaders and civil society experts from more than 100 countries that is set to take place Thursday and Friday.
The strategy offers broad brushstrokes for confronting corruption at home and abroad. It includes calls for the U.S. government to shore up regulatory gaps, elevating anti-corruption in U.S. diplomatic efforts and bolstering the protection of civil society and members of the media, including investigative journalists, who expose corruption.
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